Feb 8, 2016WPVGA presents Hall of Fame inductions, industry awards
The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) inducted two individuals into the WPVGA Hall of Fame for their lifetime achievement in the development of the state’s potato industry.
Hall of Fame inductions were held at the WPVGA’s annual awards banquet hosted Feb. 3 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Charles A. Cofer was honored for his work in the potato business.
He founded Pack Right Foods under the Alamo brand, and later established Antigo Auction Sales. In 1968 and 1969 Charlie worked seasonally for Kerr & Rebel, brokering potatoes out of Florida. During this time he also farmed with Circle P Farms, and started contracting with Old Dutch Foods. In 1975, Cofer became an early innovator in growing chip potatoes.
In 1965, Cofer founded Farmers Potato Exchange in Antigo, Wisconsin, acting as a broker for farmers throughout Wisconsin and other areas of the country. The Farmers Potato Exchange is still in full operation today, owned and operated by Dave Cofer.
Charlie passed away on July 27, 1993 at the age of 75.
Robert J. Guenthner, of Guenthner Potato Company, was also inducted to the WPGVA Hall of Fame during the awards banquet.
Guenthner Potato Company, Inc. currently grows certified seed potatoes, along with oats, rye grass and red clover on 800 acres of land.
Guenthner has served as a board member of WPVGA and the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association. He also served as chairman of the 7th Annual North American Seed Potato Seminar. He received the WPVGA Young Grower of the Year award in 1983. He served for many years as a member of the WPVGA Research committee.
Along with a grower from Montana, Guenthner developed the Universal Seed Potato Contract. He was the first potato grower in the U.S. to demonstrate and use the Norwegian built Underhaug cup potato planter, according to WPVGA.
In addition to its annual Hall of Fame inductions, the WPVGA presented several other annual industry awards during its banquet.
Industry awards presented and their recipients include:
- Volunteer of the Year — Heidi Alsum-Randall, Alsum Farms & Produce
- Young Grower of the Year — Mark Finnessy, Okray Family Farms
- Researcher of the Year Award — Jiwan Palta, University of Wisconsin Department of Horticulture
- Associate Division Business Person of the Year Award — Chris Brooks, Central Door Solutions
- Agri-Communicator Award — John D. J.D.” Schroeder, Schroeder Brothers Farms
- President’s Award — Jordan Lamb, DeWitt, Ross & Stevens Law Firm in Madison
- Industry Appreciation Award — Karen Rasmussen, WPVGA financial officer
- Auxiliary Appreciation Awards — Dianne Somers, Plover Rivers Farms, and Avis Wysocki, Wysocki Family of Companies