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$22/year | $2/copy | Volume 71 No. 04 | APRIL 2019




Jerry Knutson

Oasis Irrigation Inc.

A photo taken using a fisheye lens on a drone camera, it shows snap beans being picked on Bushman’s Riverside Ranch in Crivitz, Wisconsin.


Scholarships Now Available

The WPVGA Associate Division and Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary are pleased to inform you of scholarships totaling $6,000, available to students at post-secondary institutions. The Associate Division and Auxiliary Boards of Directors will award the full $6,000 but may decide to award several smaller scholarships based on the number of applicants and their merits. The purpose of these annual scholarships is to provide financial assistance to students whose immediate families are members of the WPVGA. There is also a special additional scholarship that will be awarded to the top candidate among all applicants. The Avis M. Wysocki Memorial Scholarship was established in 2016 to honor Avis, who was a founding member of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary and an integral part of the Wisconsin potato industry. Through a fundraiser held by the Associate Division earlier this year, this year’s winner of the Avis M. Wysocki Memorial Scholarship will receive $1,975 in scholarship funds.


MAY 1, 2019

Applications can be obtained online at or by calling the WPVGA office at

(715) 623-7683

If you have any questions, please call Julie Braun at the WPVGA office.

PLEASE RETURN COMPLETED FORMS TO: Julie Braun WPVGA PO Box 327 Antigo, WI 54409-0327 or, Email Completed Form to:

The scholarships detailed above can be used to defray educational expenses and are open to students in undergraduate and post-graduate programs. Applicants must be residents of Wisconsin and are eligible to reapply in subsequent years regardless if they have been previously awarded a scholarship. The selection of scholarship winners will be based on the following criteria: • Applicant or applicant’s immediate family must be, or be employed by, a WPVGA grower or Associate Division member. • Merit – e.g. G.P.A., extra-curricular activities, etc. • Financial need • Other information provided in the application • The applicant must attend an accredited school of higher education as a full-time graduate or undergraduate student. • The applicant must meet the entry requirements of the selected accredited school of higher education (grade point average, etc.). Some of the information requested in the application may be considered personal or confidential. You may choose not to provide such information; however, the selection committee making decisions requests information on your financial status since Associate Division and Auxiliary scholarships may be partially based on financial need. You are encouraged to complete the scholarship application form in a professional manner. Applications must be properly completed and typed. Hand-written applications will not be considered. Remember, the application will be the only representation of you that the selection committee has a chance to see. Applications can be obtained online at or by calling the WPVGA office at 715-623-7683. If you have any questions, please call the WPVGA office and ask for Julie.




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On the Cover: The Bushman’s Riverside Ranch crew in Crivitz, Wisconsin, picks snap beans using Oxbo 2475 harvesters. The front cover image was taken via a drone using a fisheye camera lens. Jeff Suchon of Bushman’s Riverside Ranch answers questions in this issue regarding the unique role he and other farm managers play in potato and vegetable growing operations.

8 BADGER COMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: Jerry Knutson, president and owner of Oasis Irrigation, says, though Zimmatic/Lindsay is the company’s flagship offering, he and his crew also sell and service diesel-powered engines, Bauer water reels, Watertronics VFD (variable frequency drive) panels, Precision Nitrogen pumps, and stock many sprayer parts, electrical parts, pipe and wire.

DEPARTMENTS: ALI’S KITCHEN.................... 53 AUXILIARY NEWS............... 51 EYES ON ASSOCIATES......... 48

16 WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A FARM MANAGER? Potato growers put a lot of faith in farm managers


WPVGA’s Member Development Program focuses on leadership


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue headlines the potato industry’s D.C. Fly-In

MARK YOUR CALENDAR...... 6 NEW PRODUCTS................ 35 NOW NEWS....................... 20 PEOPLE.............................. 38

FEATURE ARTICLES: 30 A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH to nitrogen can increase root and tuber growth 32 BADGER BEAT: Quantifying the benefits of variable rate irrigation on potatoes

44 THREE TIPS for potato processors and packagers to understand recall insurance 4

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WPVGA Board of Directors: President: Wes Meddaugh Vice President: Rod Gumz Secretary: Mike Carter Treasurer: Gary Wysocki Directors: Bill Guenthner, Charlie Mattek, Alex Okray, 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: Kenton Mehlberg Vice President: Paul Cieslewicz Secretary: Sally Suprise


Treasurer: Rich Wilcox Directors: Chris Brooks, Julie Cartwright, Kristi Kulas & Nick Laudenbach Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association Board of Directors: President: Dan Kakes Vice President: Jeff Fassbender Secretary/Treasurer: Matt Mattek Directors: Roy Gallenberg & J.D. Schroeder 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

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

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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: Jane Guillen Coordinator of Community Relations: Jim Zdroik Spudmobile Assistant: Doug Foemmel

WPVGA Office (715) 623-7683 • FAX: (715) 623-3176 E-mail: Website: LIKE US ON FACEBOOK:

Subscription rates: $2/copy, $22/year; $40/2 years. Foreign subscription rates: $35/year; $55/2 years. Telephone: (715) 623-7683 Mailing address: P.O. Box 327, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409 Or, subscribe free online: ADVERTISING: To advertise your service or product in this magazine, call (715) 630-6213, or email: Joe Kertzman: The editor welcomes manuscripts and pictures but accepts no responsibility for such material while in our hands. BC�T April



Calendar APRIL



38TH ANNUAL CRAZYLEGS CLASSIC Library Mall, 9:50 a.m. Madison, WI

14 JEFFREY A. WYMAN MEMORIAL GARDEN GOLF OUTING University Ridge Golf Course Madison, WI


1 10-12 15 21

WALK WISCONSIN Pfiffner Park Stevens Point, WI UNITED FRESH McCormick Place Chicago, IL SILVER LAKE TRIATHLON Silver Lake Park, 7 a.m. Portage, WI WSPIA SPUD SEED CLASSIC GOLF OUTING Bass Lake Golf Course Deerbrook, WI

6 10-12 13 16 18 23-25 25

PARDEEVILLE TRIATHLON Chandler Park, 8 a.m. Pardeeville, WI NPC SUMMER MEETING Chula Vista Resort Wisconsin Dells, WI POINT DUATHLON Stevens Point YMCA Stevens Point, WI ASSOCIATE DIV. PUTT-TATO OPEN GOLF OUTING The Ridges Golf Course Wisconsin Rapids, WI HANCOCK AG RESEARCH STATION FIELD DAY Hancock, WI WISCONSIN FARM TECHNOLOGY DAYS Walter Grain Farms Johnson Creek, WI ANTIGO FIELD DAY Langlade County Airport and Research Station Antigo, WI

2 10 17

RHINELANDER FIELD DAY Lelah Starks Farm Rhinelander, WI ANTIGO TATER TROT Antigo City Park, 8:30 a.m. Antigo, WI WAUPACA AREA TRIATHLON South Park, 7 a.m. Waupaca, WI

1-2 17-19

WGA INNOVATION EXPO Kalahari Resort Wisconsin Dells, WI PMA FRESH SUMMIT Anaheim, CA




Planting Ideas The growers inspired me. They really did.

So did my wife, coworkers, family, friends and neighbors. It was humbling, really, and sad, heartbreaking and a little inspirational. It seemed like the end of the world for a long time. Our old farmhouse couldn’t take all the snow, rain and melting anymore. Like many homes, towns, cities and counties in Wisconsin, our basement flooded, and not seepage, but full-blown pouring water. It was feet high before we realized it was happening. We’ve been there 20 years and never experienced anything like it. Why would I tell readers of the Badger Common’Tater this? At first there was fear and sadness, more fear and helplessness. Then I didn’t want to tell anyone except contractors, neighbors who offered help and family. I was ashamed and wary. But in the thick of it all, the panic to find pumps, days of pumping, a collapsed basement inner wall, the water heater knocked off its stand, the water softener floating and the furnace with water halfway up it, I thought of the Wisconsin potato growers and the year they had. I felt like I was losing everything, and I remembered talking to or seeing growers from a distance who had felt the same way a few months earlier when they were losing a third or more of their crops to frost and, in a sense, water damage from too much rain preventing them to harvest. My wife was the biggest inspiration. She’s a trooper. She was manning pumps and staying positive long after I had packed bags to move into a hotel. She walked through feet of water and ice to feed horses and wouldn’t take off her boots because she said the last time she did, they were too hard to put back on sopping wet and frozen. One grower offered me the use of his pumps. Another friend of a potato grower brought over the one industrial pump that had enough power to clear my basement. My coworkers offered to help, to put us up in a hotel, bring food, blankets and supplies. Every one of my family members called me and offered help. Neighbors allowed us to stay with them, cooked dinner for us, and came to the house often to lend a hand. It really was humbling and inspirational. And for the first time I truly understood the resilience of people who contend with Mother Nature every day. Please email me with your thoughts and questions. If you wish to be notified when our free online magazine is available monthly, here is the subscriber link:

Joe Kertzman

Managing Editor


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By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

NAME: Jerry Knutson TITLE: President/owner COMPANY: Oasis Irrigation Inc. LOCATION: Plainfield, WI

“My father, Ralph Knutson, started in the irrigation

and farm equipment short lines business back around 1970, selling irrigation and specialized short line equipment,” relates Jerry Knutson, president and owner of Oasis Irrigation in Plainfield, Wisconsin.

