1808_Badger Common'Tater

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$18/year | $1.50/copy | Volume 70 No. 8 | AUGUST 2018



Felix Navarro Superintendent Hancock Agricultural Research Station

HIRING UNIVERSITY INTERNS Makes Good Business Sense NATIONAL POTATO INDUSTRY Leaders Tour Wisconsin Farms CAN YOU TELL SILVER Scurf from Black Dot? TIP TUBER BALANCE— Increase Potato Yields Willow Eastling, summer intern at Heartland Farms, spends a beautiful July morning in a field of chipping potatoes. Photo courtesy of Lynn Dickman

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On the Cover: Heartland Farms summer student/intern, Willow Eastling,

stands in a field of chipping potatoes on a beautiful July morning. Heartland Research Agronomist Lynn Dickman, who took the photo, was teaching Eastling about the mid-season growth stage of potatoes and gathering information on the set, size and number of tubers.

8 BADGER COMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: Hancock Agricultural Research Station (HARS) Superintendent Felix Navarro gives a presentation on potato variety trials during the Antigo Field Day, July 27, 2017, at the Langlade Ag Research Station in Antigo, Wisconsin. Under Navarro’s watch, HARS serves approximately 40 research groups, including university faculty and staff, industry partners and others, conducting more than 160 research activities every year.

DEPARTMENTS: ALI’S KITCHEN................... 65 AUXILIARY NEWS.............. 57 BADGER BEAT................... 51


WPVGA and area growers host NPC & Potatoes USA


Golfers gather for a good cause and give it their all at 2018 Spud Seed Classic


Kids from Wisconsin troupe is “Powering Performance with Wisconsin Potatoes”

FEATURE ARTICLES: 22 COLLEGE INTERNS: an investment in the future of a company and community 44 BLACK DOT & SILVER SCURF: Differentiate and manage potato tuber diseases 61 NITROGEN NUTRITION for potatoes influences plant growth and increases yield 4

BC�T August

EYES ON ASSOCIATES........ 42 MARK YOUR CALENDAR..... 6 NEW PRODUCTS............... 59 NOW NEWS...................... 32 NPC NEWS........................ 64 PEOPLE............................. 49 PLANTING IDEAS................. 6 POTATOES USA NEWS....... 41 WPIB FOCUS..................... 56

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WPVGA Board of Directors: President: Josh Mattek Vice President: Gary Wysocki Secretary: Rod Gumz Treasurer: Wes Meddaugh Directors: Mike Carter, Mark Finnessy, Bill Guenthner, Eric Schroeder & Eric 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: Casey Kedrowski Vice President: Joel Zalewski

Plainfield, WI | 888-368-8447

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

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: Datonn Hanke Directors: Jody Baginski, Brittany Bula, Deniell Bula & 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

Secretary: Cathy Schommer Treasurer: Rich Wilcox Directors: Chris Brooks, Paul Cieslewicz, Nick Laudenbach & Kenton Mehlberg

Mission Statement of the WPVGA: To advance the interests of WPVGA members through education, information, environmentally sound research, promotion, governmental action and involvement. Mission Statement of the WPVGA Associate Division: 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 August



Calendar AUGUST

2-12 6-10 11 18 18 24-25 25

WISCONSIN STATE FAIR Wisconsin State Fair Park West Allis, WI POTATOES USA SUMMER MEETING Hotel Park City Park City, UT ANTIGO TATER TROT City Park, 8:30 a.m. Antigo, WI WAUPACA AREA TRIATHLON South Park, 7:00 a.m. Waupaca, WI WEST MADISON AG RESEARCH STATION HORTICULTURE FIELD DAY 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 8502 Mineral Point Road, Verona, WI POTATO DAYS FESTIVAL Barnesville, MN SILVER LAKE TRIATHLON Silver Lake Park, 7 a.m. Portage, WI


15 18-22

2018 SPUD BOWL Community Stadium, Goerke Park, 6 p.m. Stevens Point, WI POTATO BOWL USA FESTIVITIES Alerus Center Grand Forks, ND


16-17 18-20 27 29-30

WISCONSIN GROCERS ASSOCIATION INNOVATION EXPO Hyatt Regency & KI Center Green Bay, WI PRODUCE MARKETING ASSOCIATION FRESH SUMMIT Orange County Convention Center Orlando, FL 2nd ANNUAL ALSUM FARMS & PRODUCE TATER TROT 5K Alsum Farms & Produce, 10 a.m. N9083 County Road EF, Friesland, WI RESEARCH MEETING West Madison Ag Research Station Verona, WI



POTATO EXPO 2019 Austin, TX


5-7 25-28


Planting Ideas “You’ve really got a beautiful farm here,” said NPC President and CEO John Keeling to John T. and Eric Schroeder, and he meant it. You can’t fake that kind of sincerity. The Schroeders thanked Keeling, and they also meant it. Potatoes USA President/CEO Blair Richardson and Grower Chairman Dan Moss agreed.

Keeling, Richardson and Moss were Above: From left to right, in a Schroeder Bros. Farms potato field, are John T. in Wisconsin, June 26-28, to meet Schroeder, Dan Moss, John Keeling, with growers, tour facilities and get Eric Schroeder and Blair Richardson. a firsthand look at how potatoes and vegetables are grown, harvested, stored, packaged and marketed in the state. The trio of national industry leaders have made it a priority to visit potato and vegetable growing areas, large and small, across the country, and the WPVGA and state of Wisconsin was proud to host the group. They recognized the beauty of Wisconsin and natural resources we have here. They couldn’t help but notice the work ethic, pride of ownership and generational commitment to potato and vegetable growing. It was heartening to see how impressed they were and how much they enjoyed their visit to the state. See the related feature article in this issue. There has been so much to be proud of as of late. The Spud Seed Classic golf outing not only raises money for the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association, but also serves as a release and much-needed fun-filled event after a grueling planting season (with this wet and then brutally hot spring an especially trying time). The 2018 Spud Seed Classic saw full attendance and raised record money, with golfers coming out in full force to support the cause and enjoy some camaraderie with friends and associates. Read about it in “Seed Piece.” People also flocked to the 2018 Farm Tech Days, held in the City of Marshfield in Wood County, where they toured the Spudmobile, waded in a miniature cranberry bog, visited with University of Wisconsin researchers, took virtual farm tours and of course stopped by all the booths and tables, youth and food tents and a family living area. There’s a lot of pride in the state’s potato and vegetable growing industry, and it’s not unwarranted or undeserved. Enjoy the rest of your summer. 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

Managing Editor jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com


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research manager/superintendent, Hancock Agricultural Research Station By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

NAME: Felix Navarro TITLE: Research manager/ superintendent FACILITY: Hancock Agricultural Research Station LOCATION: Hancock, WI YEARS IN PRESENT POSITION: 5 PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Potato Breeding Program, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison SCHOOLING: Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics, UW-Madison ORGANIZATIONS: Potato Association of America, American Society of Agronomy and American Society of Horticultural Sciences FAMILY: Wife, Sonia, and three sons, Octavio, Alberto and Juan HOBBIES: Enjoys baseball, soccer, traveling, music and dance Above: An aerial view shows the Hancock Agricultural Research Station in Hancock, Wisconsin, where Felix Navarro, shown observing white mold on snap beans, is the research manager and superintendent. Opposite Page: As UW-Madison horticulture potato physiologist, Jiwan Palta (background holding microphone), makes a presentation to attendees of the 2011 Hancock Agricultural Research Station (HARS) Field Day, Felix Navarro (foreground) distributes SpudPro potato variety cards. Felix presented that day as well. 8

BC�T August

“I started my education in agronomy at Instituto Politecnico Loyola (IPL) in the Dominican Republic,” says Felix Navarro, research manager and superintendent of the Hancock Agricultural Research Station in Hancock, Wisconsin. “This was a Jesuit community college that combined, in five years, a solid high school diploma with several years of professional training,” he explains. “At IPL, my advisor was Pedro Comalat, a professor from Spain who had worked at Pioneer Hi-Bred in Johnston, Iowa. He was a devoted corn breeder and avid statistician who helped me understand many key scientific principles,” Navarro credits.

kids; I was the only one in my family to get a university degree, going all the way for a Ph.D.,” Navarro states. “I may have made up for all the years the whole family owed to academia. Or maybe, I just did not have the skills and talents my brothers had.”

“I gained an interest in plant breeding by interacting with Dr. Comalat, as well as during my introduction to genetics and plant breeding classes with Julio Cicero and Rafael PerezDuvergé,” he says.

“One of them, Pedro, is a skillful mechanic and car body repair worker and the other, Juan, is a driver/administrative assistant,” he says, “and my living sister, Luz, is an amazing tailor.”

Navarro was raised in a working-class family, his dad initially employed as a lumberjack in Azua, Dominican Republic, and eventually moving to Santo Domingo and later Cristóbal where he held several jobs to support three boys, two girls and Felix’s mother.

You’ve done work with root rot resistant varieties of snap beans and resistant root rot markers. How did your research lead you to snap beans and why? I got my Bachelor of Science in agronomy at Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Santo Domingo, in 1988.

“I am the fourth in a family of five

At that time, I was already working

full-time as research assistant to the corn breeding program led by Perez-Duvergé in the Ministry of Agriculture. When I graduated, I had an opportunity to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to pursue a master’s degree. Through Dr. Comalat, I learned about the research work in quantitative genetics done by Charlie Gardner and Bill Compton at UNL, and I was lucky to be accepted as a student in Dr. Compton’s lab. During my time in Lincoln, I met Dr. Dermot Coyne, a bean breeder who lead Collaborative Research Support Programs (CRSP) that included the Dominican Republic. Professor Coyne was very interested in having me as a Ph.D. student in his lab and offered me a research assistantship to make it possible. Did I accept this fantastic opportunity? You may have guessed wrong. With my new training in corn breeding, I could hardly wait to go back to the Dominican Republic and advance the work I had initiated in corn breeding. To be fair, I did just that. During my work in the ’90s in the Dominican Republic, I developed several corn varieties, including CESDA-88, UNPHU-301C and Loyola-86. I believe CESDA-88 and Loyola-86 are still planted

in the Dominican Republic. CORN STUNT DISEASE I collaborated with the International Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT) on a regional maize program. I was involved in the development of corn stunt disease resistant populations.

Corn stunt disease was important in the Caribbean and Central America, particularly in Nicaragua. In my collaborative projects with CIMMYT, I worked with scientists such as Hugo Córdova, Willy Villena, Bobby Renfro and colleagues all over Central America and the Caribbean. continued on pg. 10

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Interview. . .

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In a trip to CIMMYT-Mexico in 1993, my work would lead me to meet my wife, Sonia, whom I married in 1994, but that is another story! In 1998, I started collaborating on pepper and tomato breeding work led by Jim Nienhuis, a vegetable breeder from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr Nienhuis, during his sabbatical, was leading the Collaborative Vegetable Research and Development Network for Central America, Panamá and the Dominican Republic (REDCAHOR). In the summer of 1999, Dr. Nienhuis was searching for a graduate student to come back to his program in Madison, and I expressed my interest. In the fall of 1999, he traveled to the Dominican Republic to evaluate REDCAHOR trials and participate in field days. I pressed him for a decision while he was there, and Dr. Nienhuis decided to bring me to Madison as his graduate student starting in January of 2000. Sonia and I were very happy, and my parents, brothers and sisters prepared to see me go once again. NECESSARY RESOURCES Being a graduate student with Dr. Nienhuis was a blessing. He and Michell Sass, his technician, were very supportive. Jim provided me

10 BC�T August

with the freedom and necessary resources to do my research. I also had Dr. Craig Grau, a plant pathology guru, as my co-adviser. We were very productive and conclusively identified, mapped and validated regions in the bean genome that conferred resistance to root rot caused by Aphanomyces euteiches and Pythium ultimum. Previous work done by Don Hagedorn at UW Plant Pathology had identified these organisms as the culprit of bean root rot in the Central Sands of Wisconsin. Hagedorn’s group had executed a masterful greenhouse trial that defined for me how to do successful root rot screenings in the greenhouse.

I also had at my disposal a field at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station (HARS) that had been planted Above: Though summer students have come and gone, there hasn’t been any turnover within the permanent staff of HARS since this image was taken in 2016. From left to right are: David; Troy (back); Jerry (front); Paul; Amber; Nancy (front); Sam (back); Jackie (middle, summer student); Janice; Tyler (summer student); Sue; Joe (back, summer student); Sonia Castillo; Juan (front, Felix’s son); Steve (back with big hat); Felix and Douglas. Bottom Left: HARS superintendent Felix Navarro says bean root rot resistance level can mean failure or success for a crop. Bottom Right: Felix Navarro (left, weighing in at 120 pounds during that time) was introduced to genetics and plant breeding, in part, through classes taken with instructor Rafael Perez-Duvergé (right), shown here conducting corn breeding research.

every summer with beans for 12 years. I screened seven populations of beans with three decreasing levels of the undesirable dry bean root-rotresistant parent in their background.

seed, very flat and very fibrous pods of bitter taste, late, indeterminant growth habit … you name it. Only faith that genetics works kept us going!

Left: Felix Navarro’s wife and three sons strike a pose, from left to right, Octavio, Juan, Sonia and Alberto.

My root-rot-resistant dry bean parent had everything you would hate in a snap bean variety, such as black

After three years of simultaneous work in the lab, greenhouse and Hancock field, we had results that

could be used as textbook examples of how to transfer resistance genes

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Right: Felix Navarro gave opening remarks during the 2016 HARS Field Day and 100th Anniversary Celebration.

continued on pg. 12

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BC�T August 11

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 11

from an otherwise useless dry bean plant variety to snap beans. You were also an associate scientist in the potato breeding program at UW-Madison. For how long, and what drove your interest in potato breeding? Of course, when I graduated, I was expecting to get bean breeding work that would allow me to continue to surf the bean genome in search of hiding gene treasures. Dr. Nienhuis did offer me a bean breeding and genetics postdoc position with him. At that time, Jiwan Palta, UW- Madison horticulture potato physiologist, had decided to take the lead of the potato breeding program in addition to his strong potato physiology program. Jiwan negotiated the hiring of an academic staff position that would require minimal overseeing. In my 2005 job interview, I was clear to notify Jiwan and others that I had strong credentials as a plant geneticist and breeder, but I knew nothing about potatoes. I guess they appreciated my honesty and hired me anyways. In my defense, I should probably claim that, with Jiwan, I learned fast about potatoes. It helped that, besides hitting the potato literature, I spent countless

12 BC�T August

Above: Conducting a hyper-spectroscopy collaboration with Dr. Phil Townsend’s lab, shown here are Townsend’s staff and Felix Navarro’s summer students who worked for HARS at the time.

hours side-by-side with Bryan Bowen, Scott Woodford, Edith Parker and others at the Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with potatoes. It is such a fascinating crop! Corn seems to be way too easy of a crop now. You are currently the superintendent of HARS. How did that opportunity come about? In 2013, two things occurred simultaneously, Dr. Jeff Endelman was hired to lead the potato variety development program, taking over the functions Dr. Palta held for nine years, and the HARS superintendent position was open.

