After 31 years with University of Wisconsin-Extension as a county agriculture agent and founder and director of Discovery Farms for the last 13 years, Dennis Frame has retired. Replacing Frame are Co-Directors Amber Radatz and Eric Cooley who began their new duties on July 3.
Cooley joined Discovery Farms in 2004. He earned undergraduate degrees in nuclear engineering from Thomas Edison State College and soil and water conservation from UW-Madison and received a master's degree in soil physics from UW-Madison. Cooley served a six-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear reactor operator and water chemist. He also served with the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department, where he specialized in nutrient management planning. Cooley's responsibilities will include direction of the research agenda of Discovery Farms along with the program's steering committee and he will be headquartered near Manitowoc.
"I'm extremely proud of the work that the Discovery Farms Program has accomplished under the leadership of Dennis Frame and Fred Madison who founded the program," Cooley said. "I will continue efforts to serve producers and other stakeholders to address challenges in modern agriculture."
Radatz joined Discovery Farms in 2009 as a nutrient management outreach specialist. Her work has evolved over time to assume more responsibility with the research connected to Discovery Farms' efforts to better understand the influence of specific areas of individual watersheds on water quality. As co-director, Radatz will focus on outreach and budget management for the program and will be headquartered in Pigeon Falls.
"I'm excited to be part of this program which has reached and helped so many farmers across the state," she said. "We will stay true to the original mission of the program and look forward to working with farmers and other stakeholders to keep our agricultural industry moving forward while preserving our natural resources."
Radatz grew up in Trempealeau County and was raised on a family dairy farm. She attended UW-Madison and received her bachelor's and master's degrees in soil science.