2013 Honorary Recognition Awardees Announced

CALS will honor six individuals at it annual Honorary Recognition Banquet on October 17. Receiving the CALS Honorary Recognition Award will be Roger Blobaum, Pam Jahnke, John Ruedinger and Allan Schultz. The CALS Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Henry Fribourg, and Professor Emeritus Warren “Buck” Gabelman will receive the CALS Distinguished Service Award.

Roger Blobaum, an agricultural consultant, has been a leader in organic farming research, education, advocacy, and policymaking since the early 1970s.  He has served on boards of more than 30 regional, national, and international organic and sustainable agriculture organizations, including Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).  His contribution to MOSES includes developing the Organic University, which provides short courses to more than 500 participants annually, and the MOSES farmer-to-farmer mentoring program.  He was a founding director of the International Organic Accreditation Service, a founder and associate director of the World Sustainable Agriculture Association, and a participant in the 5-year process of setting international organic guidelines.  He co-chaired a coalition of national organizations that helped shape the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act and that successfully advocated its enactment.  His organic research contributions include developing and coordinating Ceres Trust programs that have awarded more than $6 million in grants to land grant university faculty and graduate student researchers.

Pam Jahnke is known to many as the voice of agriculture in Wisconsin. She was president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) and is currently the Farm Director of Wisconsin Farm Report Radio. Having grown up on a multi-generational farm in northeastern Wisconsin, Pam developed a passion for agriculture and strong work ethic early on. She was named “Friend of Agriculture” by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, but she is also a friend of the UW, frequently promoting CALS and Extension events, seeking out Extension and research faculty for her radio show, and speaking at events. Additionally, Pam is very involved with the World Dairy Expo, Dane County Fair and Farm Technology Days. Her enthusiasm for agriculture is contagious with community members of all ages.

John Ruedinger is an accomplished dairy farmer and cooperative leader who was an early innovator in the expansion of the family dairy operation. A fire that destroyed much of his family farm over a decade ago made John and his wife, Karen, question their willingness to continue farming. Instead of throwing in the towel, they rebuilt the farm to be even bigger and better. Since then, they have continued to expand and currently have about ten times the herd they had before the fire. John is described by one of his nominators as “the ‘poster child’ for what the UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) can do to develop a creative mind and launch a career of agricultural leadership.” He is a critical thinker, a trustworthy educator and known nationally and globally for his knowledge and leadership.

Allan Schultz is the Vice President of VP Holdings Corporation and Vita Plus Corporation. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, Al found his passion and came to the UW-Madison to receive a bachelor of science in 1972, a master of science in 1974 and a PhD in 1991 in dairy science. Al’s history at Vita Plus began in 1976 when he became a dairy nutritionist. Since then he has been a champion of dairy nutrition science and the success of dairy producers. He has also been a supporter of UW-Madison Dairy Science students and graduates. In fact, he helped create the UW Dairy Science/Vita Plus Masters Degree in Coursework Fellowship. This opportunity puts an undergraduate in position for advanced training, research experience and field experience. Upon graduation, these students are prepared to join the other CALS graduates who have been hired at Vita Plus (of which, there are many) if they choose to do so. Al is a dedicated and visionary leader, and a great supporter of the college.

Henry A. Fribourg is an emeritus professor of Crop Ecology at the University of Tennessee where he worked since 1956. When he was 12 years old, Henry and his family escaped to Cuba from the Holocaust, reaching the US in 1945; a short while later, Henry received his bachelor of science degree in Agronomy and Soil Science from the UW-Madison in 1949. He went on to receive a master of science from Cornell University and a PhD from Iowa State University. Since then, he has traveled the world and mastered several languages while spreading his knowledge about forage management, crop ecology and agricultural climatology. He is an excellent writer and has been published countless times while remaining an excellent teacher, researcher and mentor. Henry is tenacious and hard-working and he approaches his work with a strong sense of ethics and professionalism. One nominator explained that Henry “has improved those who know him by his example of scientific honesty, respect for human dignity, and pursuit of excellence.”

Warren “Buck” Gabelman came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from Yale in 1949 and began the CALS hybrid vegetable breeding program. He developed and released over 75 vegetable inbreds, hybrids or cultivars, and virtually every consumer of table beets, processing carrots or long-storage onions in North or South American, Europe, Japan or Australia has benefited from germplasm from his program.  He has been recognized nationally and internationally for his work as an excellent vegetable breeder and prolific teacher. He has been honored by several awards including the creation of two Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships in his honor. Throughout his 40 year career at the UW-Madison, he advised 44 PhD and 17 MS students who have become leaders in the vegetable seed industry. Since his retirement, he has continued to support the college, the Plant Breeding Program, and Allen Centennial Gardens.