2018 Bruce Cottington Award
Brant Groen, Director of Dairy Wellness at Form-a-Feed, was recognized with the 2018 Bruce Cottington award by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. Groen was selected for this recognition based on his dedication to the future of Minnesota’s dairy industry.
Groen grew up on a dairy farm near Chandler, Minn., and attended South Dakota State University studying Agriculture Education. He taught high school agriculture at Ivanhoe Public School for a short time before graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Master of Education in Agriculture Education. From 1976 to 2010, Brant taught at Ridgewater College. From 2010 to present, Brant has served as a Nutritional Specialist & Director of Dairy Wellness with Form-A-Feed.
In 1976, Groen started the Dairy Management program at Ridgewater College. During his 34-year career, he grew the Dairy Management program to be the largest dairy program at a 2-year college in the United States. His accolades include recognition as the Minnesota Outstanding Young Agriculture Instructor (1979); serving as chair of the National Post-Secondary Organization Dairy Specialist Contest (1991-2010); Board of Directors for the National Post-Secondary Organization (1990-1996). Additionally, Ridgewater College’s Dairy Specialist team placed 1st ten times, 2nd nine times and 3rd four times from 1991 to 2010 at the National PAS (Post-Secondary Student Organization) contests under his coaching. Throughout the years, he taught hundreds of future dairy producers.
Partnerships were the heart of a successful Dairy Management program at Ridgewater and for Groen. He partnered with Minnesota Milk to provide trainings and events specifically for students. Each year, he would bring his students to attended annual conferences or workshops hosted by Minnesota Milk. Groen also served on the Minnesota Milk Policy Committee for several years. His relationships with local farmers provided hands-on training experiences and after school employment for his students. Groen’s involvement in Minnesota Dairy Initiatives teams aided several dairy farmers as they utilized a team approach to improve their farms.
Groen says, “When one does what is best for a student or a customer, for your livestock or the environment, everyone wins.” Groen’s attitude toward life exemplifies the characteristics of Bruce Cottington recipients. On behalf of Minnesota Milk, congratulations on this recognition.