HOMETOWN: Almond, WI YEARS IN PRESENT POSITION: 19 PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: “I’ve been in irrigation and farming my entire life, in family businesses.” SCHOOLING: Mid-State Technical College and University of WisconsinMadison ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: School board AWARDS/HONORS: Six-time Zimmatic Top 40 Dealership (2-year award), Top FieldNET Advisor Sales (2018), Top Precision Pump Sales and Zimmatic Circles of Excellence Gold Dealership (2018) FAMILY: Wife, Kathy Jo, and children, Chase, Lindsay, Dawson and Preston HOBBIES: Snowmobiling, skiing and fishing 8

BC�T April

“He sold Ag-Rain Travelers, Pierce Pivots, Lilliston Rolling Cultivators, Allied Loader Equipment and many other things,” Jerry adds. In the late 1990’s, while working the family farm, the Knutsons purchased their first Zimmatic irrigation system, bought a second irrigator a year later, and then were offered a chance to purchase the Zimmatic dealer line from Central Sands Irrigation in Plainfield, Wisconsin. In 2000, they moved the dealership to offices in Almond, and in 2012, Jerry purchased the current location in Plainfield, built the offices and storage facility, and moved in.

“My father was a huge influence in my life,” he says. “I loved getting up with him every day and having a chance to work by his side my entire life. Not many people get to experience that opportunity.” “Now, at age 53, I have three boys working by my side, and it is a treasure that money just cannot buy, to work with them and inspire them with the love for agriculture, Above: Jerry Knutson of Oasis Irrigation in Plainfield, Wisconsin, says he takes pride in having started the business 20 years ago with about 300 Zimmatic systems in the area, and now they number in the thousands.

Jerry Knutson says working alongside his sons and inspiring them with the love for agriculture is a treasure money can’t buy. Two of his sons, Preston (left) and Chase (right), maintain and service a customer’s pivot.

growing crops, and now, getting them involved with the irrigation business, and seeing them assist customers with their needs and issues,” Jerry remarks. You increased your product line with the move in 2012. What else does Oasis Irrigation offer? Zimmatic/ Lindsay is our flagship offering. We also sell diesel-powered engines, Bauer water reels, Watertronics VFD (variable frequency drive) panels, Precision Nitrogen pumps, and stock many sprayer parts, electrical parts, pipe and wire. What do you feel you have to offer that’s unique as far as irrigation companies go? First, I have a fantastic staff that has been with me either since I started or for over 10 years now. Stability is something that I strive for with my business, and I want my customers to be comfortable with my service/sales/installation crew and

FieldNET Advisor integrates crop modeling and weather data, helping famers with water management and scheduling. A screen shot shows the water available to numerous fields on a farmer’s operation, all in one view.

know that they are familiar with their farming operations and equipment.

equipment they have, what they’re working with and its history.

It can save our customers time and money when my staff is knowledgable about what kind of

I also farm approximately 1,800 acres, so I get a chance to experiment with new products and introductions continued on pg. 10

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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 9

Above: A bald eagle sits on a Zimmatic center pivot irrigation system in Adams, Wisconsin.

Right: The full-blown Zimmatic by Lindsay irrigation system has all the technology in place—a computer panel, telemetry, variable rate irrigation (VRI) and a variable frequency drive (VFD).

before they are put into production, and I can work with developers to improve the products or make changes before going into full production. Personal use of what I sell gives me a better perspective of what a customer sees and needs from me and/or my products. How do you service your local customers in the Central Sands to always ensure a solid base? We have a very experienced service staff, most of whom have worked with me for 10-19 years. Our mission is to achieve same-day service as close to 100 percent of the time as we can. My staff has prided itself on 24-hour/7-days-a-week/365-daysper-year service and advise since 10 BC�T April

I started this in 2000. While many businesses close at 5 p.m. and turn off cell phones, my staff works tirelessly to make sure customers are taken care of, nights, days and weekends. Do you have customers in the far reaches of the state? Midwest? Our dealership covers the entire state of Wisconsin, and we have sold and serviced systems in northern Illinois, eastern Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. What differentiates Lindsay/ Zimmatic products from other brands? Lindsay has become known as the leader in technology, with multiple national awards for the company’s FieldNet line of products, panels, telemetry, pump stations and variable rate irrigation (VRI).

Now Lindsay is leading the way with its new Field Advisor Water Management software and working with Farmers Edge to bring satellite imagery to the Advisor management toolbox, which will assist farmers with water scheduling management and water use reduction. Lindsay owns all its own technology products, so when you purchase a Lindsay product, it is developed and supported by Lindsay, not another company, as is happening with other product offerings. What specifically are you offering in terms of variable rate irrigation, and what advancements have come about in recent years? Lindsay, in my opinion, has the very best offering in variable rate irrigation and has for many years. There are two choices

Most of Jerry Knutson’s staff has been at Oasis Irrigation for 10-19 years. They include, from left to right, Spencer Phillips, B.J. Pratt, Cheryl King, Dan Kemnetz, Jon Wilson, Jerry and Cory Hilpipre.

in VRI—sectional (changing the irrigation rate by degree) or precision (changing the rate by sprinkler). Sectional VRI is very simple, and just requires a computer chip to be installed in the pivot’s main panel, and then plans are drawn and supported in the telemetry setup on a computer, laptop or phone. Precision VRI is supported by the robust software design and panel

to operate the valves and plans. It is driven by customer-installed soil and water maps or by choosing FieldNET Advisor to create a daily irrigation plan. These VRI systems can be installed on any brand of pivot, new or old. The Lindsay VRI system is a stand-alone product. If you attach it to a Zimmatic computer panel and telemetry, you will have 100 percent functionality

and control of the system from your computer or phone. Our VRI system also utilizes a patented nozzle system that lets your system get around the field faster and employ the GPM (gallons per minute) feature, even when you are cutting water delivery down in portions of the field, thus giving the customer direct energy savings. continued on pg. 12





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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 11

From a WPVGA standpoint, we’ve seen community and government concerns about water quantity, and most recently, water quality, in the Central Sands. There are always issues, but how can VRI or other technology help? That is an excellent question. VRI is a chance for growers to reduce water use by 1035 percent, maybe even more. Fields and soil types have variability. There is no reason to put water or fertilizer where it is not needed. Math never lies. If a 150-acre potato field requires 12 inches of irrigation for the year, that would be over 48 million gallons of water use. Ten percent would be 4.8 million gallons saved, and 30 percent would be 14 million gallons saved. We know, and have proven through trials, that guys can cut back water on certain soil types and produce a crop via VRI that is higher yielding, higher quality and with better storability than when using normal, uniform irrigation. FieldNET Advisor is another tool we have that assists farmers with water management and scheduling. It integrates crop modeling and weather data, and now with Farmers Edge, uses a satellite crop image to assist with watering decisions. Again, through data compiled from last year with growers, we helped some guys decrease at least one irrigation pass over the course of the 2018 growing season, which reduced water use by 5-10 percent using that tool alone. Water quality is a moving target, and so, while growers cannot control violent or extreme weather events, they can control how, 12 BC�T April

Though the Zimmatic/Lindsay line is Oasis Irrigation’s flagship offering, the company also sells diesel-powered engines, Bauer water reels, Watertronics VFD panels, Precision Nitrogen pumps and many sprayer parts, electrical parts, pipe and wire.

when and where they water. These technological tools can help minimize the effects of nutrient leaching. What are you doing to try to help in such situations? Or educate? We, as a company, have started to hold annual technology days for our customers. We talk with our customers every opportunity we get about our new products or

technology items like mentioned above, about how they can improve a farmer’s bottom line, save energy or water and improve their public image. I have been working with congressional leaders, Focus on Energy and the FSA (Farm Service Agency) office to try to obtain funding for projects like these,

through grants and other promotions the agencies may have, to offset the costs for growers who install the technology. I would suggest that anyone reading this put pressure on the above listed agencies to get federal or state aid and energy-reduction dollars involved for these products. Everyone would get on board with ideas that directly reduce water and energy use, while improving crop yields, quality and storability. It’s a win-win-win for everyone—politicians, farmers and the general public. Lindsay FieldNET and Advisor— how can they help? FieldNET is a telemetry tool/platform that lets growers have full control of their irrigation system, pump panels, VRI, climate stations, water sensors and Advisor, all in one single platform, from their computer, phone or iPad. These FieldNET products save growers time, money and mileage on their vehicles, and the ROI (return on investment) impact is immediate. There is no single other ag product I am aware of that can save farmers money as fast as this technology. Cost of the product choices range from $500 to $2,800 per system investment. Each trip to look at a system can cost a grower $25-50, depending on how far away it is. Driving through a muddy farmer’s lane to make a panel change can cost a grower maintenance on his vehicle. Irrigation downtime for six hours can cost a grower thousands of dollars of stressed crops. FieldNET Advisor gives a grower a 5-by-5-meter resolution of his entire field and crop.

