Ken Gasper of Belding, Mich., former president and long-standing board member of CentralStar Cooperative, has been chosen as the 2020 Pioneer Award recipient by the CentralStar board of directors.
Established in 1977, the Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who through selfless and dedicated service and leadership have provided the cooperative and its members greater prosperity.
“Ken was a visionary leader for our cooperative,” says Paul Trierweiler, CentralStar board president. “His ability to encourage the board to think outside the box allowed the cooperative to expand service offerings to provide useful tools to producers, which ultimately helped improve farm profitability.”
A member of the CentralStar board of directors from 1983 to 2013, Gasper was president from 1993 to 2004. In addition, he served on numerous CentralStar committees, as well as the AntelBio board of directors, and he represented the cooperative on the Select Sires board of directors for 23 years.
As board president, Gasper led the organization through many changes, including transitioning to a stock-based cooperative. At the same time, the cooperative grew beyond being singularly focused on genetics and reproduction, with the addition of Dairy Herd Information (DHI) services; dairy records analysis and consulting; diagnostic testing through the creation of AntelBio; and herd management products. As a result of these improvements, the cooperative’s sales revenues grew by more than $10 million in a shrinking customer base.
Along with contributions to CentralStar, Gasper has been actively involved in several county and state organizations, including the Ionia County Cooperative Extension advisory committee; Michigan Farm Bureau; Michigan Milk Producers Association; and Michigan State University Animal Science advisory committee.
CentralStar Cooperative Inc. was established May 1, 2019, as a result of the merger between NorthStar Cooperative Inc. and East Central/Select Sires. For more information, visit CentralStar Cooperative Inc. at mycentralstar.com.