1712 Badger Common'Tater

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$18/year | $1.50/copy | Volume 69 No. 12 | DECEMBER 2017


ANNUAL REVIEW ISSUE WHAT DO YOU REALLY Get Out of Farm Data? LEARN THE KEYS TO Irrigation Efficiency DRAINAGE DISTRICT Is Ideal Trout Habitat REGISTER NOW FOR 2018 Industry Show The potato sorting line was humming at Midwestern Potatoes in early November


MIKE CARTER CEO of Bushmans’ Inc.

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On the Cover: The busiest time of year for state-of-the-art packing facilities such as Midwestern Potatoes, sorting and grading lines hum as potatoes are prepared for final washing, bagging, boxing and shipping. This issue’s interviewee, Mike Carter, is CEO of Bushmans’ Inc., a multi-faceted potato brokerage that runs a lot of spuds through Midwestern Potatoes. Bushmans’ also runs onions and a locally grown summer vegetable program.

8 BADGER COMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: Mike Carter, CEO of Bushmans’ Inc., makes a final inspection of russets at Midwestern Potatoes, a packing facility in Plainfield, Wisconsin. A former executive director of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Carter and his wife, Ali, are fully invested in the industry and are known for their charitable work with Feed My Starving Children, as well as involvement in their church.

DEPARTMENTS: ALI’S KITCHEN................... 65 AUXILIARY NEWS.............. 56 BADGER BEAT................... 28

16 EFFICIENT IRRIGATION SCHEDULING METHODS Yi Wang (right) shares her research with area growers







WPVGA touts Wisconsin potatoes at PMA and WGA industry trade shows

Top performing farms recognized at McCain USA Grower Awards Banquet

NEW PRODUCTS............... 54

FEATURE ARTICLES: 20 DRAINAGE DISTRICT is ideal habitat for trout with cool, free-flowing water

NPC NEWS........................ 36 PEOPLE ............................ 60

32 CAN COVER CROPS help improve soil health and meet environmental needs?

PLANTING IDEAS................ 6

58 $7 MILLION GRANT given to research plants that produce their own nitrogen

WPIB FOCUS..................... 59

42 REGISTER TODAY for the 2018 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show 4

BC�T December

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WISCONSIN N3502 Hwy H • Antigo, WI 54409 CERTIFIED SEED POTATOES Office: 715-627-7753 • Fax: 715-623-5412 • mike@baginskifarms.com 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 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: wpvga@wisconsinpotatoes.com Website: www.wisconsinpotatoes.com Like Us On Facebook: www.facebook.com/WPVGA

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: http://wisconsinpotatoes.com/blog-news/subscribe/ ADVERTISING: To advertise your service or product in this magazine, call (715) 630-6213, or email: Joe Kertzman: jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com. The editor welcomes manuscripts and pictures but accepts no responsibility for such material while in our hands. BC�T December



Calendar DECEMBER 11-13 FARM JOURNAL AGTECH EXPO JW Marriott Indianapolis IN 11-14 NEW YORK PRODUCE SHOW Jacob K. Javits Convention Center New York City, NY 12


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Planting Ideas It seems fitting that, in an issue of the Badger Common’Tater that looks back at the 2017 growing season and then ahead to 2018, feature articles would be focused on scientific studies, technical information, ideas about irrigation efficiency, agricultural advancements, sustainability, cover crops, drainage districts, nitrogen and phosphorous runoff, and yield monitors, remote imaging and farm data analytics. Those are mouthfuls, but much of the information comes from growers themselves, who seemingly have an undying devotion to farming more efficiently and effectively. And I guess, after all, that’s what it’s all about. In his “Badger Beat” column, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Jed Colquhoun asks, “What do you really get out of all that farm data?” There’s little doubt that the amount of information collected from drones and remote sensors, imaging and monitors has increased exponentially over the past few years, but what good is data mining without being able to analyze and use the information gathered? AgSource Laboratories held an Antigo Flats Field Day at the Langlade County Airport where cover crops, drones, fertility and soil health were discussed and dissected. Ideas were floated on cover crops improving moisture availability to plants, infiltration, and preventing runoff, as well as agricultural drone applications, watershed projects and nitrogen and phosphorous reduction. See the related feature within this issue. The Portage County Drainage District turns out to be an ideal trout habitat for the simple reason that cool, free-flowing, non-impeded water makes a perfect trout stream. Find out what trout need to stay alive and thrive, and how Wisconsin growers are helping, not hurting the trout habitat. Yi Wang, an assistant professor in the UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, offers up her ideas and “Keys to Irrigation Efficiency,” laying out some commonly recommended irrigation scheduling methods for potato growers. Wang presents her research on irrigation technologies. It’s another information-packed issue thanks to growers and researchers. 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: http://wisconsinpotatoes.com/blog-news/subscribe.

Joe Kertzman WORLD POTATO CONGRESS Cusco, Peru

Managing Editor jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com


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MIKE CARTER, CEO, Bushmans’ Inc. By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

NAME: Mike Carter TITLE: CEO COMPANY: Bushmans’ Inc. LOCATION: Rosholt, WI HOMETOWN: Beloit, WI YEARS IN PRESENT POSITION: 9 years PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) SCHOOLING: Bachelor’s degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: Feed My Starving Children, WPVGA and Mount Olive Church AWARDS/HONORS: 40 Under 40, two WPVGA President’s Awards and a National Potato Council President’s Award FAMILY: Wife, Ali, and four children, Lucas (Krista), Matthew, Alayna and Michael HOBBIES: Curling, hunting and fishing 8

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Sometimes an interview subject comes along who seems a natural fit—someone who has not only held multiple highly visible positions in the industry, but who fights for its causes, and volunteers his time to help others. The path that led Bushmans’ Inc. CEO Mike Carter into agriculture may have been a bit unusual compared to most, but he has become a well-liked and respected fixture in the industry. “I did not have an ag background when I was hired to do government affairs for the WPVGA (Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association) in 1998,” he states. “Before that time, I had worked in the State Senate for 10 years as a policy analyst, including for Senate Majority Leader Mike Ellis, learning about the legislative process and making connections that proved valuable as a lobbyist.” “It was an incredible experience for a young guy, and it was remarkable how much power was allowed in the hands of someone in their 20’s,” Carter adds. “I made a lot of lifelong friends while working ‘on the hill.’” How did you end up as the executive director of the WPVGA, and what was that experience like for you? I spent two years as the director of

government and grower relations under Linda Gustafson and then Randy Duckworth. When Randy went to California to work for the Raisin Commission, I became the executive director. The experience in both positions was remarkable. There was a lot of travel and many facets to the job. I maintained my government affairs responsibilities, along with McCain Foods contract negotiations, trying to organize the vegetable growers, running the research program, Above: Company CEO Mike Carter describes Bushmans’ Inc. as multifaceted, pointing to an active sales office (shown) and a state-of-the-art packing facility. “We’ve become very involved in the dehydrated potatoes industry, and we offer just about everything in the potato category, as well as onions,” he says. “That’s all types and most varieties of potatoes. We’ve also had a locally grown summer vegetable program.”

working with the University of Wisconsin Extension on education meetings, along with Chip Committee duties, seed responsibilities and overseeing the staff in charge of marketing.

Inc.? I was approached by Mitch Bushman in 2008 about coming on board to help manage Bushmans’ Inc. It was a great move, and I am thankful to be with such a great company.

It was incredibly enjoyable, and the best part of that experience was the people. All the relationships with the incredible staff of the WPVGA (many of whom are still there today) and the growers in Wisconsin and throughout the country are maintained and important to me.

I initially thought the transition from association to private company would be easy, but I was wrong. It was very difficult. I knew a lot about the industry, but had a lot to learn about how things worked on this end of things.

I still thank the good lord every day that I wound up in this industry. How did you end up at Bushmans’

Fortunately, over several months (maybe a couple of years), it all came together and has been a great experience.

Above: Mike Carter, CEO of Bushmans’ Inc., stands over a wash table at Midwestern Potatoes, a state-of-the-art packing facility in Plainfield, Wisconsin.

What is the main role brokerages such as Bushmans’ Inc. play in the ag industry? On the sales side, our role is taking constant care of the buyers. As the retailers and food service companies have continued to consolidate, they really require a year-round supply of potatoes. One of the main services we fill is to make sure the supply is there at all times. We also have to supply all SKU’s (stock keeping units), not just the easy ones. continued on pg. 10

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Interview. . . continued from pg. 9

What is the largest part of the Bushmans’ business? Bushmans’ Inc. is multifaceted. We have a very active sales office, a state-of-the-art packing facility at Midwestern Potatoes, in Plainfield, where we run our own potatoes, and over the past several years, the company has become very involved in the dehydrated potatoes industry. Are you solely selling semi-loads of potatoes? Other vegetables?

We offer just about everything in the potato category, as well as onions. That’s all types and most varieties of potatoes. We’ve also had a locally grown summer vegetable program that has been very exciting. I am convinced locally grown will continue to be something the consumer is interested in and seeking out, so we are looking for ways to fill that need throughout the vegetable category.

What is the best thing you take home from your job each day as CEO of Bushmans’ Inc.? It’s the people that I get to interact with daily. The people here at Bushmans’ Inc. are incredible, as well as all of the other individuals I get to interact with. It’s also the opportunity to learn and grow personally, and to stay in an industry that I have affection for. What are the challenges? The challenges are balancing work and personal life. I really enjoy what I do, so it’s important to make sure my continued on pg. 12 Top Left: Mike and Ali Carter (right, in front of congregation) worked to hold a potato packing event at their church, Mount Olive, in Weston, Wisconsin, where volunteers packed 108,000 meals this past September. The Carters are also members of the leadership team for the marriage ministry, and Mike serves on the finance committee and the church board. Top Right: Mike and Ali Carter (left) were the driving force behind initiating a Feed My Starving Children potato packing event in Wisconsin, in 2011, held annually since then in the Noel Hangar at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport. Also shown are Paula Houlihan (center), Jacquie Wille and Tamas Houlihan (right). Left: Members of the Carter family include, from left to right, Michael, Mathew (holding the pooch, Tipsy), Alayna, Ali and Mike. Lucas (Krista) Carter is not shown.

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Interview. . . continued from pg. 10

attention isn’t always consumed by potatoes. I think I’ve gotten much better at that, which makes for a happy home life. Are there more challenges today with regulatory and legislative issues than there used to be? Explain. Regulations always seem to be added without taking old ones away, so yes, I do think it gets worse over time. The biggest challenge continues to be water. I remember as WPVGA executive director working on that issue, and it remains an issue to this day. I think Tamas (Houlihan) is doing a great job at leading the industry, as there are continued attempts to regulate water at a higher level. As an industry, taking the high road of insisting anything that is done needs to be based in science is critical. I think it’s also important to make sure people understand the investment that our industry has in our crops and what the affect would be if we lost our ability to irrigate, even on an intermittent basis.

