Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) Presents Annual Industry Awards

Anna and Alex Okray

Anna and Alex Okray

Febrero 21, 2023
In addition to its annual Hall of Fame induction, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) presented several other annual Industry Awards during a banquet on February 8, 2023, in Stevens Point.

The WPVGA Associate Division Business Person of the Year Award was presented to Julie Cartwright, sales agronomist for Jay-Mar, Inc., of Plover. For more than seven years, Julie has become a trusted resource for growers in the Central Sands and throughout Wisconsin’s agricultural production areas.

Julie completed her last year on the WPVGA Associate Division Board in 2023, having served as president in her final term.
 
Julie Cartwright, sales agronomist at Jay-Mar, Inc.

Julie Cartwright, sales agronomist at Jay-Mar, Inc.

Julie Cartwright, sales agronomist at Jay-Mar, Inc.:
 
"I am proud of the work we do on the Board, from educating the community through the Spudmobile to sharing information with growers at the Grower Education Conference & Industry Show, offering scholarships to those pursuing ag careers, and a lot of other little things in between."

"In general, I think that there are few things of greater importance than to increase awareness and education of our potato and vegetable industry."
Douglas Posthuma, Sales, Buyer at Alsum Farms & Produce, Friesland, Wisconsin, was named the WPVGA Volunteer of the Year. The procurement and grower relations manager at Alsum Farms & Produce, Doug is a key driver of the business, working to determine customer pricing and returning a favorable price to farmers.
 
Douglas Posthuma, Sales, Buyer at Alsum Farms & Produce, Friesland

Douglas Posthuma, Sales, Buyer at Alsum Farms & Produce, Friesland

He attended the 2021 Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) and served as a PILI grower leader in 2022.

Douglas Posthuma:
 
"The opportunity to meet and network with other potato leaders around the country while in Washington, D.C., and participate in helping the industry was something I couldn’t pass up."
Doug has participated in the National Potato Council’s Washington, D.C. Fly-In where he met with legislators on Capitol Hill to inform congressional leaders of the issues impacting the potato industry. Doug was named as a Class of 2020 Produce Business “Forty under 40” recipient and is a graduate of the WPVGA Member Development Program, in 2019.

This year’s WPVGA Young Grower of the Year Award went to Nicola Carey, Business & Agronomy Analyst at Wysocki Produce Farms, Bancroft. Nicola knew at a young age that she wanted to work in the potato industry. Growing up, she spent years cutting seed, preparing potato storages, collecting yield samples, and managing the storage crop with her dad.
 
Nicola Carey, Business & Agronomy Analyst at Wysocki Produce Farms

Nicola Carey, Business & Agronomy Analyst at Wysocki Produce Farms

During college, she worked in the summer on small-plot research trials, which introduced her to using statistics within agriculture and encouraged her to specialize in agricultural economics.

Nicola Carey:
 
"I enjoy the challenge and variability that potato farming brings. Agricultural economics provides me the balance between being out in the fields and using data to support our operation teams."
The daughter of Kirk and Jacqueline Wille, Nicola returned to work in the family business seven years ago.

The WPVGA Researcher of the Year Award was presented to Dr. James Busse. Jim’s nomination came with supporting letters of recommendation from university professors as well as industry stakeholders from Wisconsin and Idaho. Jim is a research technician in Dr. Paul Bethke’s program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Vegetable Crops Research Unit on the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison campus.
 
James Busse a research technician in Dr. Paul Bethke’s program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Vegetable Crops Research Unit on the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison campus

James Busse a research technician in Dr. Paul Bethke’s program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Vegetable Crops Research Unit on the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison campus

Jim has been involved with countless potato research projects in his 20-plus years of work and service. He is a motivated and accomplished researcher, mentor, and team player. His enthusiasm, creativity, and skill set have gained respect with scientists, students, and potato industry stakeholders.

Jim, who has authored and co-authored 18 peer-reviewed scientific publications, also contributed countless other talks and posters at professional potato meetings.

He is currently the secretary for the Potato Association of America - physiology section. While Jim’s resume is outstanding, he remains compassionate and concerned about those with whom he works. He cares as much about his colleagues as the research itself, and that leadership shines through his character.

Jordan Lamb received the Agri-Communicator Award for excellence in communication and outstanding service to the potato and vegetable industry.
 
Jordan Lamb

Jordan Lamb

A principal and contract lobbyist with The Welch Group public affairs firm, in Madison, Jordan has been working on behalf of agriculture for 22 years, representing a diverse set of clients before the Wisconsin legislature and state agencies.

A Madison native, Jordan graduated from the UW-Madison Law School. She spent over 20 years in private law practice serving government relations clients and developing a strong legal background in environmental and administrative law. She is highly skilled at legislative planning and analysis, and her legal background is an asset to clients as they navigate complex state regulations.

2022 WPVGA Board President Alex Okray of Okray Family Farms, Plover, presented the President’s Award to his wife, Anna Okray, for her faithful support, guidance, and love.

A special Industry Appreciate Award went to WPVGA Executive Assistant Julie Braun, who is celebrating 25 years of service in 2023. Julie also serves as administrative coordinator for Wisconsin Mint Board, Inc. and the Wisconsin Muck Farmers Association.

She received an Industry Appreciation Award from the WPVGA Associate Division in 2012, the WPVGA President’s Award in 2013, and an Industry Appreciation Award from the WPVGA in 2018.

WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan presented Julie with the Industry Appreciation Award in recognition of 25 years of service and outstanding contributions to the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry.
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