Rod Nilsestuen Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Secretary
Rod Nilsestuen was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in January 2003 and began a second term in January 2007.
Recognized as a visionary, Rod Nilsestuen was the founding chair of the National Rural Cooperative Development Task Force, resulting in a major federal investment in cooperative development and creation of hundreds of co-op development projects across the nation.
He also chaired the National Cooperative Business Association, and held leadership posts on many national and regional cooperative, government and university bodies.
Nilsestuen served as president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives for 24 years, building it into one of the most respected cooperative trade associations in the nation.
leadership the WFC
grew to represent about 860 co-ops with 1.8 million members in endeavors ranging from finance and insurance to rural development and agriculture.
Nilsestuen's efforts brought Wisconsin co-op sectors together to produce a strong, unified voice, and created a two-state alliance with the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives
also strengthened the Midwest co-op community by spearheading the unification of WFC and the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association
, and by helping to create the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Cooperative Development Services, and the Midwest Dairy Marketing Initiative.