On the last day of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation State Convention, Elk Mound farmer Jim Holte was elected president of the state's largest farm organization.
After the convention was adjourned, the new board met and Holte was elected president. Holte hopped in his vehicle and drove back to Elk Mound.
"I went home for one day, got the cattle fed and spent the next couple days in the office (in Madison)," he explains. "It's a change in roles and it's busy, but I'm enjoying it."
Holte succeeds Waupun dairy farmer Bill Bruins who served as Farm Bureau president for nine years from 2003 to 2012. A year ago, Bruins said he would not seek re-election for a 10th year.
"Bill was very gracious to announce that early," Holte says. "It gave me time to think about it and consider running."
Holte farms on the Dunn County farm where he grew up. After graduating from University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor's degree in farm management and ag economics in 1975, he started dairy farming. He and his college sweetheart, Gayle, were married in 1976. Gayle is a clinical instructor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at UW-Eau Claire. She supervises both undergraduate and graduate students who are preparing to be speech and language pathologists.
"I was in the dairy business until 1997 when we sold the cows and transitioned to beef," Holte explains. "We buy feeder cattle and feed them out. "
The 59 year old farms 460 acres, and at the time he was elected, he was feeding 400 Holstein and Black Angus steers.