2010 Bruce Cottington Award
Commissioner Gene Hugoson
Minnesota Milk Producers Association awarded Commissioner Gene Hugoson as the first recipient of the Bruce Cottington Friend of Dairy Award during the Midwest Dairy Expo on November 30 in St. Cloud, Minn.
Commissioner Hugoson has spent his entire life in farming. He grew up on the Hugoson family farm where he and his wife Patricia continue to operate a corn and soybean farm in Martin County. By remaining active in agriculture, Commissioner Hugoson has been able to maintain a producer’s perspective on agriculture policy.
Commissioner Hugoson served five terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives – first elected in 1986. He was appointed by Governor Arnie Carlson to the position of Agriculture Commissioner in 1995. He was reappointed by Governor Jesse Ventura in 1999 and reappointed again by Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2003.
Commissioner Hugoson has been instrumental in every significant state agriculture policy or finance matter that has been addressed for the past quarter century. He pushed for reform of the nation’s antiquated milk marketing system and fought to eliminate needless red tape and delays from agricultural regulations. We are particularly grateful for the strong support we have received from Gene and his Department as we worked to have the Livestock Investment Grant Program formally enacted. We are looking forward to a healthier economic time for the state so that the Livestock Investment Grant Program can be fully capitalized and become the tool we all envision it will be to help producers get started or expand their dairy operations.
As a highly visible spokesman for Minnesota agriculture, his ability to educate and reassure the state’s non-farm residents helped keep the livestock sector on course despite a series of animal health challenges, including the 2005 outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota.
“Gene has been a good partner for us on our Minnesota Milk initiatives and we are very grateful for his service to the State of Minnesota, to the agricultural community, in general, and to the Milk Producers in particular,” stated Pat Lunemann during the award presentation that evening.