East Central/Select Sires and NorthStar Cooperative, both who have been serving farmers for more than 70 years, partnered to support the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center with a $100,000 gift. This lead gift was celebrated at WAEC’s Create. Cultivate. Educate. capital campaign kickoff event where the center’s leadership announced their $13 million fundraising goal in August.
“Since 1940, East Central/Select Sires has been breaking ground in artificial insemination advancements to best serve the dairy producers in our region. Past leaders were visionaries and knew innovation based in science would be important to both the prosperity of the agricultural community and also consumers,” said Al Deming, general manager of East Central. “WAEC is another platform for us to share the historic role our work plays in the greater agricultural industry and better inform the public on why these continued advancements are critical to our future.”
The Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center will be a state-of-the-art agricultural education center located in Manitowoc County. It will provide visitors with the opportunity to connect to the industry by better understanding where their food comes from, and why agriculture is so important to them. The center will include a discovery center that features hands-on learning opportunities through many displays, and an opportunity to tour Grotegut Dairy Farm, which focuses on sustainability and best farming practices while milking 2,400 cows three times a day. A highlight for visitors will be the chance to view the birth of calves from the Grotegut Dairy Farm at the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center Birthing Barn.
Mark Adam, general manager and executive vice president of NorthStar Cooperative added, “We invest in lifelong learning opportunities for our employees and producer-owners. As a core value of NorthStar Cooperative, we are proud to invest in the educational experience at WAEC. Partnerships like this have been our tradition since inception in 1944 and will continue to be for many years to come.”
In recognition of East Central/Select Sires and NorthStar Cooperative’s lead gift, the corridor to the Land O’Lakes Birthing Barn will be named in their honor. This passageway will direct visitors to an awe-inspiring educational experience of witnessing the birth of a calf – a birth that can be credited to advancements in agricultural genetics, which are vital to feeding the world.
WAEC is grateful for the donation from East Central and NorthStar.
“Thank you to East Central/Select Sires and NorthStar Cooperative for your support. We are so excited to count these industry leaders among our top donors to our capital campaign,” said Melissa Bender, WAEC executive director.
Courtney Booth, WAEC Campaign Cabinet co-chair, echoed Bender's comments.
“East Central/Select Sires and NorthStar Cooperative are well-respected, generous industry leaders," Booth said. "They are committed to helping to lead the agriculture industry forward with technology advancements and by investing in education through youth development programs and industry related trainings and conferences. I am very proud of how our shared commitments will help create a meaningful experience for future visitors of WAEC.”
According to WEAC, $5 million was raised from donations by agricultural companies and cooperatives and they received a matching grant from the State of Wisconsin for a total of $10 million raised through August. The group hopes to reach their ultimate fundraising goal of $13 million by December so they can break ground for the facility by the end of the year. WEAC is asking farmers, individuals and small businesses to help make that happen by making a donation.