How has Bushmans’ changed or evolved since you’ve been on board? My mission has been two-fold. First, it was to professionalize the management end of the business. Bushmans’ has been well run for a

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When I came in, we established performance standards and implemented yearly reviews, which has helped us progress. The other thing I’ve tried to encourage is promoting a good balance between staying within the core business and trying to adapt to a changing industry. Most of the time that’s gone well, but there have been a couple of missteps. The old adage goes, “if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not making decisions,” so I guess we have that going for us. Through Feed My Starving Children, you give back to the less fortunate, the hungry and starving. How many years have you been volunteering?

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long time, however, administratively, had been somewhat thin.

Above and Facing Page: Pride shows in the face of Bushmans’ Inc. CEO Mike Carter as he watches over the potato sorting line at Midwestern Potatoes.

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a great story of a partnership between the potato industry and a very well run charitable organization. My first contact with the organization was when I attended one of my first U.S. Potato Board (now Potatoes USA) meetings in Denver. The U.S. Potato Board sought out a nongovernmental organization to work with and develop a way to ship dehydrated potatoes for food aid programs. Through that work, two potato-based formulations were developed, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of the first FMSC mobile packing event held in Idaho at our U.S. Potato Board summer meeting. I was moved by the stories of the children helped by the program and the fact that the program was developed by our industry. I remember calling my wife, Ali, on my way home and insisting we could do a packing event in Wisconsin. It took some convincing, but we ended up hosting our first Wisconsin FMSC potato event back in 2011, and have held it every year since then. To date, as an industry, we’ve packed 864,864 potato-based meals. It’s been awesome to work with Tamas and Paula Houlihan every year on this great project. Why is it important to you? It’s important to me for a couple of reasons. First, it is the right thing to do. I believe we have a responsibility to help others in need, and I take that responsibility seriously. It does little good to capture the world and lose yourself. This helps me focus on what is truly important. I also think it’s good for the industry. I think when, as an industry, we can



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Interview. . . continued from pg. 13

work together for a common goal of helping others, it makes us a better industry.

in Weston, where we packed 108,000 meals this past September, so I guess you could say we’re involved.

How deep is your involvement? Our commitment is enough to where Ali and I personally signed the contract the first two years. That was a leap of faith, but this industry didn’t disappoint.

Ali is not only involved in FMSC, but also appears on radio and television shows, and authors “Ali’s Kitchen” in the Badger Common’Tater. Is she

Now it is officially a Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary event, however Ali and I remain on the planning committee. We also worked to hold a packing event at our church, Mount Olive,

Above: Mike Carter (left) checks out the russets with Rod Beggs (right) of Midwestern Potatoes. Bushmans’ Inc. owns vested interest in Midwestern Potatoes, a state-of-the-art packing facility. Above Right and Bottom: Whether boxed or bagged by a Volmpack Auto-Baler, Mike Carter (shown posing by a skid) and Bushmans’ Inc. run a lot of spuds through the Midwestern Potatoes packing facility.

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your inspiration? She is much more than an inspiration to me. She is an incredible woman and I am fortunate to have her in my life. I am proud of her work within the industry. She’s clearly become a potato expert, which shows through when

promoting our industry. Her monthly Common’Tater article is amazing, and I usually get to eat whatever creation she comes up with, which is a bonus. But even more important than her work in the industry is her work in our home being a mother and a wife, and a volunteer at church. I understand you’re involved further in your church. Why is this seemingly a large part of your life? Yes, we are also on the leadership team for the marriage ministry, and have mentored six engaged couples, which is very rewarding work. Additionally, I serve on the finance committee and the church board. I don’t do these things for personal gain, but because they are bigger than us as individuals, bigger than potatoes, bigger than business, and those are the things that truly matter.

offices such as Bushmans’ Inc.? I think the future belongs to the organizations that adapt to changing buying patterns and changing attitudes among consumers. Sales will continue to be critical in our industry, but as the customer changes, so too will the way we do our jobs. I see continued consolidation, continued automation,

a huge impact by millennials and continued influence from the World Wide Web. Are there changes, good or bad, on the horizon and what? I can’t say if they can be classified as good or bad. I think there will be changes, and it’s our job to adjust to them and be as good as we can at serving the customer.

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At this point in my life, I know who I am and I’m not afraid to share that part of my life with others. Bushmans’ Inc. also gives back to the ag industry (hurricane relief, membership in the WPVGA)—why does the company feel a need to reciprocate? Really, it’s just a company culture that started long before I came on board. Hopefully I’ve been able to continue to facility and nurture that culture. We have a lot of very generous people on staff that give their time in many ways both inside and outside of the industry, from serving on church boards and committees, to running trivia contests raising money for other good causes. I think that’s true for the entire industry. I think the people in the potato industry are almost always willing to stand up for what is right and to help others when in need. What do you foresee as the future of potato brokerages and sales

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Keys to Irrigation Efficiency

Learn some commonly recommended irrigation scheduling methods for potato growers By Yi Wang, assistant professor, Dept. of Horticulture, UW-Madison Potato tuber yield and quality can be reduced by water stress imposed at any time during the growing season. Therefore, employment of efficient irrigation scheduling has been recommended for

optimal potato yield and quality management. Irrigation scheduling is the process by which a grower determines when to use irrigation and the amount of water to apply. There are three commonly recommended irrigation scheduling methods for potato growers: 1. Subjective (nonscientific) method, also called the “feel and appearance method,” based on operator judgment, including hand feeling of the soil and crop visual inspection 2. Using weather-based soil water balance (water inputs vs. outputs) methods to estimate evapotranspiration (ET) 3. Using in-field soil moisture measurements, such as timedomain reflectometry (TDR), tensiometers, etc. The first one (subjective method) is the most common

16 BC�T December

method of irrigation scheduling for potato growers since it is very straightforward and easy to conduct. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) Program Aid, Number 1619 (Figure 1), soil moisture conditions can be estimated, with experience, to an accuracy of about 5 percent. However, the drawbacks of this method are obvious: it is time- and labor-consuming, it is based on subjective personal judgement that may not be accurate, and people able to use this method will need many years of field experience. Above: At the Antigo Field Day, July 27, UWMadison Assistant Professor Yi Wang explained her research on potato and vegetable sustainable production, and specifically new irrigation technologies. Left: Figure 1. Straightforward and easy to conduct, there are drawbacks to estimating soil moisture by feel and appearance. Shown is the USDA-NRCS Program Aid, Number 1619.

The second method (weatherbased soil water balance) has been recommended as a reliable and affordable way for irrigation scheduling, including by the Wisconsin Irrigation Scheduling Program (WISP), in many potato and vegetable growing areas. This method relies on quantifying soil water balance by calculating components such as irrigation and precipitation as inputs, and ET, deep drainage and surface runoff as outputs. This method is based on seasonal weather data and is at regional scales (typically with a resolution of about 1 square mile), so its key to success, as well as its main difficulty, is accurate quantification of ET. The most prevailing way of calculating ET of a well-watered crop is based on an equation where a daily estimated reference ET (ET0) is multiplied by a crop coefficient (Kc).

Figure 2: TDR sensors are used to determine volumetric soil moisture content.

Figure 3: Tensiometers can measure soil water tension in a range of 0-85 kPa, and are considered less influenced by soil texture.

ET0 is commonly estimated from measurements of weather data such as air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and solar radiation.

so accurate estimation is impossible, or the private weather stations are located near trees, buildings or parking lots that can potentially bias estimates of ET0.

Networks of public weather stations for estimating ET0 have been established in Wisconsin, and many commercial companies also offer affordable weather stations. However, in practice, either the public weather stations are several miles away from the growers’ farms,

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CROP COEFFICIENT CHANGES Another difficulty of quantifying ET is that Kc can change daily as the canopy grows and leaf area expands. Kc values vary during the early crop continued on pg. 18

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Keys to Irrigation Efficiency. . . continued from pg. 17

growing stage when canopy has not fully developed, the peak crop growing stage with a full lush canopy and the late crop growing stage as the canopy senesces and decreases. Therefore, the Kc values are difficult to accurately calculate. The third recommended irrigation scheduling method (soil moisture method) has been a standard way to determine when crops need to be irrigated based on soil water status. Most studies on Russet Burbank potatoes indicate that available soil water in the root zone (0-18 inches deep) should be maintained above 65 percent to avoid yield and quality loss. Soil water content can be measured by various sensors. For example, TDR sensors are used to determine volumetric soil moisture content (Figure 2), while tensiometers can measure soil water tension in a range of 0-85 kPa and are considered less influenced by soil texture (Figure 3). However, the soil moisture method is still an indirect scheduling tool since plant water stress may result from a matrix of factors, including environmental conditions (air temperature, relative humidity) and root condition (available water 18 BC�T December

in the soil). In other words, available water in the root zone is not always directly correlated with the water status of the crop. While much progress has been made in improving the accuracy and utility of soil moisture sensors over the last decade, other factors still limit their use for irrigation scheduling of potato production: • Labor and time for installation and removal of sensors remains a significant cost. • Due to high labor and capital costs, many growers install soil moisture sensors only in some representative spots of their fields, and therefore spatial variability within the field can limit the applicability of the sensor data. PLANT-BASED METHODS Plant-based methods can also be employed for irrigation scheduling, because they directly consider the plant responses to environmental water conditions. Among the plant-based indicators, canopy temperature has been a widely accepted parameter indicative of crop water status. The stomata (leaf pores) control

evaporative cooling of the leaves based on soil water status and prevailing environmental conditions. The stomata close due to increased water deficit, and then the reduction in plant transpiration causes increase in plant canopy temperature. The major advantage of using canopy temperature for irrigation scheduling is related to the non-contact and realtime capability of the system. It provides the opportunity to map the spatial variation in crop water status that can be used as a guide in variable rate irrigation (VRI) management. A major problem of applying this method is the inclusion of soil temperature and other background temperatures in the measurement of canopy temperature. Recently developed remote sensing technologies makes it possible to calculate ET using real-time and farm field-scale data such as canopy Above: Figure 4. Irrigation scientists from Texas conducted research to calculate ET of corn, cotton and sorghum, and to schedule irrigation for VRI center pivots mounted with canopy temperature sensors. They showed that irrigation scheduling can result in equal or greater crop yield and crop water use efficiency compared to irrigation scheduling using soil moisture measurements. Photos courtesy of Colaizzi and team

temperature, canopy height, leaf area index, etc. WATER USE EFFICIENCY Irrigation scientists from Texas conducted research to calculate ET of corn, cotton and sorghum, and to schedule irrigation for VRI center pivots mounted with canopy temperature sensors (Figure 4). They showed that their irrigation scheduling can result in equal or greater crop yield and crop water use efficiency compared to irrigation scheduling using soil moisture measurements. Resolution of the canopy temperature-based system is flexible and can range from 10-to-1,000 square feet, depending on specs and height of the sensors. In comparison, resolution of the weather-based soil water balance method and soil moisture method are typically about 1 square mile and 2 square inches, respectively. These numbers are either too large to be precise and instructive for practical farm-specific irrigation scheduling or too small to include

