National Dairy Shrine Holds Virtual Annual Meeting, Funk Elected President

Joel Hastings

The 71st annual meeting of National Dairy Shrine was held Oct. 1 via Zoom technology with 26 directors, members and friends participating.

The meeting and annual banquet had been scheduled for this day during World Dairy Expo, but that event’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic made the virtual arrangements necessary.

Outgoing president Nate Janssen, Wheaton, Ill., wielded the gavel and presented highlights of the past year, which included hitting the 20,000-member mark, an important milestone. (Lifetime memberships are available to all in the dairy industry with the payment of a one-time $50 fee.)

A new Executive Director had been selected in the spring and on Aug. 1, Mike Opperman of Ft. Atkinson, Wis., succeeded the retiring Dr. David Selner who had held the post since 2008.

Thirty-two scholarships had been presented to carefully evaluated and high performing college students. The annual selection of a Guest of Honor – Jay Mattison of National DHIA – and pioneers had been made, but no in-person recognition was possible this year. It is hoped that the banquet will be held next year, set for Sept. 30 in Madison with appropriate festivities. (Honorees and scholarship recipients can be found at the website

A budget projecting an income of $83,805 and expenses of $115,350 was approved with the cash flow shortage supplemented by returns from the investment portfolio.  Finance Committee Chair Al Schultz reported that the organization is in sound financial shape but that efforts to increase the revenue stream should be an action item for the Board.

During the meeting, two were elected to the board for second terms: Janet Keller, Oregon, Wis., and Bonnie Bargstedt, Valatie, N.Y. Selected to join the board for the first time were Kate Geppert, Kingdom City, Mo.; Dr. Vikram Misty, Brookings, S.D.; Dr. Sheila McGuirk, Madison, Wis.; Jodi Hoynoski, Brattleboro, Vt.; Carol Regusci, Modesto, Calif.; and Brittany Heizer, North Carolina.

Retiring directors recognized were Larry Schirm, Laurelville, Oh.; Tim Abbott, Enosburg, Vt.; Fowler Branstetter, Edmonton, Ky.; Jim Dickrell, Monticello, Minn.; Leah Ziemba, Madison, Wis.; and Ken Raney, State College, Pa.

At the board reorganization meeting which followed, Dennis Funk, Sun Prairie, Wis., was selected for a one-year terms as president with Matt Iager, Boonsboro, Md., as president elect. The Executive Committee will be composed of past president Janssen, along with Tina Larson, Pine Island, Minn., James Huffard, Crockett, Va., and Janet Keller along with Funk and Iager.

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