Senator Sheila Harsdorf was born in St. Paul and grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. In 1970, her parents expanded their dairy operation when they moved the family to Beldenville, Wisconsin. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota, Harsdorf worked as an agricultural loan officer while farming part-time on the family dairy farm. Two years later she returned to farming full-time, becoming a partner in the dairy operation with her Dad and brother.
Harsdorf has been a strong advocate for farm issues through her involvement with Farm Bureau, 4-H and other activities. In 1988, she ran for the 30th Assembly District, was elected, and served five terms until 1998 when she returned to the family farm. In 2000, she entered the 10th State Senate race and defeated an eight-year incumbent. Harsdorf currently represents parts of Burnett, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix Counties.
In the Senate, she serves on the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, is Chair of the Universities and Technical Colleges Committee, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology, and serves on two other standing committees including as Vice-Chair on the Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations Committee and the Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee. Since 2003, Harsdorf has been a MHEC Commissioner and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious Philip Sirotkin Award.