A water scheduling meeting put on by Lindsay Corporation included several of the company’s investors. Representatives from Oasis Irrigation and Wysocki Farms traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, to talk about water scheduling and its benefits.

Based on soil water holding capacities, crop growth, modeling and root depth, and daily water use, it helps a grower decide if he needs to water and how much he should

apply without overwatering the crop or going over a soil’s water-holding capacity. FieldNET Advisor is also a stand-alone continued on pg. 14

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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 13

product that can be put on any field with any type of pivot on it, or it could be used on dryland farms as well. For dryland use, Advisor can predict the yield of a crop based on the growing stage it is currently in as well as on 30 years of weather forecasts for that field, or by basing scheduling on getting no more rain for the rest of the year. This gives a grower the ability to market some of his expected crop during the summer if a price rally occurs. FieldNET Advisor also offers many graphs for water use throughout the year—a tool that can be beneficial to growers in a water use meeting to show the public that they did not waste water to grow their crop, or to legislators to prove that the crop indeed needed the watering cycles that were performed. Oasis Irrigation was awarded the number one national award from Lindsay Manufacturing, in 2018/2019, for Advisor sales. What is new on the irrigation horizon? Technology has become the leader in this business. Structurally and mechanically, the manufacturers have already done a superior job building equipment that lasts and is reliable. Sprinkler manufacturers have been making significant improvements on designs that have better uniformity, infiltration rates and efficiency. Last we communicated, you mentioned an Agri-View article about how farmers have reduced their carbon footprints by 64 percent over the past 50 years. Do you see growers being more environmentally 14 BC�T April

The Oasis Irrigation crew custom built this unusually tall pivot point to go over a generator on a farmer’s land in Pardeeville, Wisconsin.

conscious, and in what ways? Farmers care for their land much like a mother cares for a newborn infant, and I am not sure why the public does not see that. No farmer wants to waste anything, and again, I can’t understand why the public does not see that. Farmers are reducing their carbon footprints, probably more than any other form of business. We have seen production jumps of 100 BPA (bushels per acre) of corn, a 20 percent increases in sweet corn, peas and snap bean production per acre, and potato production increases of

200 cwt. (hundredweight) per acre in the last 15 years or so. We are producing more crop per unit of input (water, fertilizer and fuel) than ever before. That reduces carbon footprints. Farmers have always been environmentally conscious, and with a world of pressure today to address water quality and quantity use, growers are investing heavily in the technology I talked about above to do a better job of substantiating what, when, where and why they are applying nutrients and water.

Less than two years ago, area growers were being blamed for low lake levels, but with all rain we’ve had in the past 18 months, surface levels are as high as they’ve been. Is there a lesson to be learned there? Earth has existed for billions of years. Humans have been a part of that equation for thousands of years. Our own personal existence on this earth is roughly 80 years each, and everyone goes crazy over one weather cycle for a few years, either dry or wet, and thinks the earth has changed forever. Dinosaurs came and went. The Ice Age came and went. Droughts come and go, and floods come and go. While we need to be cognizant of how we use our resources, we also need to remember that farmers feed the world.

I do not consider it a waste of water to grow food to feed people. Wasting water is watering your lawn and washing your vehicle. Flood irrigation wastes water. What makes you most proud of your business? The people make me most proud—my crew and customers, and the friends I have made in this business. It makes me proud watching my service and sales people grow and be successful and watching the customers I serve grow and be successful. I also take pride in having started this business 20 years ago with about 300 Zimmatic systems in the area, and now they number in the thousands. Are there technologies on the horizon that will advance irrigation

capabilities? Variable rate irrigation is going to be the ultimate gamechanging technology. Someday soon, water will most likely get regulated, and at that point, growers will be forced to use less. With this technology, we have already proven that we can do it with less and get growers better yield, quality and storability. What do you hope for regarding the future of Oasis Irrigation? Ultimately, I hope that my boys decide to continue both the irrigation business and the farm. It’s every dad’s dream. We are also going to strive to be the best irrigation dealer in the state of Wisconsin.



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What’s the Role of a Farm Manager?

It takes trust and confidence to place one special person in charge of managing operations By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater Jeff Suchon, farm manager of Bushman’s Riverside Ranch in Crivitz, Wisconsin, views his position as if he were a member of the Bushman family. “I take pride in my role and my work on the farm,” he says. “I personally plant, spray and dig the potatoes,” Suchon relates. “I also meet with customers, sell the seed and oversee all aspects of the farm, including managing the employees.” That’s a lot of faith to place in one person working for a potato and vegetable grower. “I try to run the operation smoothly and make it problem free for them [Jon and John E. Bushman],” he says. Suchon has seven full-time employees working for him, and his wife, Sandy, hires an additional 15-20 seasonal workers during planting and harvest. “I look forward each day to working with the employees and owners. I also love being part of the customers’ 16 BC�T April

success with their businesses when using our seed potatoes,” Suchon remarks. Bushman’s Riverside Ranch has been in Crivitz for 36 years and Suchon has been the farm manager for 34 of them. “It is moving on to the second generation for both the owner and manager,” he explains. “Hopefully, my son will be the next manager at this location. I’ve enjoyed each minute of working on this farm and raising my family here,” Suchon concludes, “and now I enjoy bringing the grandchildren around.” THE HEAD COACH Rich Rashke of Okray Family Farms in Plover equates his role as a farm manager to that of being a head coach. “Every year when the growing cycle begins, we’re laying out our game plan from spring planting through harvest,” he begins. “We’re putting our team together.

Every farm is up against the same opponent—Mother Nature,” Rashke, who is involved in all areas of the fourth-generation potato and vegetable growing operation, says. He works with the Okray family member-owners, as well as with facility and warehouse managers to ensure the team is meeting the demands and needs of the customers. To Rashke, the goal is simple but multifaceted—to produce a high-quality product safely, while maintaining costs and ensuring his team has the tools and skills necessary to deliver the best to customers. As farm manager, Rashke schedules field operations, coordinates with Above: All in a day’s work, Jeff Suchon, farm manager for Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, says this drone image reveals how the cold weather really snuck up on his crew in November 2018—they were combining corn, spreading oats and discing, all in the same field.

The full-time crew at Baginski Farms Inc. in Antigo, Wisconsin, includes, from left to right, Cory Chrudimsky, Tyler Knutsen, Jeff Sinkler, Mike Baginski, Jerry Marvin and Charlie Husnick. Charlie says that Mike has done a great job at forming a reliable team around him who try to do more with less people.

customers, manages equipment repairs and maintenance, he scouts fields and manages plant health and overall conditions throughout the season. His team includes one irrigation manager, two irrigation techs and 12 skilled operators. “By having one central reporting structure, we reduce confusion and can be in sync at all times,” he says. “Having all our operators cross-trained in different areas of operation is in our best interest, allowing overall ease of transition from one task to another and creating fewer headaches.” “I’m also extremely proud of how we approach reducing our carbon

footprint, diversifying our operations with technology and preparing for the future generations,” Rashke concludes. DUTY BOUND One of a couple farm managers at Baginski Farms Inc. in Antigo, Wisconsin, Charlie Husnick’s duties consist of planning, planting, overseeing and harvesting the crops, and weekly field sampling, to name a few. Winter consists of monitoring the stored crop and preparing for the crop year ahead. Husnick says owner Mike Baginski has farmed for many years on the principle

of attention to detail, calling it the most important thing he instills in all his employees to maximize efficiency. “Mike has done a great job at forming a very reliable team around him,” Husnick states. “We try to do more with less people, and we each have our own areas of expertise. Jeff Sinkler, who is another farm manager, takes care of the warehouses, shipping and cutting sheds.” “I believe having farm managers helps spread out some of the responsibilities,” Husnick reasons, “so that things don’t get missed and turned into larger issues.” continued on pg. 18

BC�T April 17

Role of Farm Managers. . . continued from pg. 17

Shown in front of an Okray Family Farms field map, Rich Rashke says he equates his role as a farm manager to that of being a head coach. “Every year when the growing cycle begins, we’re laying out our game plan from spring planting through harvest,” he relates.

Charlie Husnick, one of two farm managers for Baginski Farms Inc. in Antigo, Wisconsin, stopped planting Burbank seed potatoes long enough to take this photo.

Machinery breakdowns are bound to happen, as are crop and weather issues, but by managing the little things, Husnick says he’s more prepared for when the big headaches come. “I take pride in having the opportunity to succeed and help the business and



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Rich Rashke, farm manager of Okray Family Farms in Plover, Wisconsin, works with the Okray member-owners, as well as with facility and warehouse managers to ensure the team is meeting the demands and needs of customers. Russet Norkotah potatoes are washed at Okray Family Farms.




farm succeed as well,” he says. “The farming community has such a wide range of knowledge and experience that there’s always someone out there who has dealt with the same issue you’re having. You just have to find the answer.”








