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Badger Common’Tater

September 2017



Volume 69 Number 9 $18.00/year $1.50/copy

WISCONSIN HOSTS Potato Marketing Association Of North America Conference RESEARCH STATIONS Have Their Field Days INDUSTRY SUPPORTS Putt-Tato Open Golf Outing LITTLE POTATO COMPANY Opens Processing Facility CROP UPDATE: LATE BLIGHT Confirmed on Commercial Potatoes


Joe Seis

Owner, Sterling Farms, LLC A “drone’s eye view” shows visitors enjoying a research presentation at the Langlade County Ag Research Station. Photo courtesy of Cameron Berg, Unmanned Systems, Inc.

1500 Post Road | Plover WI 54467 | (715) 344-4747 2022 W. 2nd Avenue | Bloomer, WI 54724 | (715) 568-4600

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800-826-0200 715-677-4533 • Fax: 715-677-4076 R o s h o l t ,

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On the Cover: The drone was a bit loud buzzing overhead during the Antigo Field Day, while RPE Senior Agronomist and SpudPro Committee Chairman Mike Copas spoke about research trials, but the resulting images are incredible. Wagonloads of visitors enjoyed presentations by Copas and other university scientists at the Langlade County Agricultural Research Station. Photo courtesy of Cameron Berg, Unmanned Systems, Inc.

8 Badger cOMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: Though Joe Seis of Sterling Farms, LLC in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin worked for two potato growers as a teenager and until he branched off on his own, he is not a second- or third-generation farmer. He started Sterling Farms on his own with the support of his wife, Dana. Seis, pictured in the tractor with his daughter, Jessie, hopes to pass the farm down to his own kids someday.

Departments: ALI’S KITCHEN................... 65 AUXILIARY NEWS.............. 56 BADGER BEAT................... 40

30 RESEARCHERS SHARE STUDIES AT FIELD DAYS Antigo and Hancock show off their research facilities





NHL player and Plover native Joe Pavelski stars in commercial for WPVGA

Potatoes are official performance food of IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder

Feature Articles: 16 WPVGA HOSTS Potato Marketing Association of North America Conference 45 LITTLE POTATO COMPANY processing facility employs 100 in DeForest, WI 58 PUTT-TATO OPEN raises money for research, scholarships and other causes 4

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EYES ON ASSOCIATES....... 64 MARK YOUR CALENDAR..... 6 NEW PRODUCTS............... 50 NOW NEWS...................... 22 NPC NEWS........................ 52 PEOPLE ............................ 54 PLANTING IDEAS................ 6 WPIB FOCUS..................... 63

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WPVGA Board of Directors: President: Eric Schroeder Vice President: Josh Mattek Secretary: Gary Wysocki Treasurer: Wes Meddaugh Directors: Steve Diercks, Mark Finnessy, Rod Gumz, Ron Krueger & Andy Wallendal Wisconsin Potato Industry Board: President: Heidi Alsum-Randall Vice President: Richard Okray Secretary: Bill Wysocki Treasurer: Keith Wolter Directors: John Bobek, Andy Diercks, Cliff Gagas, John T. Schroeder & Tom Wild WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors: President: Sally Suprise Vice President: Casey Kedrowski Secretary: Cathy Schommer

Treasurer: Nick Laudenbach Directors: Paul Cieslewicz, Kenton Mehlberg, Zach Mykisen & Joel Zalewski

wausau | eau claire visit our blogs at

Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association Board of Directors: President: Bill Guenthner Vice President: Charlie Mattek Secretary/Treasurer: J.D. Schroeder Directors: Jeff Fassbender, Dan Kakes

WPVGA Staff Executive Director: Tamas Houlihan Managing Editor: Joe Kertzman Director of Promotions & Consumer Education: Dana Rady Financial Officer: Karen Rasmussen Executive Assistant: Julie Braun Program Assistant: Danielle Sorano Coordinator of Community Relations: Jim Zdroik Spudmobile Assistant: Doug Foemmel

Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Board of Directors: President: Kathy Bartsch Vice President: Devin Zarda Secretary/Treasurer: Deniell Bula Directors: Jody Baginski, Brittany Bula, Paula Houlihan & Marie Reid

WPVGA Office (715) 623-7683 • FAX: (715) 623-3176 E-mail: Website: Like Us On Facebook:

Mission Statement of the WPVGA: “To assist WPVGA members to be successful through education, information, environmentally sound research, promotion, governmental action, and involvement.” Mission Statement of the WPVGA Associate Division: “Our mission is to work in partnership with the WPVGA as product and service providers to promote mutual industry viability by integrating technology and information resources.” Badger Common’Tater is published monthly at 700 Fifth Avenue, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409

Subscription rates: $1.50/copy, $18.00/year; $30/2 years. Foreign subscription rates: $30/year; $50/2 years. Telephone: (715) 623-7683 Mailing address: P.O. Box 327, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409 Or, subscribe free online: ADVERTISING: To advertise your service or product in this magazine, call (715) 630-6213, or email: Joe Kertzman: The editor welcomes manuscripts and pictures but accepts no responsibility for such material while in our hands. BC�T September


Mark Your

Calendar september 17

DEVIL’S CHALLENGE TRIATHLON North Shore of Devil’s Lake Baraboo, WI

23 SPUD BOWL Community Stadium at Goerke Park Stevens Point, WI


Stephen Zimmerman [left], acting director of the Langlade County Ag Research Station, accepted a check from WPVGA Associate Division Vice President Casey Kedrowski [right] in support of the research farm.

Planting Ideas Educating the public and supporting agricultural research and development are not only primary goals of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), and its committees and divisions, but also overarching themes at recent meetings, field days and events. There’s a palpable feeling in the potato and vegetable growing industry that the public doesn’t understand who growers are, how farming works— not only within, but also for the community—and that a large majority of farmers work toward goals of sustainability, environmental friendliness, water and fuel efficiency, technological advancements, and clean, healthy high-yield, high-return growing practices. That includes striving for water and soil quality, irrigation efficiency, returning nutrients to the soil, growing cover crops, crop rotation, low- or no-till practices and even prairie and wetland restoration where applicable.

30-31 RESEARCH MEETING West Madison Ag Research Station Madison, WI

The public certainly can’t be expected to know any of that by reading the newspapers, and what a shame. Water issues are often misdirected and blamed on growers, as well as a range of environmental, soil quality, lake level, land use, road upkeep and chemical drift issues, real or not.

january 2018

That’s why it was heartening to attend field days and golf outings throughout the state in July and August, where the industry raised money for public education, agriculture research and community outreach. The public was welcome to attend field days at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station, Langlade County Ag Research Station and Rhinelander Ag Research Station, where university researchers presented their projects and findings, and the potato and vegetable growing industry reached out to showcase their best methods, products and practices.

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The WPVGA, the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association, WPGA Auxiliary and WPVGA Associate Division made donations and contributions to the research facilities and toward education through money raised by the golf outings, potato assessments and industry donations, fundraisers, memberships and involvement. The potato and vegetable growing industry really does shine at times like those, and it sure is nice to see. Please email me with your thoughts and questions. If you wish to be notified when our free online magazine is available monthly, here is the subscriber link:

Joe Kertzman Managing Editor


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Joe Seis, Sterling Farms, LLC By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

NAME: Joe Seis TITLE: Owner COMPANY: Sterling Farms, LLC LOCATION: Grand Marsh, WI HOMETOWN: Antigo, WI YEARS IN PRESENT POSITION: Sterling Farms was organized in 2010, but Seis has been independently farming since 1998 PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Rural Mutual Insurance agent, Wisconsin River Co-op, Gary Bula Farms and Schroeder Brothers Farms SCHOOLING: UW farm industry short course, UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, UW-Platteville bachelor of science degrees in business and agronomy ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Adams County Farm Bureau and Grand Marsh United Church of Christ AWARDS/HONORS: Multiple years as a yield contest award winner—Allied Cooperative, 2011 Potato Industry Leadership participant, 2005 Rural Mutual Insurance New Agent of the Year FAMILY: Wife, Dana, and children, Calvin (8), Gabe (6) and Jessie (3) HOBBIES: Hunting, watching football and baseball, and spending time with family 8

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It’s a great story, but an unusual one when it comes to potato and vegetable growers. Joe Seis of Sterling Farms, LLC is not a second- or thirdgeneration farmer. He didn’t grow up on a farm. He worked on farms, and then started farming on his own. But it gets better than that. Where Seis grew up, in Antigo, Wisconsin, potato farming, particularly seed potato farming, makes up one of the largest industries. “I had family members who grew potatoes, and I worked at Schroeder Brothers Farms and Gary Bula Farms until I started on my own,” he notes. “Working for Schroeder’s is probably where I got the potato bug,” Seis adds. “We’re happy.” The “we” is Joe along with his wife, Dana, and their three children, Calvin, who’s 8 years old, Gabe, 6, and little Jessie, 3. When you watch the Seis family harvesting potatoes, which I had the distinct pleasure of doing on Friday, August 11, it’s easy to see they are happy with their decisions. It’s not that they’re bouncing around laughing and singing while they toil. The family just seems content. GROWING A GOOD CROP Along with hands-on experience, Seis has two degrees in agronomy and one in business, and says he’s always enjoyed the challenges and rewards of growing a good crop of potatoes. He also likes owning

his own business. That’s not the way it was fresh out of college, though. Seis worked for the Wisconsin River Co-op (before it merged with Farmers’ Co-op Supply and Shipping Association, in 2013, to form Allied Cooperative) and as an agent for Rural Mutual Insurance. “I quit Rural Mutual Insurance, and my wife had a baby, both within like three days of each other,” he relates, “and I started farming on my own. That was a leap of faith.” “I began farming in 1998 and organized Sterling Farms in 2010,” he explains. “I received advice and Above: Joe Seis, owner of Sterling Farms, LLC in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, holds yellow potatoes harvested on his land in August. “We started with Yukon Gold potatoes, but continue to experiment with new yellow varieties. We do the same with russets,” he says.

support from relatives in the potato industry, but I started my farm completely from scratch.” “In 2002, the only farming implement I owned was a 4020 John Deere tractor,” Seis allows. He and Sterling Farms, LLC have come a long way since then. How many acres is Sterling Farms, LLC, and what crops and how many acres of each do you grow there? We are up to a combined total of 800 rented and owned acres, of which 275 is potatoes this year. We also grow seed corn, field corn, soybeans and an occasional canning crop. Do you rotate crops, and what vegetables are in your rotation? We rotate russet, yellow and specialty potatoes with corn, soybeans and an occasional canning crop. Do you raise livestock or grow anything else on the farm? If so, what? We do not raise livestock. We have recently been growing some rye for seed as there is a need for both the seed and the straw in our area. How did this growing season turn out for you? Like many other growers in Wisconsin, we dealt with a lot of rain in the 2017 early growing season. It set us back about 10 days, and we did have some prevent plant acreage. Are you a fresh, chip or process potato grower, and why? All our

potatoes are grown for the fresh market. I like the challenge of producing a quality raw product that I can see in the store.

Above: A Spudnik 6400 four-row potato harvester is pulled behind a John Deere 8400 tractor during harvest season on Sterling Farms, LLC. The author was lucky enough to ride along in the tractor with Joe Seis and his three-year-old daughter, Jessie.

