The award is named in honor of the late Bruce Miller, who was an active member of Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) and served on the staff of Minnesota Farmers Union. It recognizes individuals who display a true passion for family farming and rural America, while promoting the work of Farmers Union.
Statz wrapped up her Wisconsin Farmers Union career in 2022, after 30 years staffing and 41 summers participating in the camp program. She spent her childhood on a 50-cow dairy farm near Sauk City and grew up attending Farmers Union Camps at Kamp Kenwood. While a student at Lawrence University, she spent four summers working on the WFU and NFU camp staffs before joining WFU full-time. She has dedicated her career to cooperative education and advancing the quality of life for farm families, rural communities, and all people in her work with Farmers Union and co-ops.
“Cathy’s reach in Farmers Union went far beyond the education department,” Von Ruden said. “She was often the first face of Farmers Union for new members, as they dropped campers off at Kamp Kenwood, or out and about at the countless dairy breakfasts, college career fairs, and cooperative events that she attended. Cathy instilled institutional knowledge and a cooperative spirit in those around her, and left an undeniable mark on this organization.”
Last fall Statz moved to Poland with her husband, Tom Pamperin. He teaches at an international school; she continues to work remotely on cooperative education projects, including co-coordinating the NFU College Conference on Cooperatives.
“I am honored to receive this award,” Statz said. “As both a member and employee of Farmers Union, Bruce Miller embodied the hard work, good-humor, creative problem-solving, and dedication to family farming that is the heart of Farmers Union. Having personally known the man this award represents, I am especially humbled.”