18 BC�T April

Potatoes are unloaded from the field truck at Bushman’s Riverside Ranch in Crivitz, Wisconsin. Jeff Suchon, farm manager, says he’s personally involved in the planting, spraying and digging of potatoes.



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Now News

Plover River Farms Wins Ag Banquet Award Portage County Business Council honors Nick and Dianne Somers

Posing with Sen. Patrick Testin (left) at the American Agriculture Appreciation Banquet are Randy Fleishauer (center) and Jeanine McCain (right) of Plover River Farms Alliance, which was awarded the “2018 Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture Award.” Sen. Testin also presented a Certificate of Commendation & Congratulations to Plover River Farms on behalf of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Plover River Farms Alliance took home the “2018 Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture Award” during the American Agriculture Appreciation Banquet, March 11, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Held by the Portage County Business Council, the annual banquet honors students and community leaders, like Nick and Dianne Somers of Plover River Farms, for their outstanding contributions to agriculture. There to accept the award on behalf of Nick and Dianne, who were out of state at the time, were Randy Fleishauer, general manager, and Jeanine McCain, controller, for Plover 20 BC�T April

River Farms. Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) also presented a Certificate of Commendation & Congratulations on behalf of the Wisconsin State Legislature to Plover River Farms, which raises over 3,500 acres of potatoes, sweet corn, peas and soybeans, including 1,100 acres of fresh, processed and organic potatoes. A participating member of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) “Healthy Grown” program, Plover River Farms staffs 10 full-time employees and an additional 3040 helpers during planting and

harvest. In 2019, Plover River Farms celebrated 50 years in business. WPVGA HALL OF FAMER Among their many accomplishments, Nick was inducted into the WPVGA Hall of Fame, in 2018, for his commitment to excellence and significant impact on the potato and vegetable growing industry, and Dianne was instrumental in starting the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary. Keynote speaker Sen. Testin’s presentation on “Growing Opportunity in Wisconsin” touched on agriculture’s importance to the state, the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and

how it is crucial for government to invest in rural economic development to grow communities. The 4-H Leadership in Agriculture Award went to Abigail Helbach of the Tomorrow River Voyagers Chapter in Amherst. Outstanding FFA Seniors Awards were granted to Makayla Konkol of Amherst High School; Ashley Studzinski and Lilliann Walder of Rosholt High School; and Zoe Zalewski, Stevens Point Area Senior High. The Portage County AgriBusiness Scholarship recipients are Riley Patoka and Angela Edelburg. Sponsors of the American Agriculture Appreciation Banquet include BMO Harris Bank, Del Monte Foods, Inc., Heartland Farms, Inc. and Rural Mutual Insurance Company.

Award and scholarship winners at the American Agriculture Appreciation Banquet are, from left to right, Randy Fleishauer and Jeanine McCain of Plover River Farms; Abigail Helbach; Angela Edelburg; Riley Patoka; Ashley Studzinski; Lilliann Walder; Makayla Konkol; and Zoe Zalewski.

continued on pg. 22

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Now News. . .

continued from pg. 21

AcreValue Expands Throughout Corn Belt

Land evaluation website increases market area to include Wisconsin AcreValue, a free website introduced by Granular and used to analyze the value and productive capacity of farmland, is expanding its coverage area by 50 percent. AcreValue’s Automated Valuation Model, or AVM, was first available in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Texas. In 2019, growers, landowners, investors, bankers and brokers in

Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio will be able to see soil maps and production history for any piece of farmland in the state. “Winter is the peak season for farmland transactions,” said Tamar Tashjian, Acrevalue product manager. “With this expansion, we can offer even more farmers and landowners pertinent information when it comes to buying and selling land or making

leasing arrangements for the spring.” AcreValue’s AVM analyzes data about soils, climate, crop rotations, taxes, interest rates, land sales and crop prices to automatically estimate the value of each piece of farmland. The easy-to-use website was built specifically for the agriculture industry. For more information, or to see land values in your area, visit

About Granular Granular is an agriculture software company dedicated to helping industry leaders build stronger and more profitable farms. With cloud, mobile and advanced data science technology, the Granular platform makes it easier to manage farms using data for critical business and agronomic decisions. Granular is finding new and innovative ways for growers to profit sustainably by leveraging its aggregated data, expertise, market power and rapidly growing network of farms in North America. Headquartered in San Francisco, Granular is a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer, a business unit of DowDuPont Agriculture Division.

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Katharine Girone, the 2018 #RootedinAg Contest winner, spends time with her grandfather and mentor, Kenneth McKee, on their family farm in Varna, Illinois.

Syngenta #RootedinAg Accepting Entries Contest celebrates journeys of people moving agriculture forward Syngenta announces that the application period for the sixth annual #RootedinAg contest is now open. By sharing their inspirational stories, applicants can enter for a chance to become one of three finalists who will each receive a mini touch-screen tablet. Of those finalists, Syngenta will award $500 to one grand prize winner and publish his or her story in Thrive magazine, which will include an exclusive photo shoot. Syngenta will also make a $1,000 donation in the winner’s name to a local charity or civic organization. “For decades, the men and women of agriculture have welcomed Syngenta into their communities and helped us nourish our roots in an industry that we all love,” says Wendell Calhoun, communications manager at Syngenta.

“The #RootedinAg contest gives us a chance to celebrate the journeys of people who are moving agriculture forward and share their uplifting stories with others,” he adds. Some of the inspirations behind previous #RootedinAg winners include a grandfather’s wisdom, a father’s unconditional support and a whole family’s commitment to their land and community. Interested candidates can describe their inspiration in this year’s competition by: • Visiting the Thrive website to review eligibility, the official rules and filling out the easy-to-use #RootedinAg entry form • Describing in about 200 words who inspired them to be #RootedinAg • Uploading a photograph or video that visually supports their written entry

The deadline to enter is May 30, 2019. Shortly after this date, a panel of judges will choose three finalists on or about June 7, 2019, based on the quality of their essays. Syngenta will then post their entries on the Thrive website and ask visitors to help choose the grand prize winner by voting for their favorite. The votes, along with the judges’ scores, will determine the winner. Online voting ends Aug. 30, 2019, with Syngenta announcing the grand prize winner in September. To apply, learn more or see previous contest winners, go to Join the conversation online – connect with us at continued on pg. 24 BC�T April 23

Now News. . .

continued from pg. 23

United Potato Growers of Wisconsin Meet

Cooperative represents ability to do something extraordinary in industry

Brian Bushman (right), chairman of the United Potato Growers Cooperative of Wisconsin, addresses Winter Meeting attendees and reminds them that what they’re doing through the cooperative equates to a good cause. Dana Rady, director of the cooperative, looks on at left.

Participation was good for the Annual Winter Meeting of the United Potato Growers Cooperative of Wisconsin, February 21, at Smiley’s Bar and Grill in Plover. Dana Rady, director, and Brian Bushman, chairman, of United Potato Growers Cooperative of Wisconsin,

and Dick Okray, chairman of United Potato Growers of America, gave opening remarks and welcomed guests and participants. Bushman says he views the cooperative as a “wonderful cause,” adding that Wisconsin potato growers know how many potatoes

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they can grow and the opportunities that are presented. Okray agreed, adding that the cooperative represents the ability to do something extraordinary in the industry. “Each and every one of us are driven by data and information,” Okray remarked. “Without that information, we’d revert back to the way we operated years ago, and we wouldn’t get the same yields or returns as we do today.” “The more data we collect, the bigger the databank,” Okray added. “We know exactly what we’re doing, and we need to make a huge point of selling this cooperative to other members.” United Potato Growers of America was formed in 2005 to stabilize

Mark Klompien, the president and CEO of United Potato Growers of America, gave an update on the yellow, red and russet potato markets at the Annual Winter Meeting of Wisconsin growers in Plover.

and increase grower prices. As a federation of regional cooperatives, it has implemented voluntary supply-control measures to better match supplies with demand in the U.S. fresh potato market, and thus generate better returns for growers. A CREDIT TO GROWERS Rady said, “The United Potato Growers Cooperative of Wisconsin is an all-volunteer effort, and the fact that we’ve kept it not only going in Wisconsin, but also expanding, is a credit to the growers.” Mark Klompien, president and CEO of United Potato Growers of America, gave an update on the yellow, red and russet potato markets, saying there’s been a dramatic increase in the production (an overall national trend) of yellows, and they are still realizing fair to favorable returns to growers. The red potato market remains stable, and production of russets is in a downward direction. Lower supply, however, often means greater return, Klompien reminds. He also touted the annual Crop Transition Conference in Minneapolis, each July, where regions from across the country collaborate and put together a plan to transition from one year’s crop to the next without

allowing potato prices realized by growers to decrease. Deana Knuteson, a researcher and outreach specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was on hand to give an update on Wisconsin’s successful and expanding Healthy Grown program.

United Potato Growers Cooperative of Wisconsin partner sponsors Ralph Frederick of AMVAC and Julia Engler, Vive Crop Protection, were also in attendance to review their companies’ products and ways they can help growers realize increased yields and returns—the ultimate goals of the cooperative.