How many hundredweight of potatoes do you typically grow in a year, and to whom or where do you sell them? I typically grow 125,000 cwt. annually. I work with Alsum Farms of Friesland, Coloma Farms and Okray Family Farms of Plover to pack and ship my crop.

storage facility that holds 80,000 cwt. of potatoes. It is air conditioned and designed to include a work area and loading dock. What is it that you like about farming, and what drew you into the field? I have always liked farming, especially potato farming. I really enjoy owning

Do you store potatoes? If so, do you have storage facilities and what type? This summer I put up a new


continued on pg. 10


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Interview. . . continued from pg. 9

my own business and producing quality food. I thrive on the challenge of growing a crop that requires intense management on both the growing and marketing ends. What is your favorite aspect of a typical day? I really like to watch my crops grow, to see how the time, money and effort I’ve spent managing them is evident when I drive to all my fields. What challenges have there been? The availability of land to grow crops has been a challenge in recent years. Because of this, my land is very spread out and makes for a lot of road time. I decided to put up my own storage shed to alleviate some of the stress of harvesting and marketing fresh potatoes. How is growing in Grand Marsh different from other parts of the state? Particularly for potatoes? Soil type? Moisture? The Plainfield sand of Adams County is mostly well drained and generally ideal for growing potatoes, but some of my fields are on the fringe of the Grand Marsh. As its name implies, the area has many marsh pockets. In a year like 2017, the wet holes

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(high ground water) didn’t begin to recede until August. My operation would really benefit from being able to make some drainage improvements on my properties, but USDA regulations currently forbid this. What are the biggest issues? Each growing season brings its own challenges. Sometimes it’s the weather, sometimes it’s prices, sometimes it’s disease and sometimes it’s even labor. How do you like being in the potato and vegetable growing industry? What kind of relationship do you have with your fellow growers? The community? I take pride in

Above: It wasn’t easy getting the Seis family to all pose for a picture. In the back row are Dana and Joe, and in front, left to right, Jessie, Gabe and Calvin. Bottom Left: Potatoes are everywhere at harvest time—in the rearview mirror of the tractor and filling the box of the truck driven by Ed Stevens. Ed has been working for Sterling Farms, LLC for three years and also hauls fertilizer for Allied Cooperative in the spring. Bottom Right Calvin Seis checks a yellow potato for size and quality while he sorts spuds at Sterling Farms, LLC, on August 11.

being a part of Wisconsin’s potato and vegetable industry. I have good relationships with other growers in the Grand Marsh area, as we all face some similar difficulties, such as continued on pg. 12

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Interview. . . continued from pg. 10

public perception of water, land and public road use, as well as regulation. I think all growers in the Adams County area do a good job of giving back to the community through donations and sponsorships of

good causes, and we work hard to show that we are invested in the community. How has your farm changed or advanced over the years? In the early years of the farm, it was really only



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a part-time job. I was still going to college and working for other farms, Allied Cooperative, and as an agent with Rural Mutual Insurance. After I was married and eventually began to devote all my time to farming, we started purchasing equipment and land little by little. Our one-row planter was upgraded to a two-row, then a four-row, and finally a six-row.  The tractors got bigger and we started working more land and putting more land under irrigation. It took a lot of patience, hard work and sacrifice, but it is something to be very proud of. What types of technologies have you adopted or are on the horizon for Sterling Farms, LLC? GPS-guided tractors, video cameras on the equipment and remote irrigation control are some of the technologies we’ve added in the last couple years. Any technology that makes the operation more efficient and gives me peace of mind is something I’m interested in. Above: Sorting potatoes as they’re loaded into a semi-trailer are, from left to right in the first photo, Loren Kaye, Stanley Stubbe, Phil Rebels, Gabe Seis, Calvin Seis, Ed Stevens and Dana Seis. In the second photo, Stubbe (left) and Kaye (right) sort the spuds as they come off the field truck.

How has growing potatoes stayed the same for you, or grounded you, or how does it make you content or happy? Planning for the next season and managing the current season at the same time ensure that you always have goals. Always having those goals keeps you going. There are also lessons learned every

season. I feel truly fulfilled when I have grown a good crop of potatoes. Has the farm grown in acreage and variety over the years, and by how much and what varieties of potatoes or vegetables? Sterling Farms has grown in acreage and variety steadily every year. I grew fingerling potatoes many years ago, and now I am again

Above: Joe Seis (left in the first photo) poses with his longtime employee of seven years, Matt Horkovy (right), while Horkovy takes a break from monitoring potatoes being loaded via conveyor into a semi-trailer.

growing a small acreage of specialty potatoes. We started with Yukon Gold potatoes, continued on pg. 14

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Interview. . . continued from pg. 13

but continue to experiment with new yellow varieties. We do the same with russets. How many people do you employ? I have two full-time employees, two part-time employees, and I hire seasonal help as needed. My wife works for the farm as well.

Sterling Farms continue to grow and upgrade equipment and technology to become more efficient. My employees and I put in incredibly long hours for a good portion of the year. It would be nice to grow to a point where we can all have more time for our families.

What does the future hold for We will continue to build and potato and vegetable growing, maintain relationships with suppliers do you think? There’s no doubt that and buyers of our crops. Someday the trend is larger farms, but I think I’d like my children to have the the future is bright for any size farm opportunity to run the farm if they that can meet the demand of the so choose. more health- and environmentallyconscious consumer. Hard work and Above: The new Sterling Farms, LLC potato Client: Compeer Desktop and Project Art Creative Account creativity in DEPARTMENT: operations marketing Proofreader Copywriter Production Artist Manager Director storage Director building, Manager Service erected by Modern Builders MediaPole Type: Badger Common Tater are key. APPROVAL: of Ripon, Wisconsin, is digitally controlled for Color: 4C

C|O Farms, LLC in particular? For Sterling As a small farm, I’d like to see NOTES: NEWSPRINT OUTPUT SIZE:

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Farmers in the Dells WPVGA Hosts Potato Marketing Association of North America Conference in Wisconsin Dells By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater There was a full slate of meetings and an aggressive agenda when the Wisconsin potato industry welcomed visitors attending the Potato Marketing Association of North American (PMANA) Conference, July 16-18, at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) played host to visitors hailing from potato growing regions far and wide—Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Maine, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and five provinces of Canada, including Prince Edward Island.

All descended on the Wisconsin Dells to discuss issues and challenges relevant to them and relating to potato and vegetable growing across their regions. The mission of PMANA is to “gather information pertaining to bargaining and the potato industry on a North American level.” PMANA helps member associations stay informed on the bargaining process and works to maintain profitability to the producers (see This is done by analyzing and disseminating information to member associations, such as the WPVGA, so they can be better informed in their bargaining process. It’s important to note that PMANA promotes harmony within the industry and its organizations throughout North America. PMANA Above: As evening fell on the Wisconsin River during the Dells dinner cruise, the well-attended PMANA Conference couldn’t help but feel like a success, with a new era dawning on potato and vegetable growing and good things yet to come.

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continues to strive for an expanded market for its grower members and their distribution chains. PMANA FORMATION PMANA was formed in 1974 when processing potato producers from a number of states met with Canadian producers in an effort to improve margins in potato production. For the first couple of years, the PMANA Board met numerous times to compare contracts, contract prices,

terms and conditions and costs of production. Once firmly established and incorporated, the meetings became less frequent and have continued as two or three meetings per year. All four PMANA officers attended the conference in Wisconsin Dells, including President Dale Lathim (Washington), Vice President USA Mark Ward (Oregon), Vice President Canada Scott Howatt (Prince Edward Island) and Secretary/Treasurer Dan

Above: Dale Lathim (left), president of the Potato Marketing Association of North America (PMANA), addresses delegates who attended the annual conference, July 16-18, in the Wisconsin Dells.

Sawatzky (Manitoba). As with previous annual meetings, the July rendition in the Dells proved invaluable in developing personal contacts to discuss contracts and issues in-depth. The agenda included a golf outing, continued on pg. 18


1,850,000CWT OF STORAGE BUILT IN 2017 BC�T September 17

Farmers in the Dells. . . continued from pg. 17

welcome reception and dinner, delegate meetings, a trolley tour of the Wisconsin Dells for companions and families of delegates, a dinner cruise on the Wisconsin River for members and their families, and a bus tour with several stops on the final day of the conference.

margins and negotiation challenges with processors, but also include minimum wage hikes in most areas, and thus an increase in labor expenses, the low price of commodities, overproduction of crops, weather, and yield and storage challenges, among others.

During the delegate meetings on the second day of the conference, attending PMANA members gave crop and weather reports from representative geographical areas across their states and provinces, and presented key issues and challenges.

GROWER CONCERNS Regarding Wisconsin, Andy Diercks of Coloma Farms explained how a wet spring and early summer is already causing storage problems, with a larger percentage of potatoes needing to be washed and some rot detected in early crops.

The main issues are grower profit

18 BC�T September

Above: A Wisconsin Dells dinner cruise on the Wisconsin River was part of the 2017 PMANA Conference festivities, and the weather on the evening of July 17 cooperated beautifully. Left: No respectable PMANA Conference could start without a golf outing. Here Sandra Sawatzky, wife of PMANA Secretary/Treasurer Dan Sawatzky (Manitoba), tees off on a pleasant July 16 morning at Coldwater Canyon Golf Course, located on the Chula Vista Resort property in the Wisconsin Dells. Sandra was part of a golfing foursome that included Dan and Wisconsin’s own Andy Diercks of Coloma Farms and his partner Crystal Olson. Right: Seated left to right enjoying the Dells dinner cruise on a gorgeous night are Nita Wiebe, Sandra Sawatzky, Dan Sawatzky and Stan Wiebe. Stan’s luck started with winning a Syngenta jacket, one of the door prizes awarded during the opening dinner and reception of the PMANA Conference. continued on pg. 20

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Farmers in the Dells. . . continued from pg. 19

Diercks mentioned that nearly every field in the state experienced at least a couple 2-plus-inch rain events, and thus a late start and late emergence. Low spots in fields were either replanted or not planted at all. Madhu Jamallamudi of AgroMetrics in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, gave a presentation, titled “Negotiation Strategy for Process Potato Growers,” during which he discussed economic variables and outside factors that affect grower margins and negotiations with processors. Economic factors include, but are not limited to, the unemployment rate, interest rates, consumer confidence, frozen exports, restaurant performance and frozen potato products inventory. The overall economy, he noted, is looking good, and the unemployment rate in the United States and Canada is going down. Interest rates are low, have bottomed out and are starting to go up. Year 2016 experienced record French fry exports of 2+ billion pounds, though the prices were soft.

20 BC�T September

OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Outside factors affecting grower/ processor negotiations, Jamallamudi said, are foreign exchange rates, processors’ investments, alternative crop prices, input costs, crude oil costs, and potato supplies in the United States, Canada and Europe. The final day of the conference included tours of Gumz Muck Farms in Endeavor, Wisconsin; the Hancock Agricultural Research

Above: During a tour of Gumz Muck Farms on the last day of the PMANA Conference, Rod Gumz passed around peppermint oil that is extracted from mint grown on the farm. A container of the muck soil that’s inherent to the area can be seen under his left arm. Below: Aside from potatoes, carrots, field corn and soybeans, Gumz Muck Farms also boasts onions, as shown in the field stretching out to the horizon, and mint, with Rod Gumz holding up a plant for PMANA delegates, their families and guests to see.

Station, including the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Storage Research

Facility and an appearance by the Spudmobile and crew; Gramma Miller’s Farm Market in Hancock and the Dells Distillery in Wisconsin Dells. Low commodity prices and profit margins for growers are real issues that need to be brought to the forefront.


s Paid Here, Stay ium He em r Pr




Engaging fellow farmers from across potato and vegetable growing regions, and having open, honest discussions about the issues at hand, discovering common ground and seeking solutions leaves participants feeling a sense of communal involvement and revitalization. Only good can come from such

Above: A visit to the Hancock Agricultural Research Station and the onsite Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Storage Research Facility was part of the final-day tours during the PMANA Conference. Troy Fishler, front-left in red shirt, manager of the Storage Research Facility, welcomed PMANA Conference attendees.

dynamic meetings as that of the PMANA Conference in the Wisconsin Dells this past July.