I decided to take the position of superintendent of HARS, as this helped pay the bills much better and carried a small percentage of research accountability related to the Wisconsin potato variety trial that would keep me in touch with that type of work. I stopped selecting varieties to evaluate selections from breeders all over the country and from some European countries. Bottom Left: Potato was just planted in a HARS research field. Bottom Right: HARS potato variety trials and advanced selections are always given top billing at the WPVGA and University Extension Grower Education Conference & Industry Show.

You moved your family to HARS. How did they adjust at first, and do they like it there? I have three sons. When we moved to Hancock, my oldest son, Octavio, had graduated with a finance major from the UWMadison School of Business. My second, Alberto, had started at the same school studying marketing, and my small child, Juan, was still in kindergarten. Juan and Sonia like the house environment very much. They spend some time every day watching birds that come visit the yard. Juan enjoys his time at the Tri-County Elementary School, playing baseball, basketball and soccer. Sonia has done volunteer work as a teaching aide at his elementary school, and when required, she assists us at the Hancock station. She helps us evaluate internal potato defects or in preparing seed to be planted. She calls it cutting potatoes … I call it quality control. What are your main duties at HARS? Like several of my fellow UW-Madison research station superintendents would say, I lead the most important agricultural research station at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our station serves some 40 research groups conducting more than 160 research activities at HARS every year.

This includes UW-Madison faculty and staff, industry partners and other contracted research and researchers.

Above: Research in REDCAHOR Pepper genetic resources was Felix Navarro’s connection to attend UW-Madison in year 2000.

I feel my duties are like those of a coach and captain of a sports team. Sometimes I am watching the plays from the sidelines and checking report cards (my office), and sometimes I throw myself into the game and play.

on potatoes, sweet corn or snap beans.

I spend around 20-30 percent of my time doing research trials, mostly


continued on pg. 14


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I also have outreach functions, particularly carrying out several dozen tours each year as well as formal field days. We also maintain an online presence to promote the UW and station work.








Interview. . .

continued from pg. 13

How is the staff at HARS, and how many people do you have working for you? It is a wonderful team and very committed indeed. During the year, we have 14 employees, nine of us full time. We also hire five to seven summer student interns. If you call or visit the station, you will be greeted by Sue Miles. She is not just a great administrative assistant, but also represents very well the station as our office manager. Paul Sytsma, our ag supervisor, with Douglas Klabunde, David Peterson, Jerry Pierce, Steve Grimmenga, Sam Pérez, Tiffany Buccholz and Nancy Miller, effectively takes care of the field and garden management. Troy Fishler and Amber Gotch are leading the Wisconsin Potato &

Vegetable Storage Research Facility to success with the help of Sam and Tiffany during the storage season. Sonia provides a helping hand in hectic times of harvest and planting. Justin Wilcox has been very helpful to my research activities in the last year. I am also grateful for the student interns who help us during the summer. Do you feel that you are making history and are now part of the HARS history? If so, how? I think I am leading a team that is doing the best we can to improve research capacity and facilitate research at HARS. Part of our function is contributing to the Wisconsin Idea, the philosophy that university research should be applied to solve problems and

improve health, quality of life, the environment and agriculture for all citizens of the state. I don’t know about making history. What can you tell me about the history of HARS, or what most impresses you about its history? In 2015-16, I worked with Justin and Lynn Isherwood, faculty at UWMadison and Mimi Broeske (UWHorticulture) on a book entitled “HARS: Celebrating 100 years of the Wisconsin Idea.” I was fascinated by how HARS was not established by UW-Madison, and instead was founded, in 1916, by 29 citizens and seven companies from Hancock and neighboring towns. They acquired the first 25 acres and convinced the university to come and help them understand the agricultural value of soils in the Central Sands region. I was impressed by the tenacity of A.R. Albert, first HARS Superintendent (1922-1947) who

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14 BC�T August

Left: In 1993, Felix Navarro worked in the Dominican Republic on corn and sorghum (a variety shown) breeding. Right: Then the Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station superintendent, Bryan Bowen (left), and HARS Superintendent Felix Navarro (right) observe advanced potato clones in August of 2016. “Selection works!” Navarro says.

led the establishment of the station and developed important research, particularly in soil conservation. I have become a fan of the work of C.B. Tanner (UW-Madison Soils Science), who is considered as the father of environmental biophysics. Dr. Tanner, whose research spanned from 1950-80’s, developed critical science on plant-water relations that led to the development of lysimeters to measure evapotranspiration in plants, soil drainage and nitrate leaching. While researching for the book, I was lucky to interview John Schoenemann, a living legend, who at the age of 93 seems to have the clarity of mind of a graduate student. Dr. Schoenemann helped me understand his role and the role of David Curwen as they served potato growers in the region. I have learned about three generations of UWMadison researchers, many of whom have worked hand in hand with growers and industries to improve agriculture in Central Wisconsin. You are a member of the SpudPro and WPVGA Research Committees. What can you tell me about SpudPro and your involvement? I joined the SpudPro Committee in 2005 as I started to work in potato breeding. It was a group of about 24 people, and my role was to provide data to support the advance of potato varieties; virus cleaning; mini-tuber production; and two rounds of foundation seed production to make new varieties available to seed and commercial growers. Together with Bowen and Palta, we would spend some 4-5 hours discussing varieties, usually early in March, with a shorter summer meeting. For the last five years, I have participated in discussions of a similar setup now led by Dr. Endelman. I have been part of the Research Committee since 2013. We

participate by presenting research proposals, opinions or peer reviews to research proposals submitted by our colleagues. What is your greatest achievement or achievements since being at HARS? What are you most proud of? I must start by saying that my accomplishments are the fruit not only of my labor, but also of the support of the college’s Agricultural Research Service office and the staff under my supervision. I am very grateful to Phil Dunigan, Mike Peters and previously Dwight Mueller for all their support. Their support and the help of the HARS staff have been critical to several projects that have improved our research capacity, such as: a. When I started in July of 2013, the very first task I found was to work with DAVCO of Plover. The company was finishing the second model of a bin piler needed to fill up our 2,000 hundredweight bulk bins at the Storage Research Facility.


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Dave (DAVCO) was true to his word of delivering the piler late in August of that year. After delivery, we asked Steve Dierks of Coloma Farms for his assistance. Steve responded, as he always does, and not only sent his trucks with potatoes for a check of the machine capacities, but also spent the day with us working with the new machine. As Dave predicted, it took some further work as we started using it before total satisfaction. To this day, “Big Red,” the piler, is a valuable piece for our storage research. b. My second significant improvement project, also in 2013, was to work with AgRay Vision Systems on the installation of an X-ray grader to replace a 23-yearold Exeter sorter/grader.

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continued on pg. 16 BC�T August 15

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 15

During 2013 and 2014, we worked with Dan Mills on several modifications for machine reliability, and this X-ray system has improved grading output for potato research projects.

Zones and sectors form a grid that is ideal for studies on water use efficiency, nutrient leaching, disease epidemiology or any aspect that is related to variable water status.

c. In April of 2014, with the help of Roberts Irrigations, we added a new lateral linear irrigation system over 25 acres that has, since then, been optimally used in research.

f. Another achievement for me has been maintaining a good relationship with growers and the industry. For example, in 2017, the WPVGA Storage Research Committee secured a budget line item to cost share maintenance costs of the Hancock Storage Research Facility.

d. In 2016 and 2017, with the help of Grimmenga, HARS facility repair worker, Butch Fencil (Fencil Urethane) and Dale Nelson (Nelson Vegetable Storage Systems), we remodeled our grading shed, insulating it and adding temperature control. We combined the shed with a renovated 20x30-foot locker by attaching a room that was only partially connected to the main grading shed up to this remodeling project.

Were you involved with the Hodag variety, and if so, what was your involvement? My fingerprints are all over Hodag, as I was working as a breeder with Palta and Bowen in the potato breeding program at the time that we identified Hodag and nominated it for seed multiplication to SpudPro.

e. During 2017 and 2018, we worked with Roberts Irrigation to modify one of our lateral linear irrigation systems to include variable-rate irrigation capacity.

Other varieties I helped select during my time in the breeding program that are still in the adoption process are Accumulator, Nicolet, Pinnacle, Red Endeavor, Oneida Gold and W91331rus.

The system has eight spans and can be subdivided into 32 zones and an infinite number or irrigation sectors.

What is the main focus of research at HARS? Forty to 50 percent of the station research efforts are devoted to potatoes, about 20 percent

16 BC�T August

Above: A variable rate irrigation (VRI) trial at HARS was set up to show Felix Navarro’s work on potato variety response to VRI and nitrogen.

to sweet corn and snap beans, roughly 20 percent to field corn and soybeans, and the rest goes to cucumbers, carrots and other crops. Research areas include breeding and genetics (potatoes, snap beans, field corn, cucumber and switchgrass), agronomy, crop nutrition, and disease, insect and weed management. Are there any exciting developments now or on the horizon? I will answer this question using my researcher’s hat, not as a superintendent. I am excited about the prospects of research in the topic of highthroughput phenotyping. Collaborating with Phil Townsend from UW-Forestry and Wildlife Ecology, I have evaluated my potato variety and management trial using hyperspectral wavelengths of 3502,500 nanometers to associate variety response to water and nitrogen status. Do you have interest in, or are you and your team working on genomes or genomics? I have an interest in genomes and genomics, as I worked on bean genomics for five years

during my graduate studies, and I have also collaborated with Amy Charkowski and student Ana Cristina Fulladolsa on validating molecular markers associated to PVY resistance. Previously, I collaborated with Jiming Jiang and Lara Colton, screening populations for molecular markers associated to late blight resistance. Currently, I am not directly involved in genomic work. What does the future hold for you? Do you hope to be at HARS for a long time? So far, my biggest blessing is my family. I am fortunate to have a healthy family, good kids, two of them already with decent jobs in New York and Chicago, and to top it all off, a talented young kid that is making his way through elementary school. Professionally, I have grown in the last five years, and I will be HARS superintendent for as long as this is the position in which I can make the

best contributions to agriculture and the best use of my abilities. The one thing I can tell you is that my workdays at HARS go fast. I have heard that this happens when you enjoy what you do. Part of my joy is that I am part of an excellent team. I feel fortunate for that. What do you hope for HARS in the future? Hopefully HARS will

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Above: As part of an outreach program, 3rd graders from Plainfield Elementary School came to HARS in the spring of 2014 to plant pumpkins, and then in the fall to harvest the crop they planted. This year, the kids planted sweet potatoes.

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National Potato Industry Leaders Visit Wisconsin Growers and industry members rolled out the carpet, proudly showing off their farm operations By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater The leaders of Potatoes USA and the National Potato Council (NPC) visited Wisconsin, June 26-28, 2018, and met with growers, toured facilities and got a firsthand look at how potatoes and vegetables are grown, harvested, stored, packaged and marketed in the state.

Potatoes USA President and CEO Blair Richardson, current Potatoes USA Grower Chairman Dan Moss of Declo, Idaho, and NPC President and CEO John Keeling met many Wisconsin growers, industry professionals and university researchers during their trip.

Hosted by the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and its grower and associate members, the first visit was to Alsum Farms & Produce, in Arena, on Tuesday, June 26. A welcome dinner followed at Kaminski’s Chop House in the Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells. On Wednesday, the delegates toured Okray Family Farms and enjoyed a nice lunch at Mikey’s in Plover. From Above: From left to right, Potatoes USA President/ CEO Blair Richardson, Potatoes USA Grower Chairman Dan Moss and National Potato Council (NPC) President and CEO John Keeling obviously enjoyed sitting on the potato cushions (couch potatoes?) during their visit inside the Spudmobile at the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association office in Antigo, Wisconsin. Left: From left to right, John Keeling, Dan Moss and Blair Richardson toured Okray Family Farms where russet Norkotah potatoes, in storage from the 2017 growing season, were being run through the lines. On a busy day, the facility can handle 20-30 truckloads of potatoes.

18 BC�T August

there, the NPC and Potatoes USA representatives visited the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Storage Research Facility at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station.

farming operation in the heart of the Central Sands of Wisconsin, which delegates said made for a memorable day. Dinner that night was at the Sky Club in Plover.

MEMORABLE AFTERNOON The afternoon was spent at Heartland Farms, in Hancock, an impressive

On Thursday, the delegates were treated to a tour of the Spudmobile at the WPVGA Office, with lunch


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Above: Sizing and sorting is all part of the operation at Okray Family Farms in Plover, Wisconsin. Potatoes USA President Blair Richardson observes from behind the sorting line.

following at The Refuge in Antigo. Eric and John T. Schroeder of Schroeder Bros. Farms in Antigo continued on pg. 20


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hosted the potato industry leaders that afternoon, showing them their impressive potato storage facilities, planted fields, offices and even the “Potato Museum” at the farm headquarters.

vegetable growing areas, large and small, across the country, and the WPVGA and state of Wisconsin was proud to host the group.

USA President Blair Richardson, Potatoes USA Grower Chairman Dan Moss, NPC President John Keeling and Troy Fishler, storage facility manager.

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Above: Dan Moss (blue shirt) and John Keeling (white shirt) inspect dark red Norland potatoes at Schroeder Bros. Farms in Antigo, Wisconsin. Right & Below: Okray Family Farms Plant Manager Javier Cipriano (left) talks shop with Casey Kedrowski (right) of Roberts Irrigation and the WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors. Okray Family Farms has been in the potato business and offering “Something Special from Wisconsin” since 1905, currently growing 1,800 acres of potatoes and 5,900 acres of sweet corn, green beans, peas, soy and maize annually. Bottom Right: Inside the Spudmobile, WPVGA Coordinator of Community Relations Jim Zdroik (right) entertains and informs national potato leaders, from left to right, Dan Moss, Blair Richardson and John Keeling.

BC�T August 21

Hiring Interns Makes Good Business Sense College interns are an investment in the future of a company and the community By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater Whether they’re part of an official college internship program and earning credits toward school, or simply college students working summer or part-time jobs on local farms, interns are a valuable part of potato and vegetable growing operations.

in internships before graduation.

