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May 15, 1999

Dahl Named UW-River Falls Distinguished Agriculturalist

The chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has been named the 1999 Distinguished Agriculturalist by the UW-River Falls.

Will A. Dahl, who has headed the WMMB for the past 16 years was recognized with the award, which is presented annually by the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences. Dean Gary Rohde presented the award at the CAFES banquet in recognition of Dahl's significant contributions and vision for the long-term growth and success of Wisconsin agriculture.

Dahl was raised on a dairy farm in west central Wisconsin in Blair, and still maintains an interest and ownership in his home farm. His academic career began at UW-Whitewater, where he earned a degree in accounting. He completed his master's and doctorate in agricultural economics at UW-Madison.

After his graduation he joined the faculty of Purdue University and then of UW-River Falls in 1976, and two years later was the recipient of the College of Agriculture's Outstanding Teaching Award.

The following year, Dahl joined the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, serving under Rohde, who headed the department as secretary. Dahl served as assistant administrator and director of the bureau of economics development in the marketing division. His responsibilities included market development, international marketing, coordinator of economic analysis of policy issues affecting agriculture, and seeking potential markets for new products.

Dahl joined the WMMB as its chief executive officer in 1984, overseeing the planning, directing and administering of all programs and operations of the board, which is a non-profit, farmer-funded organization representing 29,000 Wisconsin dairy farmers. Its mission is to increase the sales and consumption of Wisconsin-produced milk and dairy products through marketing, dairy product promotion, research and nutrition education programs.

Rohde noted, "Will Dahl has done an excellent job in directing the marketing, promotion, research and educational dairy programs on a statewide and national basis.

"He is a highly energetic, friendly and outstanding leader in the food and agricultural sector. He has been very effective in building partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and state agencies."

Rohde noted that Dahl has a sense of optimism that is characteristic of his approach to his position.

As the head of the marketing board and at the agriculture department, Dahl has been a visible leader of Wisconsin agriculture both nationally and internationally. Among his many efforts to promote dairy or agricultural products included presentations at the National Cheese Forum in Hokkaido, Japan, and market survey missions to Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Dahl is a member of the UW-RF CAFES College Advisory Council, and he is also a member of the American Agricultural Economics Association, Pi Sigma Epsilon and Tau Kappa Epsilon.

Dahl's picture will be hung in the College's Agricultural Hall of Fame with those of past recipients.

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