Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 27, 2010, Page 2

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon



Groundbreaking held at Agribusiness Park



 Those involved with the Central Wisconsin Agri-business Park in Owen, including Owen Mayor Tim Swiggum (fourth from the right) and Clark County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Sheila Nyberg (third from right), broke ground for the park Monday, Oct. 18.  See story below.  (Contributed photos)


The city of Owen and Clark County Economic Development Corporation held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Park in Owen Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.


The celebration was an accumulation of five and one-half years of hard work by many people.  It started with a brainstorming session between the Clark County Economic Development Corporation and a group of citizens who would become known as the Song and Dance Team in 2005.


The Song and Dance Team includes Gary Weirauch, Chuck Lindner, Matt Jorgenson, Nick Schneider, Ken Dix, Tim Swiggum and Bill Herr.


The session turned into a dream stemming from the recognition of the park’s place in history as an agriculture center of Wisconsin and the United States. Clark County continually ranks in the top two dairy counties first in number of dairy cows in Wisconsin and the top 20 in the U. S.


Agriculture accounts for over $882 million in economic activity, which is 56 percent of Clark County’s economy and ranks second in Wisconsin for total value of Ag products sold.  The county’s crop farms include 440,000 acres, ranking first in corn for silage and oats for grain, second in forage and fourth in other crops and hay.  Clark County is home to plentiful dairy farms, award-winning butter producers, master and artisan cheese makers, cash cropping and Ag support businesses, greenhouses, tree farms, nurseries and farmers markets.  The county is also developing a strong reputation in the bioenergy field, with numerous alternative energy entities already located in the region.  As the planning moved forward, the city of Owen, in a major leadership effort, took this project to the groundbreaking for the central Wisconsin Agribusiness Park last week.


Clark County is poised to become the leader in agribusiness and is devoted to the past, present and future of agribusiness.


The Agribusiness Innovation Center will be located in the Agribusiness Park – watch for groundbreaking information in spring 2011.  The center will be a multi-purpose facility designed to foster education, training, research and development in the areas of agribusiness and bioenergy.


The building will incorporate large and small group learning environments, public meeting and presentation space and business incubator space for agricultural entrepreneurs.  As the businesses grow, they will be able to purchase a lot(s) in the Agribusiness Park.


The idea for the park began in 2005.  Located off STH 29, the park will be built on 71 acres with 87 acres for future expansion.


The Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center, (CWAIC) Inc., a private corporation, partnered with the city of Owen to develop the Innovation Center.  The center will be a learning tool and use sustainable development concepts in the building’s design and surrounding site.


The Agribusiness Park project was first presented to the Clark County board of Supervisors in the fall of 2007.  In 2008, communities, organizations, businesses and individuals began expressing support for the project.


In September 2009, CWAIC and the city of Owen became co-recipients of a $4 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the construction of the Innovation Center.


CWAIC is conducting a capital campaign to raise the funds needed to match the EDA grant plus the additional funds needed to construct and maintain the building.  For more information about CWAIC, visit Web site


The Clark County Board of Supervisors approved in June 2009 selling land to the city of Owen to help move the agribusiness park campus project forward.


Michael Kawleski became the Innovation Center’s executive director this summer.


Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

November 10, 2010, Page 5 


Baumann to lead Agribusiness Innovation Center



Rebecca Baumann



The Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center (CWAIC) – the group establishing an agricultural business incubator near Owen – hired Rebecca Baumann as its executive director. 


Baumann will lead fundraising, tenant recruitment and marketing for the center, which is a key component of a 71-acre agribusiness complex, the Clark County Agribusiness Park, located just south of STH 29.  Baumann replaces Mike Kawleski, who will continue to serve CWAIC on its board of directors and lead its communications activities.


“Rebecca has diverse leadership expertise, as well as great experience as an entrepreneur, fundraiser and partnership builder,” said CWAIC president Ryan Stockwell of Medford.  “We’re pleased that she has agreed to lead our project.”


Baumann was most recently the executive director of The Minnesota Project, a nonprofit organization performing research and developing policy related to agriculture, renewable energy and food issues.  She also served six years as executive director of the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, where she represented 72 county conservation departments and worked with legislators, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and other local, county and state governmental entities.


Baumann was raised on a family owned dairy farm in Ohio, which her brother continues to operate. She earned a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in Chicago, IL, and was admitted to both the Illinois and Wisconsin Bars.


The Agribusiness Innovation Center will be a multi-purpose facility with 48,586 square feet of business incubator space for Agricultural entrepreneurs, large-and small-group classrooms, public meeting and event space, a commercial test-classroom kitchen, laboratory space for research and development, offices for lease, distance learning capabilities and a computer lab.  Groundbreaking for the center will take place in March 2011.


“This is an exciting project that will have enormous impact on the area and the state,” said Baumann.  “Job creation is a national need, and this is an opportunity to help foster entrepreneurs and train people for new careers in agribusiness, biotechnology, renewable energy and related industries.”


In addition, the state-of-the-art building itself will be a learning tool, using sustainable design concepts for both the Innovation Center and the surrounding site.  CWAIC will be seeking, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating from the U. S. Green Building Council, designating the building as green and environmentally friendly as possible.


The center facility will cost approximately $9.8 million to construct, with funding coming from a variety of sources, such as cash and in-kind donations from individuals, companies and foundations – local to nationwide – as well as grants and loans from municipal, state and federal entities. The federal Economic Development Administration already awarded a $4 million grant for the building design and construction.


The Thorp Courier, Thorp, Clark Co., WI

November 10, 2010, Page 6



Pfizer supporting Ag Innovation Center


Pfizer Animal Health, the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company, contributed $2,500 to help create the Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center (CWAIC) in Owen.


CWAIC is a multi-purpose facility that will serve as a business incubator for emerging companies in agribusiness, renewable energy, and biotechnology, food processing and related industries.


“Our company knows how important cutting edge research is to our business and our industry,” said Nicole Werner, Pfizer’s North Central Territory manager in Thorp.  “We support the center, because it will house ag-related research that will develop new technologies and generate new jobs in the region.”


The $2,500 check represents Pfizer’s 2010 contribution to the center.


Scheduled to break ground in March 2011, the state-of-the-art CWAIC building will contain incubator and laboratory space, a distance learning center, public meeting and event space, leased offices, a commercial test/classroom kitchen, computer lab and multiple “smart” classrooms.


The building itself will be a learning tool, using sustainable design concepts for both the Innovation Center and its surrounding site, the 71-acre Clark County Agribusiness Park. 


“The center will build upon one of the greatest strengths of this region of the state, its agricultural industry, and foster education, training, research, and business development opportunities,” said Mike Kawleski, CWAIC executive director.  “Since we’re a nonprofit, tax exempt organization, we greatly appreciate tax-deductible gifts like the one that Pfizer has made.”




© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel