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Last updated:

May 24, 2001

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Harsdorf Named Distinguished Agriculturalist

A Beldenville dairy farmer and former legislator who was recently named Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has been named the 2001 Distinguished Agriculturist by UW-River Falls.

Jim Harsdorf, who has contributed leadership and service to the University as well as to the agricultural community as a whole, was recognized with the award by the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences at UW-RF.

Said Harsdorf, "Itıs an honor to receive this award. As both a public official and private citizen, I have been deeply involved in shaping agricultural policy. It is possible to make a difference as a citizen; you donıt have to be an elected official to play a major role. Whatıs important is commitment and a willingness to be involved."

Harsdorf earned a bachelor's degree in animal science at the University of Minnesota, where he was president of Farm House Fraternity, student senator and board president in the College of Agriculture.

Since 1970, he has maintained Trim-Bel Family Farms, his dairy operation in Beldenville. He served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1977 to 1980, then in the state Senate from 1980 to 1988, during which time he was senate Republican floor leader from 1982 to 1984.

His community involvement has been extensive. He has served on the River Falls Area Hospital Board, the Hastings Co-op Creamery Board, the DATCP Board and the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Board. He has served as a 4-H dairy coach, offered his home farm as a site for the Walk for Cancer, has been an agriculture advisor for WCCO radio, and much more.

Said Dean William Anderson, "Jim has been a friend and champion of the College for years. He has employed several students on his Pierce County dairy farm, and provided them with great educational experiences.

"I have known Jim for less than two years, but I have known few others who have had such a positive effect on this college. He and others on the College Advisory Council have provided solid advice on curriculum and other issues important to college strategic planning."

Chancellor Ann Lydecker expressed her appreciation of Harsdorfıs contributions, saying, "Jim Harsdorf has been a genuine friend of this University. He has truly earned this recognition as Distinguished Agriculturist. As a state legislator, community member, dairy farmer and now Secretary responsible for agriculture, he has provided advice, counsel, expertise and support to us for many years."

The Distinguished Agriculturist award, initiated in 1970, is sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences at UW-RF. It recognizes leadership, service, and other contributions to the agricultural community, the College and the University, as well as contributions to agriculture on a state, national and international level. It also acknowledges accomplishments that extend beyond the individualıs normal employment.

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