AgSource Cooperative Services recognized Jeff Opitz, Saukville, Wis., with the cooperative’s 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award at the AgSource Annual Meeting, held in Bloomington, Minn., on January 25. The Distinguished Leadership Award is presented to a member of the cooperative who has demonstrated exceptional service and provided extraordinary leadership within the organization.
Opitz began his service on the Ozaukee/Washington County DHIA board, serving as a director from 1993 to 2001. In 2001, Ozaukee/Washington County DHIA merged with Sheboygan County DHIA. From 2001 to 2009, he served on the Eastern Wisconsin DHIC board of directors acting as secretary all eight years. In 2009, his term started over with the consolidation of the Eastern Wisconsin DHIC, Manitowoc County DHIA and Brown County DHI Association. From 2009 to 2015, he presided over the Eastern Wisconsin DHIC board of directors.
“As times change, so must we, and Opitz embodies the leadership qualities needed during changing times,” states Pat Baier, AgSource COO. “We are pleased to honor such an accomplished dairy producer and a steadfast leader, for his outstanding service to AgSource and the dairy industry.”
Clearly unafraid of change and starting things from scratch, Opitz has also demonstrated his adaptability and desire to create a path rather than follow it in other aspects of his life. In 1977, fresh out of high school, he purchased his first farm.
He is also a founding member and charter board member of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. He served for six years on that board of directors, lent expertise on numerous advisory committees, hosted events at his farm through the years and is a Founding Friend of the PDPW Foundation. His was also one of the pilot farms for the UW Discovery Farms program. Experience gained on his local town board and planning commission served him well when he was tapped during the Doyle administration to serve on the DNR’s Environmental Rights and Stray Voltage advisory committees.
Most recently, Opitz has experienced mergers on a personal level. Having successfully managed and operated Opitz Dairy for many years, he entered into a partnership in 2013, forming Burr Oak Heifers, LLC, with two other dairymen and three other investors. Opitz serves as the business manager of the operation, built on a green site in Adams County, where they custom raise 3,000 heifers in sand-bedded freestalls.
In 2015, he entered another partnership with Jason and Marty Vorpahl and Steve Depies. The partners operate Rockland Dairy, running 4,000 acres and milking 2,900 cows on two facilities located in Random Lake and Saukville. The combined herds boast a rolling herd average in excess of 31,000. The recently renovated Random Lake facility features a double 32 parlor with the capacity to expand to 40.
Opitz continues as site manager at the Saukville location and along with Jason Vorpahl oversees the cropping. Nearly ¾ of the acres are devoted to growing the quality forages that contribute to the herd’s remarkable production achievements.
AgSource is the largest, full-service DHI provider in the country, conducting research and development, field data collection, laboratory analysis and diagnostics, management information, meter service and outreach and education. AgSource is a member-owned cooperative and a subsidiary of Cooperative Resources International. Learn more at www.AgSource.com.