To Kee ng. p Wisconsin Stro

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Now News Wisconsin Passes Late Blight & Certified Seed Potato Laws New laws protect growers and help ensure clean, healthy potatoes and plants Congratulations to everyone in the Wisconsin potato industry who worked to get SB 20 (regarding late

blight), and SB 23 (regarding certified seed potatoes), passed this session. Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable

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On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, Gov. Scott Walker signed those bills into law as 2017 WI Act 45 (late blight) and 2017 WI Act 46 (certified seed potatoes.) Senate Bill 20 requires that the treatment of late blight of potatoes, when ordered by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), must be completed within 24 hours of the order’s issuance, and that the destruction of the plants due to late blight of potatoes, when ordered by DATCP, must be completed within 72


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Growers Association Executive Director Tamas Houlihan testified in favor of these bills, along with potato growers J.D. Schroeder and Steve Diercks, University of Wisconsin Plant Pathologist Dr. Amanda Gevens and Alex Crockford of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program.

Above: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs SB 23, requiring the planting of certified seed potatoes, into law on August 2, 2017. WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan (second from left) testified in favor of two bills signed by Gov. Walker, along with potato growers J.D. Schroeder (far right) and Steve Diercks (fifth from left), University of Wisconsin Plant Pathologist Dr. Amanda Gevens (third from left) and Alex Crockford (left), director of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program.

hours of the order’s issuance.

on August 4, 2017.

Authored by Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield), the bill passed the Senate on a voice vote and was concurred by the Assembly on a voice vote. It is Act 45. This Act took effect

Senate Bill 23 requires seed potato growers planting five or more acres in a calendar year to use seed potatoes certified by the University of Wisconsin-Madison or from an equivalent program in another state.

Authored by Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield), the bill passed the Senate on a voice vote and was concurred by the Assembly on a voice vote. It is Act 46. This Act takes effect on January 1, 2018.

Potato Crop Update

is resistant to mefenoxam/metalaxyl fungicides (ie: Ridomil).

Late blight confirmed in Portage County commercial potatoes

US-23 is an A1 mating type, is aggressive on both potato and tomato and is generally sensitive to Ridomil fungicides.

By Amanda J. Gevens, UW-Madison Extension vegetable pathologist, associate professor Late blight was confirmed in commercial potatoes on August 14 in Portage County, Wisconsin. The disease was detected in a few fields at low-to-moderate levels. Symptoms were primarily on upper foliage and did not suggest a seedborne source of inoculum.

The genotype of the late blight pathogen in the Portage County fields is US-8. This genotype was in central Wisconsin potatoes during 2013 and 2014, but has not been detected since that time. As a reminder, US-8 tends to prefer potato hosts over tomato, is of the A2 mating type and

I included photos of the symptoms, as they were seen on August 15, to aid other growers in their field observations. From afar, the fields look green and healthy. Walking the fields with a careful eye, though, particularly in areas in which fungicides may be limited, is critical in finding symptoms early, and then continued on pg. 24

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Now News. . . continued from pg. 23

most effectively adjust fungicide selection and timing to best manage this destructive disease. Symptoms included brown, circular lesions with pale-green or olive-color edges and white, fuzzy pathogen sporulation, especially on leaf undersides and on shaded petioles. Lesions appeared somewhat dry and did not have the characteristic wet or oily appearance that late blight symptoms under very wet conditions can have. NO “HOT SPOT” It is particularly challenging to identify a sole source of initial inoculum in situations such as this. I did not see an apparent “hot spot,” which could be called out as the source. Rather symptoms appeared as the result of an aerial spore dispersal event, likely five to seven days prior, based on the status of the lesions. You will note from the photos that fungicides were present on the foliage, and fungicides have been applied routinely in this and other affected fields. Fungicide selections have been “Cadillac,” with use of multiple modes of action including systemics, antisporulants and curatives, all tank mixed with a base protectant, on a weekly schedule. Areas of greatest infection were

vine killed to limit sporulation. Tightened fungicide schedules and additional modes of action are being implemented. Fungicides provide strong protection against late blight, but they are not perfect. Varieties of potato (and tomato) with high susceptibility to late blight are especially challenging to manage when disease pressure (high inoculum and ideal weather

Above: Late blight symptoms are evident on potato plants, including brown, circular lesions with pale-green or olive-color edges and white, fuzzy pathogen sporulation, especially on leaf undersides and on shaded petioles.

conditions favoring infection) is high. In some cases, early vine kill and harvest may be a good option to limit risk. Wisconsin commercial conventional fungicides for potato late blight

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control can be found at www. pdf/2017/Potato%20Late%20 Blight%20Fungicides%202017.pdf. Previous confirmations were on tomato in Dane County, on August 7, from a commercial field. And, we had confirmed late blight on tomato in Waukesha and Pierce Counties in Wisconsin (all US-23 genotype).

well with use of phenylamide (i.e. Ridomil) fungicides. However, there are isolates of the US-23 type that have been shown to be resistant to phenylamides. We will be testing the Wisconsincollected isolates for this characteristic to better understand the epidemic and its management.

TOMATO IS GENOTYPE US-23 In fact, all Wisconsin tomato late blight has been genotyped as US23. This has been the predominant genotype in Wisconsin and across the country in recent years.

Please continue to be vigilant in treating and scouting for late blight. Our weather conditions across much of the state have been very favorable for disease and on susceptible varieties, and management can be very challenging.

US-23 can still generally be managed

Infection can be latent for a few

days before symptoms develop. We welcome any samples if you question a diagnosis or would like affirmation or genotyping. Tomato and potato late blight samples can be submitted free of charge to the University of Wisconsin Extension Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic (PDDC) or directly to my Potato & Vegetable Pathology program. We will confirm presence of late blight (or other diagnosis). If it is late blight, we will determine pathogen genotype or strain type. PDDC in Russell Labs, Dr. Brian Hudelson, UW-Madison campus: Potato & Vegetable Pathology, Dr. Amanda Gevens, UW-Madison campus: http://www.plantpath.wisc. edu/wivegdis/.

More than $1 million paid since January, and $2.5 million expected by year’s end Rural Mutual Insurance Co. (RMIC) has delivered more than $1 million of its inaugural Farm Dividend program since January 2017. The company expects to pay out about $2.5 million by the end of the year. So far, more than 3,000 qualified farm policyholders have received their checks. “Rural Mutual has strong roots in the farming community, and premiums paid here stay here in Wisconsin,” says Peter Pelizza, executive vice president and CEO of Rural Mutual. “We’re happy to be in a position to give back to our loyal customers.” The company’s board of directors approved the Farm Dividend program one year earlier than planned due to strong financial success. Through the program, a five percent dividend payment is made to qualifying Rural Mutual farm

policyholders. Each qualifying policyholder will receive a dividend no matter his or her loss experience. The dividend program is one of many ways Rural Mutual, which writes the most farm insurance policies in Wisconsin, serves the agriculture community. For more information on Rural Mutual Insurance’s Farm Dividend program, please contact a Rural Mutual agent near you.  


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For more information about continued on pg.the 26 farm d how you may qualify, call 877-219-9550 Rural Mutual agent.

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BC�T September 25

Now News. . . continued from pg. 25

Dow and DuPont Complete Historic Merger Combined, two chemical companies surpass BASF SE as world’s largest When the two largest chemical makers in the United States—Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co.— merge, it truly is historic. Officials from the companies confirmed that all necessary “regulatory approvals and clearances have been received.” The company resulting from the merger boasts a market capitalization of approximately $130-$150 billion and is to be known as DowDuPont. It will surpass BASF SE as the world’s largest chemical operation. According to a Dow news release, the deal was completed after the stock market closed on Aug. 31, and shares of DowDuPont Inc. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Sept.

1, under the stock ticker symbol “DWDP.” Within 18 months of closing the DowDuPont deal, officials say the combined company will be split into three independently and publicly traded spin-offs focused on agriculture, specialty products and

material science. While the material science company will be headquartered in Midland, Michigan, and will feature Dow in the company’s name, the other two companies are to be based in Wilmington, Delaware. continued on pg. 28

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CEO Daniel Mueller. He thanked first and foremost the region’s customers, noting the impressive way in which they have taken on innovation in the area. “It’s inspiring to us as a company and pushes us, and without you, we wouldn’t have been able to have dedicated ourselves to this area like we are today,” Mueller remarked. “We also want to thank the city, giving us a lot of help throughout this process, and MH Construction because this is a pretty impressive building and they have done a quality job the whole way through. Again, we feel very welcome to this area and we thank everyone for being here today,” he added. Above: Volm’s new distribution facility houses warehouse space for inventory, LENO manufacturing equipment, an equipment and parts area and large office space for the growing business. The open house event was attended by Volm stakeholders and management, customers, city officials, building and project contractors, staff visiting from other Volm locations and guests who played a role in the project.

BUSINESS COMMUNITY Those officiating the ceremony along with Mueller were Volm’s Chairman of the Board Alan Mueller and City of Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins, who welcomed Volm to the business community. The open house event was attended by Volm stakeholders and management, customers, city officials, building and project contractors, staff visiting from other Volm locations and guests who played a role in the project. Following the ceremony, Vice President of Sales & Marketing Matt

Alexander added, “It’s important that our customers know our level of commitment in providing them with the level of service they deserve.” “For our customers to be here today celebrating this event with us was important to all of us at Volm,” Alexander assured. “We are committed to their success, and through this investment, are able to show them that Volm is here to stay.” The new distribution facility houses warehouse space for inventory, LENO manufacturing equipment, an equipment and parts area and

large office space for the growing business. For more on Volm Companies and company news, visit or follow them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Volm Companies, Inc., headquartered in Antigo, Wisconsin, has been providing the produce industry with the latest generation packaging equipment and materials for over 60 years. Efforts include staying in touch with the trends and needs of the grower and fresh produce packer, such as traceability, automation, productivity and sustainability. As a single source supplier, Volm offers complete expert packaging, equipment and facility design consulting services, from package design and graphic development to full-line equipment integration.

BC�T September 29

Research Stations Have Their Field Days Industry and public enjoy access to Hancock and Antigo stations, fields, researchers, staff and facilities By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater The relationship between University of Wisconsin Extension researchers and area potato and vegetable growers is the nationwide envy of the industry. Some of the brightest minds in agricultural sciences work diligently for Wisconsin growers.

There’s little doubt the seamless relationship is one reason why the ag research station field days across the state are anticipated, well-attended events. The Hancock Agricultural Research Station (HARS) and Antigo Field Days

were no exception. Held on July 20 and 27, respectively, the field days were open to the public and presented fantastic opportunities for people to interact and network with researchers, growers and associated industry professionals. When it opened in 1916, the Hancock station became the university’s fourth experimental farm. Establishing the station was part of a university effort, mandated by the state legislature, to create a network of research farms “located on representative soil types that are materially different than that of Madison.” From the beginning, there was strong community support for the station, with people actively searching for solutions to the unique challenges associated with farming in the Central Sands. That quest continues to this day. The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) supports University of Wisconsin Above: An aerial drone image shows RPE Senior Agronomist and SpudPro Committee Chairman Mike Copas speaking about research trials to wagonloads of visitors during the Antigo Field Day at the Langlade County Agricultural Research Station, July 27. Photo courtesy of Cameron Berg, Unmanned Systems, Inc.

