“I am honored:” Governor Scott Walker appoints Sen. Sheila Harsdorf as Agriculture head

Sheila Harsdorf

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has appointed Republican state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The appointment announced Friday makes Harsdorf the first woman to lead the agency. She will replace Ben Brancel, who retired in August.

“I am honored to serve as DATCP secretary, and I thank Governor Walker for entrusting me to lead,” said Harsdorf. “I’m excited to work with and support our farmers, businesses, and consumers to promote a fair marketplace and economic growth in Wisconsin’s vibrant agriculture industry.”

Harsdorf, of River Falls, is resigning her northwestern Wisconsin state Senate seat on Friday and beginning the new job on Monday. Walker is expected to call a special election to fill her seat for the same date as two others for vacancies in the state Assembly.

The 61-year-old Harsdorf served in the Assembly from 1989 to 1999 and has been in the Senate since 2001. She is a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

Walker says Harsdorf’s experience both as a lawmaker and dairy farmer makes her an “excellent fit” for the DATCP job.

Governor Walker the said the following statement appointment:

“Sheila’s experience as a highly-respected, dedicated legislator and dairy farmer make her an excellent fit to lead DATCP. I thank Sheila for her hard work and willingness to continue serving the public, and I look forward to working with her to keep Wisconsin moving forward.”