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Alton Block

Induction Date: 
Sat, 10/17/2009

Alton Block is one of those DTS alumni recognized and known by Ditzers from all eras. Alton has been a familiar face at DTS alumni events, and has been a principle member of the DTS Mature Alumni Group, founded by Al Fuller and Robert Spitzer. He has spent his career working in a diverse cross section of the agricultural industry and he has done a lot to promote agriculture not only in Wisconsin, but around the world as well.


Alton pledged Delta Theta Sigma in the fall of 1946, and was an Active member of DTS for 2 years. He lived in the house on Sterling Court and served as the House Steward. He graduated with a B.S. in Dairy Science with a minor in journalism in 1948. Block went on to complete his M.S. degree in animal genetics in 1953.


As a young man, Alton took over the family dairy farm when his father passed away in 1940. Three years later he enlisted during WWII and served 18 months in the European theater as a cryptographer in the Army Signal Corps. While in Europe, he did undergraduate study at the Biarritz American University in France in 1945. He also taught agriculture to soldiers in Unit Schools who were waiting to return home.


Throughout his career, Block has had many “firsts”. He became the first Dairy Extension Agent for Dodge County in 1949. In 1951 Block began as a Field Representative for Badger Breeders Cooperative then became a Sire Analyst. This lead to the position of Director of Sire Procurement , and initiated a mating program, the principle of which became used industry wide.


From 1965 to 1970 Alton served as General Manger for East Central Breeders Cooperative. Here he revitalized the firm with an aggressive sale program, reversing a three year downward trend. One of the highlights was serving on the Governor’s Trade Mission to South America.


In the early 70’s, Alton served as General Manager for Tri-State Breeders Cooperative, where he initiated a growth program which incorporated many changes and firsts for the industry, including the first fully coordinated professional advertising program in the industry, which received national awards.


Alton was a Director of World Dairy Expo, serving on the very first Board of Directors. He was one of the pioneers that started this event that is world class today.


In 1974 Block switched gears somewhat, and worked as an associate for Consultant’s International, LTD, a management and marketing consulting firm. Projects Block was involved with include a massive study of the U.S. turkey industry, a customer relations program for the Steiger tractor company, and an international study of Triticale, “Wall of Fame” (Continued from page 9) the first man made grain.


In 1977 Alton Block founded Agri Management Group, LTD, where he is still involved today. This is a full-service agricultural consulting firm, with strength in large dairy operations.


Alton has served in many industry organizations over the years, even judging at foreign dairy shows. He has also been involved with the local Kiwanis’s. Block has received the Agriculture Leadership award from the Downtown Madison Kiwanis Club. He has authored a number of articles published in various trade magazines, and has been a frequent speaker.