30 BC�T September

(UW) potato researchers, the ag research stations and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Storage Research Facility at HARS. In their opening remarks, Felix Navarro, superintendent of HARS, and Dwight Mueller, who’s retiring in the fall as director of the UW Ag Research Station (ARS) network, recognized the WPVGA for its financial and committee member support. STORAGE FACILITY DONATION Troy Fishler, storage facility manager, further thanked the WPVGA for committing to an annual $25,000 donation to upgrade and maintain the Vegetable Storage Research Facility. Fishler detailed a new macrobin storage program his team is undertaking to minimize rot and store Left: The HARS Field Day, July 20, provided a nice opportunity to hear an update from Jeff Endelman, assistant professor of horticulture at UW-Madison, on the potato breeding program and new varieties. Right: Shelley Jansky, a research geneticist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, speaks at the Hancock Ag Research Station (HARS) Field Day about breeding potato hybrids. She says reinventing the potato as a hybrid crop, creating inbred lines and crossing them can help fix and stress good traits and “get rid of genetic junk.”

small lots of potatoes in a variety of environments, ship them for planting and do pilot testing on new varieties. He then introduced Yi Wang, an assistant professor who left the University of Idaho to join the UW-

Madison Department of Horticulture as an assistant professor in the spring of the year. Her research focus is on potato and vegetable sustainable production, and specifically on new irrigation technologies. continued on pg. 32

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Field Days. . . continued from pg. 31

UW Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist Amanda Gevens gave an update on disease control, including silver scurf, pink rot, late blight and black dot, while potatoes are in storage. Portage County Ag Agent Ken Schroeder acted as the master of ceremonies during wagon rides out to the potato and vegetable fields where UW scientists presented and explained current research projects. Topics included vegetable insect resistance to pesticides; new varieties of potatoes; the use of spectrometry and remote sensing in potato research; weed management and vine desiccation; breeding potato hybrids; the effect of the environment on potato quality; a U.S. Potato Genebank update; calcium research; nitrogen management; a potato breeding program update and disease management. WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan, Chancellor of UWExtension Colleges Cathy Sandeen and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Associate Dean Bill Barker gave closing remarks. The information-packed field day was capped off with lunch sponsored by 32 BC�T September

the WPVGA Associate Division and provided by Swine and Dine, with corn delivered from Flyte Family Farms of Coloma. ANTIGO FIELD DAY Operated with funding and support from the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board, Langlade County and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the Langlade County Agricultural Research Station hosted the 2017 Antigo Field Day on July 27. Stephen Zimmerman, Langlade County UW-Extension ag agent, educator and acting director of the research station, welcomed the gathered crowd and introduced special guests Art Lersch, new department head of the Langlade

County UW-Extension, and Dan Marzu, an ag educator in Lincoln and Langlade Counties. WPVGA Associate Division Vice Above: Potato and vegetable test plots stretch to the horizon at HARS, as viewed from the wagon on a tour of the grounds during the field day on July 20. Left: During the Antigo Field Day, July 27, Stephen Zimmerman, acting director of the Langlade County Ag Research Station (left), accepted a check in the amount of $1,500 from WPVGA Associate Division Vice President Casey Kedrowski (right) in support of the research farm. Right: Dressed in her signature red Wisconsin Badgers shirt, Yi Wang, who left the University of Idaho to join the UW-Madison Department of Horticulture as an assistant professor, explains to the Antigo Field Day crowd that her research focus is on potato and vegetable sustainable production, and specifically on new irrigation technologies.

President Casey Kedrowski presented a check in the amount of $1,500 on behalf of the Associate Division to Zimmerman and the Langlade County Ag Research Station to support the research farm. Zimmerman thanked Kedrowski, as well as Insight FS for providing fertilizer to the farm for research and the refreshments for the field day, Quinlan’s Equipment and Riesterer & Schnell for tractors, and Alex

Crockford, program director of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program and his team for all their hard work and research.

Left: Cathy Schommer, secretary of the WPVGA Associate Division (right), and Tom Grall of Jay-Mar (second from right) serve lunch to HARS Field Day attendees. The Associate Division sponsored the lunch provided by Swine and Dine.

The wagons were rounded up, loaded and pulled off to the fields for presentations by researchers Russ Groves (UW Entomology), Copas (RPE and SpudPro), Navarro (HARS), Gevens (UW Plant Pathology), Kevin Gallenberg (AgSource) and Wang (UW Horticulture).

RIght: The HARS Field Day had special guests from Poland who reportedly handle 70 percent of the country’s potato packaging. They are, from left to right, Jakub Jazdon, Radowstaw Tyc and Jerzy Wrobel.

Topics included SA (systemic acquired resistance) inducers to limit Potato continued on pg. 34

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BC�T September 33

Field Days. . . continued from pg. 33

Virus Y infection; research trials; new potato variety options; assessment of common scab control materials in potato; Wisconsin potato disease updates; a phosphorus utilization trial; and an introduction to Wang, welcoming her to the UW Department of Horticulture. Food and refreshments (what would a field day be without them?) were provided by Insight FS and served at City Park East in Antigo, a fitting end to a nice, insightful day at the Langlade County Agricultural Research Station. Top Left: Alex Crockford, program director of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program (right), poses with Francis Gilson (left), a retired county ag agent, at the Antigo Field Day. Bottom: RPE Senior Agronomist and SpudPro Committee Chairman Mike Copas speaks about seed trials, seed physiology, fertility management, tissue testing, whole seed trials, tuber and stem density, tuber size, plant development and emergence to wagonloads of visitors during the Antigo Field Day.

34 BC�T September

Above: Felix Navarro, HARS superintendent and research manager, gave a Wisconsin potato variety trial update at the 2017 Antigo Field Day on July 27.

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By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions & Consumer Education

NHL’s Joe Pavelski Makes Commercial with WPVGA Tuesday, August 1, was a day full of fun, excitement, hard work and collaboration. It was a day when about two dozen people worked with National Hockey League (NHL) star (for the San Jose Sharks) and Plover, Wisconsin native Joe Pavelski on a commercial and photo shoot that are sure to draw attention to America’s favorite vegetable in the Badger State and Midwest.

notices a coach and young hockey team coming into the rink for practice.

The commercial, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association’s most extensive to date, is a result of the promotions committee’s sponsorship with Mad Dog and Merrill, which includes the production of a commercial among other terms.

After sharing with the group that his secret to success is hard work and nutrition from eating Wisconsin potatoes, yet another player acts doubtful that it’s possible.

The commercial begins with Pavelski doing drills on the ice when he 36 BC�T September

As he skates up to the team, one of the players recognizes him and says Pavelski’s name in awe. At that point, the coach lists Joe’s many credentials and accomplishments as a hockey player, to which another player asks Pavelski how he got so good.

DINNER TABLE SCENE At this point, Pavelski recalls a memory of sitting at a dinner table with his family, and a young girl asking Grandpa to pass the potatoes.

Pavelski immediately looks up from what he’s doing and says, “I got this!” He raises his hockey stick and pulls the bowl of potatoes towards the young girl, clearing every dish and glass in its way. Top: NHL San Jose Sharks player and Plover, Wisconsin native Joe Pavelski poses during the photo shoot with the WPVGA on Tuesday, August 1, at the Ice Hawks Arena in Stevens Point. Above: San Jose Sharks hockey player Joe Pavelski poses at a table setting, complete with Wisconsin potatoes on his plate, during a photo shoot with John Hartman at Clancey’s Stone Lion in Custer.

What he considers normal behavior has his family in awe and shock that he would do such a thing. Pavelski looks up from his plate and has a difficult time comprehending why the room has gone quiet. The commercial ends with Pavelski skating up to a goal saying, “Healthy and delicious Wisconsin potatoes,” as a final way of communicating the benefits potatoes provide in powering performance, health and nutrition, especially for active lifestyles pre- and post-activity. It’s a message that fits in with Potatoes USA and the organization’s focus to stress the importance of potatoes for professional athletes, aspiring athletes and anyone who incorporates physical activity of some sort into their daily life. It’s a message that’s taking potato nutrition to new heights and keeping America’s favorite vegetable at the center of people’s plates. continued on pg. 38 Top: A humorous table scene, shot on location at Clancey’s Stone Lion, taking place in the commercial was surprisingly completed in one take. Actors and actresses playing Pavelski’s family sat with the NHL hockey player during his “walk down memory lane” scene on August 1. Seated to Pavelski’s left, and then clockwise around the table, are Shelby Brooks, Casey Kedrowski, Reegan Kedrowski (barely shown at Kedrowski’s left shoulder), Nick Somers, Shannon Finnessy, Mark Finnessy, Collin Brooks, Peyton Brooks and Dianne Somers.

Above: A humorous table scene, shot on location at Clancey’s Stone Lion, taking place in the commercial was surprisingly completed in one take. Actors and actresses playing Pavelski’s family sat with the NHL hockey player during his “walk down memory lane” scene on August 1. Seated to Pavelski’s left, and then clockwise around the table, are Shelby Brooks, Casey Kedrowski, Reegan Kedrowski (barely shown at Kedrowski’s left shoulder), Nick Somers, Shannon Finnessy, Mark Finnessy, Collin Brooks, Peyton Brooks and Dianne Somers.

Bottom: A view on the camera shows the table scene as it was about to occur on August 1 at Clancey’s Stone Lion in Custer.

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Alsum-Randall Elected to Second Term on Potatoes USA Congratulations to Heidi AlsumRandall of Alsum Farms, who has been re-elected to the Potatoes USA Board representing Wisconsin for her second three-year term. The term begins in March 2018 and runs through March 2021. Alsum-Randall currently serves on the Administrative Domestic Marketing Committee for Potatoes USA. Locally, she serves as the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board President and is active on the WPVGA Promotions Committee. As a Potatoes USA representative of Wisconsin, Randall, along with the state’s four other reps, is responsible

for being the intermediary between the Northcentral region and Potatoes USA. Each elected board member for Potatoes USA must: • Attend the Board’s Annual Meeting, held in March, for each year of the three-year term, 2018-2021 • Be active in the potato-growing community • Be visible in community work, participate in local government, cultural or business affairs— someone who is a leader • Be willing to represent and communicate with his/her

constituents on a regular basis • Take the time to actively support Potatoes USA programs in his/her area • Speak to grower groups, newspaper reporters and interested parties about Potatoes USA programs, relating the value of the Board to all growers, how the 3-centper-hundredweight assessment is invested and ask for input from those interested in becoming active in the promotion of potatoes Following is the list of current Wisconsin Potatoes USA Representatives: Mark Finnessy, Okray Family Farms (Began 2nd term 2017-2020) Eric Schroeder, Schroeder Bros. Farms (Began 2nd term 2017-2020) Keith Wolter, Hyland Lakes Spuds (Began 1st term 2017-2020) Erin Baginski, Baginski Farms (Began 1st term 2017-2020) Heidi Alsum-Randall, Alsum Farms (Re-elected for 2nd term 2018-2021)

38 BC�T September

Retailers: Enter Display Contest and Win! The WPVGA Promotions Committee is officially conducting a Wisconsin Potatoes Display Contest for the second year in a row, and planning has already begun! Once again, the contest will be during Wisconsin’s Potatopalooza month in October 2017. The retail store with the best Wisconsin potatoes display will win a 2016 Cub Cadet UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle), complete with a dump box and trailer that all showcase the Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes logo. Displays must be up during the month of October 2017, and the winner will be selected in November. For additional contest details, visit: http:// Offering an item like a UTV as the grand prize provides good public relations opportunities over a long period of time. For the 2016 contest, Trig’s in Rhinelander was the firstplace winner of a 2015 Fat Bob Harley-Davidson. Trig’s in Rhinelander received a significant amount of attention from media and customers upon debuting its display, including a visit by the Spudmobile when the Harley was presented to the store, as well as

during the silent auction held for the bike, and following the auction when Trig’s donated the proceeds to local charities. The WPVGA looks forward to a similar outcome upon presenting this year’s winner with a UTV. The Cub Cadet’s first public appearance promoting the contest was at the Wisconsin Grocers Association Golf Outing in Elkhorn on June 14. Other events featuring the UTV and promoting the contest are forthcoming. Above: The WPVGA Promotions Committee presented Trig’s in Rhinelander with the 2015 Fat Bob Harley-Davidson in November 2016, as the store was the first-place winner of the firstever 2016 Wisconsin Potatoes Display Contest. Standing behind the Harley, from left to right, are: Doug Foemmel, WPVGA Spudmobile assistant; Paula Houlihan, president of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary; Tamas Houlihan, WPVGA executive director; Chris Brooks, WPVGA Promotions Committee chairman; Jim Zdroik, WPVGA coordinator of community relations; Mark Maloney, branch manager at Russ Davis Wholesale; Ryan Briske , commodity buyer, Russ Davis Wholesale; Andy White, sales, Russ Davis Wholesale; Scott Meinhardt, retail development, Russ Davis Wholesale; Dana Rady, WPVGA director of promotions; Ken Cloutier, executive vice president and CFO of Trig’s; and Bob Jaskolski, president of Trig’s. Don Theisen, store director of Trig’s in Rhinelander, sits proudly on the Harley.

