Last week the NACAA Annual Meeting/Professional Improvement Conference (AM/PIC) was hosted in Chattanooga, TN July 29-August 2. The Chattanooga Convention Center easily accommodated the conference and it was clear the host state spent many hours in preparation for the AM/PIC. Sunday kicked off with a “Welcome to Tennessee” farm to table dinner followed by opening ceremonies. Our state president, George Koepp, was in attendance and presented the Wisconsin flag during the Flag Ceremony. Following the opening session, attendees had the opportunity to see the bluegrass band, Balsam Range, perform.
Wisconsin sent a larger delegation of agents this year, a mix of award winners and finalists, others with responsibilities at the regional level, and first-timers. Wisconsin was well represented in most activities with two posters, several presentations, and many regional winners and national finalists for communication awards. If you would like to see what items communication award winners submitted that got them to the national level, go to the NACAA awards page, select Wisconsin, and hit continue to view the winners. Click on the name to go to their submission abstract. To view the piece submitted, click on the title of their submission. Amanda Young (Dodge Co.) was recognized as a national finalist for her fact sheet. Sandy Stuttgen (Taylor Co.), Heather Schlesser (Marathon Co.), Simon Jette-Nantel (Specialist at UW-River Falls), Nate Splett (Center for Dairy Profitability), and Jenny Vanderlin (Center for Dairy Profitability) were recognized as national finalists for their learning module. Jennifer Blazek was a regional winner for her feature story and computer generated graphics presentation.
Katie Wantoch (Dunn Co.) was recognized as a national winner for the Agriculture Awareness and Appreciation Award. Aerica Bjurstrom (Kewaunee Co.) was a national finalist in the Search for Excellence in Livestock Production. Claire Strader (Dane Co.) was selected as a North Central Region SARE fellow.
This year Katie Wantoch was also recognized as the Wisconsin Achievement Award winner.
Joy Kirkpatrick was the Wisconsin Distinguished Service Award winner. Joy started her career as a county agent and now works with the Center for Dairy Profitability. Joy joined over 60 other Distinguished Service Award winners that were recognized (complete with music!) at the annual banquet on Wednesday.
Jerry Clark (Chippewa Co.) was selected as the North Central Region Vice Director and will be serving in the role of vice chair. Following completion of his term as Vice Director, Jerry will then be serving as the North Central Region Director.
The week was packed with many activities. As usual, there were several pre-conference tours to choose from the weekend prior to the conference. Likewise, there were over 25 professional improvement tours to choose from for Thursday’s activities. This year included more presentation time for professional improvement sessions compared to previous years, and less general session/keynotes.
There was at least one sneaky photographer going around and grabbing people’s photos when they least expected it. The official Wisconsin group photo was in the Sunday folder. See if you can find folks you know in the pictures!
View the “official” photos from the 2018 NACAA AM/PIC