Editor’s note: This is the second article in a series of four articles about those honored. Lloyd and Daphne Holterman, and David Rhoda also will receive honorary recognition; Timothy Young will receive the distinguished alumni award.
WATERLOO, Wis. – Anna Maenner of Waterloo will be recognized for her contributions to Wisconsin’s agriculture industry at the upcoming University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Honorary Recognition Banquet.
Maenner knows a lot about Wisconsin’s agricultural diversity.
“With connections to apples, berries, fresh vegetables, grapes and wineries, and a significant role in the execution of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, Maenner might have the one of the most diverse agricultural networks of anyone in the state of Wisconsin,” stated the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences when announcing the 2018 honorees.
As owner and president of ACM Administrative Services Inc., Maenner provides association management, support and public-relations services to several groups – the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association, the Wisconsin Winery Association, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show. She also manages the exhibitor portion of the annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
“Anna is highly deserving of the honorary recognition,” said Christelle Guedot, an assistant professor and UW-Extension specialist in fruit-crop entomology; she is one of the individuals who nominated Maenner for the honor.
Maenner plans numerous educational events at which UW-Extension specialists make presentations. She strengthens connections between grower groups and UW-Extension, brainstorms educational-program ideas with growers, and manages research grants through associations, Guedot said.
“She’s been instrumental in facilitating those interactions,” Guedot said. “The level of professionalism and ease with which she does that is obvious. She’s highly deserving of the recognition. She’s been doing her job so long and so well.”
Patricia McManus, professor of plant pathology at UW-Madison, also nominated Maenner.
“Anna’s communication skills are great,” McManus said. “She’s outgoing and gets things done. She does lots of leg work and coordination for conferences. That allows us to focus more on science and research. The grower organizations also have become stronger with her leadership.”
In announcing the honorees, UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences stated, “With (Maenner’s) excellent communication and organizational skills, the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show doubled in size to more than 700 attendees in 2018, making it the largest specialty-crops conference in the Midwest outside of Michigan.”
Steve Louis, president of Oakwood Fruit Farm in Richland Center, Wisconsin, and vice-president of the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, said, “Anna works with so many organizations and can network so well. If we have problems she knows someone, or can point us toward someone, who can help. She’s deserving of the honorary recognition for her many years of service and her coordination of educational workshops for farmers.”
Matt Glewen of New Holstein, Wisconsin, general manager of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, said Maenner and her husband, Chuck Maenner, and daughter, Tiffany Chadwick, have for 15 years handled the work with commercial exhibitors at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
“The continuity she’s provided has been crucial to maintaining exhibitor relations and holding the commercial part of the show at the high level it’s been for years,” Glewen said. “She’s willing to go beyond the call of duty to support companies in a number of different ways.”
He said he has appreciated Anna Maenner’s historical perspective on the annual show.
“Her experience has been invaluable to me,” he said.
In addition to providing management services to many different organizations, Maenner volunteers with local schools and has authored the original editions of “The ABC’s of Agriculture” and “This Business Called Agriculture.” Those activity books teach children how food is produced and distributed. Maenner and her husband also own and operate Country Haven Farm, a 100-ewe Scottish Blackface sheep farm.
A member-management system has helped to identify potential grower-association members, she said in explaining how she does it all. She then reaches out to invite prospective members to events.
“I want everyone to be a good producer,” she said. “Educational events help them to be better producers.”
Perhaps more telling about her success are her thoughts about working with the county UW-Extension agents who help organize the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
“You can’t work with them on a superficial level,” she said. “You need to understand how they look at things. If you know their background you can help sort that out.”
Strengthening relationships with association board members also helps her to find common ground on which they can operate, she said.
And she said she continues to appreciate Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture.
“Even within a species, there’s a lot of diversity,” she said. “And there are a lot of agricultural enterprises. It’s remarkable.”
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Honorary Recognition Banquet will begin at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Union South, 1308 W. Dayton St., Madison, Wisconsin. Visit cals.wisc.edu for more information.