Developing the next generation of ag leaders

Dan Verhasselt is vice president of sales for Ornua Ingredients North America.

By Randy Tenpas
For MAA

To quote Vince Lombardi, “Leaders are made; they are not born.” So it is true when it comes to Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. How ironic that one of the leading industries in Wisconsin is comprised of leaders who excel in both technical and soft skills. In other words, ag professionals are both doers and communicators.

That’s the case with Dan Verhasselt, vice president of sales for Ornua Ingredients North America, a manufacturer of pasteurized process cheese products. He serves on the leadership team at Ornua’s 110,000-square-foot plant in Hilbert, Wis. The plant includes an impressive research and development lab. Verhasselt’s staff of four sales representatives is responsible for serving the industrial food sector with customized cheese technologies and solutions. Some of his customers work at multi-national food companies throughout North America. Continue reading “Developing the next generation of ag leaders”

Kosher milk opens new markets for dairies

By Nikki Kallio
MAA

With just a little extra effort, milk producers can reach into wider consumer markets by offering high kosher products to people who follow Jewish dietary laws.

First, the milk must come from animals considered “kosher,” a term which essentially means “proper” or “acceptable” according to biblical law. Kosher animals include those that both chew their cud and have split hooves. So, yes, dairy cows are generally kosher animals, but there are instances in which they would not be. Continue reading “Kosher milk opens new markets for dairies”

Study: Quarter of all U.S. jobs tied to agriculture

By MAA

More than a fifth of the U.S. economy and a quarter of American jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to the food and agriculture sectors, according to a new study commissioned by industry groups.

The study estimates that more than 43 million jobs and $1.9 trillion in total wages are linked to the two sectors, which contribute some $894 billion in taxes. The food and agriculture sectors together account for $146 billion in exports, the study found.

In all, the study, which was released today, pegs the two sectors’ total economic impact at $6.7 trillion.

“As policymakers consider tax reform and other means to expand economic activity, I hope they will have a better understanding of how the food and agriculture sector not only feeds Americans, but also feeds the U.S. economy,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute.

The study was commissioned by 22 food and agriculture groups, including the Corn Refiners Association, the American Bakers Association and the United Fresh Produce Association. The groups posted the results on a site that allows individuals to search industry impact by state and congressional district.