Lansing, Mich. (October 31, 2017) – Governor Rick Snyder announced his appointments to the Michigan Wheat Program’s board of directors, filling the three terms that expired in 2017. The governor made two re-appointments and one new appointment.
Two current board members were reappointed: David Milligan of Cass City representing District 7, and Sally McConnachie of Deckerville representing District 5. A new member, Marc Hasenick of Springport, was appointed in District 2 to replace outgoing charter board member Carl Sparks of Cassopolis.
Milligan has chaired the Michigan Wheat Program and been on the board since its inception in 2011. He is the newly elected secretary of the National Association of Wheat Growers, where he has been a board member since Michigan joined in 2013. He owns Milligan Farms, LLC, in Cass City, and grows wheat, soybeans, corn and dry beans. Milligan has 46 years of farming experience, was named Cass City Citizen of the Year in 2013, and previously served on the American Farm Bureau Wheat Committee.
McConnachie is a managing partner of Dave’s Dirt, LLC, in Deckerville. She has farmed for 37 years. On their family farm they raise wheat, corn, sugar beets, dry beans and soybeans. She is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Corn Growers Association and the Sanilac County Republican Party. She was initially appointed to the board of the Michigan Wheat Program in 2014, and graduated from the prestigious Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow Program through the National Association of Wheat Growers.
Hasenick, farms with his father and brother and is part owner of Hasenick Brothers, LLC, a 67-year-old family farm in Springport. He is also the tactical logistics manager and pesticide application technician for Hasenick Brothers, LLC. The family farm’s “think outside the box” approach has yielded many a-typical management practices over the years. The 100% no-till operation uses a combination of tools to improve their soil, including cover crops and variable rate applications. In his community, Hasenick is an active supporter of the Springport FFA and serves on the Springport Agri-Science advisory board. He holds a B.S. in Crop and Soil Science from Michigan State University.
Hasenick replaces departing board member Carl Sparks, of Sparks Cedarlee Farm, LLC, in Cassopolis. A charter member of the Michigan Wheat Program board. Sparks served on the Michigan Wheat Program board since it was created in 2011.
All gubernatorial appointments to the Michigan Wheat Program board are for three-year terms, and are subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.
Following news of the appointments, the Michigan Wheat Program board elected officers for the 2017-2018 program year. David Milligan was re-elected chairman, and Dean Kantola of Kantola Farms, Inc., in Ravenna was re-elected vice chairman. Frank Vyskocil of New Lothrop will continue to serve as board treasurer; and Art Loeffler of Frankenmuth, was re-elected secretary of the board.
Kantola has served on the board since its founding in 2011, and was involved in the temporary wheat farmer committee that did the developmental work to establish the wheat check-off. Kantola farms with his brother in West Michigan and is a partner in Kantola Farms Trucking.
Vyskocil of Shiawassee Valley Farms in New Lothrop (District 6) has a 52-year history in farming. He has been particularly focused on new technology and innovations in fertilizer, soil management and marketing strategies. He grows corn and soybeans, in addition to wheat.
Loeffler, a board member since its inception, is the miller representative on the board. Loeffler serves as the CEO of Star of the West Milling and resides in Frankenmuth, where he is very involved in the community.
“We continue to have a great team in place that has the experience and vision to ensure the Michigan Wheat Program meets the needs of Michigan’s wheat farmers,” said executive director Jody Pollok-Newsom. “The board will continue its strong focus on research, particularly projects that lead to improved yield and quality in the state.”
The Michigan Wheat Program is a check-off organization funded by nearly 8,000 wheat farmers who grow wheat in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties. The Michigan Wheat Program supports the strategic priorities of wheat farmers by working with input suppliers, seed producers, millers, end users and consumers. Research and grower education have been top priorities for the organization.