Visit retail for contest details/criteria. Encourage your retail customers to participate in Wisconsin’s contest today!

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Badger Beat

Reduce Darkening of Chips and Fries Frequent monitoring of color and tuber sugars is the only way to catch the problem early By Paul Bethke, U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture

It happens every year, with every chip and fry processing variety, without fail. At some point in the spring or summer, potatoes will begin to sweeten and fried products will go off color. This degradation of product quality is a result of senescent sweetening. Senescent sweeting is what potatoes do, and recent research has shed additional light on this process, and how we can better prepare for the inevitable. Potatoes, like people and pets and almost every other organism, pass through a series of developmental stages as they age. For potato tubers, that process begins before harvest with tuber formation, bulking and skin set, and it continues after harvest with loss of dormancy, senescent sweetening and, eventually, degeneration and death. Senescent sweetening occurs regardless of field year or storage

temperature. It is inevitable because it is part of normal tuber development. To make matters worse, senescent sweetening is irreversible. Once the process starts, chip or fry quality will continue to get worse with time. Figure 1. The potato chip in the accompanying image shows the hallmark of senescent sweetening, a dark-colored blemish that appears near the center of the chip after

prolonged storage. Before delving into senescent sweetening further, it may be useful to compare senescent sweetening to cold-induced sweetening, a process we know much more about. Cold-induced sweetening is an accumulation of tuber sucrose, glucose and fructose that is triggered by storage of potatoes at cool temperatures. Reconditioning potatoes at relatively warm temperatures for a few weeks may reduce the number or intensity of fry color defects resulting from cold-induced sweetening. PART OF TUBER DEVELOPMENT Senescent sweetening is not a response to the storage environment, but is a genetically programmed part of normal tuber development. Reconditioning potatoes that are undergoing senescent sweetening is likely to accelerate the rate at which product quality declines rather than improve product quality. Why? Potatoes age, or develop, more

40 BC�T September

quickly at warmer rather than cooler temperatures. Warming potatoes that have started to undergo senescent sweetening accelerates the aging process, leading to more tubers producing darkcolored fried products. In every potato pile, there are leaders and followers. Given enough time, every potato in a storage bin will undergo senescent sweetening, but some potatoes will do so much sooner than others. This is illustrated in the graph to the right. Atlantic, Dakota Pearl and MegaChip tubers were stored in small lots at 48 degrees Fahrenheit in the Hancock Storage Research Facility. Every two weeks from March 13 (25 weeks after harvest) until the end of July (45 weeks after harvest), we chipped samples to follow the development of senescent sweetening.

sweetening until all tubers produced TAKE THE chips with blemishes attributed

of time. The opposite is more likely to be true. Frequent monitoring of chip color and tuber sugars as described on the following pages is the only way to catch the problem early.


It was about four months from the time that we first observed

to senescent sweetening.

That observation may suggest that frequent monitoring of potato processing quality during late storage is unnecessary, because changes occur gradually over a long period

continued on pg. 42

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Badger Beat . . . continued from pg. 41

ONSET OF SWEETENING Maybe it is better to look at the data presented within the graph in a slightly different way, and note that the percentage of chips showing senescent sweetening increased from about 5 percent to 25 percent in just two weeks. Detecting the onset of senescent sweetening early is highly advantageous since it allows for product sale before blemishes become dark enough or frequent enough to risk rejection or downgrade of raw product. The graph demonstrates the development and percentage of senescent sweetening over 45 weeks in three varieties of chipping potatoes. At any fry date, tubers that began senescent sweetening earliest produced the darkest products, while those that began sweetening latest showed minor blushes of color. Dark color begins to appear near the center of the chip. As senescent sweetening continues, the dark region gets progressively larger 42 BC�T September

and darker.

and fructose contents.

This diversity of chip color is illustrated above in Figure 3.

These two sugars are produced from sucrose by the invertase enzyme in a 1:1 ratio, and in many cases, glucose and fructose remain at approximately equal concentrations in stored potatoes.

Snowden chips were fried at the end of May. A few chips were still blemish free and had excellent chip color, for example the chip in the lower left corner of Figure 3. That chip came from a potato that had not begun senescent sweetening. Other chips show a wide range of chip color intensity, from a light blush near the middle of the chip, for example the rightmost chip in the second row, to a dark brown patch that covers almost the entire chip. NOT INITIATED UNIFORMLY Senescent sweetening is not initiated uniformly, as illustrated by these Snowden chips prepared in May. The hole in the center of each chip is where we removed samples for sugar analysis. Tuber glucose and fructose contents are very important. The darkening of chips and fries that occurs once potatoes have begun senescent sweetening is dependent, to a large degree, on tuber glucose

Recent findings from our research group have shown that approximately 80-90 percent of fried potato chips had visual darkening from senescent sweetening when tuber glucose during late storage was approximately 0.1 mg g-1 fresh weight. Virtually all chips in that study had darkening when tuber glucose reached 0.20-0.25 mg g-1 fresh weight. The glucose value of 0.1 mg g-1 fresh weight is not far from the target value for high-quality chips of 0.035 mg g-1 fresh weight. This observation indicates why vigilant monitoring of glucose during the late storage season is beneficial. And though the margin for error is rather slim, biotechnology might help. It has become clear over the past decade that biotechnology has the

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potential to improve the processing quality of potatoes by decreasing the content of tuber glucose and fructose. We and others have shown that potatoes can be made less susceptible to cold-induced sweetening and the development of sugar end defects when biotechnology approaches are used to decrease the activity of the invertase enzyme.

sucrose is followed about one week later by higher amounts of glucose and fructose. This delay between a change in sucrose and subsequent changes in glucose and fructose has been used successfully for many years to predict undesirable trends in processing quality. continued on pg. 44

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CAN’T PREVENT SWEETENING Our recent data also shows that this same approach can delay, but not prevent, senescent sweetening in chipping potatoes. An example of the potential for improvement is shown above in Figure 4. In this case, the chips in the top two rows were made from the Wisconsin variety MegaChip and those in the bottom two rows from a lowinvertase version of MegaChip. The biotech line has a clear reduction in the onset of senescent sweetening compared to the parental line. Biotech lines with reduced vacuolar invertase activity delay onset and progression of senescent sweetening. Sucrose monitoring remains the best way to prepare. Sucrose is the substrate for the invertase enzyme, and in general, an uptick in tuber

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Badger Beat . . . continued from pg. 43

An increase in sucrose is a good indicator that an increase in glucose and fructose, and an increase in product darkening, will follow. What has not been widely appreciated is that sucrose itself contributes to fried product darkening. Sucrose does not participate directly in the chemical reactions that give rise to dark-colored pigments during

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that remain undiscovered, but there is little doubt that it does happen during cooking. Thus, in the time it takes to fry a potato chip, some of the sucrose present in the raw product is converted to glucose and fructose, and these sugars enter the chemical reactions that form dark pigments. There are no hard and fast rules for how much glucose is produced from sucrose during cooking. I’m using a guestimate that says that 1 mg g-1 fresh weight of sucrose represents a glucose equivalent of 0.025-0.05 mg g-1 fresh weight glucose. Or to put it another way, glucose is 20-40 times more effective at producing dark chips than sucrose. I’ll emphasize that this is an estimate that I find useful. It is based on our own research and on a few published studies, but it is likely that it doesn’t apply in all cases. The effect of sucrose on dark product formation may have special relevance for storage of biotech lines with low invertase activity. In those lines, sucrose utilization is reduced and tuber sucrose can accumulate until the concentration is quite high. In our research, we have commonly observed sucrose in the range of 2-4 mg g-1 fresh weight for low-invertase lines of potato stored at 48 degrees. If we apply my guesstimated rule of thumb to a biotech potato line having a tuber sucrose content of 4 mg g-1 fresh weight, we estimate that the sucrose contribution to chip darkening is equivalent to 0.1-0.2 mg g-1 fresh weight glucose. It is not surprising that making chips from high sucrose tubers is a challenge.

The Little Potato Company Officially Opens Processing Facility Madison-area food processing and distribution plant employs 100 local potato lovers By Mary Callen, The Little Potato Company

The grand opening celebration included a brief presentation by The Little Potato Company CEO and Co-Founder Angela Santiago, who shared the history of the company. continued on pg. 46

BC�T September 45

The LIttle Potato Company . . . continued from pg. 45

The Little Potato Company celebrated the grand opening of its new U.S. processing facility in DeForest, Wisconsin, near Madison, on July 27, 2017. Based in Alberta, Canada, the company’s first U.S. facility employs 100 local, passionate potato lovers and represents over a $20 million investment. The processing plant will allow The Little Potato Company, which was founded just over 20 years ago, to ensure and expand the availability of its popular and unique Creamer potatoes throughout the country. The celebration included not only a brief presentation by CEO and Co-Founder Angela Santiago, who shared the history of the company, but also a ribbon cutting and a tour of the state-of-the art production facility. Potatoes are the most frequently eaten vegetable in the United States, and The Little Potato Company is a leader in unique, specialty Creamers, including its exclusive Baby Boomer, Blushing Belle, Something Blue and Terrific Trio varieties. 46 BC�T September

“We are absolutely delighted to formally open this facility here in DeForest, joined by our new employee team, friends and neighbors,” Santiago said.

Above: Panoramic and side views of The Little Potato Company processing facility give perspective as to its size—132,730 square feet, including 11,730 square feet of office space and 121,000 square feet of cooler, dry warehouse and processing space. Below: The Little Potato Company’s Creamer varieties include Baby Boomer, Blushing Belle, Something Blue and Terrific Trio, and its Little Charmers brand is made up of yellow, red and variety packs of potatoes.

“Everyone, everywhere deserves to have healthy, great food, and this opening is critical in working toward that purpose,” she added. “We are

looking forward to settling in and being part of this friendly, caring community.” CREAMERS CREATE DEMAND The Little Potato Company’s Creamers are carried by leading retailers and grocers across the United States. The company expects continued growth in response to increasing demand for its Creamers, and anticipates adding about 30 more people to its team by the end of 2017. “We’ve been very fortunate to find exceptional and passionate local people to help us prepare for and successfully open and operate this

new facility,” said Susan Vann, vice president of human resources. “It’s very important to us that everyone here cares about doing exceptional work with their colleagues, has a good time while doing good things and feels like part of our extended family,” Vann stressed. The company is also working with several local Wisconsin potato growers to ensure a steady supply of fresh, nutritious and delicious Creamer potatoes from its new 132,730-square-foot facility.

rich soil and dedicated farmers, and for helping to feed families across America. We’ve been working with some of the best growers to plant, nurture and harvest our specialty Creamers, and we’re grateful to have found such exceptional caring partners,” said Sanford Gleddie, vice president of Agriculture and Business Development. BUILDING CONSTRUCTION “We’d also like to thank our construction and operational partners for helping us to create this state-ofthe-art facility,” Gleddie concluded.