Methods Feel and appearance Weather-based soil water balance Soil moisture

Canopy temperature Computer modelling

spatial variability in the fields. Besides the device-based irrigation scheduling methods introduced above, computer modelling-assisted irrigation scheduling has also been reported. One example is RZWQM2 (Root Zone Water Quality Model V2.0), which can simulate the impacts of irrigation management practices on soil water balance and crop yield. A recent study conducted in Colorado used RZWQM2 to optimize irrigation scheduling based on corn growth stages, while also considering water restrictions and multiple-year water allowances, which are often faced by farmers in that region. In another Colorado study, scientists used RZWQM2 to estimate yield of various corn varieties under deficit irrigation regimes with 22 years of projected climate between 2070 and 2091 in comparison with baseline weather from 1992 to 2013. OPTIMAL IRRIGATION SCHEDULES Their results provided suggestions for future corn breeding strategies. Therefore, the advantage of using

Advantages Straightforward, easy application, and low cost Easy application and sufficient robustness under a wide range of environmental conditions Easy application, accurate, availability of many irrigation controllers that are interfaced to soil moisture sensors Directly measures the plant’s response to soil moisture level and climate conditions; promising with remote sensing technology development Has the capacity of processing a large amount of data and conducting long-term simulations

RZWQM2 is that simulations can be run within a short amount of time to provide predictions of optimal irrigation schedules and management practices that produce maximal crop yields in the future. Given the high value nature of potato and the negative impacts of water stress on tuber yield and quality, irrigation scheduling focuses on maintaining adequate crop water status. As a result, the cost of different irrigation scheduling methods is an important aspect for growers’ profitability. The low cost of the “feel and appearance method” is a key factor in its continued use. Other methods based on more advanced sensing technologies can increase farmer revenue from larger yields and tuber sizes, and improved quality, but justification of the additional cost and risk of the technologies is needed for future adoption by the growers. The table below lists the principal advantages and disadvantages of different methods for potato irrigation scheduling.

Disadvantages Labor-intensive and requires many years of experience Lower accuracy compared with soil moisture-based method; estimation of ET is needed; inaccurate estimation can cause over- or under-irrigation Labor and cost-intensive for installation and removal, and might not be sufficient to indicate spatial variability Background signals can cause errors; scarcely used yet for routine irrigation scheduling Need to adjust the model under different growing environments; scarcely used yet for routine irrigation scheduling BC�T December 19

Portage County Drainage District is Ideal Trout Habitat

The nature of a drainage ditch—cool, free-flowing, non-impeded water, makes a perfect trout stream By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater The fact is, there’s little need to create trout habitat, adding trees, shrubs and overhangs, to the Portage County Drainage District—it’s already an ideal habitat for brook trout. Bob Obma, a trout fishery and watershed specialist, will tell you the only trout native to Wisconsin are brook trout, they’re actually char and that char like cool water. In regards to cool water, Obma explains that brook trout prefer it between 62 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit, when he says they’re “happiest.”

“Anything above 68 degrees, and a brook trout doesn’t want to do anything but lie there waiting for better times to come. They sulk,” he remarks. “A brook trout will die in water over 75 degrees, but fish kills are rare in the Central Sands area of Wisconsin because of the abundant flow.” “There are trout here in quantity,” Obma explains, referring to the Portage County Drainage District, particularly where he happens to be casting a line at the moment, north

of Coddington Road and south of the City of Plover. For trout survival, the water not only needs to be cool, but pure. It’s imperative that dissolved oxygen be more than 5 ppm (parts per million). UPWELLING SPRINGS Spawning requires upwelling springs through gravel, and winter habitat for larger fish includes food and deep, slow-loafing water with protection from fast currents, as in the Drainage District. A 1955 memorandum from the Wisconsin Conservation Department Above: Bob Obma, a trout fishery and watershed specialist, fishes for brook trout in a section of the Portage County Drainage District south of Plover, Wisconsin, and north of Coddington Road. Left: Brook trout prefer knee-deep or deeper water and eat anything from zooplankton to mayflies, chironomidae (nonbiting midges), caddisflies, stoneflies and terrestrial insects. Trout over 12 inches prefer smaller fish.

20 BC�T December

found that a ditch originating in Section 12 and flowing into Ditch 2, eventually draining into the Lower Buena Vista Creek, was 75 percent sand, 10 percent silt and 15 percent gravel. A large number of trout were found in that section of stream, which was stocked in 1954 with 425 yearling brook trout, and at the time it was “doubtful whether any value exists in stream improvement, since it was noted that pool cover in itself was good.” Further, it was “recommended that in the future this stream not be stocked since adequate quantities of trout are continued on pg. 22 Above: Several signs such as this one that Bob Obma, a trout fishery and watershed specialist, stands by can be found along certain stretches of the Portage County Drainage District. Friends of the Brook Trout, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Del Monte and the Village of Plover support the monitoring of flow rates and temperature in the drainage district to ensure good habitat for brook trout.

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Drainage District. . . continued from pg. 21

found throughout its entire length.”

water,” Obma states.

At the time, the stream was ranked as the fourth highest of all Portage County sections with the third highest number of young fish overall. The natural reproduction of the stream was considered excellent, and there was no carry-over of stocked trout.

“Farmers are not over-pumping it, and not overusing herbicides or pesticides. Why would they?” he asks. “It’s expensive. Chemicals can kill fish if used unwisely. That doesn’t happen in the Central Sands.”

A DELICATE FISH “Brook trout are a delicate fish negatively affected by temperature, water pollution and pesticides. The Portage County Drainage District is made up of clear, cool

Has it always been this way? In a 1997 fish survey of trout densities in the Four and Five Mile Creeks Watershed, total numbers of brook trout in tested sections ranged from 0-2,494, with most sections falling in the 2-225 range.

A score was reached when factoring in total numbers of rainbow, brown and brook trout, as well as the number of trout per mile and an IBI (biological sustainability of water) rating, and most areas rated good to excellent, with some in the fair category and only a few poor ratings. Brook trout can “hang out at kneedeep water,” but prefer it a little deeper, Obma notes. And a fish has to eat—anything from zooplankton to mayflies, chironomidae (nonbiting midges), caddisflies, stoneflies and terrestrial insects. Trout over 12 inches prefer smaller fish. “Of the 800-850 miles of trout stream in the Central Sands area, only about 4 miles has ever gone dry, and that is the Little Plover River,” Obma stresses. “It’s an unnatural stream dug out by a drag line pulled by horses. It went down during a dry spell.” Top Left: Though Bob Obma says brook trout are happiest in 62-63-degree Fahrenheit water, they tolerate 33-70-degree temperatures, with chubs able to live in water up to 95 degrees. Right/Bottom: Pure, cool, free-flowing water makes the best brook trout habitat, and spawning requires upwelling springs through gravel, as shown in the image at left.

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By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions & Consumer Education

NHL All-Star Joe Pavelski Helps Promote Potato Nutrition Attendees of two trade shows held in October received an extra promotional dose of Wisconsin potato power and nutrition thanks to a partnership between the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and National Hockey League All-Star/Plover native Joe Pavelski. WPVGA booths at the Produce Marketing Association “Fresh Summit” in New Orleans (October 20-21) and the Wisconsin Grocers Association “Innovation Expo” in Green Bay (October 17-18) featured full-sized cutouts of Pavelski in uniform on the ice. The Pavelski cutouts serve as a creative way of promoting a “Power Your Performance with Wisconsin Potatoes” message. At each show, the cutouts proved 24 BC�T December

valuable in conversations with retail store contacts about steering consumers toward potato nutrition and encouraging them to eat Wisconsin potatoes in preparation for and recovery after physical activity. Recipe tear pads available at the booths showed how easy it is to make potato dishes in quick, healthy and creative ways to maximize athletic preparation and recovery time. Besides utilizing cutouts, WPVGA is also designing materials such as posters and pull-up banners, which are additional opportunities for stores to communicate the important role Wisconsin potatoes play in powering performance. That’s one message that doesn’t have an expiration date!

Top: WPVGA Promotions Committee Chairman Chris Brooks (left), Rod Gumz (center) and Cassie Krebs, the latter two of Gumz Farms in Endeavor, Wisconsin, stand proudly with a cutout of NHL All-Star Joe Pavelski. Pavelski was shown—in fine cutout form—wearing a red and white Badgers jersey at the WGA Innovation Expo, in Green Bay, October 17-18. Above: WPVGA Promotions Committee Chairman Chris Brooks (left) and WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan proudly display Wisconsin potatoes that were featured at the WGA Innovation Expo in Green Bay. The WPVGA also gave away recipe tear pads and bags of potato chips, among other things, to attendees who stopped by.

Above: WPVGA Director of Promotions Dana Rady (left) and Chris Fleming of Bushmans’ Inc. converse at the WPVGA booth before the opening hour of the 2017 PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans, October 20-21. Among the booth features were quarter-sized “Buy Local” bins, a cutout of NHL All-Star Joe Pavelski, and chips and plastic football giveaways. Left: Rod Gumz (center in gray shirt) of Gumz Farms converses with attendees of the WGA Innovation Expo in Green Bay, as WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan (right) listens in. DEPARTMENT:


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BC�T December 25

Marketplace. . . continued from pg. 25

Race Car Promotes Industry at Packers Game The October 22 Green Bay Packers game was a special day, not only for fans, but also for the Wisconsin potato industry. While the Spudmobile made an appearance,

so did a race car decked out in the Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes logo. The car is a direct result of a longstanding relationship and

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sponsorship deal between the WPVGA Promotions Committee and Tundra Super Late Model and Short Track car racing. The Tundra Super Late Model was parked near the Spudmobile at Lambeau Field, and positioned right on the corner of Armed Forces Drive and Oneida Street, which allowed for optimal recognition and the perfect way to start conversations with potential consumers. The conversations resulted in many passersby visiting the Spudmobile and coming out with a tasty potato sample, courtesy of the WPVGA. Above: The Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes race car attracts football fans into the area of the Spudmobile on October 22, 2017 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Right: Some passersby check out the Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes race car on October 22 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The car was parked next to the Spudmobile, where free potato samples were available to those who came through.










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Badger Beat What Do You Really Get Out of All that Farm Data? By Jed Colquhoun, Paul Mitchell and Yuji Saikai, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In our conversations with potato growers, there’s no doubt that the amount of information collected and reported about all things related to how the crop is grown has increased exponentially in recent years. Partners in the supply chain document where our food comes from and what was used to grow it. It’s also much easier these days to collect large volumes of data, ranging from evapotranspiration monitoring to satellite imagery of all sorts. But as a grower, outside of market access, what’s your return on investment for all that effort? Whether it’s sustainability reporting or remote imaging, one might argue that current analytics allow this data to be used to support decisions growers have already made, but it’s not to the point where they use data to make decisions that affect future crop production. Agricultural production is challenged by several multi-variable issues that are often lumped in the general category of a “stressed” crop. Multivariable issues require a systems approach with robust data to lead to 28 BC�T December

confidence in the solutions. Additionally, economic analysis is needed to determine which factors contributing to yield are economically justified to address with management practices and which factors (such as soil type) are not, thus eliminating spending on inputs that don’t add yield or quality. We’re currently working on ways to make innovative use of recent advances in “big data” analytics and machine learning (also referred to as data mining) to begin to move precision agriculture from a decisionsupport tool to a decision-making system.