Just ask Bill Wysocki of Wysocki Family of Companies, and he’ll tell you that the University of Wisconsin (UW) generally does a good job of encouraging students to participate

Wysocki Family of Companies has three interns working in agronomy on the farm, and four in corporate services—two in the agronomy lab, one in occupational safety and one in

22 BC�T August

“Our experience has been positive enough that I do believe all students would benefit from real-world experience that internships provide,” he says. “Thus, making them a required part of a college education does seem to make sense.”

Left: Ben Harris is one of three interns working in agronomy for the Wysocki Family of Companies. Right: Recent UW-Stevens Point graduate Sonya Christensen is working in the agronomy lab of Wysocki Family of Companies for the summer.

Information Technology (IT). The current bank of students come from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and the UW campuses of Madison, Marathon County, Platteville, Green Bay and Eau Claire. Nick and Dianne Somers of Plover River Farms don’t have an intern this year, but they hired last year’s intern, Daniel Schwind, as their crop advisor. “His background in water and soil science, and his attitude and work ethic, fit into our operation so that, combined with more experience, he is learning fast,” Dianne says. ASSET TO THE FARM Today, Schwind can be found in the cab of a tractor or behind a desk in the Plover River Farms office. “He is an asset to the farm and we are grateful to have him,” Nick notes.

Plover River Farms typically employs one or two interns per year, and in the past has hired students from UWStevens Point and UW-River Falls. “I was trying to contact UWSP to have a more formal internship program with growers, but I guess we just have to post on the UWSP job site, and students check that out,” Dianne remarks. “Students we have worked with in the past have excelled here at Plover River Farms and were good employees,” Nick says. “We would like to see a partnership develop between the Wisconsin universities and growers, so we can not only give young people work experience, but also a greater understanding of how Wisconsin farms operate.” “Generally, interns are pretty motivated to learn,” Wysocki concurs. “They are engaging in activities that they feel will be a good fit for them from a career standpoint, so this

typically procures a better level of commitment and motivation to do a quality job.” Most interns work during the summer months because of the crop growing cycle and need for extra help in key areas of farm production. Plus, students are available during summer break.

Above: Plover River Farms hired last year’s intern, Daniel Schwind, as a crop advisor and agronomist. Today, Schwind can be found in the cab of a tractor or behind a desk in the Plover River Farms office.

“Hiring interns allows us to staff additional positions during peak season,” Nick says. “By hiring interns, continued on pg. 24

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Hiring Interns Makes Good Business Sense. . . continued from pg. 23

we are able to ease the burden of staff on all parts of the farm while simultaneously giving interns experience in many aspects of our faming operation.” At Wysocki Family of Companies, each intern is required to fill an actual position with a set of job duties and responsibilities. BEST & BRIGHTEST “Hiring interns is important on multiple levels,” Wysocki says. “From a company standpoint, we believe it’s critical for us to invest in our community. Many of our interns come from the local area and are among the best and brightest of their generation.”

24 BC�T August

“At multiple points during their internship, we dialog about how things are going and if there are new areas within the company they would like to be exposed based on what they’ve learned,” Wysocki explains. In the recruiting efforts of Wysocki Family of Companies, Bill says he has noticed an uptick in students seeking internships earlier than they used to. “Historically, internships were conducted during a student’s junior or senior year. But it appears the realworld value that internships bring is causing students to start pursuing them earlier, even if they are unpaid or non-credited,” he notes. “It only stands to reason that the

Left: Heartland Farms has hired a few of its students/interns full time after graduation. One is Lynn Dickman, current research agronomist and head of Heartland’s research and development department. Right: Interns Kayla Smith and John Faldet (both with their backs to the camera, seated center and right at the closest table) helped set up an open house at Nutrien Ag Solutions (formerly Crop Production Services).

earlier a student can gain real-world exposure, the better decisions they’re able to make,” Wysocki says. Nick proposes, “Of course, so many young people are looking for opportunities to grow, why not provide them with a platform that benefits both the intern and the farm?” “Hiring quality interns also gives us

a chance to retain or recruit back top talent when opportunities arise within our company,” he adds. “We do hire former interns and love to do so.” “Last summer, we had an agronomy intern from Arizona State University who had a connection through family to one of our employees. He was excited to come to Wisconsin and be part of a large-scale production operation,” Wysocki says. INTERNS & OPENINGS COALESCE “His experience with us last summer was great, and upon graduation this May, we hired him full time on our agronomy staff,” Bill continues. “We absolutely love when great interns and open WFC positions coalesce.” Jim Hoffa, location manager for Nutrien Ag Solutions, Inc. (formerly Crop Production Services) in Plainfield, Wisconsin, has an intern story of his own. “We have hired some of the students

that worked for us as interns or summer helpers now as full-time employees,” Hoffa notes. “Others have been hired on locally with a farm or another retailer, and some went back to the family farm.” “Geoff Yeska came from a farm family and worked for me for two summers while in college,” Hoffa continues. “He was then hired on full time as a sales agronomist. Just recently, he decided to return to the family farm and work with his dad and uncles.” “The process went full circle, and in the end, I think we all won in that situation,” Hoffa surmises. Regardless of whether the interns stay on with the company, Hoffa says Nutrien Ag Solutions will hire students and interns in the future. “It gives us a potential future hire, helps us to fill seasonal summer positions that are not always easy to fill and gives students great realworld working experience,” he says.

As Crop Production Services, now under the Nutrien Ag Solutions banner, the company typically employed one or two students or interns for the summer months in the Plainfield location for the past number of years. CROP SCOUTS The students are mainly hired to help with crop scouting, tissue sampling, delivery driving, warehouse work and other daily tasks as needed. The company has hired from the UW campuses of River Falls and Platteville, as well as Fox Valley Tech. “Help is getting harder and harder to come by, and I believe this is a great way to give the farm kids on-the-job training and to help get those who may not have a farming background interested in what we do,” Hoffa says. Each summer, Heartland Farms hires between one and four students/ interns. “Most of the UW students continued on pg. 26

BC�T August 25

Hiring Interns Makes Good Business Sense. . . continued from pg. 25

we hire assist with data collection for our potato trials, chip samples and crop scouting,” Says Alicia Pavelski of Heartland Farms, Inc. “We have also had a videography intern to collect video of our process to share with the public, and marketing interns,” Pavelski adds. “We have employed students from UW-Stevens Point, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls and UW-Madison.” “The UW program has been great so far,” she says. “Working with interns not only provides valuable tools and skills that will help them in the future, but also gives us a way to evaluate the interns to see if they will be a good fit for our organization in the long run.” “We have hired on multiple interns as full-time team members,” Pavelski notes.

Heartland Farms, Alicia says, has been fortunate to find hardworking, dedicated students to work at the farm over the summer. Heartland has an application process similar to that for full-time employees, and fully explores the company’s needs and the students’ areas of interest to ensure the best possible fit. INSTILL LOVE OF POTATOES “It is a win-win situation for our farm and the students,” Pavelski says. “They are an important part of our growing season information gathering, and we hope to instill a love of the potato industry, which is not generally a focus of the university curriculum.” Heartland Farms has hired a few of its students full time after graduation. One example is Lynn Dickman, the current research agronomist and head of the farming operation’s

research and development department. “She was one of our first interns in 2010. After her internship, she continued working on the farm while pursuing her master’s degree in horticulture. She has now completed her BS in dairy science and MS in horticulture, both from UWMadison,” Pavelski explains. One of Heartland Farms’ current summer hires is Willow Eastling, who will graduate this fall from UW-River Falls with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and an emphasis on fruit and vegetable science. “I personally would like a stronger connection between the UWSP internship programs and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association grower members, as well as the entire Central Wisconsin

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The Intern Challenge Crop Production Services (now Nutrien Ag Solutions) conducted an “intern challenge” in Wisconsin one year when the company had hired a lot of students as interns.

agriculture industry,” Dianne states. “We as a farm have learned as much from the interns as they have from us,” she continues. “It is a win-win situation. We have much to offer each other.” “We will continue to utilize the large pool of talented interns in Wisconsin,” Nick adds. “By hiring interns from universities, we as growers are helping to change

Above: One of Heartland Farms’ current summer hires is Willow Eastling, who will graduate this fall from UW-River Falls with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and an emphasis on fruit and vegetable science.

the mindset some may have about production agriculture in Wisconsin,” he stresses. “By giving these interns a firsthand look at Wisconsin farms, we not only provide a new perspective, but also create an opportunity for growth.”

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In addition to everyday work, a specific task checklist was established for students and given point values. Tasks included collecting plant tissue samples and discussing the tissues with growers (grower signatures were required); maintaining a corn or soybean plot; putting up field signs; organizing or participating in a local event; and setting up a product trial with a grower, to name a few. “They then had to give a 5-to-10minute presentation based on their experience to a group of judges at our division sales meeting in August,” Jim Hoffa, location manager for Nutrien Ag Solutions, says. “Based on total points, winners were given a ‘scholarship’ of a pre-determined amount to be used toward tuition, or a prize such as an iPad,” he explains. “It was a really neat experience to be part of.”

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BC�T August 27

Seed Piece Golfers Gave it Their All at Spud Seed Classic By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

It’s not just about raising money for the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association (WSPIA), most of which goes back to research and promotion of Wisconsin’s seed potato growers, but also the camaraderie and much-needed fun of golfing with friends and associates after crops have been planted. In those respects, including the money raised by the golf outing, the 2018 Spud Seed Classic, held Friday, June 22 at the Bass Lake Golf Course

in Deerbrook, Wisconsin, was a resounding success. The sun shined all day, a welcome reprieve from the wet spring

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and difficult Wisconsin planting conditions. In all, 154 golfers enjoyed the WSPIA event, which, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and golfers alike, raised $14,040, slightly above last year’s total. Formerly known as the Tony Gallenberg Memorial Golf Tournament, 2018 marked the 21st year of the classic event. Since 1998, the tournament has raised nearly $90,000, with proceeds donated toward Wisconsin potato research. The major sponsors were Syngenta (dinner sponsor), Bayer CropScience, Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, Above: The fountain and floral in the foreground are indicative of the beauty of Bass Lake Golf Course in Deerbrook, Wisconsin, and provided a perfect backdrop for putting. From left to right are Andy Schroeder, Matt Wolter, Brian Mattmiller and Michael Wolter.

Kretz Truck Brokerage LLC, Volm Companies, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, CPS Great Lakes, Parsons of Antigo and Wilbur-Ellis Company. continued on pg. 30

Top Right: Bill Page (left) and Joel Zalewski (right) of Insight FS were in the cart and ready to hit the links before the 2018 Spud Seed Classic at Bass Lake Golf Course in Deerbrook, Wisconsin. Above: Bethany Kersten of J&J Potatoes showed textbook putting form during the 2018 Spud Seed Classic. RIght: Spinning the prize wheel at the CoVantage Credit Union hole was Jed Weix of Schumitsch Seed Inc. Below: After taking a moment to strike a pose with Team Guenthner Farms, who are, from left to right, Bill Guenthner, Matt Jahnke, Dave Slater and Jolene Guenthner, Jahnke wasted no time teeing off toward the next hole.

BC�T August 29

Seed Piece. . .

continued from pg. 29

Souvenirs, prizes, gifts and beverages were doled out by occupied hole sponsors such as BMO Harris Bank, CoVantage Credit Union, DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C., Gowan Company, Roberts Irrigation Co. and V&H Inc. Trucks. Many companies made donations to the 2018 Spud Seed Classic, and a delicious dinner was put on by the Bass Lake Golf Course, with raffle prizes presented the night of the event. Dennis Mattmiller won the coveted 55-inch Samsung Smart TV, and Andy Schroeder of Schroeder Bros. Farms, Inc., in Antigo, Wisconsin, took home a cool $500 for being closest to the pin on the par 3 eighth hole. Special thanks to Jim Pukall at Bass Lake Golf Course, and of course Karen Rasmussen and helpers Julie Braun and Danielle Sorano of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association for putting together the entire golf outing. Another big shout-out goes to all the sponsors, and thanks in large part to them, look for the event to continue at Bass Lake Golf Course in 2019.

Above: Mike Quinn shows good form as he takes a mighty swing while Ross Riemer looks on and smiles. RIght: Joey Bushman hefts the RTIC cooler, donated by Fencil Urethane Systems, Inc., he won in an after-dinner raffle.

Above: In last place with a score of 78, but going out in style holding “Innovation and Diversification” umbrellas donated by Bushmans’ Inc., are, from L-R, Rod Zupon, Charlie Husnick, Wally Eagle and Cory Chrudimsky of Team Baginski Farms. RIght: From L-R, Aly Fassbender, Peg Fassbender, Nathan Schmidt and Jeff Fassbender relax after enjoying a nice dinner put on by Bass Lake Golf Course. 30 BC�T August

Top Left: The Langlade Ford hole was a popular place to drive one off the tee—Marv Worzella in red shirt and Mike Waite in gray shirt–or play air guitar like Brian Wisniewski of Team Gallenberg Farms. A hole in one could have won a three-year lease on a Ford Escape, a choice of a Yeti cooler or other featured prizes … but nothing for playing air guitar. Above: With a score of 58 and finishing in second place in the 2018 Spud Seed Classic, are, from L-R, Terry Kretz, Trey Kretz, Ty Kretz and Pete Kretz, who represent three generations of the Team Kretz Truck Brokerage family. Left: First place finishers in the Spud Seed Classic, with a score of 57 and playing for team Rural Mutual Insurance, are, from L-R, Derek Van Lanen, Russ Van Lanen and Jim Cramer. Not shown, but also part of the team, is Dan Norton. Below: With prizes awarded for first, second and seventh places, coming in seventh with a score of 60, the team is, from L-R, Kenton Mehlberg, Andy Verhasselt and Steve Tatro. Corey Shairer is not pictured.

BC�T August 31

Now News

WPVGA Holds Research Summit

Heartland Farms hosts strategic planning session where goals are prioritized Held every five years, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) hosted a Research Summit, June 21, at the Heartland Farms FOTTC (Farm Operations, Technology and Training Center) in Hancock, Wisconsin. WPVGA Executive Director Tamas Houlihan made opening remarks and thanked Heartland Farms for hosting the event, also acknowledging University of Wisconsin “professors emeritus” and summit moderators Larry

Binning, Jeff Wyman and Walt Stevenson for attending and providing their invaluable input. Houlihan also thanked Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program Director Alex Crockford for taking and posting notes during the day-long summit. What a day it was. University of Wisconsin and industry researchers, scientists, nutrient management supervisors and field advisors gave presentations on current and projected research

projects and findings. The main goal of the summit was to prioritize current areas of research for today and over the next five years. RESEARCH SUBJECTS Subjects ranged from soil health, nutrient management and water quality to nitrogen efficiency and fertility, and disease, insect and weed management. Other topics included “Breeding, Variety, Development, Traits and Flavor;” “Potato and Vegetable Production, Irrigation, Water Use and Hyperspectral Imaging;” “Seed Production and Certification;” “Sustainability and the Healthy Grown Program;” and “Storage Research.” Above: Presenting the topic of “Breeding, Variety, Development, Traits and Flavor” are, from left to right, Jeff Endelman, Becky Eddy, Felix Navarro, Shelley Jansky and Yi Wang. Left: From left to right, University of Wisconsin “professors emeritus” Larry Binning, Jeff Wyman and Walt Stevenson provided invaluable input as session moderators during the quinquennial WPVGA Research Summit.

