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Jan. 12, 2010: County Extension agent dies suddenly

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St. Croix County's agricultural agent, Lee Milligan, 55, passed away Sunday, Jan. 10.

Milligan had been in Sacred Heart Hospital since Jan. 1 following an appendectomy and then twisted bowel surgery.

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According to an Extension email, Milligan took a turn for the worse over the weekend and died Sunday evening.

Milligan, a Baldwin resident, is survived by his wife, Debra and daughters, Kari and Krista.

Funeral arrangements are with OConnell Funeral Home in Baldwin.

A celebration of life will be Friday, Jan. 15, at Faith Community Church, 777 Carmichael Road, Hudson. Burial will be in the Long Lake Lutheran Cemetery near Rice Lake. Visitation will be Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the OConnell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin and one hour prior to the service at the church Friday. Memorials are preferred.

Milligan began his UW-Extension agriculture agent career in Pepin County in 1981 and also served as their department office chair.

Milligan was later hired as the St. Croix County Ag Agent and also served multiple years there as the department head.

Milligan was a faculty member of UW-Extension Cooperative Extension and achieved the rank of professor within UW. Within UW-Extension, Milligan was well known as a mentor to many new agricultural agents.

Milligans academic training was from UW-River Falls and he received both his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in agricultural economics.

According to Greg Andrews, Pierce County UW-Extension ag agent, Milligan was well known around the state for his farm and financial management expertise and was the co-developer of the Wisconsin version of the Dairy Farm Business Summary project in Western Wisconsin that later evolved in to a statewide farm financial analysis project. The project assisted dairy farmers with analyzing their farm business profitability from year to year.

In fact, Andrews said, several dozen dairy farmers in St. Croix and Pierce County continued over a 15-year period. Milligan and his colleagues were honored with the Epsilon Sigma Phi State Team Award in 1997.

Milligan was also widely known for his dairy modernization education and his programming at designing and improving livestock facilities in St. Croix and Pierce counties, Andrews added.

Milligan was the go-to person for anything related to livestock production, he said. Farmers, agricultural lenders and agribusiness professionals described Milligan as an outstanding, hard working and genuine educator.

Milligan dedicated his career to agriculture producers in the region and always made on-farm visits with farmers to help solve challenges they faced, Andrews recalled.

Andrews, who worked with Milligan for 25 years, described Milligan as the most dedicated Extension ag agent he had ever met.

Lee was not only extremely dedicated, he avoided accolades and personal recognition, and instead, he was ready to move on to the next important educational programming ahead, he said.

According to Andrews, farmers described Milligan as Mr. Dependable and an educator who gained countless friendships with farm families over his 28-year career.

Most recently, Lee Milligan was co-leading the Educational Committee as part of the 2010 Pierce County Farm Technology Days.

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