“Big data” has become a popular term to simply refer to a large volume of structured and/or unstructured (unorganized) data. PREDICTIVE ABILITY In its current form, big data is used to describe what has happened, but the addition of machine learning adds predictive ability by understanding the complex relationships among inputs and outputs. Machine learning refers to the algorithms that are used to tease out the combinations of variables that consistently and reliably predict outcomes. Machine learning differs from typical regression analyses because the sets of combinations that are sifted through come from such large datasets that they are unwieldy, and the combinations of variables are not always intuitive to human experts. In this sense, the data essentially speaks for itself, and trends and relationships become apparent. Above: Professor Jed Colquhoun (foreground), University of Wisconsin-Madison, gives an update on weed management and vine desiccation during the Hancock Agricultural Research Station Field Day, July 20.

Machine learning is already used in many modern industrial systems that are often too complex for human experts to manually devise rules for controlling thousands of inputs, devices and outputs. Machine learning techniques are used to generate rules superior to handcrafted ones. Big data in agriculture is a rapidly growing industry. Automated data collection farm equipment, such as yield monitors, is a great example. Corn growers who have implemented big data precision agriculture approaches have reported yield increases of 5 to 10 percent. Our concept of big data includes the novel aspect that the farmers will be able to interact with the machines, learning outcomes in ways that drive behavioral change, optimize production and lessen environmental risks. MANAGED SYSTEMS A key issue that appears in managed systems like crop farms is what economists call endogeneity, with terms such as reverse causality or simultaneity also used. A simple agricultural example that illustrates the concept is nitrogen and yield. Using observed crop yields and nitrogen application rates, can we determine how much the use of nitrogen increases yields? The reality is that causality between nitrogen and yield goes in both directions with observational data— using more nitrogen increases yields and farmers use more nitrogen on higher-yielding fields. Economists have developed methods to identify the causal connections in such cases, since scientifically we know nitrogen increases crop yield. The difficulty is that the data we have includes observational outcomes from human decisions to manage randomly determined production systems, so that yield and nitrogen rates are simultaneously determined.

The key to estimate how much nitrogen increases crop yield, using such data, is to model the structural relationship between nitrogen and yield, both the biological/chemical/ physical processes and the human decision-making process.

Above: For potato growers, it has become common to collect large volumes of data, ranging from evapotranspiration monitoring to satellite imagery of all sorts. But as a grower, what’s the return on investment? Photo taken in Live Oak, Florida, courtesy of John Tweten

continued on pg. 30


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Badger Beat. . . continued from pg. 29

This can be as simple as linking standard nitrogen response curves from soil science with assumptions of profit maximizing behavior, but can easily be the using of more sophisticated crop response models and/or decision-making assumptions. These methods were developed years ago, but agricultural big data potentially allows their application for decision making at a level and intensity not yet implemented. What is needed is to assemble the data for a group of farmers, and then to develop and automate the algorithms to make them practically useful. EXPERIMENTATION & PRODUCTION Reinforcement learning, a specific type of machine learning, is a second approach that mixes experimentation and crop production to learn how to best manage a field. Continuing the nitrogen and crop yield illustration, a farmer would use the current best management practices to choose nitrogen rates for each management grid in a field to maximize current profits.

However, in addition, the farmer would use sub-optimal and superoptimal nitrogen rates on some grids in a systematic fashion to learn more about the crop’s nitrogen response curve in that field in that year to improve profitability in future years. The tradeoff between maintaining yield for current profitability and investing in experimentation to potentially increase future profits is at the heart of reinforcement learning. In the long term, developing algorithms to implement and

to optimize reinforcement learning is likely where agricultural big data will move, but there remains a lot of theoretical, empirical and practical work to be done before it can be implemented broadly in agriculture. In the short term, structural modeling approaches will be used more, since many of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings already exist, but longer term we see reinforcement learning approaches evolving to become the norm. We see specialty crops as a likely leader in this movement, since farmers commonly have many more decisions to make throughout the season than commodity crop growers, and the generally larger peracre crop values can better support on-farm experimentation. We’re currently taking a shot at this using cranberry as a test crop, but the general machine learning methodology and analytics would be applicable to any cropping system, including potato. Above: An online tool could allow growers to test scenarios, like altering weather variables or fertilizer inputs against yield, quality and net return, without taking the risk of that first step on the farm. Thad Barnes of Allied Coop sprays a field near Adams, Wisconsin, in June 2016. Photo courtesy of Kathy Kuss, Allied Cooperative

30 BC�T December

environmental risk associated with nutrient runoff from amounts applied exceeding what the crop can use at one time.

We’re focused on two objectives in particular: 1. To optimize inputs that net the greatest return to the farmer. For example, adding fertilizer only when it increases yield and not applying additional inputs that do not improve yield or quality.

Each additional split-fertilizer application (maintaining the same total seasonal amount) on average added 680 pounds of berries per acre, but each additional pound of nitrogen applied over the entire growing season added only 15 pounds per acre of berries on average.

2. P arse crop yield, quality and net return between variables that the farmer can control (such as nutrients and pesticides) and inherent production characteristics that can’t be controlled (such as soil type), so that investments are focused to maximize potential return.

Some cultural practices that are unique to cranberry production, such as applying sand to stimulate new vine growth, were important to optimal yield. Growers lose an average of 500 pounds of berries per acre for each year that passes from the last sanding event.

We did a pilot study with these methods in cranberry, using 2016 growing season data on 41 variables. In preliminary analysis, drivers of berry yield and quality were identified that were not anticipated but could be implemented with low front-end cost, such as reducing pre- and postseason irrigation and flood events that result in saturated soil and reduced vine productivity. Additionally, we found that splitting fertilizer use among several applications not only optimized yield, but also reduced any potential 12-17 Badger Common'Tater 1-3page


This online tool will allow growers to test scenarios, like altering weather variables or fertilizer inputs against yield, quality and net return, without taking the risk of that first step on the farm. From there, it will be relatively simple to expand to other crops such as potato. And, we can handle the data anonymously without farm identifiers. From remote sensing to regulatory and supply chain reporting, farmers accumulate vast amounts of data each growing season. There’s tremendous but unrealized value in that library of information.

Others, such as the number of honeybee hives per acre, did not have a significant effect on production relative to other variables and represented areas where financial resources can be conserved, particularly given recent challenges in renting and acquiring bees. SIMULATED FARM Our next steps are to refine the machine learning tools and to develop a grower-friendly simulated farm, like one used1in gaming, but3:46 (7x3).v1.outlines.pdf 2017-10-30

backed by real data.


We’re working on ways to use the robust data that already exists to look forward instead of backward, to optimize production and net returns, and as a farm risk management tool. The pressure to collect and report data to various entities isn’t going away, but we can add a return on that investment for the farmer. Stay tuned—we hope to add potatoes along the way if you’re interested!

BC�T December 31

Cover Crops Help Improve Soil Health AgSource Laboratories holds Antigo Flats Field Day discussing cover crops, drones, fertility and more Your soil is your greatest resource, and managing your soil through use of cover crops can bring the benefits of better soil health, economic returns and help to meet environmental goals.

“One of the long-term benefits to cover cropping is improved moisture availability through better infiltration and retention of water,” says Dr. Jim Friedericks, AgSource Laboratories outreach and education advisor.

Including cover crops in your cash crop operation can make sense over the long haul.

“This means crops will be better able to withstand short dry spells, leading to more stable yields,” he adds.

AgSource Laboratories held an Antigo Flats Fall Field Day, November 2, at the Langlade County Airport in Antigo, Wisconsin. Cover crop variety trials conducted by AgSource Laboratories and the University of Wisconsin Extension were a main topic of discussion. Other subjects included a phosphorous fertilizer and product trial, phosphorous runoff, agricultural drone applications and an ongoing watershed project related to runoff events. All topics are interrelated, because a combination of planting cover crops, using high-efficiency phosphorous inputs, increasing organic matter in the soil, using fertility programs, planting buffer strips between and around fields, and using edge-ofAbove: Lincoln and Marathon County UW Extension Soil and Crops Specialist Dan Marzu (blue coat) explains to attendees of the Antigo Flats Field Day how cover crops can be used to help reduce phosphorous runoff.

32 BC�T December

field, drone and in-stream monitoring equipment can help reduce phosphorous runoff into lakes and rivers. BOOST THE POTATO CROP The main purpose of the AgSource and UW Extension cover crop trial is to determine which cover crops ultimately help boost the potato crop. Winter rye has typically been the go-to cover crop for potato fields because it can be planted at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Runoff happens in the springtime, reminds Dan Marzu, a Lincoln and Marathon County UW Extension soil and crops specialist and educator. So, winter rye and wheat or even such cover crops as clover and triticale can help reduce phosphorous runoff. Ground cover also helps control erosion, Marzu reminds. Live, active plant roots help retain soil microbia. He says that pearl millet reduces


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nematodes, and that it’s best planted between July and August. “Pearl millet needs the soil temperature to be 65 degrees,” Marzu notes. “We want to control runoff of phosphorous, but we also want an ideal potato crop. If we

Above: Cover crops incorporated into a cash-crop rotation enhance the microbrial population in the soil.

can get a cover crop that controls nematodes, it might be a good idea to put clover or pearl millet into rotation.” continued on pg. 34


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Cover Crops. . . continued from pg. 33

Of course, economics is the bottom line, and the question is whether a grower makes or loses money on practices like cover crops, fertility programs and using monitoring devices. In the long run, growers spend money on fuel, seed and planting cover crops. Most growers who use cover crops expect to see increased organic matter in the soil, less erosion, fewer weeds and even more beneficial insects. Increasing the organic matter in the soil with cover crops has additional benefits, including: • Reducing soil compaction, which encourages root development in the corn or soybeans planted next, and allows for greater aeration for better soil microbial growth

• Reducing surface evaporation, which helps retain moisture for primary crops • Increasing the nutrient holding capacity of the soil Often there are increased yields of the next cash crop planted after a cover crop. Yield is influenced by several soil characteristics, including nutrient availability and the physical traits of the soil, both of which can benefit from cover crops. Cover crops are also useful in nitrogen (N) management, according to research conducted for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Nitrogen is lost through leaching of nitrate from the soil. A cover crop

such as rye grass will utilize this available nitrogen and can reduce loss by about 30 percent, Friedericks says. Phosphorus (P) losses, which usually take place through wind and water erosion of the soil, can be reduced with cover crops by about 28 percent, according to Friedericks. He added that cover crops not only improve soil health by increasing organic matter and improving soil Above: Winter rye has typically been the go-to cover crop on potato fields because it can be planted at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Runoff happens in the springtime, reminds Dan Marzu, a Lincoln and Marathon County UW Extension soil and crops specialist and educator. So, winter rye and wheat or even such cover crops as clover and triticale can help reduce phosphorous runoff.

