Wisconsin native Doug Bulgrin has been elected National Onion Association President and will serve as the nationwide organization’s chief for the next two years. The National Onion Association (NOA) was incorporated in 1913 and represents more than 500 onion growers, shippers, packers and suppliers throughout the United States.
He is the 32nd president of the National Onion Association. Trustees of the NOA elected him to the position in December during the organization’s annual convention in Naples, Fla.
Bulgrin, 46, has been with Gumz Farms and its predecessor, the Lewiston Corporation, for 30 years. He works at present as the Onion Packing Shed Manager for Gumz Farms, which bought out Lewiston in 1997.
Bulgrin loves the challenge of solving problems. He got involved with the organization a few years back, working on food safety issues. “Rather than doing what someone has told us to do with food safety, I’d rather be involved in helping create and steer policies and rules that make sense,” Bulgrin said.
In his two-year tenure, he wants to concentrate on increasing membership, as well as member participation.
He attended his first Washington D.C. trip with the NOA leadership last year, and his eyes were opened. His expectations going in were, ‘How can I as one person make a difference?’ He quickly learned that he was dealing with human beings — everyday people who needed our industry’s expertise in some of the larger issues affecting the onion industry.
“That awakening in Washington was real. It’s like, ‘We really do matter. We can make a difference,’” Bulgrin said.
He hopes these next two years will be busy with meeting people, increasing membership and industry participation in Washington regulations that affect the onion industry.
Bulgrin said it will take everyone in the membership to help it evolve.
“If the NOA is going to continue to thrive, we have to evolve,” he said. “We need to hear if things are going well, or what aren’t going so well. The more ideas we have out there, the better.”
Bulgrin, who grew up on a dairy farm in Portage, Wis., is married to Nikki, and together they have three teenage children. Bulgrin has spent the last seven years farming with his children to introduce them to agriculture. They farm corn, soybeans and pumpkins.