Arden Ray Hardie, age 81, of rural Blair, died on Thursday, July 14, 2022, surrounded by family in Gundersen Tri-County Hospital in Whitehall.
Arden was born on June 5, 1941, in Blair, WI, to Donald S. and Doris R. (Swanger) Hardie. He was raised on a purebred Guernsey farm and graduated as valedictorian from Blair High School in 1959. As a high school student, he was very active in FFA, earning the American FFA Degree. He completed his BS in Dairy Science at UW-Madison in 1964. After graduation, Arden worked on the home farm until 1967 when he returned to UW-Madison, completing his MS in Dairy Science in 1972 and PhD in Dairy Cattle Breeding in 1977. During this time, he served as a computer specialist in the CALS computer facility. From 1979 to 1983, Arden was Herd Manager for the UW-Madison dairy herd. He was known as a conscientious worker and prioritized the well-being of cattle. From 1983 to 1993 Arden worked for the Wisconsin Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) Cooperative first as the manager of the research and development division and then as the director of industry services. He married Judith “Judt” Haase on January 14, 1984, in Middleton, WI.
Arden, Judt, and their 3 daughters returned from the Madison area to the farm on which he was born in 1993. There they dairy and crop farmed until 1994 when he began his tenure as an agriculture agent through UW-Extension. He first served as interim agriculture agent for Trempealeau County, followed by Rusk County (1996) and Jackson County (2000) until retirement in 2007. Arden’s dedication to the farm profitability of the producers in the rural counties he served and young dairy farmers state-wide was evident through development and use of the Profitable Grazing (Profgraz) Spreadsheet Program, which estimated the income and expenses for different what-if scenarios of farm operations. These scenarios and other engagements as an agriculture agent often emphasized management intensive grazing and low-cost milking parlors to reduce capital investments. Arden’s colleagues commended his talent to build bridges between a wide variety of people and his ability to help consolidate quad county ag resources.
Arden’s love of cows was evident through many of his activities, from judging dairy cattle to caring for a small mixed-breed dairy herd prior to and during retirement and helping his daughters prepare animals for the county fair. He coached the Trempealeau County Dairy Judging Team and judged and assisted at numerous fairs and carcass contests. In addition to cows, Arden also shared his love of math with his daughters through teaching them how to play cribbage at an early age.
Arden is survived by his wife, Judt; daughters Paula (Kenny) Neuzil of Black River Falls, Lydia Hardie of DeForest, Claudia Hardie- (Andy) Quall of Blair; grandson Cedric Quall; sister Kyle Engebretson of Black River Falls; and nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Arden was preceded in death by his sister, Sharon Sweno, two brothers-in-law, and two nephews.
Funeral services will be held in Saint Ansgar’s Catholic Church in Blair on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour prior and from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Monday, July 25, at the same location. Father Howard G. Haase will officiate. Burial will be in the Glasgow Cemetery in rural Ettrick.