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By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions and Consumer Education

Member Development Program Focuses on Leadership Effective leadership is a term that is becoming more prevalent in conversations today and goes well beyond simply understanding the duties of a specific job or profession. In the same token, while developing future leaders is essential to the sustainability of an industry and/ or company, it’s something that takes time and yet produces highly successful results when done thoroughly and properly. For the last several months, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers

Association (WPVGA) has been encouraging leadership and growth within the industry by providing a bird’s-eye perspective of the association, the committees within the association and how those groups work with national organizations such as the National Potato Council (NPC), Potatoes USA and the United Potato Growers of America. Twenty-five participants signed up for the five-month program that began in November 2018, was held one day each month thereafter and featured a

different aspect of the Wisconsin potato industry each time. While November’s session was an introduction into what everyone could expect, it also focused on leadership, and specifically, understanding the personalities of others to utilize everyone’s strengths and develop/ create more effective teams. GOVERNMENT AND LOBBYING In December, participants traveled to Madison where they spoke with staff at DeWitt LLP, WPVGA’s lobbying firm, to learn about government affairs and lobbying. A complement to government affairs followed in January as the group focused on research and technology at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station.

26 BC�T April

Above: The “Research & Technology” session of the WPVGA Member Development Program was held, January 24, in the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Storage Research Facility at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station. There, participants were asked to take part in a potato chip taste panel and assess glucose and sucrose levels of chipping varieties.

Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) speaks to WPVGA Member Development Program participants at the Wisconsin State Capitol in December 2018. The participants traveled to Madison where they also visited with staff at DeWitt LLP, WPVGA’s lobbying firm, to learn about government affairs and lobbying.

The November 2018 Member Development session focused on leadership, and specifically, understanding the personalities of others to utilize everyone’s strengths and develop/create more effective teams. As part of a fun team building exercise, members were asked to each function as one part of a potato planter, with all parts (people) creating the whole machine.

Membership Development Program participants learn about the promotions and marketing programs at WPVGA on Monday, February 18, at RPE, Inc. in Bancroft.

Panel participants share their knowledge and perspectives of the industry with Membership Development Program attendees on Monday, February 18, at RPE, Inc. in Bancroft. Pictured from left to right are: Promotions Committee Chairman Chris Brooks of Central Door Solutions in Plover; Michael Gatz of Bushmans’ Inc. in Rosholt; Tim Huffcutt of RPE, Inc., Bancroft; and Andy Diercks of Coloma Farms in Coloma.

Promotions and marketing were the main focuses for the group in February at RPE, Inc. in Bancroft. With the help of several members from the WPVGA Promotions Committee, participants learned how extensive the promotions program is. From trade shows and food safety training to sponsorships and the Spudmobile, the Promotions Committee has effectively included a significant amount of programming into the overall budget available. Following a presentation of the programming, a panel discussion began that included Promotions Committee Chairman Chris Brooks of Central Door Solutions in Plover, Michael Gatz of Bushmans’ Inc.

in Rosholt, Tim Huffcutt of RPE in Bancroft and Andy Diercks of Coloma Farms in Coloma. PROMOTIONS AND WPVGA As the committee members all come from different aspects of the industry, it was valuable for the program participants to learn more about their unique perspectives and how they all tie into the bigger picture of promotions and the WPVGA. The afternoon portion of the promotions’ session had the group expanding its creativity. Broken into smaller groups, each team had to develop a 30-second commercial using the “Power your Performance with Wisconsin Potatoes” message by drawing a story board.

Finally, the March session not only included a program completion celebration, but also involved media training. Each participant paid a nominal registration fee and the WPVGA Associate Division donated $2,500 toward the program to assist with speaker fees and other expenses. The program has proven to be beneficial, not only in educating about how extensive the Wisconsin potato industry is, but also in instilling a desire to get involved and be active as the next generation of leaders. continued on pg. 28 BC�T April 27

Marketplace. . .

continued from pg. 27

Growers Stay Proactive in Food Safety 2019 officially marks the seventh year of offering food safety training classes through the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA). This year, 17 growers learned about an update to a familiar audit scheme on Friday, March 8, at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Harmonized Standard now has a new version called Harmonized GAP Plus+. The Harmonized GAP Plus+ audit is recognized as being “Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) technically equivalent,” according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. This means that any customers should accept it as it follows the same standards required under the GFSI standard. Offering this class, however, is not to indicate that all customers are asking for or even requesting this audit scheme. It is up to each grower individually to speak with their customers about whether, or not, they will accept this audit scheme. If you are interested in attending a future food safety class through WPVGA and/or have suggestions on a training class you would like the association to consider offering, please contact our office at 715-623-7683, or email drady@

28 BC�T April

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A Scientific Approach to Nitrogen Can Increase Potato Yield Root vegetables have a propensity for using N to grow foliage rather than tubers Nitrogen(N) is the most

used and least understood of all agricultural nutritional inputs. It is well known that typically only a third of applied N is taken up by crops. However, the form in which N is delivered has a direct relation to how and which crop cells grow and develop. The effect of how N is delivered is less understood and offers great potential to increase yields. Nitrogen can be taken up as amine (NH2), ammonium (NH4) or nitrate (NO3), but due to conversion by soil bacteria, the vast majority of N applied to crops is taken up as nitrate. It is nitrogen uptake that dictates how fast and where crops grow, with N form being the main contributor to growth hormone synthesis in crops. Nitrates encourage auxin production, favoring vegetative growth (top growth of shoots and leaves), while amine nitrogen encourages cytokinin production, favoring reproductive growth, the growth we harvest.

30 BC�T April

When we feed crops N, they mostly take it up as nitrate, no matter what form it is applied in. This means plants mostly use their N to put on top growth.

Above: In crops like potato, growers must find a balance between applying enough (N) and the natural propensity for root vegetables to use that N to grow foliage rather than tubers.

In crops like potato, farmers must manage conflict between applying the N their plants need and the root vegetable’s natural propensity to use that N to grow foliage rather than tubers. That tendency leads to a reduction in tuber setting and bulking of roots.

On root/tuber crops, there is a constant battle between encouraging growth by applying nitrogen and managing canopy growth, as too much N leads to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of root/tuber growth and crop yield.

AMINE FORM OF N Scientists at the British company Levity CropScience have developed LimiN, a technology that helps keep nitrogen in the amine form.

Farmers must feed the crop to get growth, but growth is disproportionately allocated by the crop to the part not harvested.

SizeNTM is a product powered by LimiN technology that provides crops with bursts of Amine N, which helps to direct growth towards root tuber development.

This is an effect generated by nitrate exposure, as nitrates encourage production of the growth hormone auxin, which makes crops allocate growth to shoots rather than roots, using valuable energy at the expense of reproductive parts.

According to Levity CropScience, LimiN technology, known as SizeN in the United States, helps crops invest more in root/tuber growth.

We see this even when nitrogen is applied in other forms like amine, as it changes after application and is taken up as nitrate.

Nitrates encourage auxin production, favoring vegetative growth like shoots and leaves, while amine nitrogen encourages cytokinin production, or root or tuber growth. Shown is a field of onions at Trembling Prairie Farms in Kingston, Wisconsin.

According to Levity CropScience, LimiN technology, known as SizeN in the United States, helps crops invest more in root/tuber growth. Onions are shown at Okray Family Farms in 2018.

SizeN uses LimiN technology that ensures that the plant takes up the Amine N, and the effects on crop physiology are remarkable. DEVELOP ROOTS/TUBERS Conventional Amine N (urea) increases shoot growth but decreases root/tuber development. However, when SizeN is applied, root/tuber development increases. The same form and quantity of N is used, but the plant grows in a different place. This powerful effect achieved by stabilizing amine with LimiN technology can be used to increase yield in root crops. An enormous amount of research has been conducted, showing how exposure to the LimiN-stabilized Amine N in SizeN can help root crops put on yield.

focus growth where it counts on tubers. The product keeps the plant green, reduces effects of drought and ensures adequate tuber numbers and bulking. In 2018, Levity scientists published this groundbreaking research in the Proceedings of Crop Production in Northern Britain.

Levity’s research shows that exposure at key growth stages affects where the crop puts its resource, and SizeN exploits this, forcing better tuber setting and development.

The research clearly shows how potato yield increases of between 5 and 6 MT (metric tons, or 11,02313,228 pounds) per hectare (2.47 acres) are achievable using just 20 liters per hectare of SizeN.

By applying three to five 5-literper-hectare (1-2 quarts per acre) applications at tuber initiation and through bulking, the crop is made to

The better yield comes via the crop allocating proportionately more growth to roots/tubers rather than vegetation.

David Marks of Levity Crop Science says, “Levity is using knowledge of how plants grow to create inputs that make the most out of root crops like potatoes and carrots.” “By properly understanding how potatoes divvy up their resources, we have developed Lono/SizeN in the United States, a product that ensures the crop focuses on developing tubers, not leaves,” Marks adds. “This technology is well proven,” he continues, “and is being used by farmers around the world to improve root crop yields.” For more information, visit, or call your local Omex representative or (559) 661-6138. BC�T April 31

Badger Beat

Using Variable Rate Irrigation for Potato Production Wisconsin growers are among the most proactive in adopting new technologies By Yi Wang, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture

Water is a finite resource for the Wisconsin potato and vegetable

industry. Over the last several years, agricultural irrigation has been linked to reduced ground and surface water levels in the Central Sands region.