32 BC�T August

Also discussed briefly were early dying, big data, GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), specialty potatoes, fumigation, alternative crop development, sprout inhibiting and Geographic Information System (GIS) and geospatial information. The WPVGA followed up with

emails to grower members after the Research Summit, asking them to rank and prioritize topics from high to low, both for today and over the next five years, including blanks for specific concerns.

Above: As vegetable grower Andy Wallendal (front row, center) gives his insight during the Research Summit, attendees, from left to right, Ken Schroeder, Becky Eddy, Troy Fishler, Jeff Endelman and Kalie Christensen listen intently.

The information-packed summit concluded with dinner at Ponderosa

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Pines in Bancroft, where the discussions didn’t stop, albeit they were a bit more off-topic and casual. continued on pg. 34

Hancock, WI | 2018 Left: TerraNu Calcium™ applied Right: Check, no TerraNu

©2018 Midwestern BioAg, Inc. All rights reserved.

BC�T August 33

Now News. . .

continued from pg. 33

Above: The 2017 Antigo Tater Trot 1-mile race begins.

People Flock to Farm Tech Days

Marshfield in Wood County plays host to annual extravaganza The City of Marshfield in Wood County, Wisconsin, and specifically D&B Sternweis Farms, Weber’s Farm Store and Heiman Holsteins hosted the 2018 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, July 10-12. An annual pilgrimage for farmers,

the agriculture industry and an enthusiastic public, Farm Technology Days is a longtime tradition that moves from one county to another throughout the state each year. With roads closed, traffic policed and parking lots overflowing, this

year’s rendition included more than 600 vendors of large and small equipment, and agricultural products and services. Innovation and ag technology were themes in 2018, and field demonstrations included unmanned aerial scouting, as well as alfalfa mowing and cutting, hay merging and forage harvesting. The University of Wisconsin Extension was represented, and Farm Tech Days attendees were encouraged to visit with scientists and crop and livestock experts, review the latest in university research and browse the educational displays. Above: With a New Holland tractor and John Deer 50G Compact Excavator from Riesterer & Schnell in the background, a “Soil and Water Monitoring System” display at the 2018 Farm Tech Days includes bulk heads, irrigation pipe and sprinklers, and integrated pest management (IPM) information. Left: Kids play the Bug Game in the Spudmobile during Farm Tech Days in Marshfield, Wisconsin.

34 BC�T August

Virtual farm tours, a look and visit inside the Wisconsin Spudmobile, youth and food tents, and a family living area rounded out the offerings. Yet another example of the agriculture industry coming together and reaching out to friends and neighbors in a show of pride

and unity, Farm Technology Days celebrates all that is good about farming. The two main goals of the event are to educate and promote agriculture, especially to the upcoming generations who don't always realize how food gets from the farm to the consumer's table.

Left: Not your average exhibit, the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association built a lifelike miniature cranberry bog for adults and kids alike to wade into, feel and hold the fruit, and learn about cranberries in an intimate setting. Right: Cliff Gagas (left) of Gagas Farms took time to visit WPVGA Associate Division President Casey Kedrowski (right) at the Roberts Irrigation booth during Farm Tech Days.

THERE’S SULFUR. AND THEN THERE’S SMART SULFUR. SO4 is Smart Sulfur. Pelletized. Spreads evenly. Ideal solubility. Meets plant needs all growing season.

Ask your local crop advisor about SO4, or visit calciumproducts.com/SO4

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BC�T August 35 7/11/18 3:02 PM


By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions & Consumer Education

Kids from Wisconsin Are Powered by Potatoes

Everyone has different and unique talents, whether they are related to physical activities like sports and dancing, or excelling in math, science, communications, etc. Regardless of your talent, when you “find your niche,” it’s a good idea to use that talent to the best of your ability. The Kids from Wisconsin performing group is doing just that as they are “Powering Their Performance

36 BC�T August

with Wisconsin Potatoes” for the second consecutive year. And it just so happens that they are also celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2018! This group of young performers possesses a multitude of talent, ranging from dancing and singing to playing instruments, and combines these on stage for a series of wellrehearsed shows during the summer.

Left: Young students at a Walworth, Wisconsin, outreach event enjoy time on stage while getting some tips from the performers of Kids from Wisconsin. Right: Zoe Gatz (center), daughter of Michael Gatz of Bushmans’ Inc. and his wife, Connie, performs for the Kids from Wisconsin during the troupe’s 2018 Summer Tour.

After performers for a troupe have been selected, an aggressive touring schedule occurs throughout the summer every year.

This year, the Kids are spicing it up a notch during their anniversary tour by incorporating the Wisconsin Potatoes jingle into every show. Just prior to each show’s intermission, the audience hears the jingle, which sings the praises of potato nutrition and shares the importance of buying local. The jingle’s catchy tune and strategic placement during the performance garner positive support and comments from audience members. PURSUE YOUR DREAMS In addition to the performances, the Kids from Wisconsin hold outreach events with younger kids that are designed to teach them how to perform and encourage them to one day pursue their dreams. These outreach events are typically held just prior to an evening performance in the same city.

Zoe performing with Kids from Wisconsin and doing what she loves. She especially appreciates being able to showcase the Wisconsin potato industry during each episode and is no doubt gaining valuable experience that will carry her into the next phases of life,” says Gatz. Zoe will be attending Carthage College in Racine, Wisconsin, this fall. She will major in public relations with minors in theater and dance. This Kids from Wisconsin group is one that verbalizes the importance

Left: Zoe Gatz sings a solo on stage during a summer 2018 Kids from Wisconsin performance. Right: Kids from Wisconsin holds an outreach event in Plymouth, Wisconsin, sharing a love for song and dance with younger students.

of “Powering your Performance with Wisconsin Potatoes,” and then showcases that with their actions, high energy and positive attitudes. These kids are truly ambassadors for the Wisconsin potato industry and are living examples of the benefits Wisconsin potatoes provide. continued on pg. 38

And if you can make it to a show this year or catch images on the Kids from Wisconsin social media sites, you might notice a familiar face on stage. Zoe Gatz, daughter of Connie and Michael Gatz, the latter of Bushmans’ Inc., is part of the 2018 cast after serving as an understudy for the group last year. Michael says she worked very hard to earn this position in the group and couldn’t be happier about promoting Wisconsin potatoes. “Connie and I are privileged to see BC�T August 37

Marketplace. . .

continued from pg. 37

Performance Message Touted at Chicago Trade Show McCormick Place in Chicago was a bustling area during the 2018 United Fresh trade show, June 26-27. The show proved valuable in communicating the “Power Your Performance with Wisconsin Potatoes” message to those who stopped by the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) booth. Pull-up banners featuring two-time Olympian and NHL All-Star Joe Pavelski, along with specific potatorelated nutrition facts, decorated WPVGA’s 10’x20’ booth, along with other promotional banners that encourage buying local. WPVGA also featured a quarter-sized bin that was difficult to keep full of Wisconsin potato chips as passersby took their share and later came back for more. Right: Sam Saccullo of Bushmans’ Inc. (left) does his best to avoid getting his picture taken while Brian Lee of Okray Family Farms laughs during United Fresh in Chicago. 38 BC�T August

Light-up bouncy balls and potato stress balls were also of interest at the show as attendees would ask for one and leave with recipes, shipping directories and … another bag of chips! It was great to see some familiar and returning faces at the show, as

Above: Brian Lee of Okray Family Farms (left) and Michael Gatz of Bushmans’ Inc. in Rosholt (right) have some fun as they prepare for the United Fresh Show, June 26-27, 2018, at the McCormick Place in Chicago.

well as gain new contacts for the industry, all in Wisconsin’s “Buy Local” market. A special thank you to the organizations that stopped by to help at the WPVGA booth: Alsum Farms, RPE, Inc., Gumz Muck Farms, Okray Family Farms and Bushmans’ Inc.

Healthy Grown Spotlight:

Plover River Farms Alliance

Being a part of something positive is never a bad thing, especially when it serves a greater purpose in the bigger picture. Such is the case with the Healthy Grown program and a big reason why Plover River Farms in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, joined the program when it first began back in the mid-1990’s.

natural habitats, Plover River Farms Crop Advisor Daniel Schwind says the farm saw an opportunity in Healthy Grown to promote positive change and took advantage of it. Schwind agreed to answer some Badger Common’Tater questions on Healthy Grown:

Why did you decide to join the After seeing the need for growers Healthy Grown (HG) program? to take an active role in promoting The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and preserving agriculture while also expressed a desire to collaborate with 18-08 the Badger Common' Tater 1-3page AD (7x3).v1.outlines.pdf 1 to 2018-07-10 1:04 encouraging development of growers and agreed work with usPM

Above: Potatoes are harvested at dusk on a Plover River Farms Healthy Grown field.

developing a program we use today. In return, we were able to use the WWF logo, but didn’t estimate the expense associated with marketing sustainable potatoes. How much time do you spend on the program each year? Working as a team, Plover River Farms collaborates with Healthy Grown staff and University of Wisconsin researchers continued on pg. 40









BC�T August 39

Marketplace. . .

continued from pg. 39

to develop wide-reaching plans that encompass all aspects and goals of the Healthy Grown program. [This includes] pesticide, disease and chemical resistance management, as well as creating habitat development plans. Once developed, these annual plans vary little from year to year, so after the first year, time spent on the program is minimal. What is the “value added” you see coming back to your farm and you as a grower? The value we see coming back to the farm is the fact that being Healthy Grown sets us apart from other growers. In today’s market, where the consumer plays a more active role than ever before, we feel that any actions we can take to grow a more marketable potato pay dividends. Why would you encourage other potato/vegetable growers to become Healthy Grown? Being a

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member of Healthy Grown allows us to make positive impacts on the environment and community. By implementing plans created as a part of Healthy Grown, we reflect a positive image of our farm.

Above: This Plover River Farms windrower is putting Healthy Grown potatoes in an area easily accessible for the harvester when the time comes.

Taking an active role in the creation and management of pollinator habitat, we not only benefit our crops, but also provide habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Does expanding the program give the growers and the state a good image, and if so, how? Of course! Any actions we take to better the land provide growers with a better image. By providing habitat that is a stark contrast to the ag fields we operate in, we show the public that we care about the land.

What are some challenges you have experienced as a HG grower/with the program? The largest challenge we face is being unable to receive a premium for all the hard work and dedication that comes with being a Healthy Grown grower. What do you think about expanding the HG program? We think it’s great. The more growers that are involved, the greater the benefit. By increasing the scope of Healthy Grown, we can brand Wisconsin potatoes as the most “green” potatoes in the country, and with market trends demanding more sustainable practices, we feel that consumers would desire Wisconsin potatoes. Why do you think expanding the program is essential for the program itself, as well as for Wisconsin potato growers? The fact of the matter is that regulatory groups and the public want to see change in the way production agriculture operates. We feel that by being a part of Healthy Grown, we are ahead of the curve.

Release more nutrition. Expect more results. Check state registration to make sure product is registered in your state.

40 BC�T August

We feel that if more growers were to be involved in Healthy Grown, it would show the public that the potato industry is taking an active

role in the improvement of the places we call home.

By giving up an acre or two here and there, we can put a positive spin on production ag, and we feel that is priceless. What advice do you have for growers not currently part of the program in encouraging them to participate? Some advice to those who are not involved in Healthy Grown and are interested in joining would be to contact a Healthy Grown grower and see what the process is like. Look at habitat management areas, look at IPM [integrated pest management] plans and grower standards. It may be something as simple as utilizing practices your operation already implements. Taking an active role in habitat management is more than just a “feel good” practice, it is truly fulfilling to see underutilized lands (such as dry corners) being turned into native grasslands flourishing with wildlife and plants.

Potatoes USA News

Potatoes are Perfect Meal Kit Ingredients

Executive Chef Daniel Asher of River and Woods in Boulder, Colorado received the 2018 Produce Excellence in Foodservice for Fine Dining Restaurants award at the 2018 United Fresh Expo. Chef Asher states that his favorite produce item is the humble potato. “It’s the ultimate comfort food and showcases the diversity of global cuisine,” he states. “Potatoes have the most diverse applications between fresh, frozen and dehydrated. They’re very accessible and make a lot of sense to feed humanity in an intelligent way.” New to this year’s United Fresh Expo floor was the Culinary Showcase, where foodservice award recipients had the opportunity to shine a spotlight on fresh fruits and vegetables. Nominated for the award by Potatoes USA, Chef Asher prepared and sampled his Vegetable Fritters with Avocado Crema recipe, the base of which was, of course, potatoes. Above & Right: Executive Chef Daniel Asher took home the 2018 United Fresh Expo “Produce Excellence in Foodservice for Fine Dining Restaurants” award, in part for preparing a potato-based Vegetable Fritters with Avocado Crema recipe. Potatoes USA nominated Chef Asher for the award. BC�T August 41

EYES ON ASSOCIATES By WPVGA Associate Div. President, Casey Kedrowski, Roberts Irrigation

This month’s column recognizes outstanding efforts that

members of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and the Associate Division have put forth within the agricultural community. I love talking about this because it exemplifies everything the Associate Division stands for as an entity. Truth be told, there are a lot of projects that are done behind closed doors and that make them easy to forget about, but we should give credit where credit is due. Back in June, Associate Division board member Chris Brooks, of Central Door Solutions, and I attended a ribbon cutting for the new bridge that was installed on the pond at the Boston School Forest in Plover, Wisconsin. The Boston School Forest provides outdoor environmental education programs for 6,000 students in the Stevens Point Area Public Schools district, grades four-yearold kindergarten to 10, each year. Students take part in learning activities in the forest, prairie and pond habitats. Since 1995, a bridge across the Boston School Forest (BSF) pond has provided students with a unique way to interact with aquatic life, but the bridge, railings and ramps deteriorated, and it was time for a new one. The Associate Division and the Promotions Committee both made donations toward this project, along with many other individuals and businesses within the community. By installing the new state-of-the42 BC�T August

art walkway, an estimated 200,000 students as well as adults of all ages and capacities will be able enjoy this part of the BSF for the next 25 years. Everyone at the BSF was very grateful and appreciative to all who helped make this happen. Another staple within the WPVGA for the past five years has been the Spudmobile. WPVGA Coordinator of Community Relations Jim Zdroik and Doug Foemmel, Spudmobile assistant, have been driving the big RV all over the Midwest promoting Wisconsin potatoes and representing our industry in the best way possible. If you haven’t yet, make sure to get out and see this masterpiece at one of the upcoming locations. The Spudmobile frequently visits schools and grocery stores and has taken part in many parades and activities for children and adults alike. It truly is a unique experience you must see to believe! Lastly, I’d like to mention a few of the Agricultural Research Station field days and locations. Rhinelander, Antigo and Hancock are big ones that people within the WPVGA take part Right: In the foreground on the new Boston School Forest bridge, built in part with donations from the WPVGA Associate Division, are, from left to right, Associate Division Board member Chris Brooks, Peyton Brooks, Shelby Brooks, Associate Division President Casey Kedrowski and, standing in front of Casey, Bryce Kedrowski.

in. In the past, I’ve made it to all of them, and each has its own gift to give. One of the focal points of the Associate Division is to support research and help the potato and vegetable industry thrive by making advances that may not otherwise be possible. This said, I’d like to thank everyone who does their part and takes pride in helping in an industry unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of. Cheers to you!.