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structure, but they also create a more stable and active microbial population in the soil.

clover, turnips, rapeseed, radishes and triticale, are also effective, but are less common.

ORGANISM GROWTH “Soil organisms actually have increased growth around plant roots where they utilize soil nutrients and organic matter for their metabolism, releasing those nutrients over time where plant roots can easily absorb them,” he explains.

To learn more about cover crops, contact your local Extension or Natural Resources Conservation Service office. For more information on soil health testing, visit www.tinyurl.com/AgSourceSoilHealth. AgSource is a leader in agricultural and

Above: The graph shows how water holding capacity is influenced by organic matter. environmental laboratory analysis and information management services. A subsidiary of Cooperative Resources International, AgSource provides services to clients in the United States and across the globe. Learn more at www.AgSourceLaboratories.com.

When a cover crop is used in a corn and soybean rotation, there is a chance of yield loss with corn. Friedericks notes that research from Iowa State University shows that killing the cover crop at least two weeks before planting can reduce the chances of that yield reduction. “A soil health test will reveal organic matter levels and nitrogen levels that can aid in the decision of the mix of cover crops to use,” he states. “Testing will also help track the benefits of cover crops over several growing seasons.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, common cover crops in the Upper Midwest include winter rye and winter wheat. Oats, spring wheat, hairy vetch, red clover, sweet BC�T December 35

NPC News

House Tax Reform Plan Released Several provisions have a direct impact on agriculture On November 5, House Republicans released their initial draft of a bill to reform the U.S. tax code. This legislation is designed to encourage growth of the economy and enhance the global competitiveness of American businesses. For agriculture, several provisions have direct impact: 1. The estate tax exemption is doubled immediately, repealed after six years and a stepped-up basis is also maintained. 2. The corporate tax rate is lowered to 20 percent and the pass-through rate is lowered to 25 percent.

Above: U.S. Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (left) holds up a “Simple, Fair Tax Filing” postcard in early November when House Republicans released their initial draft of a bill to reform the U.S. tax code. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (right) looks on.

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36 BC�T December

3. Immediate expensing of new equipment is allowed up to a cap of $5 million annually. 4. The "Section 199" deduction is repealed.

On Monday, November 6, the House Ways and Means Committee began a multi-day mark-up of this legislation. It was anticipated that changes would be made to gain the necessary votes for the bill to pass both the committee

and on the House floor. A section-by-section overview of the bill can be viewed by visiting https:// waysandmeansforms.house.gov/ uploadedfiles/tax_cuts_and_jobs_ act_section_by_section_hr1.pdf.

LaJoie Joins Key EPA Advisory Committee In November, National Potato Council (NPC) Vice President for Environmental Affairs Dominic LaJoie was in Washington, D.C. to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pesticide Policy Dialogue Committee (PPDC) meeting.

uses in potato production will be invaluable,” says John Keeling, NPC CEO. “This group brings together a diverse array of voices from across the political spectrum, and Dominic’s experienced, common-sense perspective is a real asset.”

LaJoie was appointed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to this key advisory committee that provides input to EPA on a wide range of crop protection and pesticide use issues.

At the PPDC meeting, EPA sought input on a variety of key issues, including state management plans for neonicotinoids, worker protection standards, Endangered Species Act consultations and Pesticide Registration Improvement Act funding for EPA.

“We are very pleased that EPA appointed Dominic to PPDC where his detailed knowledge of pesticide

LaJoie’s term will run for two years. He succeeds Doug Hanks, who represented the potato industry on PPDC for four terms.

continued on pg. 38

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NPC News. . . continued from pg. 37

Featured Potato Expo ’18 Speakers Set to Amp Up Crowd Get ready to be energized at Potato Expo 2018 with the Innovation Hub’s featured speakers, Jim Knight, business culture catalyst and former Hard Rock International executive, and Merril Hoge, former NFL star, prior ESPN analyst and a cancer survivor. Knight will amp up the crowd with his rock n' roll spirit to discuss developing, maintaining or transforming corporate culture to achieve results. Knight is who Fortune 500 companies turn to when they want to shake things up, and his revolutionary approach will leave attendees with key takeaways on effective leadership, team building and performance management.

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Seed Piece Wisconsin Requires Planting of Certified Seed Potatoes By Jordan Lamb, DeWitt Ross & Stevens

Wisconsin consistently ranks third in the country for potato production, harvesting about 65,000 acres. Yet, up until now, the state has only had a voluntary certified seed potato program. That is about to change.

Wisconsin, as we believe that the requirement will help prevent the spread of serious and potentially devastating diseases and facilitate the movement of seed potatoes in interstate and international commerce.

In August, Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2017 Wisconsin Act 46 requiring Wisconsin commercial potato growers to plant certified seed beginning on January 1, 2018.

Beginning in January, farmers who plant five or more acres of potatoes in a year, in Wisconsin, are required to plant certified seed. However, there may be situations that could limit the availability of certified seed.

The state’s certified seed program is designed to help the commercial potato industry maintain the quality and disease-free reliability of seed potatoes. A reliable source of seed potatoes is critical for commercial growers to market their potatoes more effectively

Therefore, the law allows the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to waive this requirement for specific varieties and genomes of potatoes, in a particular growing season, if there are not enough certified seed potatoes reasonably available to growers. The waiver can only occur

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to commercial buyers. Mandatory certification, as required under Act 46, requires all Wisconsinproduced seed potatoes to conform to standards. The WPVGA Advocacy Program worked to secure this change in

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if DATCP determines that the seed potatoes to be used for planting do not pose a serious disease threat. KEEP PLANTING RECORDS Farmers will be required to keep planting records for three years to show that certified seed was planted. Those records must be made available to DATCP, when requested, and must include specified information about the seed potato supplier, the contract and invoice for seed potatoes planted, and the certification tag for the seed potatoes. Any person who plants potatoes in violation of this certification requirement is subject to a forfeiture of up to $150 plus up to $150 for each acre planted, and a person who fails to retain the required records or make these records available to DATCP is subject to a forfeiture of up to $200. Although the requirement to plant

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certified seed is new, Wisconsin’s current seed certification program is not changed. Seed potato certification and grading is done at the request of the seed potato grower under a cooperative agreement between DATCP and the Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). See Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 156. CALS inspects seed potatoes for diseases and other conditions, and then certifies the seed potatoes in appropriate categories based on predicted disease-free reliability. DATCP inspects and grades CALScertified seed potatoes for other measures of quality. A grower may not sell potatoes as certified seed unless they have been certified by CALS and graded by DATCP. Certified seed potatoes are labeled with their certification and grade classifications so that commercial growers know what they are

Above: The Lamoka variety of seed potato thrives at the Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm during the 2017 Rhinelander Field Day.

purchasing and planting. The new requirement that all Wisconsin commercially grown potatoes must be grown from certified seed will protect buyers and sellers alike. For more information about the Wisconsin Seed Certification program, go to http://labs.russell.wisc. edu/seedpotato/.

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Have You Registered for the 2018 Industry Show? Nominate a 2017 WPVGA Associate Division Business Person of the Year Please either photocopy these forms, fill them out and fax, mail or email them to the addresses given in each

form, or visit www.wisconsinpotatoes. down to download Individual or Group com/events/2018-grower-educationASSOCIATE DIVISIONRegistration Forms. conference-industry-show/ and scroll OF THE

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Inc. ASSOCIATE DIVISION OF THEWISCONSIN 54409-0327 P.O. BOX 327, ANTIGO, PHONE (715) 623-7683 - FAX (715) 623-3176 E-MAIL: wpvga@wisconsinpotatoes.com • WEB: www.wisconsinpotatoes.com P.O. BOX 327, ANTIGO, WISCONSIN 54409-0327 PHONE (715) 623-7683 - FAX (715) 623-3176 E-MAIL: wpvga@wisconsinpotatoes.com • WEB: www.wisconsinpotatoes.com

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Inc.

The WPVGA Associate Division is accepting nominations for the 2017 Associate Division Business Person of the Year Award. Nominees must be members of the Associate Division who have made significant contributions to the potato and vegetable industry either this year or over a period of years. The WPVGA Associate Division is accepting nominations for the 2017 Associate Division Business Person of the Year Award. Nominees must be members of the of Associate Division who have made Take some time and give consideration to those deserving this award. Your nomination is significant contributions to the potato and vegetable industry either or over a period of years. appreciated. Please email jbraun@wisconsinpotatoes.com orthis faxyear (715-623-3176) a completed form to the WPVGA office no later than December 29, 2017. Thank you. Take some time and give consideration to those deserving of this award. Your nomination is appreciated. Please email jbraun@wisconsinpotatoes.com or fax (715-623-3176) a completed form to the WPVGA office no later than December 29, 2017. ASSOCIATE Thank you. NOMINATION FOR THE 2017 WPVGA DIVISION






Nominated By: 42 BC�T December

Nominated By:

BC�T December 43

Now News Peru Chosen to Host 10th World Potato Congress Latin American Potato Association teams with WPC to host industry event For the first time, the World Potato Congress (WPC) will be held in Latin America, and thus the Latin American Potato Association (ALAP) is coming together with WPC to co-host the event in the historic city of Cusco, Peru, May 27-31, 2018. According to WPC President and CEO David Thompson, the two organizations have agreed to stage a dual congress that will benefit the potato industry in South America and globally. The event will showcase and celebrate the Andean origins of the potato. WPC is held every three years and organized by the not-for-profit World

Potato Congress Inc., dedicated to supporting the cultivation and development of potato around the world.

natural fit to hold the 10th WPC in Peru, with previous congresses held in North America, Europe, South Africa, China and New Zealand.

The birthplace of the potato, it’s a

The 10th WPC and the XXVIII ALAP

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Congress will combine for the industry’s most important scientific and business event worldwide. The combined congress is an excellent showcase to promote the sustainable use of potato biodiversity (with a focus on native varieties), including how to differentiate the root vegetable on the market and mine its gastronomic uses with varieties related to health and nutrition. The event will serve as a food security platform and spur the development of business ventures. Thompson says more than 800 scientists and potato industry representatives will attend the 10th WPC to share interests, innovations and useful information for the global development and growth of the potato. The congress is an opportunity to learn about the latest business and scientific advancements in the potato industry.

