Board Leadership

Meet the farmer leaders who represent Midwest dairy farmers as we work to build trust and demand in dairy.

Allen Merrill, Chairman

Allen Merrill, of Merrill Farms, Inc. in Parker, South Dakota, is the chairman of Midwest Dairy. He farms with his father and son, and together they milk 150 head of cattle, raise Holstein steers and grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa and oats.

Merrill plays a prominent role in in the dairy industry. In addition to serving as Midwest Dairy chairman, he is as an officer on the Midwest Dairy South Dakota division board and serves in leadership positions on the United Dairy Industry Association and Dairy Management Inc. boards. He also sits on the South Dakota Dairy Producers board and Dairy Farmers of America Central Area Council.

Merrill supports his community by providing dairy cattle for non-farm children in 4-H to show at the county fair, as well as volunteering his time to FFA projects. He is passionate about the School Breakfast Program and ensuring all students have access to healthy meals.

Merrill is married to his wife, Kristi, and they have two children.

Contact Allen

Lucas Lentsch, CEO

Lucas Lentsch is the CEO of Midwest Dairy, the dairy promotion organization working on behalf of dairy farm families across 10 Midwestern states to build trust and demand for dairy products. Lentsch’s upbringing on a family dairy farm in South Dakota and his background in agriculture root him to an industry he is committed to serving.

As CEO, Lentsch provides strategic guidance to Midwest Dairy’s staff of more than 60 employees as they work to fulfill both the organization’s vision: to bring dairy to life and its mission: to give consumers an excellent dairy experience. Through his leadership, Midwest Dairy is focusing on maximizing dairy farmers’ investment in the dairy checkoff by strategic collaboration with targeted retailers, foodservice wellness and industry partners as well as focusing on research and innovation that leads to the development of products that meet the needs of today’s changing consumer.

Lentsch also plays the lead role in ensuring the Midwest dairy industry captures its share of the growing global and domestic demand for dairy as consumers in the United States and around the world increasingly turn to dairy foods because they taste great and offer a strong nutritional profile that includes protein, a nutrient many are looking for in their diets. He also serves as host of Midwest Dairy’s Dairy on the Air podcast, a forum for ongoing relevant conversations with dairy farmers and industry leaders and others about trends and issues impacting the dairy industry.

Prior to Midwest Dairy, Lentsch served as the South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture for three years. He also served as South Dakota’s Director of Agricultural Development from 2011–2012. Lentsch is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service.

He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture, with an emphasis in dairy manufacturing. Lentsch and his wife, Laura, reside in Farmington, Minnesota, and have four children.

Contact Lucas

Corporate Board officers for 2019

Midwest Dairy is directed by a 34-member dairy farmer Corporate board with 13 of those members serving on Dairy Management Inc.’s national board.

Corporate Board members from left to right: Barb Liebenstein, Treasurer; Charles Krause, First Vice Chair; Allen Merrill, Chair; Dan Hotvedt, Second Vice Chair; Lowell Mueller, Secretary

Division Board Leadership

Midwest Dairy has 8 Division boards with leaders representing the farmers in their areas.

2019 Illinois Division officers

Illinois Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Doug Block, Pearl City
  • Mike Chwasczinski, Ashley
  • Bill Deutsch, Sycamore
  • Ardath DeWall, Shannon
  • Kristi Dinderman, Orangeville
  • Frank Doll, Pocahontas
  • Kevin Geiger, Port Byron
  • Amy Hildebrandt, South Beloit
  • David Jarden, Staunton
  • Kurt Johnson, Greenville
  • Kappy Koch, Tremont
  • Donald Mackinson, Pontiac
  • Glen Meier, Ridott
  • Brent Mueller, Garden Prairie
  • Richard Streutker, Downs

Board officers pictured from left to right: Bill Deutsch, Chair; David Jarden, Vice Chair; Amy Hildebrandt, Secretary; Glen Meier, Treasurer

2019 Iowa Division officers

Iowa Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Ken Birker, Vinton
  • Paul Bodensteiner, West Union
  • Pam Bolin, Clarksville
  • Bruce Brockshus, Ocheyedan
  • Doug Carroll, (Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Ryan
  • Kelly Cunningham, Atlantic
  • Gerrit Davelaar, Inwood
  • Dan Dietzenbach, Fort Atkinson
  • Jeff Dresser, Keokuk
  • Alan Feuerhelm, Le Mars
  • Robert Horst, Bristow
  • Dan Hotvedt, Decorah
  • Patrick Jones, Spencer
  • Lee Maassen, Maurice
  • Madison Roth, Wayland
  • Matt Schelling, Orange City
  • Jonna Schutte, Monona
  • Larry Shover, Delhi
  • Leo Timms (Ex Officio), ISU

Board officers pictured from left to right: Larry Shover, Treasurer; Bruce Brockshus, Vice Chair; Jonna Schutte, Secretary; Dan Hotvedt, Chair