“Wisconsin is well-known for its

continued on pg. 48

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The Little Potato Company. . . continued from pg. 47

Ryan Companies U.S., Inc., constructed the processing facility from steel beams and columns, and insulated precast concrete wall panels. The food processing and distribution facility includes 11,730 square feet of office space and 121,000 square feet of cooler, dry warehouse and processing space.

“We are excited to help facilitate The Little Potato Company’s plans to expand and grow its U.S. operations,” said Ryan Marks, managing director of Ryan Companies. “At the same time, it is also very satisfying to be part of a project that is so quickly making an impact on this community through business expansion and job creation.”

The cooler space is expandable to serve the company’s projected growth.

Additional features of the project include 30-foot clear ceiling heights in the warehouse area, 12 dock doors,

Above: The Little Potato Company is known for its small, specialty potatoes, which are sold prewashed, can be cooked in less than five minutes, and are coveted by foodies and chefs alike. Here they’re shown being sized, sorted and washed.

two overhead drive-in doors and 130 stalls for employee parking. In addition to Ryan Companies, the project employed the services of Eppstein Uhen Architects. Project team representatives from Ryan Companies included Marks as managing director, Nick Kaminski, team leader, and Steve Hough, project manager. The Little Potato Company maintains distribution centers and an extensive grower network throughout the United States and Canada to serve customers across these markets. About The Little Potato Company The Little Potato Company passionately focuses only on little Creamer potatoes. Creamers are highly nutritious, fully mature and naturally delicious, small specialty potatoes coveted by foodies and chefs alike. The exclusive and colorful Creamer varieties are available in produce sections across the U.S. and Canada. These popular little Creamers are sold pre-washed and can be cooked in less than five minutes. They’re also available in convenient Oven/Grill and Microwave Ready packs combining Creamers, tasty seasoning mix and specialty trays for even easier preparation and a delicious dining experience. The family-owned company celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016.

48 BC�T September

7 - 31, 2018




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New Products Box Filler Loads Multiple Crates Simultaneously New Miedema MB 111 offers high-capacity, non-stop automatic box filling When filling boxes of potatoes, everything revolves around product handling and capacity. Therefore, Miedema developed box fillers that are both efficient and gentle on product, as well as focused on the user. With the fully automatic, innovative MB 111 box filler, you achieve unparalleled filling capacity of +/100 tons per hour, with a significant

reduction of forklift movements per cycle. The boxes are filled in three layers by lowering the box and shifting the wide buffer belt back and forth to eliminate product separation in the box. The end of the buffer belt is fitted with a stopper flat that closes automatically when the box is full. While the buffer belt is filled, a new box is placed in the filling position.

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This way the same capacity is maintained and an operator can fill up to 80 boxes per hour. Able to fill a single box in a minute and a half and handle six boxes per cycle, the MB 111 stacks two boxes and takes two away, eliminating up to 16 forklift movements. The product flow can be supplied from three sides, making the utmost use of any space. The box filler has a load cell weighing system as a standard feature that automatically accounts for the tare of the empty box and stops at set weight. At the same time, it registers each box in batches and stores the data in an Excel report for traceability. The MB 111 HMI operator panel uses icons, making operating it simple and seamless. All the machines in the series are equipped with StartControl.

Operation of the MB 111 Box Filler: • Supply of up to three boxes • Unstacking of the boxes • Box clamp tilts second box (or multiple boxes) up • T ransport of the box to be filled to the plateau •M  eanwhile the buffer belt is filled •B  ox tips and is filled • T ransport of the full box to the stacking unit • S tacking of up to two boxes •D  ischarge of the full boxes •P  roduct supply possible from three sides The MB is a master machine (at the end of the line) that can start and stop the entire line. One notable aspect is the low energy consumption of the box fillers. This makes the MB series exceptionally economical, and

with three sizes, Miedema offers a solution for every customer.

reduces its speed, thus increasing the total capacity per hour.

Via the optional Buffer Control Cable, the ME elevator belt is controlled to enable the conveyor belt to provide partial buffering. The conveyor belt

For more information on the Miedema MB 111 box filler, or to purchase yours, contact T.I.P., Inc., Steve Tatro, 1619 County Rd. K, Custer, WI 54423, phone: 715-592-4650,,

Modine Showcases Greenhouse Heating Technology Cutting-edge HVAC manufacturer offers gas-fired, high-efficiency greenhouse heaters Modine Manufacturing Company, a technology leader in the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) industry, showcased its latest HVAC solutions for the greenhouse industry at the 2017 Cultivate Show, the premier national event for horticulture professionals, July 15-18, at the Greater Columbus (Ohio) Convention Center. “We offer a variety of innovative, high-efficiency heaters for greenhouse cultivation and management,” says Richard Boothman, director of North American sales for Modine. “We invite anyone who is interested in the

latest advancements in greenhouse heating technology to talk with us.” Modine showcased two commercial gas-fired unit heater solutions, the Effinity™ (PTC/BTC) Unit Heater and the Low Profile Stainless Steel Power Vented (PTP) Unit Heater. “Greenhouses can be harsh and corrosive environments for equipment like greenhouse heaters,” Boothman explains. “The highefficiency greenhouse heaters we offer fit any environment and application to help you maintain a remarkably even and uniform temperature at bench or ground level, and can help you eliminate

mold and fungal diseases in crops.” In addition, Modine offers its latest geothermal unit, the GeoSync™ Water-to-Air Geothermal Heat Pump, which provides a high-efficiency, eco-friendly, forced-air heating and cooling solution. For more information about Modine HVAC, visit BC�T September 51

NPC News

Mexican Court Ruling Ignores Science Ruling continues ban on Mexico’s importation of fresh U.S. potatoes The recent ruling by a district court judge in Los Mochis, Mexico to continue the ban on U.S. potatoes in most of the country ignores science and directly threatens the role of the Mexican plant health regulatory authority, SAGARPA. The ruling contradicts the conclusions of SAGARPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and third-party experts that have reviewed the potential impact of the importation of fresh potatoes from the United States to Mexico. SAGARPA has completed and published a pest risk assessment that demonstrates that any risk from the entry of U.S. fresh potatoes can be safely mitigated. Similar analysis by a panel of third-party experts facilitated by the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) reached a similar conclusion.  The ruling, while of direct relevance to potato trade, could also have a significant impact on trade in a variety of plant and animal products by undermining the regulatory authority of government plant health authorities in Mexico. The ruling is expected to be appealed by parties with a direct interest in the case, including SAGARPA. The U.S. August 2017

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potato industry is confident that a more thorough review of the facts of this case and the acknowledgement of established phytosanitary trade practices by the judicial system in Mexico will alter the outcome of this decision. Based on the initial review by our legal team, the ruling will not limit the movement of U.S. potatoes into the 26-killometer zone along the border. Potato growers in the United States have been supplying Mexican consumers in this region with potatoes since Mexico and the U.S. signed a bilateral agreement in 2003. That agreement called for an expansion of access for U.S. potatoes to all of Mexico. Actions taken by SAGARPA in 2013 finally implemented the full scope of this agreement, but a

Badger Common’Tater


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52 BC�T September

challenge to those actions by Mexican potato growers has prevented all Mexican consumers from having access to U.S. potatoes. The National Potato Council (NPC) is the advocate for the economic well-being of U.S. potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental and trade issues. NPC supports the U.S. potato industry by monitoring issues affecting the strength and viability of the potato industry, influencing regulators and legislators on issues crucial to the industry's long-term success, ensuring fair market access for potatoes and potato products, and bringing the unique issues and interests of diverse growing regions in the U.S. together on a national level.

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NPC Represents Potatoes at White House Tax Meeting National Potato Council (NPC) CEO and Executive Vice President John Keeling attended an invite-only White House tax reform meeting with U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, on Tuesday, July 25. Keeling, along with a half-dozen influential ag leaders, was invited to discuss the strategy for moving a tax reform bill forward. NPC presented potato priorities and shared insight on

how those improvements to the tax code could enhance the U.S. economy. A tax reform plan is expected to start moving through Congress in the fall. According to a joint statement released by the White House on July 27, “American families are counting on us to deliver historic tax reform. And we will.” NPC has been working for months

with a coalition of agricultural organizations focused on ensuring that major reforms are included in that package. Above: Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Potato Council John Keeling (far right) speaks to U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin (far left in striped blue tie) at the White House.

Potato Grower Testifies on Importance of Trade Programs Potato grower Eric Halverson was in Washington, D.C., July 13, to speak in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee regarding the importance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export programs. Halverson is a fourth-generation farmer and CEO of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, North Dakota. U.S. potato growers see fierce foreign competition in key export markets, and continued access is vital for maintaining the economic health of the industry. The USDA Market Access Program (MAP) allows the United States to be competitive overseas through marketing and promotional activities that build commercial export markets.

per year to farm export revenue from 1977-2014. Without the existence of MAP, exports would not have returned to positive growth last year, Halverson said. Halverson testified on behalf of the National Potato Council (NPC) and United Fresh Produce Association. As the Senate committee’s work in preparation for the 2018 Farm Bill continues, NPC is actively engaged in

providing information and outlining the importance of Farm Bill programs working in concert with U.S. trade policies.

Halverson spoke about MAP’s important role in this publicprivate partnership, noting its 28to-1 return on investment. Export market development programs funded through the Farm Bill have contributed an average of $8.2 billion Above: Fourth-generation farmer and CEO of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Eric Halverson (right) spoke in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee regarding the importance of USDA export programs. BC�T September 53


DATCP Ag Secretary Ben Bracel Retires Leader of DATCP is Wisconsin’s longest-serving agriculture secretary

Wisconsin’s longest-serving agriculture secretary calls it a career. Ben Brancel, who served as the leader of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) non-consecutively for 10 of the past 20 years, announced at the agency’s monthly board meeting, Thursday, August 3, that he would retire on August 13. “It has been my pleasure to serve as secretary,” Brancel wrote in a letter to the board. “I have given this much thought about when is the right time to retire. I came to the conclusion that there always will be unfinished business to be done, but now is the time to return to my family’s farm full time in Marquette County as we plan

Above: As director of the University of WisconsinMadison Ag Research Station network, Mike Peters will be charged with the management and direction of 11 research stations across the state.

for our first ever production sale.” “My son and daughter-in-law are now the sixth generation to farm the land. My first job was a farmer, and my last

Above: Having served as the leader of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection non-consecutively for 10 of the past 20 years, Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel (far right) announced his retirement in August. Brancel is shown at a groundbreaking ceremony for The Little Potato Company in June of 2016, along with, from left to right, Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Pat and Steve Diercks of Coloma Farms, and Rod and Michelle Gumz of Gumz Muck Farms.

job will be a farmer,” he related. Brancel, who turned 67 in August, is a fifth-generation beef producer from Endeavor, where he raises Angus beef cattle on a 290-acre farm with help from his wife, Gail. The Only Authorized Product List: Dock Products Mechanical & Hydraulic Docklevers Trailer Restraints Dock Shelters & Seals (Truck & Rail) Hydraulic Dock Lifts Portable Plates Dockboards-Portable, Aluminum & Steel Platforms-Portable Mobile Yard Ramps Air Curtains (Insect/Temperature Control) Bascule Bridges

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After serving as a supervisor on the Marquette County board, as well as the local school board, he was elected to serve in the State Assembly’s 42nd district in 1987. TAPPED TO RUN DATCP Over the following decade, he would rise through the ranks and become Assembly Speaker until 1997 when then-Gov. Tommy Thompson tapped him to run the DATCP after Alan Tracy left for another job. After being replaced by former Gov. Scott McCullum in 2001, Brancel

was appointed by the George W. Bush Administration to serve as the director of the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency–a post he held until early 2009. He was then hired to serve as the part-time state relations liaison for the University of WisconsinMadison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, a position funded from donor resources.

milk this past April when several dairy plants were forced to abruptly drop many of their patrons. SPURRING BUSINESS And he took part in numerous international trade missions with the goal of spurring new business relationships with customers abroad.