•V alue chains for smallholder farmers

The theme of the congress is: “A Look to the Future of the Potato” Biodiversity, Food Security and Business

During the congress, delegates and guests will have an opportunity to participate in a number of different tours, including a half-day tour of city of Cusco and its local ruins, a full day tour of the Sacred Valley and a full day tour of Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The biodiversity component will explore: • Potato biodiversity and its use in breeding • Potato biodiversity in relation to health and nutrition • Challenges on in-situ conservation The food security thrust will include: • Varietal development • Biotechnology • Pest and disease management • Crop and seed management • Climate change • Late Blight The business aspect will cover: • Consumption and markets • Post-harvest and processing technologies • Culinary innovations

“We want to encourage anyone involved in the industry to consider attending the 10th World Potato Congress,” Thompson says. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn of new developments across the broad spectrum of the industry, to experience the uniqueness and flavors of Peru and to broaden one’s understanding and appreciation of South America’s diverse cultures. To register, go to: www. worldpotatocongress2018-alap.org. continued on pg. 46

SEEKING FARM MANAGER Over 13,000 Acres Farmed

• Looking for Qualified Candidate with Credentials • Extensive Knowledge of Potato Producing and Storage • Compensation Commensurate with Experience

Over 4,000 Acres of Potatoes Contact Jim Mortenson


jmortenson@mortensonbros.com BC�T December 45

Now News. . . continued from pg. 45

EPA and Dicamba Manufacturers Agree on Label Changes Success of changes will determine whether to allow continued over-the-top use By Kacey Birchmier, agronomy and conservation editor, Successful Farming An agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Monsanto, BASF and DuPont details specific measures to minimize the potential for dicamba drift and its resulting damage to neighboring crops. New requirements for dicamba applications will allow farmers to make informed seed purchase choices for the 2018 growing season, according to the EPA. In a series of discussions, EPA

worked cooperatively with states, land-grant universities and the pesticide manufacturers to examine the underlying causes of recent crop damage in the farm belt and southeast. EPA reviewed the information and developed changes to implement during the 2018 growing season. Monsanto, BASF and DuPont have voluntarily agreed to label changes that impose additional requirements for over-the-top use of dicamba formulations next year, including:

•C lassify products as “restricted use,” permitting only certified applicators with special training, and those under their supervision, to apply them. There will be dicamba-specific training for all certified applicators to reinforce proper use. •R equire farmers to maintain specific records regarding the use of these products to improve compliance with label restrictions continued on pg. 48


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BC�T December 47

Now News. . . continued from pg. 46

• Limit applications to when maximum wind speeds are below 10 mph (from 15 mph) to reduce potential spray drift • Reduce the times during the day when applications occur • Include tank clean-out language to prevent cross contamination • Enhance susceptible crop language and record keeping with sensitive crop registries to increase awareness of risk to especially sensitive crops nearby Manufacturers have agreed to a process for getting the revised labels into the hands of farmers in time for the 2018 season. Previously, there was concern that the EPA would ban the use of dicamba in 2018. The EPA will monitor the success

of these changes to help inform its decision whether to allow the continued over-the-top use of dicamba beyond the 2018 growing season. When EPA registered these products, it set the registrations to expire in two years, and thus to allow changes at that time, if necessary. “Today’s actions are the result of intensive, collaborative efforts, working side-by-side with the states and university scientists from across the nation who have firsthand knowledge of the problem and workable solutions,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Our collective efforts with our state partners ensure we are relying on the best, on-the-ground information,” Pruitt concludes.

Plainfield, WI • 715-335-4900 48 BC�T December

Above: New requirements for dicamba application are meant to minimize drift potential and resulting damage to neighboring crops. Photo courtesy of Gil Gullickson

Delay in Electric Logging Device Requirement Requested The Agricultural Retailers Association asks to delay implementation of ELD rules By the Agricultural Retailers Association The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to delay implementation of Electronic Logging Device rules. “ARA is concerned that many agribusinesses are not, and will not be, fully prepared to meet the December 18, 2017, compliance deadline,” says Richard Gupton, senior vice president of public policy and counsel for ARA. “Moreover, ELD manufacturers may not be able to accommodate existing Hours of Service [HOS] exemptions currently being utilized by agricultural retailers and distributors,” Gupton adds. On October 3, ARA requested the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) delay ELD enforcement for one year. The request was made in conjunction with a coalition of transportation stakeholders, including the National Corn Growers Association, National Grain and Feed Association, U.S. Cattleman’s Association and OwnerOperator Independent Drivers Association, during a meeting at the National Press Club. FEEDING THE WORLD Agricultural retailers play an important role in feeding the world. ARA members provide farmers with essential crop input materials such as seed, fertilizer, crop protection products and equipment. The industry has a strong commitment to vehicle safety and supports FMCSA’s mission to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks. The current process allows for selfcertification by ELD manufacturers without a robust third-party screening process. Even though

FMCSA is unwilling to certify ELD devices, there are manufacturers in the marketplace claiming their ELD product is “FMCSA Certified.” To become a certified medical examiner and perform driver medical exams, FMCSA requires medical examiners to enroll, complete necessary training and pass a certification test. A medical examiner must receive notification of certification from FMCSA before authorized to perform driver exams. A similarly stringent process needs to be established by FMCSA for ELD manufacturers so that the industry has full confidence the systems they purchase will be compliant with new regulations. UNNECESSARY COSTS ARA is also concerned with the unnecessary costs ELD systems impose on the industry without any proven safety benefits. ELDs can cost from $200 to $1,000 each for the device, as well as the costs related to maintenance, service contracts with manufacturers or vendors, and driver training to use this new equipment. This requirement adds unnecessary financial burden to an agricultural industry already struggling within

Above: Richard Gupton, senior vice president of public policy and council for the Agricultural Retailers Association, speaks during a meeting at the National Press Club, formally requesting a delay in the implementation of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rules.

a soft economy, with lagging commodity prices and the massive economic losses following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as other weather-related disasters. Ag retailers urge Secretary Chao and the Trump Administration to delay the pending December 18 compliance deadline given the many implementation issues facing the industry and other impacted stakeholders. ARA supports efforts by livestock producers seeking a delay and additional clarifications regarding ELD exemptions and waivers. Stakeholders within and outside the agricultural industry are also negatively impacted by the ELD mandate, which only highlights shortcomings in the HOS regulations. A delay to resolve these important issues would fully align with President Donald J. Trump’s regulatory reform initiatives while not impacting transportation safety of the nation’s roads and highways.

continued on pg. 50

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BC�T December 49

Now News. . . continued from pg. 49

McCain “Championship Banquet” Honors Growers Top potato growers for McCain Foods awarded monetary prizes and plaques A little recognition never hurt anyone. Yet, while attending the McCain Foods USA Grower Awards Banquet at Sentry World in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on November 8, a person couldn’t help but get the

feeling that the evening was less about recognition and more about supporting the industry and pride in a job well done. After guests had a chance to catch up during a social hour, they were

seated and greeted by Kerry Larson, field department manager for McCain Foods USA, Inc. Speakers included Rodney Norquay, senior director of manufacturing, North America (NA) east region, Top: Honored growers include, front row, from left to right: Jon Jacobs of Cedar River Potato Co.; A.J. Bussan and Jeff Sommers, Wysocki Produce Farm; Kevin Sigourney, Kevin Sigourney Farm; Bob Woyak, Woyak Farms; and Nathan Libey, Black Gold Farms Inc. The McCain Foods USA, Inc. team is, back row, from left to right: Bryan Bowen, Wisconsin agronomist; Tou Vang, field department specialist; Morgan Forbush, field representative; Bob Hyra, director of agriculture, NA Midwest region; Mary LeMere, agronomy manager, NA Midwest region; Kerry Larson, field department manager; Rodney Norquay, senior director of manufacturing, NA east region; Joshua Manning, raw scheduler/field representative; and Randy Cherney, field representative. Left: Bob Woyak of Woyak Farms happily accepts the Champion Bruise Free Crop of 2016 Award, which came with a welcome $1,000 check from McCain Foods.

Bob Hyra, director of agriculture, NA Midwest region and Mary LeMere, agronomy manager, NA Midwest region. Though the awards were for the final close of crop year 2016, the speakers compared the difficult 2016 harvest, with warm and wet conditions followed by a tough storage season, to the refreshingly successful 2017 potato harvest.

All McCain Foods presenters said the French fry and frozen potato processor’s facilities were full, all orders were being met and the 2017 harvest was a resounding success. With that, they got down to recognizing the growers who made the best of a more difficult 2016 growing season.

Left: Donna and Bernie Mocadlo of Mocadlo Farms enjoyed the McCain Foods reception, dinner and awards banquet. Bernie says he grows 540 acres of potatoes, green beans, sweet corn and peas on Mocadlo Farms in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Right: Kevin Sigourney walked off with the Class AA (more than 70,000 hundredweight) Direct Delivery Award.

Awards were presented to growers in celebration of the 2016 crop year.

continued on pg. 52

Award Winners for Production Season Beginning with the Potato Crop of 2016 Bruise Free – Crop of 2016: Bob Woyak – Woyak Farms – Plainfield, WI – Champion Ranger Russet: Nathan Libey – Black Gold Farms Inc. – Champion Class A (<70K Cwt.) Direct Delivery – Crop of 2016 Rodger Hetzel and Randy Wohlfeil Farms – Almond, WI - Champion Jerry Hetzel – Oak Grove Farms – Almond, WI - Reserve Champion Class AA (>70K Cwt.) Direct Delivery – Crop of 2016 Kevin Sigourney – Kevin Sigourney Farms – Coloma, WI – Champion Jon Jacobs – Cedar River Potato Co. – Colfax WI – Reserve Champion Grower Storage – Crop of 2016 Lonnie Firkus and Mike Firkus – Firkus Farms – Stevens Point, WI – Champions A.J. Bussan and Jeff Sommers – Wysocki Produce Farms Inc. – Bancroft, WI – Reserve Champions

BC�T December 51

Now News. . . continued from pg. 51

WinField United Opens Innovation Center Research and development center is newest facility for River Falls company By Margy Eckelkamp, Farm Journal The 55,000-square-foot Innovation Center is the newest research and development facility for WinField United. Located in River Falls, Wisconsin, the Innovation Center replaces the former WinField Product Development Center and Spray Analysis System. “The research and testing performed here will enable more targeted applications of crop protection products, which benefits both applicators and farmers. It also helps move the industry forward to achieve greater sustainability in land, water

and air quality,” says Chris Policinski, president and chief executive officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc. Staff members are doing product development for adjuvants, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, plant nutrition and performance solutions, and seed treatments. “Product development is a key part of our business,” says Eric Spandl, product market development manager at the Innovation Center. “This includes development of our proprietary products,” he adds. “We

Let’s get it straight.

had been on a path of continued growth, but we reached a point where we needed to make a significant investment in staff, equipment and lab space.” A key feature of the Innovation Center is the Infinity Group, which is a spray application laboratory using stateof-the art technology to evaluate the entire application process, including pesticide and adjuvant formulations, tank mixes, nozzle performance, spray characterization, drift and droplet deposition, and plant uptake.

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APPLICATION VARIABLES Testing is performed in the laboratory, as well as in both controlled and infield environments. The Infinity Group also includes a wind tunnel, where many spray application variables are tested using non-invasive diagnostic approaches to precisely measure droplet size and velocity. The Innovation Center allows for activities in the product development process to be brought in house, namely greenhouses. “We apply the latest best practices in our research approach and have backed our commitment with a significant monetary investment in our new center,” says Mike Vande Logt, executive vice president and chief operating officer, WinField United.

