Farewell, Randy

 Well wishers crowded into Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at the Barron County Government Center, to help outgoing Farm Services District Director Randy Cook celebrate his upcoming retirement. Cook, far right, visits with well-wishers, while other guests enjoy snacks and conversation at left. His last day on the job is Friday, April 27.                                                                                    Photo by Bob Zientara

Well-wishers by the hundreds attended a three-hour reception Tuesday, April 24, 2018, for Randy Cook, Rice Lake, who will wrap up a 30-year career with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency this Friday, April 27, 2018.

“He pretty much wanted to go out quietly, but the (FSA) staff wasn’t hearing any of that,” Randy’s wife, County Clerk DeeAnn Cook, said.

The former manager of the Farm Services office in Barron, Cook became district director in January 2009, and was responsible for FSA personnel management across much of northwestern Wisconsin.

Nearly 130 people were already on hand shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday to greet Cook, stop by a table full of memorabilia, sign a guest book and enjoy treats ranging from cake and cookies to crackers, chips, cheese, cold cuts, and beverages.

According to a press release on the memorabilia table, Cook came to work for the county in June 1987 as a “county office trainee.”

A 1976 Rice Lake High School graduate, Cook left the county to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he later earned an undergraduate degree in agricultural education.

He and his wife moved back to the area in 1981 with their son, Randy, and daughter, Leisha.

Up to the time he was hired by the county, Cook had been teaching agriculture at Cameron High School.

At the time he became a county employee, Cook said his favorite pastimes were hunting, fishing, farming and spending time with his family.

According to the USDA website, FSA delivers services to “all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans.”