FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative welcomes two new faces to its member services division as two long-time staff members look forward to retirement.
Barb Grzywinski joined the cooperative staff as a member services field representative on Jan. 30. She is based out of Fond du Lac and will be serving members throughout Central and Eastern Wisconsin. Barb worked previously as a dairy nutritionist for a feed mill based in Manitowoc, and has also worked for a short time as a herd manager. With a passion for dairy and agricultural literacy, Barb is involved in several county agricultural organizations including the Fond du Lac Agribusiness Council and is currently the chair for the Fond du Lac County Breakfast on the Farm.
“I am most excited to continue working with farmers – it’s the best part of my job to work with and support them with the cooperative’s programs and services,” she says. “Farmers have a great story to tell, and I want to help share that message with non-farm families how we are doing the best we can with our land and animals to ensure a high-quality, healthy product.”
As Grzywinski joins the team, FarmFirst congratulates long-time staff member Dan Zeleske on his retirement. He began his career as a test-verification field representative more than 36 years ago when he first joined the Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers. In 1986, he joined the Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative and then continued through the merger of the three cooperatives to form FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative in 2013.
FarmFirst also welcomes Abby Walker, who joined the cooperative staff as a member services field representative on Feb. 14. She’ll be serving the southwest Wisconsin, Illinois, and eastern Iowa membership region. Headquartered out of Lancaster, Walker brings her experience of working in various roles on a dairy farm and the past four years of serving as an independent dairy nutritionist. She is also active as a member of the Grant County Dairy Promotion Committee.
“I am excited to work with dairy farmers and to play a bigger role in the industry. I truly love dairy and agriculture in general as it seems like this position is more than a job but a way of life, and everyone involved in dairy wants to see everyone succeed. Even though the industry is very large, it is like a tight-knit, small community,” she says.
As the staff member with the longest tenure of the cooperative team, Bob Hodgson celebrated his 38th year with the cooperative as he welcomes retirement. Bob began as a field representative in September of 1985 as a member of the Family Dairies USA team and has continued to serve dairy farmers and plant processors across Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. He has seen the cooperative grow and evolve for nearly four decades. His career helped fuel his passion for high-quality cheese, and Bob and his wife Bev became known as ‘Cheese Bob and the Cheese Lady’ when visiting friends or family as they always brought cheese to share.
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