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Legislator Named Distinguished Agriculturalist

By Jenny Bjelland
UW-RF News Bureau

MAY 6, 2005--The recipient of the UW-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences 2005 Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist Award is state Rep. Barbara "Bobby" Gronemus (D-Whitehall) from the 91st Assembly District.

"I’m in awe," declared Gronemus upon receiving the award at CAFES awards banquet April 28. "I am as excited about this award as the first time I won the election."

Gronemus has gained a deep respect for the agricultural industry throughout her life. Growing up on the Barry family farm near Ontario, Wis., farming with her husband Lambert, and being a mother to three daughters, grandmother to five grandchildren, and great-grandmother to two, Gronemus says she has the experience and knowledge needed to represent the individuals within her district and members of the agriculture industry throughout rural Wisconsin.

Gronemus said her sincere interest in agriculture and her willingness to fight for her beliefs has impacted many legislative bills over recent years.

"She has authored and co-authored numerous agricultural and nonagricultural bills and has been a strong voice for the agricultural industry inside and outside of the State Assembly," noted Shane Westphal, a member of UW-RF Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, the CAFES organization that nominated Gronemus.

Gronemus was first elected to the Assembly in 1982 and has served continuously for the 91st Assembly District since then. Throughout her years in office, Gronemus has held many notable positions. She was the first woman appointed as the chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture in 1987 and since 1995 has served as the ranking minority and senior member of the committee. In addition, she currently serves as the ranking minority member of the Assembly committees on property rights and land management, a member of the Assembly committees on natural resources and transportation, appointee of the Governor to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, and as member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Even with numerous legislative duties, Gronemus still finds time to participate in organizations near her hometown of Whitehall, Wis. She is an active member in the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the American Legion Auxiliary, Ducks Unlimited, the Whitehall Lions Club, the Northwood’s Chapter of Wisconsin Women for Agriculture and the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Gronemus has been recognized numerous times for her dedication towardsspecific legislative issues. She has been honored with "Friend of Agriculture" awards from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the "Working for Wisconsin" award from the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, awards from the Wisconsin’s Career Technical Students Organizations, and numerous certificates of appreciation from organizations and letters from students and families. She was also recognized by the Wisconsin Women for Agriculture for becoming the first woman chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture.

"The Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist Award is an honor given to few. And I am honored, as my heart is always in agriculture, and I will continue to work to make it a prosperous industry in Wisconsin," adds Gronemus.

The Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist Award is an annual award sponsored by CAFES, UW-RF and the agricultural student organizations within the College. Selection is based on the candidate’s success in agriculture, and/or natural resources and the leadership, service and other contributions provided to the agricultural community. The Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist Award was first presented in 1970.


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