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New UW-Extension Agents and Educators Leigh Presley

Interim Agriculture Educator Racine and Kenosha County

Leigh Presley joins Racine and Kenosha Counties as an interim agriculture educator in July 2014. She received a B.S. in landscape architecture from UW-Madison and an M.S. in agriculture and integrated resource management from Colorado State University. A native of the Wausau area, Leigh raised and showed dairy heifers in 4-H and spent summers working on the farms of her neighbors and relatives in Ozaukee County. Leigh’s professional experiences include agricultural conservation work in Ozaukee County and working with producers, food processors, distributors, and retailers on Integrated Pest Management and sustainable agriculture initiatives with a non-profit in Madison, Wisconsin. Leigh can be reached at 262-857-1948 (Kenosha County), 262-767-2929 (Racine County), or via email at

Start date: August 2013

Elsie Gonzálezá

Dairy and Livestock Agent Dodge County

Elsie González joins UW-Extension Dodge County as a dairy and livestock agent. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal science from the University of Puerto Rico. Elsie is a native of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. In 2010, she moved to Wisconsin and worked with USDANRCS for four years as a Soil Conservationist, providing technical assistance to dairy and livestock producers in the development and implementation of conservation plans for federal programs. She also spent two years as an Animal Science and Animal Nutrition Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at the University of Puerto Rico. Elsie can be reached at 920-386-3790 or by email at

Start date: June 2014

Matt Cogger

Horticulture Agent

Ashland and Bayfield County

Matt Cogger joins UW-Extension Ashland and Bayfield Counties as a horticulture educator. He received his B.S. degree in horticulture from UW-River Falls and his M.S. degree in horticulture from Cornell University. His graduate studies at Cornell focused on the effects of reduced tillage on yield and weed management in dry beans and sweet corn. As horticulture educator, he will be teaching Master Gardener Volunteers, working with the farm to school programs, and helping with local research projects.

Start date: February 2014 Updated 7.3114

Sarah Mills-Lloyd Agriculture Agent Oconto County

Sarah Mills-Lloyd is the UW-Extension Oconto County agriculture agent. Sarah graduated from Moorhead State University with two bachelor degrees, one in Biology with a Chemistry minor and the other a Bachelor of Science in Life Science Teaching. She obtained her doctorate in 2005 from Madison in Veterinary Medicine. She has seven years of employment in the veterinary medical field, as well as teaching experience at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. As an associate veterinarian employed by Valley Veterinary Clinic in Seymour, Wisconsin, she served clients in Oconto County and the surrounding counties. Sarah can be reached at 930-834-6845 or by email at

Start date: October 2013

Meryl Strichartz

Horticulture Resource Coodinator Kenosha/Racine County Meryl Strichartz is the UW-Extension Racine County horticulture program coordinator. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a secondary focus in Studio Art from Pitzer College in Claremont, California and an M.B.A. in entrepreneurship and non-profit management from UW-Parkside. She has over 20 years of experience working as a business consultant providing marketing, corporate communications and business planning for small businesses. Meryl became a Racine/Kenosha Master Gardener volunteer in 2002; and in 2005, she worked closely with Patti Nagai, UW-Extension Racine County horticulture educator, and Terri Friedrich of Custom Employment to develop Green Works, a vocational horticulture program for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities. In 2010, with USDA grant funding, Meryl was contracted to help develop a curriculum for Green Works and to expand the programming beyond the Racine County borders. Meryl can be reached at 262-498-6639 or by email at

Start date: September 2013

Jodi Podmolik

Horticulture Educator Price County

Jodi Podmolik is the UW-Extension Price County horticulture educator. Jodi received her Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from UWRiver Falls. She has perennial and greens supervisor experience and managed Rock Creek Gardens. She considers Extension work an excellent opportunity and has already worked with the community gardens, Master Gardeners of Price County, farmers and farmers’ market. One of her Extension projects is hosting a rain harvesting/water holding, hands-on seminar. Jodi can be reached at 715-339-5331 or by email at

Start date: August 2013 Updated 7.31.14

LaVern Georgson Agriculture Agent Jefferson County

Jamie Patton Agriculture Agent Shawano County

LaVern Georgson is the UW-Extension Jefferson County agriculture agent. LaVern retired from his position as a teacher of agriculture at Jefferson High School after 27 years in the classroom. He graduated from UW-Platteville with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education. He earned a master’s degree in agricultural industries business management. His work experience includes teaching, work in industry, agronomy consulting for a regional cooperative, educating with UW-Extension on an interim basis and consulting. LaVern can be reached at 920-674-7295 or by email at

Start date: September 2013

Jamie Patton is the UW-Extension Shawano County agriculture agent. She earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and a master’s degree in soil morphology and genesis at Iowa State University. Her master’s research focused on evaluating soil quality in Amish and non-Amish fields in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. She continued her education at Oklahoma State University, where her research focused on evaluating changes in soil quality induced by applications of swine effluent in the high plains of Oklahoma. Jamie has been a teacher of soil science courses at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri. Her outreach and research activities involved the use of cover crops to expand forage production and improve soil health, as well as community garden establishment and management. Jamie can be reached at 715- 526-4871 or by email at