Therefore, new promising technologies and strategies that can improve irrigation efficiency of vegetable cropping systems have become a goal for the industry. Wisconsin growers are among the most proactive in the country to explore and adopt new technologies. About 99 percent of Wisconsin potato growers are using centor pivot irrigation

systems, and Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) has been recently adopted by some pioneers. Observed benefits of VRI include: up to 25 percent of water savings (less water pumped) on the farm, improvement of crop yield and quality at harvest, and extended storage season. However, no research has been conducted to quantify those benefits.

The VRI technology applies water at variable rates rather than one uniform rate along the length of the center pivot. There are two steps to apply the VRI technology: first, based on electrical conductivity (EC) or elevation mapping, the field is divided into different management zones; and second, the system applies a specific amount of water on different management zones by turning on and off individual nozzles (nozzle control VRI) or by controlling the moving speed of the pivot (speed control VRI).



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VARIABLE & VERSATILE VRI can apply water at different rates to individual crops or cultivars, varying soil types, high run-off areas or low areas prone to getting wet and saturated, and environmentally sensitive areas within the field.

control VRI, rooting-zone (0-12 inches deep) soil moisture in the driest area stayed between 70 and 80 percent of field capacity throughout the season, whereas subsoil (12-24 inches deep) moisture was consistently low (about 40 percent of field capacity).

The overarching goal of VRI is to avoid over- and under-irrigation so no water is wasted, and no water stress occurs, while crop yield and quality are maintained or increased.

Comparatively, in the wettest area, both rooting-zone soil and subsoil moisture were close to 100 percent field capacity throughout the growing season, meaning the soils at the lower depth stayed saturated all the time.

Currently, the main hurdles of VRI wide adoption are the upfront cost, ranging between $3,000 and $50,000 per pivot, and the relatively unknown potential of VRI to improve farm profitability. In the summer of 2018, we conducted a study to quantify the benefits of using VRI on commercial potato (Russet Burbank) production. We picked two fields irrigated with nozzle control VRI and speed control VRI separately. In each field, there was about 15 feet of elevation difference between the highest and lowest areas. DEPTH ANALYSIS Our data showed that under the nozzle


1b), there was not any sigficant yield difference between the three locations, although the number in the driest area was higher than those in the average and wettest areas.

Soil moisture under the speed control VRI was similar to that under the nozzle control VRI. At harvest, we evaluated tuber yield and quality of the driest area, the most representative/average area and the wettest area of each field. Under nozzle controal VRI (Figure 1a), there was a significant yield reduction (about 140 cwt./acre, p<.05) in the wettest area compared to the average area. Yield reduction from the driest area was slightly higher (about 20 cwt./acre, p>.05) than that from the average area. Under speed control VRI (Figure

Figure 1: Illustrated in the graph is total yield from different areas of the fields irrigated with VRI systems. Bars with different letters mean the numbers are significantly different at p<.05.

Under both VRI systems, tubers from the wettest area had lower speficic gravity compared to those from the driest and average areas, and the difference under the nozzle control system was significant (Table 1).


SPEED CONTROL VRI 1.073 a 1.068 a 1.06.8 a

Table 1: Specific gravity from different areas of the fields irrigated with VRI systems. Numbers followed by different letters mean significant difference at p<.05.

Figure 2 showed that tubers from the wettest area of each field had significantly higher length to width ratio, indicating longer and skinnier tuber shape.

Figure 2: Tuber shape from different areas of the field varies.

continued on pg. 34 BC�T April 33

Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 33

Correspondingly, there was higher incidence of hollow heart in tubers from the wettest areas of both fields, and the difference was significant under the speed control system (Table 2). SPECIFIC GRAVITY



Dry Average Wet

SPEED CONTROL VRI 3% b 5% ab 13% a

Table 2: Hollow heart incidence from different areas of the fields irrigated with VRI systems. Numbers followed by different letters are significantly different at p<.05.

During storage under 48 degrees Fahrenheit, we have observed higher incidence of rotting in tubers from the wettest areas of both fields (Figure 3). It is thought that the tubers grown in saturated soils had enlarged lenticels on the surface, which creates perfect entry points for pathogens in field and during storage. In addition, we calculated irrigation efficiency (IE) of the speed control VRI system (numbers of the nozzle control VRI are not available yet), and it showed that there was a significant improvement of IE in the wettest area compared to the average area of the field. IE in the driest area was slightly higher than the average (Table 3).


Figure 3: The rotting tubers are from the wettest areas of both farms.


Table 3: Hollow heart incidence from different areas of the fields irrigated with VRI systems. Numbers followed by different letters are significantly different at p<.05.

So far, our data suggests that: • A big benefit of using VRI is to improve yield and quality, and it can potentially improve the profitability in the driest (or the high run-off) area of a field that is more vulnerable to under-irrigation. VRI can maintain soil moisture within the rooting zone of the plants. 34 BC�T April

• VRI can save irrigation water and improve irrigation efficiency in the low area of a field that tends to be wet or saturated. However, even under VRI, managing potato yield and quality in the low area is still challenging, since plants tend to have more rotting and defect issues.

• VRI is a promising system to save water while improving potato profitability, but further fine-tuning is needed to better manage it on fields with variability.

New Products Reinke Introduces the Annex Pivot Controller Device lets growers upgrade to latest technology by annexing existing panels Reinke introduces the RPM Annex™ pivot controller, a device that wires into main control panels allowing growers to upgrade to the latest technology by “annexing” their existing panels. “Purchasing a new main control panel can be a costly investment,” says Reinke President Chris Roth. “Annex allows growers an alternate way to upgrade their existing systems for a fraction of the cost of buying a whole new panel.” This device can provide the user interface and controls of Reinke’s RPM Preferred, RPM Advanced Plus or RPM Connect. In addition to providing the functionality of this newer

technology, Annex allows growers with standard-type main control panels to utilize telemetry. And, because Annex is compatible with all center pivot brands, growers can upgrade any of their existing units to a Reinke panel. Annex is ReinCloud-Ready®, which includes remote access for monitoring and controlling pivots, the ability to manage multiple systems from one dashboard and notifications when there’s a change in the system’s status. Annex is available as an aftermarket component and carries a fiveyear warranty. It is now available through Reinke dealers. For more information, visit

About Reinke Reinke Manufacturing Co., Inc. is the world’s largest privately held manufacturer of center pivot and lateral move irrigation systems. Family owned since 1954, and headquartered in Deshler, Nebraska, Reinke develops products designed to increase agriculture production while providing labor savings and environmental efficiencies. Reinke is a continued leader in industry advancements as the first to incorporate GPS, satellite-based communications and touchscreen panel capabilities into mechanized irrigation system management. For more information on Reinke or to locate a dealership, visit www. or call 402-365-7251.


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BC�T April 35

NPC News From left to right, National Potato Council (NPC) Executive Committee President Larry Alsum greets U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, NPC Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling and Randy Russell of The Russell Group, Inc. at the D.C. Fly-In, Washington, D.C.

Secretary Sonny Perdue Headlines D.C. Fly-In Topics include trade, exports, labor reform, research & infrastructure On February 25-28, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue headlined an outstanding D.C. Fly-In for the potato industry. National Potato Council President Larry Alsum welcomed the Secretary and noted that he “has been a strong advocate for full access to Mexico for U.S. potatoes.” During his remarks, Secretary Perdue highlighted the importance of trade for the potato industry and reaffirmed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s partnership in pushing to enhance our exports. He also reinforced the benefits of the U.S.Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement and the importance of its urgent ratification. 36 BC�T April

The Wisconsin contingent visiting the office of Congressman Mike Gallagher (third from left, R-WI) includes, from left to right, John Bustamante of Wysocki Produce Farm; Heidi Alsum-Randall of Alsum Farms and Produce; Sharon and Jim Wysocki of Wysocki Family of Companies; and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Tamas Houlihan.

Representing Alsum Farms and Produce of Friesland, Wisconsin, at the D.C. Fly-In and posing in front of the U.S. Capitol are, from left to right, Wendy Dykstra, her father, NPC Executive Committee President Larry Alsum, and sister, Heidi Alsum-Randall.

Apparently, Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI, right) has many talents, juggling potatoes among them, and simultaneously entertaining guests John Bustamante (left) of Wysocki Produce Farm and Heidi Alsum-Randall (center), Alsum Farms and Produce.

Secretary Perdue’s keynote address on Tuesday morning kicked off several days of action in the nation’s capital. Members also heard from several U.S. senators during the business session Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill.

Wisconsin’s Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) participants, John Bustamante (left) of Wysocki Produce Farm and Wendy Dykstra (right) of Alsum Farms and Produce, pose in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. during the D.C. Fly-In. An eight-day program, PILI provides tools to help young growers and industry members develop as leaders and motivate them to commit their time and energy to the betterment of the U.S. potato industry.