Casey Kedrowski

WPVGA Associate Division President

WPVGA Approves Potato Research Projects Base funding and competitive grants add up to over $375,000 BASE FUNDING PROPOSALS: (BFP) Project Leader

Project Title


Colquhoun, Jed

BFP: Weed Management


Crockford, Alex

BFP: Seed Certification


Endelman, Jeffrey

BFP: Breeding


Gevens, Amanda

BFP: Disease Management


Groves, Russell

BFP: Insect Management


Ruark, Matthew

BFP: Fertility Management


Wang, Yi

BFP: Potato & Vegetable Production



Project Title


Bethke, Paul

Determinants of Red Potato Skin Quality


Endelman, Jeffrey

Screening for Late Blight Resistance in the UW Potato Breeding Program


Gevens, Amanda

Evaluating Effectiveness of Crop Protectants to Manage Diseases in Potatoes in Production & Storage Systems


Groves, Russell

Insect Management Systems for Potato Production


Groves, Russell

Fungicides as Inadvertent Toxicological Drivers of Insecticide Resistance in Leptinotarsa Decemlineata


Jansky, Shelley

Creating Potato Dihaploids


Lankau, Richard

Microbiome-Based Prediction of Potato Soilborne Disease & Yield


MacGuidwin, Ann

Improving Soil Health in Antigo Flats Potato Systems with Cover Crops


Navarro, Felix

Understanding the Performance of New Varieties: Plant & Tuber Development & Monitoring Chemical Maturity of Tubers


Rakotondrafara, Aurelie

Optimization of PVY Detection Tool in Single Aphids


Schoville, Sean

Identification & Knock-Down of Pesticide Resistance Genes in Colorado Potato Beetle


Townsend, Phil

Airplane-Based Hyperspectral Imaging for Quantitative Potato Field Assessment


Wang, Yi

Evaluation of Deficit Irrigation Tolerance for New Advanced Wisconsin Potato Varieties in a Greenhouse Setting


Wang, Yi

Evaluate Reduced Later-Season Irrigation & Use a Model to Identify the Best Irrigation Regime for Potato Productivity Under the Wisconsin Climate


Zimmerman, Steve

Langlade County Potato Research Station Support


Bolte, Chuck

Water Flow & Phosphorus Monitoring in the Antigo Flats Potato & Vegetable Production Area



$375,000 BC�T August 43

Can You Tell Silver Scurf from Black Dot? Differentiate potato tuber silver scurf and black dot so you can manage the diseases By Amanda J. Gevens, UW-Madison associate professor of plant pathology, in collaboration with Dr. Phillip Wharton, University of Idaho Silver scurf and black dot are potato blemish diseases that are growing in prevalence and economic importance. Both diseases cause discoloration that makes infected tubers unmarketable. Unfortunately, there are large gaps in our understanding of the diseases and how to best manage them, although research has been intensifying in recent years. Silver scurf and black dot are caused by separate fungal pathogens that

have distinct life cycles. Management strategies mostly consist of cultural and chemical controls and are hindered by the lack of commercially available resistant cultivars. These ever-present diseases are challenging to control and require an integrated effort to reduce their impact on potato production. In this article, I will focus on visual distinctions between the two diseases and offer some additional information regarding the character

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of the two diseases. Black dot, caused by the pathogen Colletotrichum coccodes, produces symptoms that appear brown to gray in color and typically lesions cover Above & Below: Symptoms of black dot are shown above, and of silver scurf in the images below. Photos courtesy of Dr. Phillip Wharton (black dot) and Amanda J. Gevens (silver scurf)

large areas of a tuber and with less lesion edge definition than silver scurf. Black dot lesions can be a bit darker in color than silver scurf and often are slightly raised above the periderm surface. The black dot pathogen also causes foliar and stem symptoms similar to early dying and can play a part in the potato early dying disease complex. Silver scurf, caused by the Helminthosporium solani pathogen, typically creates symptoms that are tan to silver-gray and shiny in color. They can be circular in shape with defined borders early in infection, but also may coalesce to cover entire tubers with discoloration and, under the right conditions, black pathogen sporulation. Symptoms are most typically seen on the stolon end of a tuber with field infection.

Black dot and silver scurf symptoms are very similar, and in many cases microscopic or molecular diagnostic analysis is needed to differentiate between the two diseases. Additionally, both diseases may be present on individual tubers, further complicating the diagnosis. These diseases are typically cosmetic and affect just the tuber skin, although they may lead to tuber shrinkage and yield loss, particularly in storage. Infected fresh market tubers are frequently rejected, since tubers with these disease lesions are unappealing to consumers. Diseased processing tubers may also be rejected, since chips produced from infected tubers often have burnt edges due to a hardening of the tuber skin. Black dot disease cycle: The main source of inoculum is from pathogen

spores produced from fungal structures that survived the winter on debris, infected tubers or in the soil. These structures can survive for several years in the soil in a dormant state. INFECTED SEED TUBERS An additional but lesser source of inoculum is from infected seed tubers. Infections can occur on above-ground and below-ground plant parts and spread to new plants throughout the season via wind and water splashing. Poor soil and warm temperatures contribute to infections. Conditions that stress plants appear to increase susceptibility. Surprisingly, day length may affect black dot severity, which could explain some of the conflicting reports on the importance of this disease. continued on pg. 46

What do you expect from the seed potatoes that you buy?

The varieties that yo

u need.

The early generation that you want.

The quality and yie ld you have come to that expect.

Wisconsin has it!

For a directory of Wisconsin Certified Seed Potato Growers or a free video, contact:


Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association, Inc. P.O. Box 173, Antigo, WI 54409 715-623-4039 www.potatoseed.org

View a directory of the Wisconsin Certified Seed Potato Growers on your smartphone.

BC�T August 45

Can You Tell Silver Scurf from Black Dot?. . . continued from pg. 45

Black dot is more severe under short days than long days. Unlike silver scurf, black dot does not spread easily in potato warehouses. However, storage conditions may promote symptom development on tubers that had asymptomatic field infections at time of harvest.

inoculum may also come from soil or crop debris. The role of soil inoculum is greatest in fields with a history of silver scurf or where there are shorter rotations between potatoes (less than three years).

Silver scurf disease cycle: Initial silver scurf infection occurs in the field. The largest source of inoculum is from infected seed tubers, although Fungicide(s), FRAC

The fungus grows on the developing tubers, but the majority of symptom development occurs after vine kill. Dry conditions can cause severe symptoms even on young tubers.

Application, formulation

Significant secondary infection can occur in storage through direct contact between tubers and the spread of pathogen spores through storage ventilation systems. Management: A combination of strategies will provide optimal control of both diseases. In general, silver scurf management focuses on reducing seed-borne inoculum, although management of inoculum from debris or soil is more important

Active ingredient

Diseases controlled

Strobilurins-FRAC Group 11 Dynasty, 11

Seed, liq slurry


Black Dot, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf

Equation; Equation SC; Quadris; Satori; Willowood Azoxy 25C, 11

In-furrow and banded


Black Dot, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf

Evito 480 SC, 11

In-furrow and banded


Black Dot, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf

Elatus 11 + 7


azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr

Black Dot, Rhizoctonia, Silver Scurf

Phenylpyrroles-FRAC Group 12 Cruiser Maxx potato, 12, 4A insecticide

Seed, liq

fludioxonil, thiamethoxam

Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Cruiser Maxx Potato Extreme, 12, 3, 4A insecticide

Seed, liq

thiamethoxam, fludioxonil, difenoconazole

Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Cruiser Maxx Vibrance Potato, 3, 7, 12, 4A

Seed, liq

thiamethoxam, fludioxonil, sedaxane, difenoconazole,

Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Maxim 4FS; Spirato 480FS, 12

Seed, liq


Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Maxim MZ, 12, M3

Seed, dust

fludioxonil, mancozeb

Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Maxim PSP, 12

Seed, dust


Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Dithane-F45 Rainshield, Dithane-M45, Koverall, Roper DF Rainshield, M3

Seedpiece, Liquid for creatmancozeb ing slurry

Dithio-carbamates- FRAC Group M3 Fusarium, Late blight, Common scab, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf

Phenyl-benzamides- FRAC Group 7 Emesto Silver, 7, 3

Seed, liq

penflufen, prothioconazole

Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf, Black Scurf

Moncoat MZ, 7, M3

Seed, dust

flutolanil, mancozeb, contains alder bark

Late blight, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Elatus 11 + 7


azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr

Black Dot, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf

Cruiser Maxx Vibrance Potato, 3, 7, 12, 4A

Seed, liq

thiamethoxam, fludioxonil, sedaxane, difenoconazole

Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Silver scurf

Thiophanates- FRAC Group 1 Evolve, 1, M3, 27

Seedpiece, dust

thiophanate methyl, mancozeb, cymoxanil

Silver scurf, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia

Tops MZ, 1, M3

Seed, dust

thiophanate methyl, mancozeb

Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf, Late Blight

Tops-MZ-Gaucho, 1, M3, 4A insecticide

Seed, dust

thiophanate methyl, mancozeb, imidaclopid

Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Silver scurf, Late Blight

46 BC�T August

in fields with a history of disease, or when short (less than 3 years) crop rotations are used. INFESTED DEBRIS, TUBERS & SOIL Black dot management focuses on reducing inoculum from infested debris, tubers and soil. An additional focus of managing both diseases involves reducing the length of tuber exposure to inoculum through early harvest or selection of late-maturing cultivars. Finally, using good sanitation and overall plant health management practices will decrease the risk of both diseases. As mentioned previously, these methods focus on field management of silver scurf and black dot; additional steps should be taken for managing these diseases in storage. For cultural control, management options include not planting into plots with a history of severe disease, planting disease-free seed, Sanitizing field equipment and rotating crops. For silver scurf, increase the length of crop rotations to at least three years. Even longer rotations will reduce the incidence of this disease. Rotate with non-host crops such as sweet potato, red clover, carrots, parsnips, beets or turnips.

plant health and dig representative samples prior to harvest and have them evaluated to estimate incidence of disease. This info can be used to help decide where and how long to store the harvested tubers. Harvest tubers early—soon after vine kill, and do not spread or dump infested tubers on future potato fields, since they will serve as an inoculum source. Other options for silver scurf include: 1. Use a lower planting density; 2. Plant smaller seed pieces; and 3. Plant seed of a lower generation. Options for black dot include: 1. Control weeds, particularly velvetleaf and solanaceous weeds like nightshade; 2. Monitor soil fertility; very high or low levels of nitrogen may increase disease severity; 3. Perform pre-plant solarization/

HIGH PLANT HEALTH For controlling silver scurf and black dot, maintain high overall

4. Avoid planting into poorly drained soils. Good plant health is particularly important. BIOCONTROL Multiple biocontrol microbes have been tested for control of silver scurf with mixed results, thus these biocontrol microbes do not appear to provide consistent control of silver scurf. However, Dr. Neil Gudmestad of North Dakota State University has demonstrated benefit of Serenade ASO (in furrow) for black dot control in canopy (http://www.mbpotatodays. ca/assets/2018presentations/ Gudmestad%20Black%20Dot%20 MB%20Confere nce%202018.pdf). continued on pg. 48



One study demonstrated success with a barley (under-sown with red clover), red clover and potato rotation. Avoid alfalfa, sorghum, rye, oats, corn and wheat. Black dot crop rotations likely have less impact than for silver scurf, but may be beneficial, particularly if rotations are long. Rotate with nonhosts such as barley, rye or maize. Avoid non-hosts like solanaceous crops, yellow mustard, soybean and spring canola.

tarping, or moldboard ploughing to a depth of 30 centimeters; and

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Can You Tell Silver Scurf from Black Dot?. . . continued from pg. 47

Chemical control: Several at-planting products are labeled in Wisconsin for silver scurf and black dot control. See table on page 46 for registered fungicides for at-planting.

"One challenge facing silver scurf and black dot diagnostics is that both pathogens are often observed on the same tubers, making it difficult to determine which pathogen was the primary culprit."

Phostrol (and other like phosphorous acid materials) as well as Stadium (azoxystrobin + difenoconazole + fludioxonil) have been effective in limiting post-harvest development and spread of silver scurf.

Resistant varieties: No commercial cultivars are completely resistant to black dot or silver scurf, although cultivars vary in the number of spores produced or in the visibility of the symptoms on the tuber.

Remember to use only products labeled for silver scurf or black dot and follow all label directions when using the product.

