Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center announced on Thursday, Lauren Hofland will be leaving her post as the current Executive Director for the organization. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center offers over 15,000 sq. ft. of interactive, interpretive and educational exhibits for all ages, plus the Land O’Lakes Birthing Barn, where visitors to the Center can see a live calf being born. In addition, visitors can experience a tour to a working dairy farm, purchase farm themed gifts in the Gift Store, and enjoy farm-to-table fare at the Wisconsin Café including a scoop of Cedar Crest Ice Cream.
Hofland, brought on board in 2017 to create policies, develop procedures and staff the organizational structure necessary to move Farm Wisconsin from the building phase to the operations phase, has been instrumental in the successful opening of the Center in late July of this year. Her charge, to pull elements together across the multiple functions and components of Farm Wisconsin, rally staff, board members, and investors to bring the Center to life and open the doors to the public, has resulted in a vibrant, new tourism destination asset for the State of Wisconsin.
“Our goal is to take visitors beyond the barn and educate how Wisconsin agricultural producers make food, fiber and fuel-safely, humanely and sustainably,” stated Board President, Julie Maurer of Soaring Eagle Dairy, “Lauren has been key in our ability to transition from a development project, to an open attraction at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center. She met the goals and objectives for which she was charged, and her list of accomplishments reflect her strong organizational and leadership skills.” In moving forward from Hofland’s transition from the Center, the Board of Directors will seek a new Executive Director to handle the leadership reins around daily operations, growing the business of the Center and continued fund raising for the Center.
Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, also known as the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center was a vision of Norval Dvorak, a staunch Wisconsin agricultural advocate. Dvorak, who passed away on October 1, 2015, was a close family friend to Hofland making the Farm Wisconsin project a personal one for her. “It was a great honor for me to be able to play a role in making Norval’s dream a reality,” stated Hofland. “I would not have taken on such a demanding task for anybody else, and I don’t think any other Board of Directors could have turned this $13 million idea into Wisconsin’s most important agri-tourism destination.”
Hofland’s departure is slated for November 14, at which time she will resume her consulting business, Saint Claire Consulting. Previously, Hofland headed up corporate giving at Kohler Co., was the executive director of the Cedarburg Cultural Center, and served as the Assistant Manitowoc County Executive.
Farm Wisconsin Discover Center is located at 7001 Gass Lake Road in Manitowoc County, Town of Newton. The Center is open 7 days per week from 9 AM – 5 PM. For more information on the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center offerings, visit: www.farmwisconsin.org or call 920-726-6000.