Wisconsin Custom Operators members selected a new president, new officers and three new directors during its annual meeting held in conjunction with the Forage Symposium Jan. 25 at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
Bryce O’Leary, owner of O’Leary Brothers Chopping Service LLC and co-owner of O'Leary Shamrock Acres Dairy Farm, both in Janesville, was selected as the group’s new president.
O’Leary has been active in WCO since the early days of the organization and was first elected to the board of directors in 2015. With a passion for safety and policy, O’Leary was among WCO’s first group of Safety Certified operators. He has also chaired the Safety and Regulations Committee since 2016. In addition to his work with WCO, O’Leary served on his town board as supervisor for six years. He also served nine years on the Rock County Farm Service Agency board, including seven years as chairman. He replaces Kathy Vander Kinter of Vander Kinter Farms in Green Bay.
Other officer changes include Josh Bartholomew as secretary. Bartholomew lives in Clear Lake and serves as the territory manager for Oxbo International, an equipment company that serves the custom farming industry with forage mergers and dump carts. Oxbo International also manufactures equipment for producing seed corn, fruits, vegetables, olives, grapes and coffee. Bartholomew was also elected as a corporate representative.
Operator representative Cole Olson of Diversified Farms Ltd. in Alma was re-elected as vice president, and corporate representative Chuck Rabitz of Denmark State Bank in Denmark was re-elected as treasurer.
Retiring board members Kathy Vander Kinter, Green Bay; Isaac Lemmenes, Manitowoc; and Troy Meyer, Dorchester, were honored for their service to WCO.
Newly elected board directors include operator representatives Ray Liska, Cochrane, and Derek Ducat, Kewaunee.
Liska owns and operates Apollo Vale Enterprises and custom raises poultry for Gold’n Plump Farms. He was active in FFA and is a 10-year member of Wisconsin Farm Bureau, where he has served as young farmer chairman, membership chairman and a voting delegate, and is a graduate of the Farm Bureau Leadership Institute.
Ducat owns and operates Ducat Farms Custom Work with his family in Kewaunee. The family also owns Deer Run Dairy LLC, a 1,600-cow dairy farm in Kewaunee. The Ducat family has been actively involved with Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led environmental stewardship group in Kewaunee and southern Door counties.