Ben returned to DATCP under Gov. Scott Walker’s appointment in 2011 and has been a hands-on secretary who was instrumental in drafting and implementing major legislative policies ranging from non-pointsource pollution revisions to updating implements of husbandry standards.

In a statement, Gov. Walker called Brancel a leader who served with distinction. “His leadership and counsel on agriculture and trade issues have been invaluable to me, and I thank him for his service and dedication to the people of Wisconsin,” Walker said. “We wish Ben and his wife, Gail, all the very best as they begin this new and exciting chapter.”

He also took a personal role in helping dozens of Wisconsin dairy farmers find new buyers for their

Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said the state will be missing a dedicated public servant when

Brancel steps down. “Through his many years in public service, Ben has always understood the challenges of making laws and implementing them,” Stepp said. “I offer my appreciation for those years of service. I congratulate him and wish Ben a rewarding retirement. He has definitely earned it.” During the August meeting, Brancel thanked the governor for the privilege to serve in his cabinet and said he was grateful to get a chance to serve farmers, protect consumers and support businesses. Gov. Walker has appointed DATCP’S second-in-command to agriculture secretary on an interim basis. Walker’s office announced Friday, August 11, that DATCP Deputy Secretary Jeff Lyon will take over as interim secretary.

Suarez Joins Midwestern BioAg as Technical Agronomist Midwestern BioAg introduces Edwin Suarez as the company’s new technical agronomist. Suarez will lead Midwestern BioAg’s soil health initiatives and specialty crop program development. “Having someone of Edwin’s caliber join our team strengthens Midwestern BioAg’s leadership position in the soil health realm,” says Jim Krebsbach, vice president of sales at Midwestern BioAg. “Edwin’s agronomy expertise and experience will be beneficial to our team and, importantly, our customers.” Suarez received his bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture from EARTH University and his master’s degree in agronomy/soil science from Purdue University. His work and research experience has been focused in soil health, soil fertility and plant nutrition.

Suarez has been a consultant, research collaborator, speaker and journal reviewer in soil health, cover crops and manure management. He has diverse experience working with multiple cropping systems, including corn, soybeans, wheat, cover crops, forages and potatoes. Before joining Midwestern BioAg, Suarez worked as the lead agronomist at Sackett Potatoes in Michigan, where he promoted soil health in the chip potato industry. He is a listed expert in soil health and has worked and collaborated with multiple organizations in the field, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Tilth Laboratory,

UNEP and the Midwest Cover Crop Council. “Edwin’s passion for soil health and focus on helping producers grow healthier, more profitable crops makes him an excellent fit for our team,” says Krebsbach. Midwestern BioAg manufactures and distributes fertilizers that build soil health while increasing yields and nutritional quality of both food and forage. Its products and practices engage soil life, ensure nutrient use efficiency, build soil organic matter, improve crop resiliency and increase the long-term productivity of farmland. Founded in 1983, the Wisconsin-based company has facilities across the Midwest. BC�T September 55

Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

Hello, my fellow tater-loving friends! Let me introduce myself. My name is Devin Zarda, and I’m the new vice president of the Wisconsin Potato Grower’s Auxiliary. Being elected to this position was quite an honor.

I come from a family that truly believes in giving back, so I’m excited to fulfill my duties as the vice president this year. However, I’m not the only new board member, and am joined on the board by Brittany Bula. I had the chance to interview Brittany so that you can get to know her. Since I’m also new, I will be answering the questions alongside her. So, let’s dive in! What do you do for a living? B (Brittany): I work full time on our farm, and I work at Ponderosa Pines. D (Devin): I own a women’s clothing boutique selling LuLaRoe. Where are you from? B: Plainfield, Wisconsin D: I’m originally from Minocqua, but now live in Antigo. What farm are you associated with? B: Bula Land Company D: Wirz, Inc. 56 BC�T September

Do you play an active role at this farm? B: I do. I work full time in the office, and I also enjoy getting out of the office and working in the field doing whatever needs to be done to keep the farm operating efficiently! D: Yes and no. I’m married to the farm manager, so I tend to be the “farm go-fer.” I get sent to “go-fer” items, help move employees from one field to another, and help feed our staff during the year. I have worked on the grading line during shipping, planting and harvest

seasons, and was the landscape manager for a year before stepping back to run my own business. What is your favorite part of farming? B: I would have to say learning is my favorite part of farming. Every day is a new adventure, whether it’s working in the office or going out in the field, learning the new technology that we use on our farm or doing things the old-fashioned way. Learning to be the best farmer/person I can be is the best part of every day. D: I love the sense of satisfaction that we get knowing we’re helping feed Above: The Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Board held its elections for the upcoming year and elected a new president and vice president, the latter of whom, Devin Zarda, will write the monthly Auxiliary News column starting this issue. The new board is, back row, left to right, Daniell Bula (secretary/treasurer), Kathy Bartsch (president) and Brittany Bula; and front row, left to right, Marie Reid, Devin Zarda (vice president), Paula Houlihan (immediate past president) and Jody Baginski.

the country. I also love watching the pride (and relief) on the employees’ faces after a successful season. What is your favorite memory from your time at the farm? B: Mine is when I got to spend the day riding in the tractor with my dad during the summer or when we would do samples and got to eat fresh homemade potato chips. Yum! D: Back in 2012, I was checking irrigation with my husband. There was a meteor shower, so we parked the truck in one of our most far-off fields and watched the skies. That’s not something that you can do in the big city! How long have you been an Auxiliary member? B: 2 years D: 6 months

What Auxiliary activities are you involved in? B: I have participated in the Spudmobile events and Harvest Parties. I loved getting to work with the kids and seeing them learn new things about potatoes. The amazement in their eyes is priceless! I have also gone to several Ladies Nights and enjoyed networking with others in the Auxiliary. I find that it is extremely beneficial, and I look forward to getting more involved in more Auxiliary activities. D: I have worked the baked potato booth at the Wisconsin State Fair for the past few years. In fact, this year I was the emcee for the baked potato eating contest. Like Brittany, I’m excited to get more involved. What do you hope to accomplish during your term as an Auxiliary Board member?

B: One thing I would like to accomplish while on the board is to increase more membership and widen our membership area. I would like to get more people active and promote Wisconsin potatoes even more. D: I’m looking forward to using new channels to educate people on Wisconsin potatoes. So many people within the state don’t know that potatoes are a major crop here. I want to change that! Well, friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know me and Brittany during this short interview. I’m excited to see where our articles will go within the next year. –


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Industry Supports Putt-Tato Open Golf Tourney Ag industry out in full force to raise money for research, scholarships and other causes By Joe Kertzman, Managing Editor, Badger Common’Tater It’s nice to see the cars roll in, the familiar faces and the knowing smiles of people not only out to have a good time at the 2017 Putt-Tato Open, but also those who know the annual golf outing is for a good cause. Held July 12 at Lake Arrowhead Golf Course in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, the Putt-Tato Open is a WPVGA Associate Division industry fundraiser, with proceeds going to educational scholarships, research and agriculture-related causes. With 41 foursomes, it was nice to see so many segments of the potato and 58 BC�T September

vegetable growing industry covered, from insurance companies, banks and lending offices, to fertilizer, irrigation, chemical, implement and equipment, trucking, storage, building and construction, processing, refrigeration, printing, utilities and even the University of WisconsinMadison represented. Between sponsors and hole sponsors, tote bags, gifts, lunch, dinner, refreshments, raffle prizes and 1st, 2nd, 18th and last place monetary prizes for the Putt-Tato Open scramble, there was something for everyone to strive for and enjoy.

With more than 50 sponsors, including hole, basic, occupied hole, hole-in-one, golf ball, appetizer, drink and lunch sponsors, they’re too Above: Scot Bredl of Green Bay Packaging gets down low to line up a putt and detect any slope in the green during the 2017 Putt-Tato Open at Lake Arrowhead Golf Course in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, on July 12.

numerous to mention, and that in itself is something to be proud of. SPONSOR SHOUT-OUT Major silver, platinum and lunch sponsors were Advanced Farm Equipment, Ag World Support Systems, Ansay & Associates, Big Iron Equipment, Inc., Compeer Financial/ AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Fencil Urethane Systems, Inc., Syngenta and Volm Companies, Inc. Hole-event prizes were handed out to men and women for longest drives and putts, closest balls to pins, closest in two or three shots and even for the shortest drive.

Appetizers and a delicious steak dinner capped off the event, with a bevy of raffle prizes given out that included a Joe Pavelski jersey, Amazon Echo, Trek bicycle, Cabela’s cooler, Stoeger 12-gauge shotgun, Browning rifle, pellet grill and toy tractor. The event would not be possible without the contributions from sponsors and the hard work of the Associate Division. The 2017 Putt-Tato Open was a successful fundraising event that generated

significant dollars to be put right back into the industry. continued on pg. 60 Left: Blake Schultz, assistant operations manager for Wysocki Family of Companies, drives off the tee during the 2017 Putt-Tato Open at Lake Arrowhead Golf Course in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Right: With a score of 57, representatives of the Ron’s Refrigeration team landed a $200 first place prize at the 2017 Putt-Tato Open golf scramble. The winners, from left to right, are Anthony Molitor, Eugene Mancl, Mike Barker and Andy Schroeder. Bottom: Jay Warner of Warner Packaging shows good form and a steady swing at the 2017 PuttTato Open.

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Putt-Tato Open. . . continued from pg. 59

The Putt-Tato Open is particularly special because of the commitment of the people who participate in the golf outing, those buying mulligans and raffle tickets because they know the proceeds help the industry. Appreciation goes out to sponsors, all Associate Division members who volunteered time and donated gifts and money, and particularly to the

60 BC�T September

WPVGA’s own Julie Braun, Karen Rasmussen and Danielle Sorano who work hard to make the event a success each year. There’s little doubt that those who worked hard to make the 2017 PuttTato Open successful, and enjoyed the event themselves, will be back next year and for years to come.

Above: O.J. Wojtalewicz, representing the Wysocki Family of Companies, keeps his eye on the ball while driving it off the tee during the 2017 Putt-Tato Open. Left: Retired but active University of WisconsinMadison researchers were well represented at the Putt-Tato Open, including, from left to right, Keith Kelling, Abe Aberle, Arlin Brannstrom and Larry Binning. Right: No fun was had at all by the Roberts Irrigation team at the Putt-Tato Open, represented well by, from left to right, Jerry Runnels, Ken Hynek (retiring after 40 years with Roberts), Marv Hopp (pointing out the retiree) and Pete Zakrzewski. Jerry, Ken and Marv say they have 120 years between them at Roberts Irrigation.

Above: Proving that putting can be a team sport are Marc Johnson (left) and Tom Grall (right) representing the Jay-Mar team at the Putt-Tato Open. Bottom Left: Aaron Ruland, location manager for Allied Coop, won the Joe Pavelski jersey in a raffle that raised money for the ag industry. Pavelski, from Plover, Wisconsin, is a professional hockey player and captain of the San Jose Sharks. He won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. national men’s ice hockey team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Other raffle prizes included an Amazon Echo, Trek bicycle, Cabela’s cooler, Stoeger 12-gauge shotgun, Browning rifle, a pellet grill and toy tractor.