In general, later maturing cultivars perform better against both diseases, probably because tubers are exposed to pathogen inoculum for a shorter


Black dot


A fungus, Helminthosporium solani

A fungus, Colletotrichum coccodes

Inoculum source (major contributor underlined)

Seed, soil/crop debris

Seed, soil/crop debris, weeds

Other plant hosts

Potato is main host, but can survive on debris of several other plants

Many hosts, especially Solanaceous crops and weeds

Infects above-ground plant tissues




Grey/silver lesions, defined margins, lesions not raised, lesions begin small but may grow together

Lesions darker and larger than silver scurf, raised and in irregular patches, black dots may be visible

Frequency of latent or asymptomatic infections

Likely high

Likely high

Potential for spread in storage



Management focus

Reducing inoculum from seed

Reducing inoculum from soil/debris

Season length influence

More disease with later harvest

More disease with later harvest

Crop rotation

Beneficial (>3 years)

Less beneficial

Other cultural strategies

Among others- seed and field selection, planting density

Among others - field selection and preparation, weed control, drainage

Resistant cultivars

No completely resistant commercial varieties available

No completely resistant commercial varieties available

Biological control

No consistently effective organisms identified

No consistently effective organisms identified

Chemical control

Effective seed/in-furrow products

Possibly less effective

48 BC�T August

time prior to harvest. Tolerance to silver scurf has been found in wild potato species, and the Verticillium-resistant line C287 may also have useful tolerance to silver scurf. Research in this area is on-going. Detection, diagnosis and identification: Both pathogens can cause latent infections that could develop into symptoms at a later point, making detection important even on tubers that do not appear to be infected. SIMILAR BUT EXCLUSIVE SYMPTOMS Silver scurf symptoms are similar to black dot symptoms, but there are no other common tuber diseases easily mistaken for either of these diseases. Because of the similarity between silver scurf and black dot symptoms, microscopic or molecular diagnostic analysis is often needed to distinguish them. One challenge facing silver scurf and black dot diagnostics is that both pathogens are often observed on the same tubers, making it difficult to determine which pathogen was the primary culprit. An additional challenge in the detection of silver scurf is that the pathogen may take over a month to grow on tuber surfaces and can be hidden by faster-growing molds. Molecular diagnostic primers have been developed for both pathogens and might aid in rapid and comprehensive diagnoses. Research is currently being performed in this area at the University of WisconsinMadison.


Simplot Names New President & Agribusiness Leader Incoming Simplot President Garrett Lofto taps Doug Stone as agribusiness head

The J.R. Simplot Company has named Garrett Lofto as president and chief executive officer (CEO). Lofto has been the president of the company’s agribusiness group since 2009 and has spent 26 years working for Simplot. He succeeds Bill Whitacre, who announced his retirement in April after nine years at the helm. “Garrett is an outstanding leader and has the vision to guide the company into an exciting future,” says Scott Simplot, chairman of the company’s board of directors. “We’re well positioned for success across our organization, and the Simplot family and Board of Directors are confident we’ve got the right leader to help us achieve great things.” Lofto is the seventh president and CEO since company founder Jack Simplot retired in 1973. Garrett attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2005. He sits on the boards of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho,

New President and CEO Garrett Lofto of the J.R. Simplot Company

Incoming J.R. Simplot Company AgriBusiness President Doug Stone

the Fertilizer Institute, Nutrients for Life Foundation and the International Plant Nutrition Institute. Lofto was raised on a farm in southern Manitoba, Canada and has lived in Idaho since 2001.

I’m committed to ensuring they have the support they need to make the J.R. Simplot Company the best we can be,” he adds.

“I’m honored and humbled that the Board and the Simplot family have entrusted me to lead this great organization as part of the senior leadership team,” says Lofto. TALENT & LEADERSHIP “The company is filled with tremendous talent and leaders, and

As president of the company’s agribusiness group, Lofto guided a diverse and complex $2.5 billion operating division that spans a global marketplace. He successfully initiated and oversaw several major capital expansions while building a high-performing, continued on pg. 50

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People. . .

continued from pg. 49

industry-leading management team, positioning the company for longterm success and prosperity. Major accomplishments include the building and launch of a state-of-theart ammonia plant and significant growth in Simplot Grower Solutions and Simplot Partners retail arms. Whitacre retires after an 18year career with the J. R. Simplot Company, the past nine as president and CEO. “Bill has been a highly successful and visionary leader who has helped the J.R. Simplot Company reach new heights and expand our global presence,” remarks Scott Simplot, chairman of the Board of Directors. “The company, the Board and the extended Simplot family thank him for his leadership and commitment.” As CEO, Whitacre expanded the J.R. Simplot international footprint and enhanced its position with communities, industries, customers and employees.

By strengthening the company’s competitive position and growing its global presence, he oversaw an increase in revenues from approximately $4.5 billion to $6 billion today. NEW AGRIBUSINESS LEAD Lofto, who will assume his role as president and CEO on Sept. 1, 2018, has named Doug Stone the next president of agribusiness for Simplot and a member of the Simplot Leadership Team, representing agribusiness across the diverse company. “Input agriculture is evolving, and we have to shape ourselves for a new future,” Lofto says. “Doug’s strategic vision, global perspective and broad industry knowledge in agriculture and technology make him an ideal fit to lead our agribusiness group and ensure we serve our customers’ expanding needs.” Stone joined Simplot in June of 2016 as vice president of wholesale agricultural sales and quickly

expanded his responsibilities to include oversight over the company’s industrial, animal nutrition and silica specialty business areas. He has also been instrumental in strategically building and implementing J.R. Simplot’s import sales strategy to meet the diverse needs of customers. “I am excited for the opportunity to lead our agribusiness division,” Stone says. “At Simplot, we have a passion that surrounds our customers. Through the dedication of our people and the commitment of the Simplot family, we are striving to earn their business today and for generations to come.” Prior to joining Simplot, Stone was the CEO of Consolidated Sourcing Solutions, a retail crop inputs purchasing entity. Previously, he was senior vice president of Terra Industries. He has an MBA degree from the University of South Dakota and a marketing degree from the University of Iowa.

Donavon Johnson Accepts NPPGA President Position The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA), based in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, has hired Donavon Johnson to be its new president. Johnson started on June 4 and replaces Chuck Gunnerson, who is retiring after leading the organization for the past 10 years. Johnson brings an extensive background in leading successful businesses and non-profit organizations across the United States and internationally, most recently working for the North Dakota Trade Office. NPPGA Chairman of the Board Eric Halverson says he is excited to have Johnson on board. “I believe his 50 BC�T August

collective experience in business, working for the state trade office and growing up on a potato farm will help him successfully lead the organization,” he states. Halverson adds, “I know he will work hard to reach out to the industry to understand and then tackle the important issues. No doubt he will build on all of the positive things Chuck is leaving him with.” NPPGA was founded in 1946 and supports over 200 grower members in North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota in the areas of research, promotion, marketing, communication and legislation. The northern plains make up one

Northern Plains Potato Growers President Donavon Johnson

of the largest potato producing regions in the United States, growing potatoes for four major markets— frozen processing, fresh market, chip and seed. For further information, contact Ted Kreis, NPPGA marketing and communications director, 218-7733633 (office), 218-777-7244 (mobile), or email tkreis@nppga.org.

Badger Beat Ensure Wisconsin’s Potato Workforce into the Future

Above: It's a group effort when the Heartland Farms harvest crew gets to work. Image courtesy of Brian Wysocki of Heartland Farms, Inc.

Facing an employee shortage, being proactive in workforce development is key By Paul Mitchell, professor, UW-Madison Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

In January of 2018, I pulled together the historical U.S. Department of Agriculture NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) data on potato harvested acres, average yield, total production and prices for Wisconsin.

The average farm price across all potato types for the 2017 crop was not determined yet, as the entire harvest had not been sold, but the 2016 average price was $11.60/cwt. (hundredweight), the highest ever for Wisconsin.

million for the 2016 crop, a record high for the state (Figure 1).

Combining this high price with total production, and farm revenue from potatoes in Wisconsin was $323

USDA AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) data on shipping point prices for fresh potatoes from Wisconsin has

70 No. opy | Volume $18/year | $1.50/c




N ISSUE CROP PROTECTIO RIVER LITTLE PLOVE R ement Begins! Watershed Enhanc CULTU RES UNITE COUN TRIES & Potato Congress For 10th World AND: CROPL ING MAPP Found Unknown Acres GE RECOGNIZE & MANA Potato Powdery Scab of



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7 | JULY 2018

Some data for 2017 was available: 67,000 acres were harvested, the highest amount since 2005, and total production was 29.1 million cwt. of potatoes, the highest since 2012.

been quite good for 2017, noticeably higher than in 2015 and 2016. Figure 2 shows weekly average prices for the last three crop years for 50-pound, 70-count cartons of russet potatoes shipped from Wisconsin. Based on these prices, I expect 2017 average farm prices to be potentially even higher than in 2016. The implication is that farm revenue from the 2017 crop will likely be even higher than in 2016, setting another record year for Wisconsin potatoes. continued on pg. 52

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Whether you are a grower, industry partner or simply enjoy rural life, sign up to receive this prestigious publication in print version, delivered direct to your mailbox for $18/year (12 issues). wisconsinpotatoes.com/blog-news/subscribe BC�T August 51

been sold, but the 2016 average price was $11.60/cwt. (hundredweight), the highest eve

continued from pg. 51

Combining this high price with total production, and farm revenue from potatoes in Wis 2016 crop, a record high for the state (Figure 1).

In my Badger Beat article for last year’s August issue, I presented the economic impact data for Wisconsin’s potato industry. The 2013-2015 average was $271 million of farm revenue from Wisconsin potatoes, generating an economic impact of $413 million in the state and 2,922 jobs. If the $323 million in 2016 becomes the new normal, the economic impact of the Wisconsin potato industry will increase to $492 million and 3,483 jobs. If this expansion holds, more than 550 additional jobs will be broadly available in the potato industry and the supporting and allied businesses.

350 300

Farm Revenue ($ million)

Badger Beat. . .

250 200

150 USDA AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) data on shipping point prices for fresh pot quite good for 2017, noticeably higher than in 2015 and 2016. 100

Figure 2 shows weekly average prices for the last three crop years for 50-pound, 70-c 50 shipped from Wisconsin. Based on these prices, I expect 2017 average farm prices to 2016. 0 1950








The implication is that farm revenue from the 2017 crop will likely be even higher tha Figure Annual Wisconsin Wisconsin farm revenue from sale of potatoes for the 1950for to 2016 crops. to (Source: Figure 1. 1: Annual farm revenue from sale of potatoes the 1950 2016 crops. (Sour year for Wisconsin potatoes. Based on this economic data, these USDA NASS) are truly great years for Wisconsin potatoes. However, I see a problem 25 looming on the horizon that might Some data for 2017 was available: 67,000 acres were harvested, the highest amount sin was 29.1 million cwt. of potatoes, 2015 the highest 2016 since 2012. 2017 limit the growth of the Wisconsin potato industry—finding people to fill 20 the jobs. 15


During the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October of 2009, while for Wisconsin, it peaked at 9.3 percent a few months later, January 2010. Since then, the Wisconsin rate has steadily declined, falling to 2.8 percent in April 2018, a record low in the available data (Figure 3).



Wisconsin and agribusiness, like 0 many states and business sectors, 13-Aug 2-Oct 21-Nov 10-Jan 1-Mar 20-Apr 9-Jun 29-Jul are facing a growing workforce problem. It’s getting harder to find Figure average prices for 50-pound, cartons of russet shipped fro Figure2.2:Weekly Weekly average prices for 50-pound, 70-count 70-count cartons of russet potatoes shippedpotatoes from workers to fill the jobs that we have, 2017 Wisconsin the 2015,USDA-AMS) 2016 and 2017 crops. (Source: USDA-AMS) crops.for (Source:

In my Badger Beat article for last year’s August issue, I presented the economic impac industry. The 2013-2015 average was $271 million of farm revenue from Wisconsin po impact of $413 million in the state and 2,922 jobs.


If the $323 in 2016or becomes theplease new normal, the economic When youmillion need goods services, consider asking impact of the Wis to million and 3,483Members jobs. If thisfor expansion more than our$492 Associate Division quotesholds, or explore what550 additional jobs potato industry and the supporting and allied businesses. they have to offer. Together, we make a strong organization

and appreciate how wonderful we are as a group.

Based on this economic data, these are truly great years for Wisconsin potatoes. How the horizon that might limit the growth of the Wisconsin potato industry—finding peo 52 BC�T August

During the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in Oct it peaked at 9.3 percent a few months later, January 2010. Since then, the Wisconsin

Figure 3. Unemployment rate for the U.S. and Wisconsin from January 2007 to April 2018. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Stati Google) and the data trends indicate that Not only are people living longer, but Figure 3: Unemployment rate for the U.S. and Wisconsin from January 2007 to April 2018. the state has also enjoyed a positive this workforce shortage issue is only (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via Google) net in-migration that is expected going to get worse. to continue. a growing workforce problem. It’s ge to do about it (https://tinyurl.com/ MyWisconsin concern isand that agribusiness, it might limit like many states and business sectors, are facing Nevertheless, the workforce in trends y8tuzs4u, fill the jobs that we have, and the data indicate that this workforce shortage issue theharder growthtooffind the workers Wisconsintopotato https://tinyurl.com/ the state is projected to remain industry or even it to decline. yapruk4v). only going to cause get worse. relatively flat over the next few Here, I review some of the reasons Factors cited for falling workforce decades, even as the population forMy thisconcern growing is problem, proposed that it might limit thecontinues growth of the Wisconsin potato industry or even cause it tobetter decline. participation rates include to increase. As part of a responses from a recent NGO programs to support those with long-term national trend, workforce (Nongovernmental Organization) Here, I review some of the reasonsparticipation for this growing responses from and a recent rates problem, have beenproposed falling health problems other NGO (Nongovern report, and opportunities and slowly for decades. disabilities, rising incarceration rates, Organization) report, and opportunities and activities at the University of Wisconsin (UW) intended to help. activities at the University of continued on pg. 54 There is debate over why and what Wisconsin (UW) intended to help.


WORKFORCE DEMOGRAPHICS I base some of the factors driving the workforce problem facing Wisconsin on a special series of articles appearing I base some of the factors driving Journal theWisconsin workforceState problem facingnewspaper (https://tinyurl.com/y9rejysh) and the efforts of Competitive Wisconsin, a non partisan coalition of businesses and leaders dedicated to strengthening and growing the Wisconsin economy Wisconsin on a special series of articles appearing in the Wisconsin (http://www.competitivewi.com). State Journal newspaper (https:// tinyurl.com/y9rejysh) and the efforts Both demographic and non-demographic trends drive the growing workforce problem in Wisconsin. of Competitive Wisconsin, a nonpartisan coalition of businesses and In terms of demographics, the population of Wisconsin is projected to continue to grow until year 2030 and beyon leaders dedicated to strengthening variety of the reasons. Not economy only are people living longer, but the state has also enjoyed a positive net in-migration tha and growing Wisconsin (http://www.competitivewi.com). expected to continue.

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Both demographic and nonRIPON, WISCONSIN 54971 From Planning through Completion Nevertheless, thedrive workforce in the state is projected to remain relatively flat over the Phone: next few decades, even as t demographic trends the 920-748-2601 growing workforce problem 1-800-782-9632 population continues toinincrease. As part of a long-term national trend, workforce participation rates have been f Commercial • Residential • Agricultural Wisconsin. Fax: 920-748-4829 slowly for decades. Design and Construction of: In terms of demographics, the Post Frame • Stud Wall & Steel Buildings population Wisconsin projected There is of debate overiswhy and what to do about it (https://tinyurl.com/y8tuzs4u, https://tinyurl.com/yapruk4v). to continue to grow until year 2030 and beyond for a variety of reasons.


