Selz Top Agriculturalist

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

May 10, 1996

Selz Named Distinguished Agriculturalist

By Ellie Walradth
UW-RF News Bureau

John Selz, an outstanding leader in America's dairy industry, has been named the 1996 Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist by UW-River Falls.

This annual award is given by UW-RF, the College of Agriculture Food & Environmental Sciences, and the Student Agricultural Advisory Committee.

Candidates nominated for the award must have made significant contributions and demonstrated a vision for the long-term growth and success of Wisconsin agriculture.

"John has been an active and important voice for community and agri-business development in Wisconsin," says Gary Rhode, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

Over the past few years, Selz has worked closely with Gov. Tommy Thompson and agricultural leaders in pioneering the development of the World Dairy Trade Center in Madison.

Selz has also been an active member of U.S. Rep. Steve Gunderson's (R-Wis.) Agricultural Advisory Committee.

Selz is currently the president and co-owner of Selz Farms, Inc. in Humbird, Wis., with his wife Marianne, their daughter, Pamela Selz-Pralle, and son-in-law Scott Pralle, in a Century Family Farm operation.

Over the years, the Selzes have aided the UW-RF college in numerous ways, including providing internships by Selz Farms, Inc., and assisting students preparing for regional and national collegiate dairy judging competitions. Also, Selz has assisted UW-Extension specialists with several applied research projects.

Selz attended college at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for two years before transferring and graduating from UW-Madison in chemical engineering in 1957. He then took a position as a chemical engineer with DuPont in Clinton, Iowa, for about two years.

In 1959, Selz and his wife moved back to a farm in central Wisconsin and over the last 35 years developed one of the top 10 dairy herds in Wisconsin.

With a herd of 170 registered Holsteins, the Selzes produce a rolling average of 28,000 pounds of milk per cow per year. In addition to outstanding production records, Selz Farms, Inc., has received state-wide and national recognition from Breeder Registry and awards from Genetic Merit for many of the cows in their herd.

Selz has been actively involved in numerous national dairy cattle associations, including 12 years as the director of the National Holstein Association, and also held positions as vice-president and president for four of those years. Selz is a former board member of the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding and the U.S. Animal Health Association. He also serves as the National Holstein Association's representative on the World Dairy Expo board of directors.

In Wisconsin Selz has provided leadership and service to the Holstein Association, the Department of Agriculture Animal Health Advisory Committee, the Professional Dairy Producers organization and the UW-Cooperative Extension.

Selz has received honors as a Master Agriculturalist, Friend of Extension and Distinguished Breeder.

Closer to home in Humbird, he is an active member of the Jackson County 4-H Leaders Federation, the Osseo-Fairchild School Board, the Mid-Wisconsin Bank of Medford and his local church.

In presenting the award, Rhode noted, "John is an outstanding leader who skillfully represents the interests of farmers and the dairy industry well."

Selz's picture will be hung alongside past title holders in the Agriculture Hall of Fame inside the Agricultural Sciences Building on the UW-RF campus.

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