Photo courtesy of WinField United

“Our product development process is a stamp of approval that represents the comprehensive, rigorous, proven method we use to bring products and technologies to market,” he adds. Spandl says the Innovation Center was built with further growth in mind.

“This facility demonstrates the benefits we bring to retailers and farmers,” he says. “We are interested in the total product solution—and having comprehensive knowledge about all the factors surrounding application and agronomics.”

BC�T December 53

New Products

Tasteful Selections Unveils the SteamPak Mini Single-serving packages of fresh potatoes are microwaved for four minutes

Tasteful Selections™, a specialty potato brand from RPE, Inc., introduces a new item to the potato category—the SteamPak Mini! Catered to the health conscious and on-the-go consumer, the singleserving package of fresh potatoes microwaves in just four minutes, making it a great snack or side dish. Unlike anything else on the market, SteamPak Mini is a unique food item that includes 5.8 ounces of fresh potatoes. The complete product package of the 100-calorie snack offers multiple seasoning and pairing options to assist the consumer on how to best enjoy their SteamPak Mini. Wholesome, nutritious and naturally free of gluten and cholesterol, SteamPak Mini is the perfect snack or addition to any breakfast, lunch or dinner. “SteamPak Mini is a great in-andout item for retailers and appeals to the consumer who eschews food or packaging waste,” says Tim Huffcutt, director of marketing at RPE. “The portion size pairs well with any protein source and is eaten in

a single setting.” Making its debut at the 2017 PMA Fresh Summit, SteamPak Mini is available in the signature Tasteful Selections potato variety flavors of Honey Gold and Ruby Sensation. At home or on the go, SteamPak Mini is fast, easy and delicious! About Tasteful Selections Tasteful Selections, LLC, a joint venture of RPE, CSS

Farms and Plover River Farms Alliance, Inc., is a vertically integrated grower, shipper and marketer of premium specialty potatoes with unique attributes for size and flavor. About RPE RPE, a second-generation family farm, is a category leader and key grower/shipper of yearround potatoes and onions. RPE prides itself on maintaining a high level of business integrity that includes commitments to environmental sustainability, as well as category innovation and retail solutions.

Valley Irrigation “Run Time” App Monitors Pivots Growers can calculate pivot irrigation cycle time and eliminate handwritten notes Valley® Irrigation, The Leader in Precision Irrigation®, continues to provide irrigators with the necessary tools for easy entry into technology. With the launch of the new Valley Irrigation Run TimeTM app, growers can now easily calculate 54 BC�T December

their pivot irrigation cycle time and eliminate the need for handwritten calculations.

time completion, when each machine is running and how long it will take to complete the irrigation interval.

This free app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. It is a calculation-driven tool that allows growers to see pivot irrigation cycle

Valley Irrigation Run Time is not limited to use with Valley brand center pivots; it can be used in conjunction with any brand of pivot.

“This app will reduce inefficiencies and eliminate miscalculations,” explains Valley Product Manager Ashley Anderson. “Nearly every grower already carries a smartphone,” she reasons, “so it just makes sense that they can use it to monitor and track all of their irrigation machines. It’s another digital tool for the grower’s irrigation management toolbox.” The app does not communicate with the irrigation machines themselves, but rather the grower simply and quickly enters pertinent data such as start time and percent timer, and the Valley Irrigation Run Time app completes the calculation to estimate the end time. Growers can check on their run time anytime and from anywhere, ensuring they get back to their pivots at the right time, every time. They


can also keep a running log of pivot run time notes and refer to them time and again. “We had customers asking for an app like this, so they would always have pivot run time information with them on their smartphones,” says Vice President of Global Marketing Matt Ondrejko. “Not everyone wants complete monitoring and control of their pivots from their phones, but they do want the ability to accurately track irrigation run time.” Ondrejko adds, “This is another way

About Valley Irrigation Valley Irrigation founded the center pivot irrigation industry in 1954, and is the worldwide leader in sales, service, quality and innovation. With historical sales of more than 200,000 center pivots and linears, Valmont-built equipment annually irrigates approximately 25 million acres around the world. Valley Irrigation remains dedicated to providing innovative, precision irrigation solutions now and into the future. For more information, please visit valleyirrigation.com.

AgCountry Farm Credit Services provides operating loans, home loans, real estate financing and equipment loans and leases as well as services for tax planning and preparation, farm accounting, appraisal, crop insurance and succession and retirement planning. Contact your local office to learn more.

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that Valley continues to focus on our growers’ needs, no matter what brand of pivot they use.”

Antigo,WI 623-7644 or 800-324-5755 Stevens Point, WI 344-1000 or 800-324-5754 BC�T December 55

Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

Well friends, whether we like

it or not, 2017 is coming to a close. I’ve personally spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year. At our last Auxiliary meeting, I thought it would be fun to ask all the other board members to share memories they have created this past year while sitting on the board. Since I’ve only been a board member for about six months, hearing everyone else’s thoughts really was amazing. I’m going to let them share our accomplishments in their own words. Marie Reid—Board Member I became chair of the State Fair committee this year, taking over for Jacquie Wille. I would like to thank Jacquie for passing the torch to me and for all her years of service to the Auxiliary. I truly appreciate the hard work she put in to make the State Fair event the great success it is today. I am enjoying my time on the Auxiliary Board, and attending events like State Fair, Feed My Starving Children and Kids Dig was a highlight for me this year.

Above: Paula Houlihan, immediate past president of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary, engages students at their level during a Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes event. Photo courtesy of Doug Foemmel

many opportunities it offers to work collaboratively with other organizations within the WPVGA in support of our potato and vegetable industry.

and counting! This is an industry-wide event that truly exhibits the heart of our members. Together we feed the world and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

One of the initiatives that best exemplifies this is the annual Feed My Starving Children mobile packing event each June, which holds a special place in my heart.

Jody Baginski—Board Member I’m the co-coordinator for the potato booth at the Wisconsin State Fair. The 11 groups that come to State Fair are amazing! They take time from their busy lives to help promote potatoes. I enjoy working with all of you.

Paula Houlihan— Immediate Past President Reflecting on the past year, I’m proud of all that the Auxiliary has accomplished. I’ve had the honor of serving on the Auxiliary Board of Directors the past six years.

Each year, the boards and many members of the Auxiliary, WPVGA, WSPIA and the Associate Division come together through their generous donations and by volunteering their time for a weekend to pack potato-based meals to feed starving children across the globe.

What I like best about being part of the Auxiliary is the

To date, we have packed and distributed over 750,000 meals

56 BC�T December

I also help on the Kids Dig committee and enjoy working at the harvest parties. Together as a board, we are doing great things, and I can't wait to see what the new year holds. Brittany Bula—Board Member It has been an honor to be on the board this year. I am excited to see

the amazing things that we can accomplish as a team this term!

from Algoma to Racine and Osceola to Cassville.

Deniell Bula—Secretary I thought being secretary would be temporary, but it turned into full time, and I enjoy it.

We did three harvest parties this year at different schools. One of my favorites was a little school in Mosinee where we were able to have a party for the whole school.

Kathy Bartsch—President When I was asked to write about my most memorable event for 2017, I had to stop and think for a minute. Just being on the Auxiliary Board is a wonderful experience in itself. I am lucky to work with such enthusiastic women who have a great passion for the potato industry. We do so many great activities and events throughout the year, it is hard to pick just one thing. But, since I need to, it would have to be our Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes events. We took the Spudmobile to six schools, practically every corner of Wisconsin,

Just seeing the excitement of all the students who we visit throughout the year is so fun and rewarding. I hope to be able to work with Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes for many years to come. Devin Zarda—Vice President For myself, being elected to the board was an amazing experience! I never expected to be elected, so it was quite a shock. Because of how our calendar is set up, the fall months are lots of planning with many of our events taking place in spring

and summer. Now that I’ve seen behind the curtain, I can’t wait to participate in the events we have coming this spring! I’m excited to attend some of the Kids Dig events. After reading all the comments, everyone seems to express and feel a sense of gratitude to spread the message of Wisconsin potatoes. I know this has been a mission of the Auxiliary since the beginning, but it’s amazing to see new generations wanting to push this message as well. Within the last two years, our membership has doubled, and we are reaching new corners of the state and Midwest with our Kids Dig program! All in all, I would say 2017 has been a fantastic year, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018!

BC�T December 57

University of Wisconsin Awarded $7 Million Grant Funds will be used to research plants that produce their own nitrogen and need less fertilizer Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Florida will use a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study how some plants partner with bacteria to create usable nitrogen and to transfer this ability to the bioenergy crop poplar. Plants that produce their own nitrogen would require less fertilizer, which would save farmers money and reduce the environmental pollution caused by fertilizer runoff into waterways. The scientists will study how

legumes—alfalfa, beans and their cousins—evolved the ability to cooperate with bacteria to turn the nitrogen that is so abundant in the air into a form usable by plants. That process is called nitrogen fixation, and it takes place in specialized root organs called nodules that harbor soil bacteria. Recreating this ability in other plants has long been a goal of microbiologists and plant biologists interested in improving agriculture, says Jean-Michel Ané, a professor of bacteriology and agronomy and the lead researcher for the

UW-Madison team. The scientists will use the increasing availability of fully sequenced genomes and datasets on gene expression to investigate the evolutionary history of nitrogen fixation. By comparing closely related plants where one species retains this ability and another has lost it, the

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Jean-Michel Ané

Sushmita Roy

Alfalfa Field

researchers can identify the most important genetic elements for nitrogen fixation to take place.

medical informatics at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, to lead this evolutionary investigation.

“Most of the time, evolution works by modifying preexisting mechanisms, and we want to find the preexisting mechanisms and key innovations that have been used by evolution to create these new associations between plants and bacteria,” explains Ané.

The UW-Madison researchers will then partner with colleagues at the University of Florida to begin testing groups of genes that could confer nodulation and bacterial symbiosis, and ultimately nitrogen fixation, on poplar.

CREATING NODULES “It is very likely that plants that don’t form nodules, like poplar, have these preexisting mechanisms that we could tweak to create nodules and allow these associations,” he says. Ané’s group will work with Sushmita Roy, a professor of biostatistics and

Ané says that this project continues a long tradition of studying nitrogen fixation at UW-Madison. “UW-Madison, for decades, has been a leader in research on nitrogen fixation, in biochemistry, in agronomy and in bacteriology. There has been a really long history of research on the enzyme that performs nitrogen

fixation,” he says. While the new grant aims to develop nitrogen fixation in poplar, food crops are also a target. Ané says that the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center, a plant biotechnology center at UWMadison, provides the expertise that would be required to translate findings from poplar research to cereals like corn, wheat and rice. “My hope is that if we find something that works in poplar, then we have the capacity in the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center, which is fairly unique in the United States, to apply those results to cereals, which I’m really excited about,” says Ané.