Start date: July 2013

Eric Ronk

Agriculture Agent Calumet County

Eric is the UW-Extension Calumet County agricultural agent. Eric grew up on a dairy farm in Denmark, Wisconsin, where his family farm milked 65 registered Holstein cows and harvested over 240 acres of crops. In 2011, Eric received a Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science with a business emphasis from UW-Madison. He received a Master of Science in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech. Eric can be reached by phone at 920-849-1450 or by e-mail at Start date: July 2013 Updated 7.31.14

Christy Marsden Horticulture Educator Rock County

Christy Marsden is the UW-Extension Rock County horticulture educator. Previously, she worked at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa as a Horticultural Technician with Education and Outreach. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a Master of Science in Horticulture and Agronomy with an emphasis in Environmental Horticulture from the University of California, Davis. While at UC Davis, she worked in the arboretum with volunteers and master gardeners, tended nursery plants at a local native grass and forb farm, and spent several years working for the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository with Mediterranean fruit and nut trees. Christy can be reached at 608-757-5695. or by email at

Start date: July 2013

Heidi Doering

Horticulture Educator St. Croix County

Heidi Doering is the UW-Extension St. Croix County horticulture educator. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and Business Administration from UW-River Falls and a master’s degree in horticulture from Penn State. She has over 25 years of industry experience including greenhouse production, management and sales. She spent five years as a seed product manager for Syngenta Flowers, managing product life cycles of several Syngenta-bred flowering plants for the North American market, travelling throughout the EU, Canada and the United States offering technical and product support to commercial growers and evaluating experimental and new plant varieties at numerous plant trials. She lives on a small acreage near Roberts, WI where she grows a number of varieties of ornamental willow and dogwood for basket weaving. Heidi can be reached at 715- 531-1930 or by email at

Start date: July 2013

Lyssa Seefeldt

Agriculture Educator Marquette County

Lyssa Seefeldt is the UW-Extension Marquette County agriculture agent. She grew up on a farm that included dairy, chickens and pigs. She received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the River Falls. She had her first swine management job teaching lab farm, at the university. She completed an internship at UW-Extension Clark County and received a Master of Science in Animal Science from South Dakota State University, where she was certified as a Professional Animal Scientist. Lyssa can be reached at 608-297-3141 or by email at Start date: June 2013

Updated 7.31.14

Amy VanDeBrake Agriculture Educator Pierce County Amy VanDeBrake is a UW-Extension Pierce County agriculture educator. She will job-share with Greg Andrews’ agriculture agent responsibilities Amy grew up on her family farm where they raised beef, swine and occasionally lambs. She received a Bachelor of Science from River Falls. She is working on a masters in agricultural education at River Falls. Amy can be reached at 715-273-6781 or by email at Start date: May 2013

Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen Horticulture Educator Kenosha County

Jeanne is a UW-Extension Kenosha County consumer horticulture educator. She will job-share with Barb Larson’s horticulutre educator responsibilities. Jeanne’s horticulture work experience includes garden center management at both a full service nursery and a nursery specializing in perennials. She also works as a substitute teacher and a horticulturist for her landscape business. She received a Bachelor of Science in Plant Science - Horticulture and a Master of Science in Plant Science. She is licensed to teach in the state of Wisconsin in the following areas: biology, broadfield science, and agriculture. Jeanne can be reached at 262-857-1945 or by email at

Start date: May 2013

Mike Travis

Agriculture Agent Pepin County Micheal Travis is the UW-Extension Pepin County agriculture agent He grew up on a dairy farm in Eau Claire County. He studied soil science at UW-Stevens Point, and completed his master’s degree there researching nitrate contamination of soil and groundwater under barnyards. Recently, Mike finished his PhD at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in southern Israel. The focus of his research was soil quality related to the reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation. Mike has a diverse environmental background having worked in the leather industry, environmental consulting, and agricultural engineering. He also completed training in cheese making at the UW. Mike lives with his family on a farm in western Eau Claire County where they enjoy raising sheep, chickens, and various crops. Mike can be reached at 715-672-5214 or by email at

Start date: April 2013 Updated 7.31.14

Agriculture and Natural Resources is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension in partnership with local, state and federal government in each Wisconsin county. University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension offers local information in person and online, providing research-based information 24/7. With an office in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and on three Native American reservations, our educators serve as a portal to educational resources from the University of Wisconsin to address issues faced by individuals, families, farms, businesses, and rural and urban communities around the state. Information about County Cooperative Extension offices is available online at An EEO/Affirmative Action employer, the University of Wisconsin-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.

New UW-Extension Agents and Educators  
New UW-Extension Agents and Educators  

Staff bios of our UW-Extension Agents and Educators