Lucas Sjostrom, Brooten, Minnesota, has been named executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, and will serve concurrently as director of industry relations for Midwest Dairy, leading the Minnesota Industry Relations team for the organizations.
The previous Minnesota Milk executive director, Bob Lefebvre, and associate director, Eir GarciaSilva, who have 16 and 13 years of service to the organization, respectively, remain with Midwest Dairy.
Lefebvre continues to serve as Midwest Dairy’s senior vice president of industry relations, but Sjostrom’s appointment will allow Lefebvre to focus on leadership for Midwest Dairy’s work across a 10-state region.
GarciaSilva has been promoted to vice president of industry relations for Midwest Dairy, providing strategic program direction and management for the organization’s 11-member industry relations team.
Both Lefebvre, Buffalo, and GarciaSilva, Monticello, will continue to assist in guiding Minnesota Milk, but with limited involvement in day-to-day operations. Shannon Seifert, New Ulm, is also a new member of the team serving Minnesota Milk and Midwest Dairy.
“Bob and Eir have essentially worked over a combined two decades to bring Minnesota Milk to where it is today,” said President Dave Buck. “We will miss their leadership and expertise, but are glad our contractual relationship with Midwest Dairy will allow us to call on them for advice.”
Sjostrom has been employed by Midwest Dairy and Minnesota Milk as government and policy relations program manager since February 2016. He previously worked for Dairy Herd Management and Hoard’s Dairyman magazines, and for Holstein Association USA, and completed his master's and bachelor's degrees in animal science at the University of Minnesota.
Sedgeman to fill open board seat
The Minnesota Milk board of directors has also unanimously appointed Tom Sedgeman, Sauk Centre, to its board in accordance with organization bylaws. He fills the position vacated by Jerry Jennissen of Brooten, who resigned due to the potential appearance of a conflict of interest, as Sjostrom is his son-in-law.
Sedgeman owns a 300-cow dairy with his wife, Joyce, and previously worked as a high school agriculture instructor and Kraft field representative.
“We must regrettably respect Jerry’s noble decision to step down from our board,” President Buck said. “He was an extremely valuable board member and will continue to be a valuable dairy industry leader. This potential conflict came about with Lucas’ employment in February. With Lucas now in the executive director role, Jerry thought it was in Minnesota Milk’s best interest to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.”
Buck requested Jennissen remain as a producer member on the Minnesota Milk Policy Committee. Jennissen, Sjostrom and their families own Jer-Lindy Farms, LLC, and Redhead Creamery, LLC, near Brooten, Minnesota.
Following the change in January, the Minnesota Milk board of directors consists of: President Dave Buck, Goodhue; Vice President Shelly DePestel, Lewiston; Secretary Marianne Peterson, Pine City; and Treasurer Kristine Spadgenske, Menahga.
Directors are Kindra Carlson, Pennock; Cassandra Czech, Foley; Bob Dombeck, Perham; Patrick Lunemann, Clarissa; Garrett Luthens, Hutchinson; Roger Peters, Tyler; Craig Roerick, Upsala; Tom Sedgeman, Sauk Centre; Rick Smith, Adams; and Michael White, Pine Island.
ABOUT THE MINNESOTA MILK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION
Minnesota Milk Producers Association is a membership organization representing grassroots dairy farmers through policy work, education and membership development. Our work is vital to the future of Minnesota’s dairy industry and is directed by a board of dairy farmers elected by their peers. For more information, visit www.mnmilk.org.