Rod Nilsestuen, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, died in an apparent drowning accident in Lake Superior late Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, he had been volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity project in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“Rod Nilsestuen was a visionary agriculture leader,” Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle said in a release issued today. “Under his incredible leadership Wisconsin has seen the greatest and most beneficial transformation of agriculture in generations.”
Prior to his appointment as Secretary in 2003, Nilsestuen served as president and CEO of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives for 24 years.