Valley Queen Cheese announced Rudy Nef is transitioning from his role as a board member to a board observer. Mitch Davis of St. Peter, Minnesota, will assume the board seat vacated by Nef.
Alfred Nef and Alfred Gonzenbach founded Valley Queen in 1929. The partners ran the company until their sons – Rudy and Max- succeeded them in 1970.
When he was nine years old, Rudy had started working at Valley Queen wrapping butter for 50 cents an hour. He went on to graduate from Iowa State University in 1955 with a degree in dairy science and served in the US Army, stationed in Germany, from 1955 until 1957. He then returned to Milbank to begin his fulltime employment at Valley Queen.
Valley Queen’s Chairman of the Board Ray Trankle said, “When Rudy decided it was his time to step aside, he wanted someone to replace him who had an extensive business background in the dairy industry and cheese and whey experience.” According to Trankle, Mitch Davis was an ideal candidate for the board.
Davis currently manages Davis Family Dairies, a dairy and beef animal system with over 19,000 animals of which 8,700 are milked each day by 140 employees. He grew up working in the family cheesemaking and spray drying business Davisco Foods International. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Davis earned a bachelor of science degree in food science and nutrition.
“Needless to say, Rudy’s decision to step aside from active board involvement will be a loss,” Trankle said. “But, it allows Rudy and his wife, Marilyn, more flexibility in their retirement.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued an official proclamation praising Rudy for his contributions to the state and its dairy industry and declared August 23, 2019 as Rudy Nef Appreciation Day.
Submitted photo: Mitch Davis and Rudy Nef