Catch Up with…Corey Geiger BS’95 and Steve Larson MS’70

With its unmistakable oversized format and bold red masthead, Hoard’s Dairyman is perhaps the most influential publication in the dairy industry today.

What began in 1885 as an insert in the Jefferson County Union weekly newspaper has grown into an indispensable print and digital resource for dairy farmers and their advisers in more than 60 countries around the world. Since its beginning, the publication has been linked to the University of Wisconsin’s agricultural endeavors through its founder, William Dempster Hoard, a UW regent and passionate supporter of the university’s College of Agriculture, which formed in 1889 when he was governor of the state.

It’s fitting, then, that for the last 20 years, CALS alumni have stood at the editorial helm of the magazine. Corey Geiger BS’95 (agricultural economics and dairy science) joined the Hoard’s staff in 1995 and took on the managing editor role in 2013. His predecessor, Steve Larson MS’70 (dairy science), served as managing editor for almost 15 years, beginning in 1998. Now retired, he still works as a consultant for the magazine and its fully functional dairy farm in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Neither expected to venture into the realm of agricultural journalism, but they have both relished the opportunity to serve the dairy industry.

What makes Hoard’s Dairyman so influential and long-lasting?

Corey Geiger: At Hoard’s, we operate our own dairy farm, so we’re really a part of the industry, not just reporting on it, and there’s a big difference. On our editorial page we use words like “we,” “us,” and “our,” which isn’t necessarily taught in journalism classes. We’re living this every day. We need to know, as editors, what’s going on with cows — what are the trends, what are the issues that busy dairy farmers are facing every day, not only in the United States, but around the world.

Steve Larson: Part of our business model, or tradition, is to assume industry leadership positions. That adds to the credibility and the image of the magazine and the ability to know what’s going on and how to get things accomplished in the industry.

What role does Hoard’s Dairyman play in connecting UW–Madison and Wisconsin agriculture?

SL: This connection goes back generations. It started with the lead role W.D. Hoard played in converting Wisconsin from a faltering grain-producing region into America’s Dairyland and, later, his efforts to establish agricultural studies at the university.

Researchers and extension specialists from CALS and the School of Veterinary Medicine have made major contributions to the impact Hoard’s Dairyman has across Wisconsin as well as the U.S. and the world. Current and past editors have served in advisory roles at the university, and this has created mutually beneficial connections between our company, UW, and industry.

CG: There are more dairy businesses based in Wisconsin than anywhere in this country. It’s this flow of jobs that is vital to Wisconsin, and I think, together with UW, we help share with these businesses the great research that the university is doing. We actually partner in these conversations. Probably 60 percent of our stories are written by outside authors. We help put it in a really conversational form that is easy to read but delivers some very deep research at the same time. And that’s art to be able to do that.

Catch up with . . . Jacquelynn Arbuckle BS’91 Genetics

Dr. Jacquelynn Arbuckle’s exposure to the medical field began when her younger brother Adrian was born with cystic fibrosis. Arbuckle, only six at the time, recalls a childhood consumed with Adrian’s care. “We spent many days and weeks at the children’s hospital. I watched the doctors and nurses carefully try to find ways to keep Adrian alive,” Arbuckle says. Each year he was expected to have only a limited time to live.

That experience led Arbuckle to dedicate her life to medicine. After graduating from the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and completing her surgical residency in Massachusetts, Arbuckle returned to Madison, where she is an associate professor and surgeon at UW.

Arbuckle’s path to success was not easy. A native of Spooner, Wis., and an Ojibwe, Arbuckle grew up on the St. Croix reservation. She experienced firsthand how difficult the transition from a reservation community to a college campus can be. Now, as director of the SMPH-based Native American Center for Health Professions, she encourages young people to enroll at UW–Madison. She hopes that, once trained, they can help strengthen communities that often lack medical infrastructure and other resources—the same resources that ultimately saved her brother’s life.

What are some difficulties you experience when recruiting young Native Americans?

Coming from a close, familiar environment to a large campus can leave a student feeling isolated. Our Native culture is part of everyday life, and it can be challenging to feel free to practice our Native teachings without fear of humiliation. The Native American Center for Health Professions attempts to provide a safe cultural home for students and a place for community by providing mentoring, support and guidance as well as opportunities to explore our Native cultures around the state.

Why is it important for more Native American students to enter the medical field?

We need more Native healers in our state and across our nation. We need to be able to provide improved health care in our home communities, and we need to provide good mentors and role models for our young people. Our reservations have limited funds and limited access to health care. We need providers at all levels of health, including public health researchers, nurses, doctors, physician assistants, physical therapists, social workers and pharmacists. At NACHP, we reach out to interested students around the state and encourage them to consider coming to UW for their education. We are able to provide rotations at tribal clinics for those who are interested in this experience. During the rotations, students are exposed to true patient-centered, coordinated care as well as a wealth of cultural experiences.

How do you maintain your connection to the St. Croix reservation?

Mainly through my family. I go home routinely and spend time there. I have made connections with our tribal health director as well as our education director, and we are working on ways to improve resources and motivate young people together.

Photo courtesy of University Communications