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Rock County group honors agricultural leaders

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 8, 2008
— When you use words such as “dynamic,” “good listener” and “modest” to describe its members, it’s no wonder Rock County has a strong agriculture industry.

The Rock County Agribusiness Council inducted two men into its hall of fame this year: Town of La Prairie Supervisor John Lader and UW Extension dairy and livestock agent Randy Thompson.


Rock County ag council keeps a traveling display of its hall of fame inductees.


John Lader

Remember that older boy you looked up to when you were a teenager? That’s John Lader, said Town of Rock Chairman Mark Gunn, who nominated Lader to the hall of fame committee.


Lader is president of Lader’s Tiffany Feed and Supply, where he became the manager in 1975.


Gunn remembers seeing Lader working when Gunn was a young man.


“He was kind of a mentor,” Gunn said. “That’s always the way I felt about John.”


One of Lader’s greatest contributions to Rock County residents was his fight to keep zoning control in the hand of town boards—not the hands of Rock County planners, Gunn said.


“We were the unique county where we were able to let the local jurisdiction stay in control of zoning,” Gunn said. “It would have changed things immensely. We would have lost local control.”


Lader, 56, is a graduate of Clinton High School. He has worked for the Rock County and 1st Congressional District Republican parties. He has served on the county, state and national pork boards.


Randy Thompson

It’s hard to find an agricultural event in Rock County without also finding Thompson, said Kathy Morton, an employee of the Rock County USDA Service Center, who nominated Thompson.


“Randy goes way above and beyond what is required for his job,” Morton said. “Randy puts in so much extra time and effort to ensure that Rock County Agriculture is No. 1 in the State of Wisconsin.”


Thompson has worked for 27 years with the Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service. His career started as a 4-H youth development agent in Trempealeau County in 1979 after he graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science the same year.


In 1984, he earned a master’s degree in dairy science, and he started working in the Rock County UW Extension office in 1990.


Aside from his dedication to the Rock County 4-H Fair, Thompson works with the Wisconsin State Fair, the World Dairy Expo, the Janesville Farmers Market and many local livestock associations.


MORE ONLINE
For more information on the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council, visit www.wisagri.com.

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