2019 Minnesota Division officers

Minnesota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Mindi Arendt, Mazeppa
  • Kevin Buss, Hutchinson
  • Debi Clasemann, Long Prairie
  • Dan Grunhovd, Gary
  • Megan Herberg, St. Peter
  • Ken Herbranson, Clitherall
  • Margaret Johnson, Fountain
  • Karen Kasper, Owatonna
  • Keith Knutson, Pine Island
  • Charles Krause, Buffalo
  • Sarah Kuechle, Eden Valley
  • Barb Liebenstein, Dundas
  • Kate McAndrews, Sauk Center
  • Doug Popp, Royalton
  • Jane Remiger, Wood Lake
  • Dave Schwartz, Slayton
  • Kathleen Skiba, North Branch
  • Eric Sonnek, Foreston
  • Kristine Spadgenske, Menahga
  • Christine Sukalski, Leroy
  • Deb Vander Kooi (Ex Officio and Ex Officio Corporate Board), Worthington
  • Suzanne Vold, Glenwood
  • Rita Young, Plainview

Board officers pictured left to right: Suzanne Vold, Treasurer; Charles Krause, Vice Chair; Barb Liebenstein, Chair; Rita Young, Secretary

2019 Mo-Kan Division board officers

Mo-Kan Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Sean Cornelius, Hamilton
  • Lynda Foster, Fort Scott
  • Brian Haverkamp, Seneca
  • Chris Heins, Higginsville
  • Byron Lehman, Newton
  • Orville Miller (Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Hutchinson
  • Tom Oelrichs, Mora
  • Steve Ohlde, Linn
  • Alex Peterson, (Ex Officio to Corporate Board) Trenton
  • Robert Riegel, Washington
  • David Rottinghaus, Seneca
  • Bill Siebenborn, Trenton
  • Curtis Steenbock, Longford
  • Steve Strickler, Iola
  • Donna Telle, Uniontown

Board officers pictured from left to right: Byron Lehman, Chair; Donna Telle, Secretary; Curtis Steenbock, Treasurer; Alex Peterson, Vice Chair

2019 Nebraska Division officers

Nebraska Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Mike Amen, Norfolk
  • Jodi Cast, Beaver Crossing
  • Kim Clark (Ex Officio), UNL
  • David Crook, Humboldt
  • Mike Guenther, Beemer
  • Mike Henn, Norfolk
  • Neal Hochstein, Wynot
  • Rob Jackson (Ex Officio), West Point Dairy Products
  • Dwaine Junck, Carroll
  • Paul Kononoff, PhD (Ex Officio), UNL
  • Lowell Mueller, Hooper
  • Doug Nuttelman, Stromsburg
  • Joyce Racicky, Mason City
  • Marshall Reece (Ex Officio), AMPI
  • Mary Temme, Wayne

Board officers pictured from left to right: Joyce Racicky, Chair; Mary Temme, Vice Chair; Jodi Cast, Secretary/Treasurer

2019 North Dakota Division board officers

North Dakota Division

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Marc Bauer (Ex Officio) NDSU
  • Scott Boll (Ex Officio), Cass Clay Creamery (AMPI)
  • Terry Entzminger, Jamestown
  • Doug Hanson (Ex Officio), Dean Foods
  • Janal Hoff, Richardton
  • Kenton Holle, Mandan
  • Heidi John, New Salem
  • Sue Kleingartner, Gackle
  • Lilah Krebs, Gladstone
  • Nathan Kroh (Ex Officio), ND Department of Agriculture
  • Dale Kuhn, Towner
  • Jerry Messer (Ex Officio and Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Richardton
  • Rita Mosset, Linton
  • Dwane Wanzek, Cleveland

Board officers pictured from left to right: Kenton Holle, Chair; Rita Mosset, Secretary; Lilah Krebs, Treasurer; Terry Entzminger, Vice Chair

2019 Ozarks Division board officers

Ozarks Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Ryan Anglin (Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Bentonville
  • Sheri Attebery, Conway
  • Marilyn Calvin, Mt Vernon
  • Charles Coblentz, Chouteau
  • Jack Dill, Conway
  • Earl Dotson, Marionville
  • Mark Fellwock, Monett
  • Brittany Groves, Billings
  • Randy Mooney, Rogersville
  • Gene Morrison, West Plains
  • Nathan Roth, Mountain Grove
  • John Samek, Bolivar

Board officers pictured from left to right: Nathan Roth, Chair; Marilyn Calvin, Vice Chair; Brittany Groves, Secretary; Mark Fellwock, Treasurer

2019 South Dakota Division

South Dakota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Jogchum Andringa, Brandt
  • Chris Fieber, Goodwin
  • Gary Jarding, Alexandria
  • Ron Krogstad, Baltic
  • Jody Kuper (Ex Officio), Valley Queen Cheese
  • Kim Maher (Ex Officio), Agropur
  • Allen Merrill, Parker
  • Vikram Mistry, PhD (Ex Officio), SDSU
  • Jim Neugebauer, Dimock
  • Doug Ode, Brandon
  • Secy. Kim Vanneman (Ex Officio), SD Department of Agriculture
  • Marv Post, Volga
  • Annelies Seffrood, Summit
  • Daniel Thyen, Waverly

Board officers: Jim Neugebauer, Chair; Chris Fieber, Secretary; Gary Jarding, Treasurer; Annelies Seffrood, Vice Chair