Factors cited for falling workforce participation rates include better programs to support those with health proble BC�T August 53 and other disabilities, rising incarceration rates, national immigration policies and, more recently, the continuing o drug epidemic.

Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 53

national immigration policies and, more recently, the continuing opioid drug epidemic. Regardless of the debate, the trend is clear and well documented. In Wisconsin, between 2010 and 2040, the primary workforce aged 25 to 54 is projected to decline more than 5 percent, even as the population increases by 6 percent to pass 6 million people (https://tinyurl.com/ ybs4gu2o). WISCONSIN POTATO PROBLEM Other states are facing the same issues, but among major potato growing states, only Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine are singled out, while states such as Colorado and those in the Pacific Northwest and Red River Valley are not. The implication is clear—labor force shortages are going to be a unique problem for the Wisconsin potato

industry relative to our national peers.

to thrive while competing nationally and globally.

The Wisconsin State Journal’s special series on workforce problems for Wisconsin mentioned many of these demographic factors, but also noted problems with our state’s appeal to outsiders.

The “Be Bold III” initiative focused on food manufacturing in the state and was a comprehensive examination of trends and specific ideas to help the industry cluster prosper, with videos and a final report (http:// www.competitivewi.com/index.php/ extensions).

Wisconsin ranks 13th in retention of 18-64-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees or more education, but 44th in attracting that same age group from out of state. This reputation is a problem, as Wisconsin needs to import workers to fill the jobs we have and are creating. Changing this reputation was a key goal of a recent advertising campaign highlighting the state’s quality of life advantages compared to Chicago, attempting to lure more millennial workers to Wisconsin, with Gov. Scott Walker requesting almost $7 million in spending for the promotion. The impact of this and other efforts remains to be seen. However, at one of the lunches during the 2018 Grower Education Conference, I sat by a man who had just moved from Chicago to the Stevens Point area to work for a company serving the potato industry, so I know it can and does occur. More is needed. URBAN LABOR FORCE A final issue that matters for many agribusiness jobs in and supporting the potato industry is geography. Most of the labor force lives in urban areas, while many of the jobs require working in rural areas. This reality means commuting, which requires good roads, or putting more of the job locations in urban areas.


836369 • 7-19-17

These labor force trends have been occurring slowly for several years and many have noted them. For example, Competitive Wisconsin’s “Be Bold: Accelerate Wisconsin” initiatives focused on enhancing the ability of the state’s major industrial clusters

The report suggests more private sector involvement, encouraging employers to more actively engage with the current educational infrastructure to facilitate a better workforce pipeline. The second recommendation suggests that we expand and enhance connections between employers/businesses and schools, teachers and administrators. Besides increasing access to certification or “fast forward” programs, more specific examples include innovative design of internships and apprenticeships and an educator awareness campaign of the opportunities in the food manufacturing industry. PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT Schools at all levels cannot fill internships and apprenticeships without leadership from private businesses to provide them in a way that meets the educational goals set by state and federal laws and accreditation agencies. Companies and private associations and organizations may have to step up and provide human resources to facilitate and make such pipelines effective. Development is also needed to keep the skills of our current professionals up to date and make the state attractive to those already here. In addition, the report recommends a concerted private-sector-driven effort to support, develop and implement a young worker retention/recruitment

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strategy to better “sell” the state to young workers, to make the state more attractive to them.

but also the various input and service suppliers, as well as post-harvest handlers, processers and shippers.

Such a program would emphasize our benefits, such as quality of life, cost of living, access to education and health care, and a low cost of doing business.

Many of these allied and support industries also work with other crops and livestock, so obvious partners also exist among the state’s agribusinesses more broadly.

For reputation building and making connections, the Institute annually organizes and hosts the Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum in January on campus (https://renk.aae. wisc.edu/ag-outlook-forum/).

For 2019, given the bleak economic outlook for the state’s major crop and livestock products, the forum The potatoVertical industryTanks: should At theGallons University of Wisconsin, Cone Tanks: 70 Gallons to 12,000 Gallons 16seriously Gallons to 16,000 will likely focus on the looming crisis consider responding to workforce I recently of the • Tanks come standard with total drain bolted fitting • UV inhibitors molded in for longer tank life became director and its implications in terms of farm trends in some fashion, well as in gallonage Renk Agribusiness Institute (https:// • Conical bottom with flat spot for total drainage • Easy to as read molded indicators consolidation. being a part of broader, joint publicrenk.aae.wisc.edu/), generously • 18” lid is standard on all large tanks

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private efforts to •address issues forwith drainage established by a donation from in the • Molded tie down lugs Siphon tubes to help The forum serves an important role • UV inhibitors moldedconnecting in for longer tank • 18” lid is standard tanks family of Renk Seed the good of the state and region.on all largeRenk in Sun thelife private sector and • Engineered welded campus steel standfaculty, available staff and students • Molded in tie down lugs for securing tanks Prairie. The potato industry might develop • 3 - Year warranty from date of shipment • 3 - Year warranty from date of shipment (particularly those without active apprenticeship and/or internship The institute’s overarching mission Don’t forget to pick up your Pumps, fittings, accessories and hose from Ag Systems. Extension programs) and helps raise programs (see the related feature is to enhance the reputation of www.agsystemsonline.com the profile of agriculture on campus. article in this issue) with different agriculture and agribusiness both at schools in the state, as well as industry-wide efforts to recruit workers from out of state to come to Wisconsin to work in the industry.

the university and around the state, and to build connections between agribusinesses and campuses.

RECRUITING TOOL The Renk Scholars program is a recruiting tool, offering scholarships to current and incoming transfer Among its activities, the institute students majoring in ag business ALL AGRIBUSINESS coordinates agribusiness teaching, management who meet the GPA Such programs orPULL efforts would notSPREADERS, research and outreach the TYPE HIGHatCLEARANCE SPREADER continued on pg. 56 be2002 focused on just farming, university for the good of the state. CASE IHpotato 3200B $95,000






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Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 55

(grade point average) qualifications.

industry and companies.

Besides re-invigorating the agribusiness management club, the institute also finically supports the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) team on campus.

The first one was held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Agribusiness Association’s (WABA) Classic in Madison, January 2018, and was successful. It will be held again, with another one planned for the MidWest Food Products Association’s Annual Conference in the Wisconsin Dells in November.

At the national contest, UW’s NAMA team has finished 1st or 2nd the last four years. I think these NAMA club members are an under-utilized talent pool that could help many of the state’s agribusinesses, including those in the potato industry. Another new program is Agribusiness Connections, a speed networking for students and companies held at a conference or workshop. Companies first provide brief descriptions and internship and job opportunities they have, and then, based on these, students submit resumes that are shared as a group with the companies. Companies and students connect via email in advance and meet at the conference during a two-hour block set aside for the networking event. The meetings are informal and brief, only longer if it seems to be going well, with the students having time to walk the expo floor and/or attend speaker sessions to get a sense of the

in Wisconsin. A human resources or workforce committee could develop better connections with student clubs and organizations for recruiting workers from other U.S. and international regions. Also, educational programs for professional development would likely have value, as would short programs to explain agriculture and farming to recent hires from nonagricultural backgrounds.

I think the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association/ UW Extension Grower Education Conference & Industry Show is a possibility for such an event, as early February is a good date. STUDENT AWARENESS Our intention is to expand to the other UW four-year campuses and the technical colleges and schools. So far, what I have seen is that most students are unaware of the wide range and large number of companies in the state looking for people. As the “Be Bold III” report noted, so many of the state citizens and educators are unaware of the opportunities in food and agriculture right in their own communities or nearby. The state’s potato leadership should consider a broad response

Based on discussions with other industry groups, many of the technical schools are good sources for these sorts of professional development programs, as well as some programs from the UW campus, such as the Division of Continuing Studies or the Engineering Professional Development Program. Just as for any business, staying competitive takes continual effort as things change. Workforce availability is certainly not the worst, nor will it be the last, challenge to emerge for the Wisconsin potato industry. This industry has demonstrated a solid resiliency in responding to issues of this sort, and I am confident it will be able to do so again as the situation warrants.

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


























2,452,848.78 26,917,541.20













$171,763.66 $1,861,828.90



























3,626,823.59 25,141,352.08













$253,845.89 $1,759,925.52

56 BC�T August

Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

Well hello, friends! So

much has happened concerning the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) since last issue. On June 19, we had our annual meeting, State Fair meeting and banquet up in Antigo at the Elks Club. Let’s talk about all that happened during these meetings. THE NEW BOARD For the last few years, we have had more people want to sit on the Board than we had spots available. This year was no exception. We had one board position open, as member Paula Houlihan had to step down after being on the Board for two consecutive terms. We as a Board want to thank Paula for her continued work as a board member over the last six years. We welcomed Datonn Hanke, of Almond, not only as a new board member, but also to fill the role of secretary/treasurer. The current Board consists of Kathy Bartsch, president; Hanke, secretary/ treasurer; Brittany Bula, Deniell Bula, Jody Baginski and Marie Reid as board members; and I remain as the Above: The new Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Board is, from left to right, Datonn Hanke (secretary/treasurer); Kathy Bartsch (president); Devin Zarda (vice president); Marie Reid; Jody Baginski; Brittany Bula; and Deniell Bula.

vice president for yet another year. I’m looking forward to continuing our conversations through these articles for the next 12 months. Keep an eye open for my interview with Datonn next month. THE ANNUAL MEETING Our annual meeting was short and sweet. Kathy gave a quick overview of the current WPGA programs, talked about the progress we’ve made with them and received feedback. Based on the feedback, we are looking into creating a newsletter, so the WPGA can update you on what’s going on in the Auxiliary outside of this monthly article. Keep your eyes open because I’ll post about this once we have it up and running. THE BANQUET As part of the banquet, we wanted to give back to all our members. OK, let’s be honest, we wanted to spoil them! First off, we invited all our Wisconsin State Fair workers to the dinner as a thank you for all they do. If we didn’t have them helping at the State Fair, we wouldn’t have the funds to help spread the wonderful message that Wisconsin does grow potatoes. We gave away items through

drawings that included a wine and chocolate gift basket, gift certificates for greenhouses in Antigo and Stevens Point, free memberships to the Auxiliary and a weekend stay in Door County. continued on pg. 58

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Auxiliary News. . . continued from pg. 57

We wanted to make a small impact in the community we were holding our banquet in, so we ran a supply drive for the Langlade County Humane Society. I just want to say a special thank you to everyone who donated to the Langlade County Humane Society. I dropped off the supplies donated the weekend after our banquet, and the Humane Society was incredibly appreciative. I’m so proud to be part of a community of people who are so Above: To give back to its members and thank the volunteers who work the potato booth at the Wisconsin State Fair, the WPGA banquet and dinner included drawings for gift baskets, memberships, gift certificates and a weekend getaway. Brittany Bula (right) and Kathy Bartsch (left) announce a gift bag winner.

58 BC�T August

willing to give freely. Thank you again. Alright, friends, I hope you’re having a fantastic summer. Make sure you

check in next month for my interview with our newest board member.


New Products Spectrum Technologies Monitors Temperature Inversion

Company offers products to measure temperatures and help prevent off-target herbicide drift Spectrum Technologies, Inc. has a rich history of innovation through responding to industry and customer needs. Spectrum’s latest solution matches proven products with the issue of off-target herbicide movement through drift and/or temperature inversion. Growers and professional applicators have unprecedented complexities, requirements and liabilities when it comes to applying herbicide. Today’s product labels for Dicamba have very specific requirements, restricting applications to a narrow window of conditions. Knowing and documenting these conditions is the job of the applicator. Temperature inversion is a new term to Dicamba product labels and refers to increasing temperature with altitude. This scenario can cause droplets to suspend in the air and potentially move off-target. Spectrum has configured various products to monitor and record this condition, informing and giving applicators confidence in their application. MEASURING TEMPERATURE By measuring temperature near the ground and at a height of 10 feet, you can determine the presence of an inversion easily. By logging this data over time, you now have records of the conditions before, during and after the application.

This could be very valuable in sensitive areas where drift/inversion has been an issue in the past. These stations could also be set up across an ag retailer’s trade area to give reference points to applicators and management. Spectrum can customize logging sites, from simple configurations that allow the user to log, download and view

Above: A remotely monitored Spectrum Technologies station incorporates temperature sensors at 18 inches and 10 feet off the ground, and the graph shows recent temperature inversion.

the data to more advanced stations that can be monitored remotely. Additionally, sensors can be added to include wind speed, wind continued on pg. 60 BC�T August 59

New Products. . .

continued from pg. 59

direction, humidity, solar radiation and more. To learn more, please contact Rick Welder, national account manager, at RWelder@specmeters.com. Spectrum Technologies was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Aurora, Illinois. Spectrum is a leader

in providing advanced agriculture, horticulture and turf technologies to customers worldwide. Spectrum Technologies brands include WatchDog®, FieldScout®, WaterScout®, DataScout®, LightScout®, TruFirm® and SpecConnect™.

Spectrum has 24 AE50 Awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, which demonstrates the company’s deep commitment to innovation and quality. For more information, call 815-436-4440 or visit online at www.specmeters.com.

PECO Pallet Recertified by Safe Quality Food Institute SQF certification is part of the Global Food Safety Initiative focused on prevention controls In 2017, for the third year in a row, PECO Pallet’s depot in Hazleton, Pennsylvania has been recertified by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) for Level 2 Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based food safety plans. In 2014, PECO Pallet became the first North American pallet company to achieve SQF certification and remains the only wood pallet depot in the United States with SQF certification. “Safety is of paramount importance at PECO Pallet, and our continuous improvement processes ensure consistent quality and safety for our customers, says PECO Pallet Chief Executive Officer Joseph Dagnese. “We are proud to be recognized as the only wood pallet company with a proven HACCP-based food safety program.” The SQF certification is part of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and is focused on food safety prevention controls for packaging and shipping materials.

60 BC�T August

MEETS REQUIREMENTS To qualify for the SQF Certification for Level 2 Food Safety, PECO Pallet had to demonstrate that it meets certified requirements to identify hazards and minimize food safety risks in its environment and products. PECO Pallet maintains an HACCPbased food safety and quality system and was evaluated in 17 different supporting programs and procedures, ranging from sanitation and chemical controls to personnel training and transportation programs. The entire facility in Hazleton was audited, and PECO Pallet’s implementation of HACCP quality systems and controls was found to meet or exceed U.S. FDA (Food and

Drug Administration) food safety requirements. PECO Pallet’s Hazleton depot opened in 2013. In addition to sorting, repairing, storing and reissuing pallets, the state-of-the-art depot also provides a place to develop new processes to deliver higher levels of pallet quality, service and safety across all facilities in PECO’s North American network. About PECO Pallet For over 20 years, PECO Pallet has delivered highquality rental block pallets, responsive customer service and significant supply chain savings. PECO’s superior quality wood pallets are used to ship products to retailers and distribution centers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. PECO Pallet is based in Irvington, New York, and maintains over 1,600 pallet depots and service centers throughout North America. For more information, visit www.pecopallet.com.