Their remarks also touched on trade and other topics including agriculture labor reform, research and infrastructure legislation.

PRIA Signed into Law On March 8, President Donald J. Trump signed the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) into law. This essential bill provides the authority for the Environmental Protection Agency’s public-private partnership that funds the registration and review process for crop protection tools. “Without PRIA, the funding mechanism supporting these expensive and timeconsuming reviews is absent. Therefore, we are very pleased that a bipartisan group of legislators was finally able to move this to the finish line,” says Kam Quarles, vice president of public policy for the National Potato Council. The full reauthorization of PRIA had been prevented over congressional concerns about the Administration’s actions related to chlorpyrifos. The inability to fully reauthorize the bill resulted in several short-term extensions.

SizeN SizeN supplies Nitrogen in a form that encourages compact growth and rooting rather than the weak vegetative growth stimulated by conventional N fertilizers. SizeN uses a unique chemistry to hold nitrogen in the amine form. Contact Us: Call: 559-661-6138 Email: BC�T April 37

People Agena Lands Ambassador of the Year Award WPVGA Dietician and Nutritionist Sarah Agena dedicated to community Two Portage County businesses and two industry leaders were singled out for honors on Tuesday, February 26, during the Portage County Business

Council’s Annual Dinner held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Each year Business Council members,

guests and dignitaries gather to celebrate the best of the best in volunteers, businesses, education, government and non-profit organizations. This year’s event drew nearly 400 people. The Annual Dinner is a celebration of past accomplishments and an opportunity to recognize the achievements of the past year. Chosen for her dedication to community outreach and participation in activities that promote the mission of the Portage County Business Council (PCBC), Sarah Agena, entrepreneur and Above: Portage County Business Council Annual Dinner Awards recipients are, from left to right, Sarah Agena of Flexible Nutrition Solutions who is a registered dietician and nutritionist for the WPVGA Promotions Committee; Les Dobbe of Lineage Logistics; Doug Ballweg, Delta Dental of Wisconsin; and Sarah Krause of River’s Edge Campground.

38 BC�T April

owner of Flexible Nutrition Solutions, was selected for the Ambassador of the Year. A registered dietician and nutritionist, Agena was contracted by the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) Promotions Committee, in 2016 and ongoing, for consumer outreach and communication regarding the health benefits that potatoes naturally provide. “Sarah’s enthusiasm and dedication towards volunteering for the Business Council is outstanding. She is a patient, compassionate and humble leader who is continually an example to others and never seeks recognition for her efforts,” says Karen Myers, director of Programs & Events for the Portage County Business Council. River’s Edge Campground, Stevens Point, was selected for the Small

Chosen as the Portage County Business Council Ambassador of the Year, Sarah Agena (left), owner of Flexible Nutrition Solutions and a registered dietician and nutritionist for the WPVGA Promotions Committee, poses with her fiancé, Gabe Hopkins (right).

Business of the Year Award for their growth, strength in employer/ employee relations, efforts to adapt to market changes, commitment to community service and industry leadership.

CAMPGROUND EXPANSION In the last five years, River’s Edge Campground has built a new bar, expanded the campground by 100 sites, and added cabins, a lodge, a waterpark pond and concession continued on pg. 40


s Paid Here, Stay ium He em r Pr





To g. Kee p Wisconsin Stron

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People. . .

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stand. They have more than quadrupled sales and doubled the number of seasonal employees. The Business Council chose Lineage Logistics to receive the Decree of Excellence Award based on the company’s contributions to the area’s economic vitality, increase in local employment base and significant contributions in community service. In 2018, Service Cold Storage President and CEO Les Dobbe, a WPVGA Associate Division member, merged his company with Lineage Logistics, making the combined entity the second-largest temperaturecontrolled storage provider in the world and a partner with Fortune 500 customers.

These customer partnerships, as well as the merger, have brought thousands of dollars to tourism in the Portage County area. Delta Dental of Wisconsin Chief Operating & Financial Officer Doug Ballweg was given the President’s Award for his dedication to the Portage County Business Council, the PCBC Foundation and his economic development efforts for the community. “Doug Ballweg is a great example of a Portage County leader. He is truly an executive with a community vision. Doug leads by example,” says Deb Marten, PCBC 2018 board president. “Through his leadership at Delta Dental, as past president and board

member of the PCBC, and through volunteering with United Way of Portage County, Doug has shown that he believes in local economic development and strong community partnerships,” Marten adds. “Doug is very well deserving of the 2018 President’s award.” The Portage County Business Council is the preeminent leader in economic development and community growth. The priorities for members and the community are retention and attraction of businesses and employees. That is accomplished through engagement, growth, innovation, leadership, network development and partnerships.

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BC�T Aprilx 5” 4 40 COLUMN 7.708” x 5”

Patricia Ann Okray Passes Away Patricia Ann Okray (nee Fox) passed away, March 5, 2019, after a brief illness in Naples, Florida. Always a kind soul, she will be missed by those who knew her. Pat was born, August 27, 1929, in Chicago Heights, Illinois, as the youngest of four children to Grace Moquin and Daniel Fox. She grew up in Phillips, Wisconsin, and obtained a teaching degree from the Stevens Point Normal School, now the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She married Joseph Okray, Jr. in 1954 and had three boys, Chris, Joe III and Dick. Pat enjoyed painting, music, cribbage and caring for her family,

friends and pets. Her love of art and travel, and friendships made worldwide, will be her legacy. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe; brother, Jack Gunnon; and sisters, Betty Bruckbauer and Mary Jeanette Gunnon. She is survived by her three children, nine grandchildren and numerous greatgrandchildren. Visitation was on Thursday, March 14, at Pisarski Funeral Home in Plover, with a brief celebration of life following. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to the UWSP Foundation, Patricia A. Okray Endowment Fund.

Patricia Ann Okray 1929 - 2019

BC�T April 41

Potatoes USA News Potato Placement Matters at Retail A best-in-class principles for fresh potatoes study was conducted in the fall of 2018 with Kantar Consulting, along with the support of IRi data and in-store merchandising audits, to identify opportunities for improving the performance of fresh potato sales at retail. The study identified four parts, or steps, within â&#x20AC;&#x153;Merchandising Best Practices,â&#x20AC;? and each demonstrates an impact on sales growth for the fresh potato category at retail. The focus of this article is on step one: shelving placement. Where potatoes are placed in the produce department, and even within the store, can drive growth or decline sales. Shelving placement is defined by the location of produce within the retail outlet, the signage displayed for consumers and the types of shelving used. The first step to increasing sales is a little more difficult to accomplish immediately, but it does make a significant impact. When the 42 BCďż˝T April

produce department is in the frontright section of the store, potatoes see an 8.7 percent sales lift. Most stores are set up this way. LOCATION, LOCATION The second most common location for the produce section, however, is the back-right corner of the store. Potatoes experience a decline in sales of -3.6 percent when the department is in this location. The two other important factors in optimizing placement relate to the actual potato display.

Above: A driving factor in sales of fresh potatoes at retail is the type of display bins used. On average, raised bins (shown) increase sales by 4.1 percent over vertical shelving or flat bins.

more to sales than vertical shelving or flat bins. If all these principles are put into place, an average sales increase of 5.2 percent is possible. While some of these are more attainable than others, they all help paint a picture of improvements that can be made in retail placement of fresh potatoes.

Signage is one important driving Additional merchandising best factor. Adding signage calling out practices are available by reaching the potato section or the types of out to potatoes helps achieve Ways to Increase Fresh Potato Sales at Retail a 2.9 percent increase in sales. This is a simple improvement that can be made in every retail store. The final driving sales factor is the type of bins used to display potatoes. On average, raised bins contribute 4.1 percent

KFC Myanmar Expands Potato Offerings America’s most recognizable fried chicken restaurant chain, KFC is also big in many Asian countries. With nearly 20,000 locations in 123 countries and territories, Kentucky Fried Chicken is the world’s second largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s. While the chain is known for chicken, potatoes are one of its most popular side items. In Myanmar, a relatively new market for Yum Brands (the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), KFC ran a trial promotion in conjunction with Potatoes USA in five of its outlets to promote a new menu item, mini hash browns. The promotion was a huge success and is now being expanded to all

outlets in the country. KFC restaurants in Myanmar also switched to U.S. potato wedges in all locations nationwide. The confidence that operators have in U.S. potatoes stems from consumers associating them with high quality. Potatoes USA conducts audits and training in this market to ensure proper products are consistently served, thus strengthening confidence. With KFC’s footprint growing in Myanmar, we can expect increased export of U.S. potato products soon.

In conjunction with Potatoes USA, KFC Myanmar ran a trial promotion in five of its outlets to promote a new menu item, mini hash browns.

