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WisAct 223: Creating an agricultural education and workforce development council and making an appropriation.

WAEWDC Presentation [Click to Download File ~ .ppt 124 KB]


Grow Wisconsin’s ability to compete by creating a stronger and sustainable workforce.


Attract, develop and retain the premium workforce required to Grow Wisconsin’s agricultural industry, food, and natural resource systems.


  1. Implement the recommendations of the Secretary’s Panel on Agricultural Education.
  2. Work closely with the “Grow Wisconsin” job creation initiative.
  3. Support research related to agricultural employment and educational needs.
  4. Mobilize new and innovative agricultural education programs and projects.
  5. Recommend policies and initiatives to improve agricultural education and workforce development.
  6. Promote recruitment, training and retention of qualified workers.
  7. Encourage youth to pursue related careers.
  8. Serve as an advocate for agricultural workforce diversity.
  9. Advocate for and promote public and private funding for agricultural education and employee development programs.
  10. Encourage and facilitate public-private partnerships and coalitions.
  11. Promote strong agricultural programs in the state educational systems at all levels.
  12. Support recruitment, training and professional development of agricultural educators and leaders.



Appointments to the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council

Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council Nomination Form

Expectations of Council Members

  • Industry Representatives: To represent their industry sector, the industry as a whole, and needs of the citizens of Wisconsin to the best of their ability in matters related to workforce development and educational needs.
  • Agency and Educational Institution Representatives: To represent their organizations/constituencies in the work of the Council and to help implement strategies that will assure to the extent possible that the workforce development and educational needs validated by the industry are met.

All will be expected to:

  • Attend meetings of the Council regularly.
  • Participate in decision making related Council Plan of Work, Budget, and etc.
  • Advocate for the program of work and the functions determined by the council to be priorities.
  • Enlist the assistance of others as the needs and opportunity arise.
  • Empower others to carry out other functions that must be accomplished to achieve mutually determined goals, strategies and activities.
  • Expect performance from other stakeholders in the Council and in the future of Wisconsin agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems.
  • Help design benchmarks for progress and performance reporting.
  • Step aside when you determine an inability to work effectively within the structure of the Council.
  • Advocate specific actions that will change the structure and outcomes when needed.
  • Industry representatives should keep an eye to the industry sector they represent and actively cultivate names of persona who could be recommended upon completion of your term.
  • Assist in developing the necessary resources to carry out the program of work and objectives, goals and activities established as priorities of the Council.
  • Keep the Executive Committee and executive staff informed of needs that should be brought to the attention of the Council.
  • Abide by the policies and decisions for management of the Council that are established by and promulgated by the Executive Committee of the Council, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the State of Wisconsin

Click here to view Membership Chart in WORD format

Private Industry Term Limits

Darlene Arneson (7/1/13)
Cal Dalton (7/1/13)
Becky Levzow (7/1/13)
Maggie Bishop (7/1/13)

Pam Jahnke (7/1/14)
Liz Henry (7/1/14)
Patrick Link (7/1/14)
Corey Kuchta (7/1/14)

Earl Gustafson (7/1/15)
Andrea Brossard (7/1/15)
Richard Miller (7/1/15)
Terri Dallas (7/1/15)
Tony Savarin (7/1/15)

Plan of Action

The Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council will provide advice and counsel to state agencies, educational institutions, and the Wisconsin Legislature on matters related to agricultural education and workforce development. In addition the Council will help attract, develop and retain the superior workforce required to grow Wisconsin’s production agriculture, agribusiness, food and natural resource sectors.

The Council will employ a full-time Executive Director who will report to the Executive Committee of the Council. The Executive Director and the Council will:

  • Conduct research and provide ongoing evaluations to verify the current and future employment and educational needs of the various industry sectors.
  • Recommend initiatives and policy development that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural education and workforce development at all levels, including work-site delivery of programs for employees and businesses.
  • Identify appropriate funding and mobilize new resources and advocacy for the documented needs of enhanced agricultural education and workforce development programs at the K-12 and higher education levels.
  • Encourage the recruitment, retention of and ongoing professional development of educators at all levels.
  • Implement the recommendations of the 2003 Agricultural Education Summit and subsequent 2005 Panel on Agricultural Education.
  • Support leadership development for citizenship and community needs.
  • Conduct fund raising necessary to carry out the mission of the Council by encouraging private industry, foundations, organizations and individuals to support the private/public partnership and initiatives.
  • Annually report to the Wisconsin Legislature, state agencies, educational institutions and private sector regarding the challenges and opportunities for the educational and workforce development needs of Wisconsin and provide recommendations for change necessary to attract, develop and retain the superior human capital required to grow Wisconsin’s production agriculture, agri-business, food, and natural resource sectors.


The Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council originated from leaders in the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE), launching a campaign in 2001 aimed at helping local teachers remain competitive in the student 'marketplace'. The Public Relations Committee of the association began to evolve a plan to reach out to selected stakeholders within and beyond school district boundaries. As teachers and association leaders quickly learned, together they could expand their influence. They began to realize that their own outreach work really could have far-reaching and positive consequences.

From this premise, former state association president Paul Larson called for WAAE to propose a statewide “Agricultural Education” summit. Mr. Larson is an Agriscience Instructor at Freedom High School, who was then serving as NAAE (National Association of Agricultural Educators) Region III Vice President. The proposal called for the invitation of key stakeholders to help bring life to a vision for agricultural education shared by many and for which he was increasingly called upon to articulate in and outside of the profession. The first information meetings being held in the fall of 2002, resulted in the Statewide Summit on Agricultural Education, being hosted July 23rd 2003 at Mauston High School. The summit theme was, “Knowledge Crisis.”

Planners for the Summit involved representatives from the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Technical College System. A broadened planning group of about thirty people was convened during a designated "Agriculture Day at the Capitol" the first week of spring included additional numbers of educators, representatives of the State Legislature, the Wisconsin Landscape Federation, and others.

The Summit resulted in the Secretary’s Panel on Agriculture Education being convened to recommend actions that offer the greatest potential for assuring the sufficient human resources to “Grow Wisconsin’s Agriculture.” The panel met three times during 2004, during which time they developed and provided a findings and recommendations report to Wisconsin’s Secretary of Agriculture on July 29th 2004.

Developing Human Capital Needed To Grow Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary’s Panel on Agricultural Education Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Final Report - Issues, Specific Recommendations and Rationale

The final report of the Panel led to the creation of 2007 WI Assembly Bill 83 and to the passage of 2007 WI Act 223, “The Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce development Council.”

Annual Report

2013 Annual Report (PDF File, 1.15MB)

2012 Annual Report (PDF File, 918KB)

2011 Executive Summary of the Final Report (PDF File, 380KB)

2011 Annual Report (PDF File, 990KB)

2010 Annual Report (PDF File, 922KB)

2009 Annual Report (PDF File, 1.16MB)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council (WAEWDC)? The Council, comprised of individuals representing private industry, education, and state government. It is dedicated to attracting, developing and retaining the superior human capital required to grow Wisconsin’s agricultural, food processing, natural resource, agribusiness and emerging biological and bio-energy industries.  
  2. Who serves/will serve on the Council? Fourteen individuals appointed from private industry representing the career pathways in the agricultural industry, including: Food Products and Processing Systems; Plant Systems, Animal Systems; Power, Structural and Technical Systems; Natural Resource Systems; Environmental Service Systems and Agribusiness Systems, the ‘Green’ Industry, Renewable Energy, General Agriculture, Communications and Environmental Stewardship. In addition, there are sixteen representatives of state agencies, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical Colleges and Department of Public Instruction and the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture and Education Committees.  
  3. What is the Council’s Purpose/Mission? Provide advocacy for agricultural education, educational initiatives, and associated resources that improve the employment opportunities for and retention of a superior workforce necessary to meet the ever changing demands of the agriculture industry in Wisconsin.  
  4. Why is this Council needed? To make sure Wisconsin has sufficient numbers of highly qualified persons for careers within the state’s agriculture, food and natural resources system and to promote agriculturally-related career opportunities as opportunities of choice.  
  5. What are some of the specific plans for the Council? Our primary goal is to provide highly qualified, skilled employees for all phases of the agricultural industry. Provide on-going assessment of needs for training workers. Create new resources, processes and advocacy for agricultural education at all levels. Encourage the development and implementation of successful agricultural career preparation strategies.  
  6. Who funds the Council? Act 223 does not provide for funding of the Council. A majority of funding for the Council has come from cash donations and in-kind contributions by private industry and individuals. Additional funding has come from grants and other resources.  
  7. Who supports the Council? The following have indicated their support for the Council: Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives/Federated Youth Foundation; Wisconsin Farm Credit System; Wisconsin Public Service Corporation; Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators; Midwest Food Processors Association.; Wisconsin Agribusiness Council; Wisconsin Agri-Services Association; Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association; Wisconsin Dairy Products Association; Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation; Wisconsin Green Industry Federation; Wisconsin Pork Association; Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association; Wisconsin Soybean Association; and the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association.  
  8. How will the Executive Director work with Department of Public Instruction/High School Agriculture Education Departments/Technical Colleges/Universities/Industry Businesses? The Executive Director will assist in developing mechanisms for area workforce development councils to identify areas of high unmet need for incumbent worker training, help existing organizations, institutions and agencies to develop or utilize systems that connect available qualified candidates with agricultural industry position openings.  
  9. Why should we provide dollars to support the Council if agriculture is so important to State of Wisconsin, why doesn’t the state support it? This partnership is committed to do whatever it takes to improve the state’s agricultural industry. Therefore, everyone stands to benefit. The end result is your business stays strong because you have become directly connected to a talented, motivated and highly qualified work force.  
  10. Do other states have similar organizations, if so how are they funded and how have they been successful? Illinois and Minnesota have active councils. The State of Illinois commits over $3 million annually to agricultural education to revitalize existing and non-active programs plus the creation of new programs. Minnesota receives more than a half million dollars annually from their legislative body for the development of new ideas and curriculums and has supported efforts to encourage individuals to enter and remain in the agriculture teaching professions. Wisconsin is committed to increasing the capacity of the educational system in the state by expanding secondary school offerings in alignment with the national effort dubbed ’10 x 15’. This national effort led by the National Council on Agricultural Education and other allied agricultural education organizations is intended to increase the numbers of secondary schools offering agricultural education programming from 7,200 to 10,000 by the year 2015. In Wisconsin a proportionate increase would result in adding 100 new, high quality programs and bringing the state totals to nearly 350 of the state’s 420+ public school districts.  
  11. How can you personally get involved with the Council and what expectations do you have from this organization? As a concerned business person, we hope you can contribute financially. As an individual representing your firm, we would invite you to eventually join with us as an active council member or member of one of the task forces that are expected to emerge as work toward the ultimate goals of the Council are targeted. There will be limited terms for council members which will allow everyone the chance to serve.