Feature Article Nitrogen Nutrition “Tips the Tuber Balance” The most used and least understood potato crop input, nitrogen can influence growth and yield By Lucy de la Pasture

From a scientific point of view, fertilizer technology is still very

much in its infancy. The forms currently widely used today have been adopted because they’re easy to source in large quantities.

They’ve been designed by chemists rather than biologists and haven’t had the crop’s physiology in mind. As a result, fertilizer uptake by plants is an inefficient process, with rates of recovery for nitrogen fertilizers in the region of 25-35 percent. But the tide is turning. Fertilizer technologies are being developed that are physiologically led and underpinned by sound, peer-reviewed scientific research. Dr. David Marks, managing director of Levity Crop Science, explains why these products are better and can help achieve a higher marketable yield of potatoes. Why is nitrogen crucial for growth? Nitrogen is so vital for plant growth because it is a major component of chlorophyll, the compound by which

plants use sunlight energy to produce sugars from water and carbon dioxide (photosynthesis). It’s also a major component of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Some proteins act as structural units in plant cells, while others act as enzymes, which facilitate the many biochemical processes essential for life. Nitrogen is a component of energytransfer compounds, such as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which Above: Omex’s amine nitrogen product, SizeN™, can be used as an agronomic tool to influence the marketable yield of the crop. Right: Levity Crop Science has developed a stabilized nitrogen fertilizer that bonds the amine (NH2) and a monovalent or divalent cation. The amine form encourages more reproductive growth due to changes in the endogenous hormonal balance within the plant. BC�T August 61

Nitrogen Nutrition. . . continued from pg. 61

enables cells to conserve and use the energy released in metabolism. It’s also a significant component of nucleic acids, such as DNA, the genetic material that allows cells, and the plant itself, to grow and reproduce. GROWTH PARTITIONING What is growth partitioning? Partitioning is the process by which plants divide their energy amongst their different parts. In potatoes, it’s the trade-off in proteins and carbohydrates allocated towards their leaves (canopy growth) and those apportioned to the roots (uptake of nutrients and water) and tubers (reproductive growth). Nitrogen availability has a strong effect on partitioning. Plants take up three forms of nitrogen, which are amine (NH2), ammonium (NH4) and nitrate (NO3). Most nitrogen applied to the soil is converted to NO3 from NH4 by soil bacteria, including Nitrosomonas spp. and Nitrobacter spp. Nitrogen taken up by plants as nitrate must be first converted to ammonium before it can be used by the plant, and this has a consequent energy cost.

In fact, it takes 12 times as much carbon to process a unit of nitrate into a plant protein than if the nitrogen is taken up in the amine form. On the other hand, if nitrogen is taken up as NH4 or NH2, it can be immediately used in the synthesis of amino acids and other organic compounds, conserving energy that may be used for growth. How do you influence this? Overapplication of nitrogen in search

Above: Dr. David Marks, managing director of Levity Crop Science, has developed a range of products to improve the energy efficiency of fertilizer use in a range of crops, underpinned by sound scientific research.

of higher yields can lead to excessive top growth at the expense of tuber growth. Because of the conversion process required, any nitrogen applied as a foliar fertilizer in the nitrate form reduces photosynthesis as the plant uses its energy to change it into


Source: Levity Crop Science

62 BC�T August

a usable form. The formulation of nitrogen fertilizer is therefore very important to the energy efficiency of the crop, influencing the amount of energy wasted transporting nitrates to the leaf to be converted to NH2. PLANT HORMONES One of the functions of nitrogen in the plant is to influence the production of plant hormones, particularly auxins and cytokinins, which are the hormones influencing plant growth. Auxins are made in the potato leaves and transported to the roots, with the opposite true for cytokinins, which are made in the roots. It’s the balance between the two hormones that affects the way the crop partitions into vegetative (stems and canopy) growth and reproductive growth (tubers). The nitrate form stimulates plants to produce auxins, which is why overapplication causes excessive top growth in the potato. If the plant has access to nitrogen in the form of NH2, it can use this locally, using less energy to convert it to protein and without triggering unwanted auxin synthesis. Cytokinin production means the potato plant produces more lateral growth, is bushier with a more fibrous root system and has increased tuber development. Which form of nitrogen (N) is best? Stabilized N fertilizers aren’t something new, but previous products have all been based on urease inhibitors such as Didin, and/or bacterial inhibitors such as nitrapyrin. Both have a direct impact on the process of mineralization, which, although in theory is favorable, in practice this isn’t always the case. STABILIZING UREA Levity Crop Science has developed a way of stabilizing urea that’s different. The technology is based on a bonding

or cross linkage formed between the NH2 and a monovalent or divalent cation. The benefit of this process is that, by donating an electron, it renders nitrogen in the NH2 form unrecognizable to the bacteria that would normally reduce it. This means, in this amine form, there’s supply of a more efficient form of N, meaning less is required for the same amount of plant growth. The N supplied is more energy efficient with less carbon used, as it doesn’t require conversion to the ammonium form of N before the plant can utilize it. The amine form also encourages more reproductive growth due to changes in the endogenous hormonal balance within the plant. What trials work has been done? Levity Crop Science has conducted replicated field trials in four countries over four years, putting its unique amine N product, (Lono) SizeN™, to the test on more than 10 different varieties. In a trial conducted in Yorkshire, Northern England, in 2016, the effect of SizeN (Lono) on potato was investigated and compared with two non-stabilized foliar nitrogen formulations, supplying a similar level of nitrogen to the crop. The results were peer reviewed and published at the Crop Production Northern Britain Conference in Dundee earlier this year. The study showed foliar application of stabilized NH2 product had a significant effect on marketable yield, with a 4.7 percent yield increase compared with the control. In contrast, the two standard foliar N fertilizers had no significant effect on yield. What approach is best? Because of its influence on the plant’s hormones, exposure to small bursts of NH2 has an effect on plant architecture that’s disproportionate to the quantity applied.

Above: Small bursts of the amine form of nitrogen influence partitioning by promoting tuber production without stimulating top growth.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING In potatoes there are four key timings when SizeN (Lono) can be applied that will influence tuber production in the crop. These are at tuber initiation, early bulking, mid-bulking and late bulking. What difference does variety make? All varieties of potato can benefit, but in some, there may be a greater effect. For example, Innovator is a notoriously shy tuberizer and if it’s subjected to any stress, then low numbers are often the result. In Dutch trials, significant increases in the marketable yield of Innovator have been recorded. Rooster and Annabelle have responded similarly in Irish and French trials, with smaller yield increases found in Brooke and Shelford in the United Kingdom. The response a variety has depends on its characteristics, and SizeN (Lono) can be used as an agronomic tool to influence the marketable yield of the crop. So, for King Edward, it’s the bulking up sprays that are most important. These tend to increase the size of the middle fraction of tubers. For seed, or where small tubers of even size are required, the earlier application timings will help achieve the required size fraction. BC�T August 63

NPC News

Huge Vote in Senate Moves Farm Bill Forward Bill restores vital Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program On June 28, the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of a new Farm Bill by a vote of 8611. This strong show of bipartisan support for the bill sets the stage for a potential conference and completed bill before the current Farm Bill expires at the end of September. “Given the challenging political environment, the bill that the Senate passed is remarkable. It is a testament to the outstanding work of Chairman Pat Roberts of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and both of their committee staffs in drafting this bill over the past year,” says National Potato Council President and CEO John Keeling. “The potato industry looks forward to working with them and their House counterparts in delivering

a strong bill to the President’s desk before September 30th,” Keeling adds. Some highlights of the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill include: • Restores resources for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program that is vital for potato trade issues; • Makes $80 million available annually for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. This is an increase of $25 million annually over the current available amount; • Maintains vital resources for agricultural export promotion programs through the creation of a new Foreign Market Development Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and • Supports continued operation of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and vital pest and disease

prevention and eradication programs. During debate, an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) was voted on that could have substantially reduced the research and promotion activities of the nation’s “checkoff” programs, such as the one that Potatoes USA operates under. That amendment was defeated 38-57. Above: National Potato Council President and CEO John Keeling says the potato industry looks forward to working with Chairman Pat Roberts of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and both of their committee staffs, as well as their House counterparts, in delivering a strong Farm Bill to President Donald Trump’s desk before September 30. Keeling is pictured standing (second from right) in a field of Schroeder Bros. Farms dark red Norland potatoes, Antigo, Wisconsin. Keeling visited Wisconsin June 26-28 with Potatoes USA President/CEO Blair Richardson and current Potatoes USA Board Grower Chairman Dan Moss (blue, holding potato plant). At left is John T. Schroeder and at right, Eric Schroeder. See related feature article in this issue.

Senate Passes Pesticide Registration Improvement Act In addition to action on the Farm Bill, the Senate passed the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) by voice vote. This action occurred after the measure was stalled for months over objections by various senators to the Administration’s actions on specific pesticides. “PRIA is an extremely important bill that sets the public/private 64 BC�T August

partnership funding in registering and reviewing vital pesticides. Without it, the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the resources to conduct these scientific reviews in a timely manner as the private sector has no mechanism to pay their share,” says NPC President and CEO John Keeling. “We urge Congress to move forward

in sending PRIA to the President’s desk immediately,” Keeling stresses. The House has already passed its version of PRIA separately and as a provision of their version of the Farm Bill. It remains to be seen how the full reauthorization process will take place, but both bodies have now taken positive action to put this program in place.

Ali's Kitchen Mashed Hummus Purple Potatoes

They’re rich and creamy without the extra butter and cream Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary We have a family member who has recently discovered that food allergies are partially to blame for some health troubles they’ve been experiencing. We enjoyed a week-long visit with them, and I took this as an opportunity to experiment with tweaking some of our favorite recipes and transforming them into dishes that we could all enjoy.

This recipe avoids all the common food allergy triggers. It is naturally free of dairy, eggs, gluten and peanuts, and it is vegan. With minimal prep and about 30 minutes of your time, you have rich and creamy mashed potatoes without any extra butter or cream, and lots of pretty color and flavor! continued on pg. 66

Ingredients 3 pounds small purple potatoes ¼ teaspoon salt 2 cups hummus (homemade or store bought) ½ cup vegetable stock (slightly warmed)* ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves Salt and pepper to taste 2 green onions (chopped for garnishing)

BC�T August 65

Advertisers Index

Ali's Kitchen. . .

continued from pg. 65

Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative ................................. 24 Ag Systems, Inc. - BBI Javelin........ 20 Ag Systems, Inc. - AG 800............. 55 Allied Cooperative........................ 47 Ansay & Associates....................... 15 Big Iron Equipment....................... 11 Bushmans’ Inc................................ 3 Calcium Products.......................... 35 Compeer Financial........................ 36 Fencil Urethane Systems.............. 14 Harriston-Mayo............................ 17 Jay-Mar, Inc..................................... 9


Place the potatoes and ¼ teaspoon of salt into a large stockpot and fill with water until the potatoes just are covered. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce a fork through the potatoes. Remove from heat and drain the water. Return the potatoes to the stockpot and add the hummus, vegetable stock, chopped basil

and salt and pepper. Using a hand masher mash the potatoes until smooth. * If you prefer creamier mashed potatoes, feel free to add more warmed broth until they reach your desired consistency. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a serving bowl, top with chopped green onions and a sprig of fresh basil if desired. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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! 66 BC�T August

JMC Automation in Packaging...... 58 J.W. Mattek................................... 25 KerberRose S.C............................. 28 M.P.B. Builders, Inc....................... 53 Midwestern BioAg........................ 33 Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Inc...................... 13 North Central Irrigation................ 26 Nutrien Ag Solutions.................... 40 Oasis Irrigation............................. 68 Paragon Potato Farms.................. 37 Plover River Farms Alliance.......... 44 Riesterer & Schnell....................... 27 Roberts Irrigation ........................... 2 Ron’s Refrigeration....................... 49 Rural Mutual Insurance................ 19 Schroeder Brothers Farms.............. 7 Schweitzer Spray Coatings............ 54 T.I.P............................................... 23 Vantage North Central.................... 5 Volm Companies........................... 39 Worley Family Farms, LLC............. 57 WPVGA Spud Seed Classic............ 67 WPVGA Subscribers...................... 51 WPVGA Support Our Members.... 52 WPVGA Membership.................... 66 WSPIA........................................... 45


SUPERIOR SPONSORS AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Antigo CPS Great Lakes Parsons of Antigo Wilbur-Ellis Company

OCCUPIED HOLE SPONSORS BMO Harris Bank CoVantage Credit Union DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C.

Gowan Company Roberts Irrigation Co. V & H, Inc.

BASIC HOLE SPONSORS Ansay & Associates LLC Arlen’s TV & Appliances Big Iron Equipment, Inc. CPS Great Lakes Draeger Oil & Draeger Propane Gallenberg Farms, Inc. Insight FS J W Mattek & Sons, Inc. Jay-Mar, Inc. KerberRose Certified Public Accountants Langlade Ford Mt. Morris Mutual Insurance Co.

Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Quinlan’s Equipment, Inc. Riesterer & Schnell, Inc. Ron’s Refrigeration & AC, Inc. Schroeder Bros. Farms Schumitsch Seed, Inc. Southside Tire Co., Inc. TH Agri-Chemicals, Inc. TIP, Inc. Vine Vest North, Inc. Crop & Ag Insurance Warner & Warner, Inc. Wausau Auctioneers

DONATIONS AgSource Laboratories bb Jack’s Badger Common’Tater Bass Lake Golf Course Brickners of Antigo Bushmans’ Inc. Calcium Products Culver’s of Antigo Fencil Urethane Systems Fifth Avenue Lounge

Holiday Inn, Antigo Kakes Farms Ltd. Karl’s Transport Lakeside Grocery Langlade Springs Lil’Hummer’s Hideaway Mid-State Truck Service North Star Lanes Pepsi Pomp’s Tire Service Rev’s

Rick’s 45 Roadhouse Rural Insurance, Antigo Salon 731 Schroeder’s Gifts Sowinski Seed Farm Swartzendruber’s Supper Club, Antigo Swiderski Equipment, Antigo Three Jokers Lounge Tim Spiegl Construction LLC WPVGA

P.O. Box 327 Antigo, WI 54409

Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage Paid Stevens Point, WI 54481 Permit No. 480




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