Above: Just missing a first-place finish by one stroke in the Putt-Tato Open scramble, with a score of 58 and taking home the $160 second place prize money, are, from left to right, Nathan Hofmeister, Mike Toth, Alex Okray and Tamas Houlihan. Photo courtesy of Tatum Houlihan

Bottom Right: Last place isn’t always lonely, especially at the ever-eventful Putt-Tato Open, a scramble played for a good cause and a lot of fun. From left to right, representing BMO Harris Bank and Flyte Family Farm, and getting an $80 consolation prize, are Steve Schneider, John Hopkins, Carrie Flyte and Rich Wilcox. Photo courtesy of Tatum Houlihan

BC�T September 61

POTATOES USA NEWS Potatoes Are Official Performance Food of IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder IRONMAN® 70.3 Boulder (Colorado) proudly declared potatoes as the official performance vegetable of its August 3-5, 2017 race. Through a robust sponsorship, the Potatoes USA team successfully reached premier athletes and their families and supporters through an exciting booth, various online promotions and more. During a two-day event before the race in Boulder, and, of course, on race day itself, the Potatoes USA booth space featured potato performance signage, samples of

favorite performance recipes, such as Potato Performance Muffins and Potato Energy Bites, recipe cards and Potatoes USA lip balm. Participants also filled out a brief survey on their perceptions of potatoes as fuel for performance. The Spud Nation food truck was also on site, featuring free potato dish samples for athletes all weekend long. Overall, the event allowed Potatoes USA to deliver potato performance messaging and recipe samples to

2,600 athletes and more than 15,000 spectators over the course of the three-day event. Potatoes USA encouraged IRONMAN athletes to set aside traditional prerace pasta dishes and rice bowls and instead power their triathlon performance with potatoes.

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LOADED WITH CARBS Loaded with quality carbohydrates, fat free and packed with potassium, potatoes provide an ideal mix of nutrients for athletes who want to perform at their best on race day, a good choice to fuel the demands of racing a triathlon. The messaging and samples were well received, with feedback including comments like, “I never thought of cooking with potatoes like that,” “This changes my perspective on potatoes!” and “I could totally do this

as a snack on my ride!” In fiscal year 2017, Potatoes USA began shifting its nutrition messaging to focus on one true lifestyle benefit—athletic performance. The Potatoes USA one-race partnership with IRONMAN is a key part of the fiscal year 2018 nutrition program strategy to test and learn different ways of reaching athletes. Aligning with influential organizations like IRONMAN helps to build credibility for potatoes in the athletic

performance space, and allows Potatoes USA the opportunity to deliver the potatoes and performance message directly to an audience of influential athletes. To learn more about how potatoes can power athletic performance, visit performance. For more information about Potatoes USA’s involvement with IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, please contact Sarah Reece at sarah@

Produce Industry Enjoys Potatoes for Breakfast Potatoes USA was a presenting sponsor of the breakfast at the Produce Marketing Association 2017 Foodservice Conference and Expo in Monterey, California, July 28-30. Potatoes USA put forward two recipes that were featured in the breakfast, a potato hash using multiple varieties of potatoes and black beans, and a cold-brewed coffee “Uber Tuber Smoothie.” Both items were extremely well received by attendees.

The smoothie received particular attention and praise given its unusual and surprising incorporation of potatoes (standard dehydrated flakes) in the recipe. In fact, Cathy Nash Holley, editor in chief of Flavor & The Menu magazine, a top foodservice industry publication, proactively sought out the Potatoes USA team to inquire about the smoothie and ask permission to feature it in an upcoming issue.

R.J. Harvey, global foodservice marketing manager for Potatoes USA, provided an in-person interview about the smoothie and its development, and will send recipe and photography for the magazine feature as well. The conversation with Holley also yielded several other leads both for articles in the magazine and on the website, as well as potential partnership contacts.

WPIB Focus Wisconsin Potato Assessment Collections: Two-Year Comparison Month







































$97,708.18 BC�T September 63

EYES ON ASSOCIATES By WPVGA Associate Div. President, Sally Suprise, Ansay & Associates

Hello everyone.

Fall is upon us, and this is the time that we start reaping the fruits of our labor. It is an exceptionally rewarding time of year. It was nice seeing the tremendous turnout at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station (HARS) Field Day, July 20 (complete coverage of the field day also in this issue). As always, the meal prepared by Swine and Dine was delicious and a good time was had by all. As part of our commitment to support agricultural research and increase public awareness about the industry, the WPVGA Associate Division presented monetary donations to HARS, the Langlade County Ag Research Station and the Rhinelander Research Station/Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm. We are grateful for all the research that evolves from these stations for our Wisconsin farmers. Also, I want to thank all who participated in the 2017 Putt-Tato Open golf outing (see feature in this issue), those who sponsored the event and others who assisted in making it a success. Proceeds raised from the golf outing go back into this great industry. The weather was fantastic and the staff of Lake Arrowhead Golf Course was great to work with once again. We are proud to say that the scholarship fund is one small part of where the funds get allocated. The Associate Division and the Auxiliary joined together and awarded 64 BC�T September

Above: WPVGA Associate Division Vice President Casey Kedrowski takes a mighty swing with his driver at the 2017 Putt-Tato Open, while Dale Bowe (left) looks on. The golf outing is an Associate Division industry fundraiser with proceeds going to educational scholarships, research and agriculture-related causes.

scholarships to the following young recipients: Mitchell Schroepfer Maggie Gallenberg Jordan Hartman Alexis Schroeder Matthew Carter Sarah Soderberg Kayla Smith Smith was the recipient of the Avis M. Wysocki Memorial Scholarship, the largest of the awards, which honors its namesake who was a founding member of the WPVGA Auxiliary and an integral part of the Wisconsin potato industry. Congrats to all and best wishes for the upcoming school year.

We are starting to plan and prepare for the 2018 WPVGA Grower Education Conference & Industry Show. The Associate Division spends a great amount of time making sure the event is successful for all who attend. Should you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to pass them along to any of the Associate Division Board members and we would be happy to discuss them. With the harvest season now in progress, please be safe out on the roadways and have a great September!

Sally Suprise

WPVGA Associate Division President

Ali's Kitchen No Leftovers with Hash Brown Breakfast Crocks!

Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary In need of a simple yet elegant dish to serve to a guest who was arriving for brunch, and not wanting to offer sweet pastries or be left with a panful of leftovers, I created these individual servings of crispy hash brown potatoes, veggies and baked eggs using small ceramic crocks. The baked hash brown breakfast crocks are delicious on their own, straight out of the oven, but I chose to complement them with a bit of plain yogurt served with a bowl of blackberries and grapes on the side. My guest enjoyed the meal and we both had a beautiful and healthy start to our day.

Because these are so simple and filling, I plan to make them for dinner for my family very soon and serve them with our favorite salsa. Breakfast for dinner is a fabulous thing! This recipe will serve two people, so you can double or triple the recipe if you are feeding a number of guests or family. The crocks I used here were each about 4 inches in diameter. If you are using store-bought frozen hash browns, plan ahead and thaw them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Baking these crocks using still-frozen potatoes will add to your continued on pg. 66

Individual Baked Hash Brown Breakfast Crocks INGREDIENTS: 1 tablespoon butter 2 cups shredded hash brown potatoes 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese 1/4 of a green bell pepper, diced 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half 2 eggs A few small basil leaves, roughly chopped or shredded, for garnish Dash of paprika Salt and pepper to taste

continued on pg. 62 BC�T September 65

Advertisers Index

Ali's Kitchen. . . continued from pg. 65

baking time and cause the outsides to become a bit dry and very crispy while the middle potatoes remain too soft. Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Using a paper towel, coat each of the mini crocks with the butter. This helps to crisp up the potatoes and keeps them from sticking to the crocks. 3. In a large bowl, gently stir together the hash brown potatoes, parmesan cheese, green bell pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. 4. Divide the hash brown mixture between the two crocks, pressing down gently and creating a very slight “well” in the middle where the egg will later sit.

66 BC�T September

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the hash brown potatoes are close to done to your preference (remember that the potatoes will bake just a bit longer once the egg is added to the crocks). 6. Remove crocks from the oven, sprinkle the halved cherry tomatoes on top of the hash browns, and crack an egg into each crock, being careful not to break the yolk. 7. Place into the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or so, until the whites are set and the yolks begin to thicken, or until the egg is cooked to your preference. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil, salt, pepper and paprika. Enjoy!

AG Systems....................................44 AgCountry Farm Credit Services....26 Allied Cooperative.........................12 Altmann Construction...................30 Big Iron Equipment........................15 BTU Ventilation..............................39 Bushmans’ Inc.................................3 Calcium Products...........................41 Certis USA......................................19 CliftonLarsonAllen.........................28 Compeer Financial . ......................14 Crop Production Services..............43 Fencil Urethane Systems...............25 GZA Environmental........................13 Hansen-Rice...................................17 J.W. Mattek....................................47 Jay-Mar..........................................31 K&K Material Handling..................54 M.P.B. Builders, Inc........................22 Mid-State Truck.............................24 National Potato Council /Potato Expo..............................35 Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Inc..................................9 North Central Irrigation.................33 Oak Ridge Foam & Coating Systems, Inc...............................34 Oasis Irrigation..............................68 Okray Family Farms.......................57 Paragon Potato Farms...................53 Riesterer & Schnell........................59 Roberts Irrigation . ..........................2 Ron’s Refrigeration........................37 Ruder Ware.....................................5 Rural Mutual Ins............................21 Russ Davis Wholesale....................11 Sand County Equip........................27 Schroeder Brothers Farms...............7 Swiderski Equipment.....................66 T.I.P................................................23 ThorPack, LLC................................40 Volm Companies............................29 Wick Buildings LLC.........................38 World Potato Congress..................49 WPVGA Putt-Tato Open Thank You..................................67 WPVGA Subscribers.......................52 WPVGA Support Our Members.....50 WSPIA............................................62


WPVGA Associate Division

to the 2017 Putt-Tato Open Golf Sponsors PLATINUM SPONSOR Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC

SILVER SPONSORS Advanced Farm Equipment Ansay & Associates, LLC Big Iron Equipment, Inc. / Spudnik Compeer Financial & AgCountry Farm Credit Services Volm Companies

LUNCH SPONSORS Ag World Support Systems Fencil Urethane Systems



gOLf BALL SPONSOR Sand County Equipment


RAffLE PRIzE SPONSORS • Autographed Joe Pavelski Jersey – Altmann Construction • Trek Bicycle – Wilbur-Ellis Company & Campus Cycle • Cabela’s Equalizer Cooler – Roberts Irrigation Company • Stoeger Shotgun – WPVGA Associate Division • Browning Rifle – WPVGA Associate Division • Green Mountain Pellet Grill – Adams-Columbia Electric Co-op & Earth Sense Energy Systems • Toy John Deere Pedal Tractor – Riesterer & Schnell • Amazon Echo – WPVGA Associate Division

HOLE SPONSORS Allen Supply Company Allied Cooperative Anderson O’Brien Bertz Skrenes & Golla BMO Harris Bank Calcium Products CliftonLarsonAllen

County Materials Corporation Crop Production Services DeWitt, Ross & Stevens Lawfirm DuPont Crop Protection Edward Jones / Bob Ebben GZA Geoenvironmental, Inc. Gowan Company Green Bay Packaging Harriston Industries IVI Insight FS Jay-Mar, Inc. Keller, Inc. Kretz Truck Brokerage, LLC Mt. Morris Mutual Insurance Co. McCain Foods Mid-State Truck Service Mortenson Brothers Farms

Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Oasis Irrigation The Portage County Bank Progressive Ag Rhinehart Metal Buildings Ron’s Refrigeration & AC, Inc. Rural Mutual Insurance Co. – Adams, WI Rural Mutual Insurance Co. – Plover, WI Sand County Equipment Service Motor Company T H Agri-Chemicals TIP, Inc. V & H Trucks Valent Warner & Warner Wilbur-Ellis Company Wisconsin Public Service

P.O. Box 327 Antigo, WI 54409

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1709-Badger Common'Tater  

Storage/Marketing Issue showcases an Interview with Joe Seis of Sterling Farms, LLC, a feature article on Wisconsin Hosting the Potato Marke...