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



















































$373,325.08 BC�T December 59

People Syngenta Names #RootedinAg Contest Winner Tori Streitmatter’s father encouraged her to become #RootedinAg Tori Streitmatter of Sparland, Illinois is the grand prize winner of the 2017 Thrive #RootedinAg contest from Syngenta. The contest challenges growers and other ag industry professionals across the country to describe the person who most nourished their agricultural roots.

my farm family close to my heart,” Streitmatter continued.

Streitmatter, who currently works in human resources and recruiting for agricultural supply cooperative GROWMARK, Inc., chose her father, Dave.


“My father is who I credit for fuelling my fire for agriculture,” she wrote in her winning essay. “He was my biggest motivator throughout my 4-H and FFA days.” “He taught me how to work hard without expecting anything in return, live simply, stay humble, respect everyone’s ideas, give back to my community, problem solve, stand up for what I believe in and ALWAYS hold

In addition to the mini touch-screen tablet that she, along with four other deserving finalists, received earlier in the competition, Streitmatter has won a $500 gift card. Syngenta will also make a $1,000 donation in her name to the Midland FFA Alumni to help students who are pursuing ag degrees in her local area attend regional and national conferences. “Students often ask me, ‘How do I get where you are?,’ and I tell them getting involved is key,” says Streitmatter, who spends many weekends on her family’s farm in Sparland. “A lot of that came from my dad. He was very involved in the ag community himself, and I wanted to be like him in that way, too.”

GET INVOLVED, STAY INFORMED, BE AWARE! Join Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and keep abreast of what is happening in your industry. Find out how to become a member today. Go to: wisconsinpotatoes.com/about/members

Stake a claim in your future today! 60 BC�T December

Streitmatter is the latest winner in the annual Syngenta Thrive contest. Thrive is the company’s news magazine and website created specifically for U.S. growers and agribusiness professionals. “We’re proud to honor Tori and are thankful to everyone who took the time to share stories about the people who instilled in them a love of agriculture,” says Wendell Calhoun, communications manager at Syngenta. “We understand that passion and credit it for our drive to develop innovative, practical solutions for today’s, and tomorrow’s, growers,” Calhoun adds. 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year Syngenta has sponsored an essay contest for its Thrive readers. To learn more about the contest or to read other ag news stories, go to www.SyngentaThrive.com. Join the conversation online— connect with company representatives at social.SyngentaUS.com. continued on pg. 62


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People. . . continued from pg. 60

Vive CEO Elected to CropLife America Board of Directors Vive Crop Protection is pleased to announce that corporate CEO Keith Thomas has been elected to the CropLife America Board of Directors for a three-year term. “I am excited to contribute to CropLife America’s mission supporting modern agriculture,” Thomas states. “We are relatively new to the U.S. crop protection industry, but we’ve had a big impact.”

These qualities, combined with his interest in the role the industry plays in sustainability, and aligned with our technology innovation, makes him a great addition to the main governance body of CropLife,” states CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom.

“Our election to the CropLife America Board recognizes our commitment to the industry. We plan to be here for the long term,” he adds.

Thomas agrees, adding, “Innovation is incredibly important to farmers today. Using new technologies, we can improve sustainability, productivity and crop quality. As an innovative, technology-based company, we are proud to be part of this industry.”

“We look forward to the business experience and academic perspective Keith brings to the CLA Board.

Thomas is also a governor of the University of Toronto and is the chair of its business board.

About Vive Crop Protection Vive creates new ways to use trusted products via the Allosperse® Delivery System. Allosperse improves the targeting and performance of pesticide active ingredients. This helps farmers do more with less, reducing the burden agricultural practices have on the environment, all while increasing crop quality and yields. Vive works with global partners that want to bring better crop protection products to growers around the world. For more information, visit www.vivecrop.com.

Jennifer Jakel Named Outstanding Woman in Banking NorthWestern Financial Review honors AbbyBank executive vice president AbbyBank is excited and honored to announce that Jennifer Jakel, executive vice president, was chosen to receive NorthWestern Financial Review magazine’s Outstanding Women in Banking Award for 2017. She is featured in the November edition of the magazine.

Oregon Community Bank and Shane Pilarski of Alliance Bank.

Sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen, only five women are awarded this honor each year. Selected from nominations submitted by NorthWestern Financial Review readers, in addition to Jakel, this year’s selections include Julie Dahle of Choice Financial; Connie Lonneman of First State Bank Southwest; Elyse Smithback of

As its name suggests, the award is an outstanding accomplishment, and is not limited to women from Wisconsin. Nominees are selected from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

62 BC�T December

The women chosen must have made outstanding contributions to their bank, industry and community, and Jennifer meets and exceeds these expectations.

“Jennifer has been a significant part of AbbyBank for 41 years. Her experience and knowledge has helped to make AbbyBank what it is today,” states Patrick McCrackin, CEO of AbbyBank. AbbyBank is an independent community-owned bank with assets of $452 million and serving customers and shareholders with offices in Abbotsford, Appleton, Medford, Wausau and Weston.

WPVGA Hurricane Relief

Farmers Helping Farmers Workers Helping Workers Neighbors Helping Neighbors Semi-load of Potatoes and Onions donated to Harry Chapin Food Bank in Ft. Myers, Florida

BC�T December 63

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

Hello everyone and welcome to December! I can't

believe 2017 is coming to a close. With that said, I hope all the deer hunters had a successful hunting season. Living in Waupaca County, I have seen many nice bucks roaming the fields, so there are still some nice ones out there. I trust you all had a nice Thanksgiving with family and friends, making memories. Christmas is my favorite time of year. What I enjoy most is having the entire family home, baking all the cookies, decorating with the grandkids and listening to laughter and chatter when everyone is together.

educational purposes and may provide opportunities to inform students and the public about water usage.

As for the Associate Division Board updates, we have been reviewing final income and expenses from 2017, particularly regarding the Putt-Tato Open, and already preparing for the 2018 event.

QUALITY AUCTION ITEMS We will hold a silent auction again this year during the Grower Education Conference and are working on finalizing the auction items at this time. Rest assured, these will be quality items you won’t want to miss out on!

We also received a sponsorship request from the Boston School Forest in Plover, Wisconsin, to donate $3,800 for replacement of a bridge. A motion was made and accepted to provide the requested funds, and a plaque will be displayed at the forest in gratitude for the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association’s support. This will be very positive exposure since the school forest is used for 64 BC�T December

We have been finalizing the details for the 2018 WPVGA Grower Education Conference & Industry Show to be held February 6-8 at the Holiday Inn, Stevens Point.

Last year we devoted one hour during the Grower Education Conference for vendor presentations, with each selected exhibitor getting a 5-minute timeline to highlight a new product or service that would be beneficial to our attendees. This year, we restructured the vendor presentation guidelines and will be

selecting the top five submissions, allowing 10 minutes or less to present. I believe this will be a great way to get a preview of new products or services and generate an increase in visitors attending exhibitor booths. As for the Associate Division Banquet, we will be having the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point jazz band for entertainment throughout the evening. As always, this will present a great opportunity to network with fellow WPVGA members and enjoy the food and speakers. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Growers Education Conference & Industry Show in February. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and joyous New Year! The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us. Thanks for reading,

Sally Suprise

WPVGA Associate Division President

Ali's Kitchen Wake up to a Farmer’s Breakfast Bake

Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary We tend to host quite a few outof-town friends and family here at the Carter house. We all enjoy the company since it gives each of us precious time to reconnect with our loved ones and catch up on all the little pieces of life that aren’t easily shared when not face-to-face. With the comings and goings of overnight guests, I have developed some quick go-to recipes that will feed our hungry crew, but not keep us tied to the kitchen preparing meals. This Farmer’s Breakfast Bake is one of our favorites for the morning meal. The bake is hearty and filling,

especially good for the chilly winter months in Wisconsin. Plus, it’s not a finicky recipe. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that it allows you to have some flexibility. While I may love the combination of sausage and ham, you may choose to add bacon instead … go for it! Don’t like green onions or basil? Feel free to ignore that part of the recipe. Only have cheddar cheese on hand? Great! Toss in that shredded cheddar instead of the mix of Monterey Jack and Colby. And, best of all, you have the choice continued on pg. 66

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups frozen hash browns 5 eggs 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk 2 to 3 large basil leaves roughly torn into small pieces ¼ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup shredded combination Monterey Jack/Colby cheese ¾ cup cooked ham (cubed) ¾ cup cooked pork sausage (crumbled) ¼ cup green onion, well chopped BC�T December 65

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Ali's Kitchen. . .

AgBiome Innovations................... 36

continued from pg. 65

AgCountry Farm Credit Services... 55 AgSystems Inc............................... 27 Altmann Construction.................. 30 Baginski Farms................................ 5 Big Iron Equipment....................... 17 Bula Potato Farms, Inc. ................ 37 Bushmans’ Inc................................ 3 Compeer Financial........................ 25 CPS Great Lakes............................ 61 Crop Production Services............. 48 David J. Fleischman Farms............ 41 Fencil Urethane Systems.............. 14 Gallenberg Farms......................... 49 Insight FS...................................... 26 J.W. Mattek................................... 53 Jay-Mar......................................... 29 K&K Material Handling................. 67 Midwestern BioAg........................ 46 Mortenson Bros. Farms................ 45 National Potato Council/ Potato Expo ad............................ 39 Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Inc................................. 13

to either prepare this bake an hour or so before you plan to eat and then place it into the oven right away, or you can layer everything into the baking dish in the evening and tuck it away in the fridge overnight to be baked in the morning.

5. O n top of the potatoes, layer the diced ham, crumbled sausage, shredded cheese and green onions.

Nothing finicky and lots of flexibility!

7. T o serve the next morning, cover the baking dish tightly and place into the fridge overnight.

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. 2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, evaporated milk, basil, onion powder and salt and pepper.

6. P our the egg and milk mixture evenly over the other ingredients in the baking dish.

8. T o bake immediately, simply place into the preheated oven. 9. B ake for 45-60 minutes*, until baked through.

3. Mix well with a fork.

*Baking time will vary, and may take closer to 60 minutes if first refrigerated overnight.

4. Set the bowl of egg mixture aside and spread a layer of the hash brown potatoes evenly on bottom of baking dish.

Tip: Serve this Farmer’s Breakfast Bake to your guests with dollops of sour cream and extra leaves of fresh basil for lots of flavor!

66 BC�T December

North Central Irrigation................ 44 Oasis Irrigation............................. 68 R&H Machine............................... 12 Roberts Irrigation ........................... 2 Ron’s Refrigeration......................... 9 Rural Mutual Insurance................ 33 Sand County Equipment............... 47 Schroeder Brothers Farms.............. 7 Schutter Seed Farm...................... 21 Seidl Farms................................... 57 Swiderski Equipment.................... 15 Syngenta....................................... 11 T.I.P............................................... 38 V&H Inc. Trucks............................ 23 Vantage North Central.................. 52 Volm Companies........................... 31 Wick Buildings LLC........................ 35 WPVGA Hurricane Relief.............. 63 WPVGA Get Involved.................... 60 WPVGA Subscribers...................... 40 WPVGA Support Our Members.... 34 WSPIA........................................... 58

Merry Christmas

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