By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — In 2005 Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI) initiated an agribusiness committee to help raise the profile of agricultural activities and key people in the local farming industry. The mission statement of the committee is, “To promote the growth and vitality of central Wisconsin agriculture for the benefit of the entire community.”
Since 2007 the committee has put on an annual Agri-Business Banquet, which recognizes and celebrates people that are making an impact on the agriculture industry. Dennis Bangart, chairman of the agribusiness committee, said it is important to recognize those that are making a difference in the agriculture industry.
“In a time when the importance of agriculture is often pushed aside, it’s rewarding for those involved in the industry to know that the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry recognizes the importance and impact that agriculture in central Wisconsin has on the community and surrounding area,” Bangart said.
Each year the banquet presents a “Friend of Agriculture Award” to a person that is making a positive local impact in the field of agriculture. This year Mike Sabel, an agribusiness instructor at Mid-State Technical College, will be given the award.
Twelve area high school seniors with involvement in agriculture classes or organizations are also recognized each year at the banquet and given a $100 scholarship. The 12 students are selected by their agriculture instructors. “Century Farms,” farms that have been run by a family for 100 years or more, are also recognized at the banquet.
Kim Bremmer, who grew up in the farming industry and is a dairy nutritionist, will be speaking at this year’s banquet. She is also a volunteer for a group called Common Ground, which strives to educate consumers about where their food comes from and the process farmers go through to grow and prepare food.
Additionally, a previous recipient of the $100 scholarship, former Auburndale high school student and current UW-River Falls attendee Lauren Berdan, will share her thoughts on how important the Agri-Business Banquet and committee have been to her success. She currently majors in agricultural studies.
MACCI Business Development Director Karen Olson said that the committee would like people from the local farming community to attend this year’s event.
“We’re really looking to try to include more of the farm community because we would love to see more farmers at this event,” Olson said. “It’s really … celebrating the importance of agriculture.”
The banquet is open to the public and will be held March 9 at the Eagles Club in Marshfield. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. Dinner is followed by a brief program including speakers and awards.
Tickets cost $16 and can be purchased at the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry located at 700 S. Central Ave. Event organizers ask that tickets be purchased by March 2. For questions call MACCI at 715-384-3454.