New Faces For WI Custom Operators Board

Wisconsin Custom Operators members elected two directors, welcomed an advisor and honored retiring directors during the group’s annual business meeting on Feb. 23, held in conjunction with the Forage Symposium at the Chula Vista Resort.

Amanda Krepline, an employee of Krepline Custom Harvesting LLC in Reedsville was elected as an operator director. Isaac Lemmenes, product specialist for R Braun, Inc. was re-elected as a corporate director. Joseph Sanford, assistant professor at UW-Platteville, joined the board as an advisor.

Krepline manages the bookkeeping and accounting for Krepline Custom Harvesting LLC as well as the family dairy and grain farms. During the season, Krepline also serves as a machinery operator. In addition to WCO, she is a member of Wisconsin Farm Bureau and supports her local 4-H and FFA activities. Krepline is passionate about promoting agriculture, with a keen focus on the diverse roles women play in the industry. In her free time, she enjoys snowmobiling, hunting, 4-wheeling and other outdoor activities. Krepline has one daughter and competes in rodeos and barrel racing.

Lemmenes serves as a product specialist and equipment sales representative for R Braun, Inc., a diverse farm service business that offers ventilation, excavation, dredging and manure services, fabrication, sales, rental equipment and more. In addition to his corporate role, Lemmenes, also has experience as a custom manure applicator.

Sanford, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering in the School of Agriculture at UW-Platteville, joins the board as an honorary advisor. Dr. Sanford is one of the first faculty hired with funding from the state’s Dairy Innovation Hub, which is a state investment of 7.8 million dollars per year split between Platteville, Madison and River Falls. His research interest is in agriculture wastewater management.

Officers were selected by the WCO board of directors, including three re-elected officers and a new vice-president. Ray Liska, owner of Apollo-Vale Enterprizes in Cochrane was re-elected as president and William Smith, owner of Smith Custom Farming in Darlington was newly elected as vice-president. Josh Bartholomew a corporate director from Oxbo International in Clear Lake was re-elected as secretary and Isaac Lemmenes was re-elected treasurer.

Smith is the owner of Smith Custom Farming, which provides custom forage and grain harvesting services to farmers in Southwest Wisconsin. Smith also farms 2,000 acres of grain in the Darlington area. He is a member of Midwest Forage Association, Lafayette County Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Business and supports local FFA and 4-H activities. Smith Custom Farming has a strong presence on social media with nearly 3,000 people following their Facebook page. Smith and his wife, Jamie, have two sons.

Two retiring directors were honored at the meeting. Kevin Shinners, professor emeritus of biological systems engineering at UW-Madison, was honored for his 14 years of service to WCO. Dr. Shinners is credited with starting the scholarship and awards committee, developing the selection criteria, and running that committee since 2010. As WCO has grown, the board expanded the award dollar amounts and number of awards. 

During his productive career at UW-Madison, Dr. Shinners mentored 53 graduate students, brought in $7.2 million in research funding, and published countless papers and book chapters. But it has been his passion for farmers and students that has always stood out. Joseph Sanford will step in as the new scholarship and awards committee chairman.

Jesse Dvorachek of Dvorachek Farm and Industry, LLC in Brillion was also honored for his service to WCO.