In the News

July 11, 2012
Four New to Ag Education & Workforce Development Council
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel has appointed four new individuals to the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council. These representatives will serve to achieve the Council’s mission of attracting, developing and retaining the premium workforce required to grow Wisconsin’s agricultural industry, food and natural resources systems.
[Click to read more]

April 16, 2012
Link Appointed to Council by Secretary Brancel
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel has appointed Patrick Link to the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council. Link will serve as an agribusiness representative and begin his service at the Council’s next meeting on April 26 in Wausau.
[Click to read more]

March 1, 2012
Why Ag website debuts at Wisconsin School Counselor Association Conference
For Natalie Killion, like so many high school students in the state and across the country, the individual who impacted her life the greatest in high school was her agricultural education instructor.
[Click to read more]

February 29, 2012
Wisconsin launches “Why Ag”

The Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council has developed a website to help make students more aware of the job opportunities in agriculture.
[Click to read more]

February 27, 2012
Why Ag initiative draws excitement to agriculture employment opportunities (Slip Sheet)
New statewide program creates agricultural career connections at Wisconsin School Counselor Association Conference, Feb. 22-24, in Madison.
MADISON – The Why Ag Initiative was officially launched Feb. 22-24, 2012 during the 2012 Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA) Conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis. [Click to read more]

February 15, 2012
Why Ag launch set for Feb. 22-24 in Madison (Slip Sheet)
Groundbreaking new statewide initiative highlights availability of agricultural jobs by leveraging existing talents and expertise.
MADISON – The Why Ag Initiative is a groundbreaking statewide initiative that will be launched during the 2012 Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA) Conference, Feb. 22-24, 2012 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis.
[Click to read more]

October 10, 2011
Council’s Activities Grow Wisconsin’s Ag Workforce
MADISON – Corey Kuchta of Coleman had recently been promoted to an Agriculture Market Leader at Wisconsin Public Service when he heard about an opportunity to develop his leadership skills by enrolling in a new course, the Wisconsin Agribusiness Academy.
[Click to read more]

September 09, 2010
Governor Doyle Announces $296,997 Grant to Fund Training for Agriculture and Agribusiness Workers
Governor Jim Doyle today announced a $296,997 grant to fund training for agriculture and agribusiness workers throughout Wisconsin . The grant is the latest award in the Wisconsin Industry Partnership initiative, a new approach to training that gives industry a leading role in worker training.
[Click to read more]

June 17, 2010
Positions Open on Wisconsin Agriculture and Workforce Development Council
The Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council, which works to provide skilled employees for all aspects of the agricultural economy, is accepting applications and nominations for private industry representatives.
[Click to read more]

Doyle Signs Ag Education & Workforce Development Council Bill
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/08/2008

Ag Education and Workforce Development Council Members Named

Wisconsin Agricultural Education Foundation Awards First Grants For Educational Improvement

Agriculture Deserves a Second Look


Industry Partnership Grant Summary [Click Here]

Development of Why Ag?