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Sand Equipment, LLC • Cell: See Us At 498-6651 Booth #C5510See Us in the Safe-T-Pull Shop: County (715) 335-6652 • Fax: (715) 335-6653 (715) Paul Cieslewicz Owner Wisconsin Public Service Service 8364 Monica PO Box • Bancroft, WI 54921 Wisconsin Public Shop: (715) 335-6652 • Fax: (715)Road, 335-6653Cell: (715)228 498-6651 Booth #C5510 Farm Oshkosh Monica Road, P.O. Box 228 • Bancroft, WI 54921• E-mail:8364 Farm Show, Show, Oshkosh Demo’s Available E-mail: • Theirsall makes of equipment th th March ServicingServicing all makes of equipment March 2824th-26th. , 29Ours & 30th


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Shop: (715) 335-6652 • Fax: (715) 335-6653Cell: (715) 498-6651 8364 Monica Road, P.O. Box 228 • Bancroft, WI 54921

See Us At Booth #C5510 BC�T AprilSee 43

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Us i Bo

Three Tips to Understanding Recall Insurance Place emphasis on supplier controls, food safety and recall preparedness By Jen Pino-Gallagher, director of Food & Agribusiness Practice, M3 Insurance

But, as today’s potato and vegetable growers look for opportunities to increase revenues through valueadded processing and packaging of their products, the supply chain becomes much more complex. That increased complexity comes with a greater emphasis on supplier controls, food safety and recall preparedness. A processing operation with sound, written plans in place is not only prepared for the worst, but also can be a savvier purchaser of product recall insurance.

As today’s potato and vegetable growers look for opportunities to increase revenues through value-added processing and packaging of their products, the supply chain becomes much more complex. Russet Norkotah potatoes are sorted at Okray Family Farms.

For those who grew up on a family farm, the food supply chain was simple, direct and local. The beef cow grazing in the pasture became the wrapped steaks in the freezer. The garden potatoes, planted, weeded and dug by hand, filled the potato bin. 44 BC�T April

“Traceability” meant the muddy footprints left on Mom’s linoleum floor when carrying in the freshpicked sweet corn, tomatoes and cucumbers. The food supply chain was simple.

Product recall insurance has been around since the 1980s, but policy coverages vary. When discussing this coverage with their brokers, most growers and processors have the same three questions: 1. Do I have product recall coverage in my current policy? 2. How much product recall coverage do I need? 3. How much does product recall coverage cost?

Question #1: Do I have product recall coverage in my current policy? Most general liability policies provide bodily injury and property damage coverage for product liability caused by an occurrence. An occurrence is typically defined as an accident or repeated continuous exposure to the same general harmful conditions. Typically, in order to file a claim under the general liability coverage, the processor must prove that (a) someone was hurt, or (b) property was damaged.

The company incurs expenses associated with the recall and reaches out to the insurance broker to find out if a claim can be filed to recoup the expenses. In this case, a standard general liability policy won’t respond (pay) because the policy kicks in only if someone is hurt or there is property damage caused by an occurrence.

Here is an example to illustrate how a general liability policy may not cover product recall expenses:

To cover the gap presented in this scenario, processors can either add a rider to their general liability policy for limited product recall expense or purchase a customized (stand-alone) product recall insurance policy.

A vegetable processor issues a voluntary product recall before a product is consumed.

The advantage of a stand-alone product recall policy is that it could be structured to include coverage for

a variety of associated expenses (loss of business income, public relations or even third-party damages, etc.). Question #2: How much product recall coverage do I need? Ultimately, this business decision rests with the processor. Recall coverage is not “one size fits all.” An experienced insurance broker familiar with the industry can walk a client through many product recall considerations. This will include reviewing the processor’s daily production, product shelf life, ingredient list, label requirements, per-unit processing costs, and costs for items like transportation, storage, product disposal, labor and administration. This review will help determine the amount of coverage needed. continued on pg. 46

BC�T April 45

Understanding Recall Insurance. . . continued from pg. 45

Potatoes are packaged at Alsum Farms and Produce in Friesland, Wisconsin.

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Question #3: How much does product recall coverage cost? The cost of a product recall coverage policy depends upon the specific situation. Generally, the rating basis (how premium is derived) is largely established upon annual sales. But other factors, including individual needs and preferences, play into the costs. For example, is there interest in obtaining coverage for government-initiated recalls in addition to voluntary recalls? Is coverage necessary only on some, but perhaps not all, products? Ultimately, getting the best coverage at the most competitive cost is influenced by a broker’s ability to advocate on their client’s behalf. For this reason, an experienced insurance broker should be asking about food safety plans and recall plans. The better the broker understands the operation, the better prepared he or she is to negotiate on its behalf with the insurance carrier. By showing underwriters that a processing plant manages risk through rigorous preventative controls and planning, the broker can make a case in negotiating the best possible coverage rates. Any food processing plan will benefit by showing that it has stringent recall plans in place.

Jen Pino-Gallagher, M3’s director of Food & Agribusiness Practice, helps agribusinesses reduce risk, grow their operations and thrive in today’s competitive market. Prior to joining M3, she was the director of the International Agribusiness Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

For more information, contact: Jen Pino-Gallagher, M3 Insurance, 828 John Nolen Dr., Madison, WI 53713,, or call 608-288-2842.

John Miller Farms, Inc Minto, ND

North Dakota Certified Seed Potatoes 2018 Crop Year Silverton Goldrush Dark Red Norland Red Norland Viking Dakota Pearl ND7799C-1 Waneta

G-2 G-2 G-2 G-2 G-2 G-2 G-2 G-4

MANAGED & MITIGATED For any potato or vegetable processor, a product recall can be a stress-inducing, supplychain-disrupting and (potentially) financially devastating experience. However, with the right planning, advice and support, a recall can be managed, and its impact mitigated. It’s true that today’s food supply chain is much more complex, but finding the right recall coverage at the right price doesn’t have to be.

Contact John Miller: (701) 248-3215 BC�T April 47

Eyes on Associates By WPVGA Associate Div. President Kenton Mehlberg, T.I.P. / Ag Grow Solutions

Greetings everyone. The weather continues to keep us on our

toes as we move closer to spring. Last month, I was unsure when the snow would end, and sitting here tonight, rain is hitting the window as I write. Last week during our WPVGA Associate Division meeting, we took some time to review feedback from the 2019 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show. I was extremely pleased to see a vast majority of the feedback was positive. Only two vendors said they would not exhibit next year, and as far as overall attendance, it was our third highest year ever. Thank you again to all our sponsors and everyone involved. Included in the feedback, we received some good suggestions for improvement. We will always continue to take input into consideration as we plan future events. 48 BC�T April

The Associate Division constantly strives to keep our industry show great and always looks to make improvements going forward. SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY In last month’s article, I wrote about the Avis M. Wysocki Memorial Scholarship. Proceeds from the silent auction held during the Industry Show, along with an Associate Division contribution, go toward funding the scholarship. This year’s scholarship winner will receive $1,975 to put toward education expenses. Applications for the scholarship must be submitted by May 1, 2019. See the

related ad in this issue, visit www. or contact the WPVGA by calling 715-623-7683 for more information on applying for the Avis M. Wysocki Memorial Scholarship. This year’s Putt-Tato Open golf outing—the largest annual fundraiser for the Associate Division—will be held on Tuesday, July 16, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Associate Division has begun planning the event and will be sending out sponsorship opportunities soon. We will have a great lineup of raffle prizes and hole prizes again this year. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for good weather. This is always a fun outing and a great opportunity to network with folks

in the industry. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend. I will have more details in next month’s column. UPCOMING EVENTS— MARK YOUR CALENDAR! July 16 - Putt-Tato Open July 18 - Hancock Field Day As always, please contact me or any of our board members with your thoughts or suggestions. Best of luck to everyone starting to put crops in the ground over the next month. Be safe, stay positive, and see you next month.

Kenton Mehlberg

Russell Wysocki of Wysocki Family of Companies putts the ball at the 2018 Putt-Tato Open— the largest annual WPVGA Associate Division fundraising event. The 2019 Putt-Tato Open is to be held on July 16 at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. Part of the money that the Associate Division raises each year at events such as the golf outing, and particularly through a silent auction held during the Industry Show, goes toward the Avis M. Wysocki Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Russell’s mother.

WPVGA Associate Division President

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

BC�T April 49

WPIB Focus

Wisconsin Potato Assessment Collections: Two-Year Comparison





































































SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW WPVGA MEMBERS When you need goods or services, please consider asking our Associate Division Members for quotes or explore what they have to offer. Together, we make a strong organization and appreciate how wonderful we are as a group.

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Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

The Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) held a paint-and-sip night in Antigo and aims to sponsor multiple events every year as a thank you to members for assisting with programs and causes, and because they’re fun!

It's finally looking like winter is

letting us free from its brutal grip. This truly was one for the record books, right? It felt like we were never going to find spring. To break up the monotony of winter and shoveling, the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) held another paint-and-sip night in Antigo. We aim to hold multiple events every year as a thank you for being a member, assisting with our programs and causes, and because they’re fun!

This year, we brought in Nikky Weden and Dana Packard of Signs from the Hart to assist us in painting signs. These ladies made it fun and easy to create our signs, regardless of artistic capabilities. We also changed venues to make sure that we had enough room for

everyone to spread out. All in all, we had 20 women show up, 18 of whom created some fun and gorgeous signs. Couldn’t make it to this event? Don’t worry, we have more up our sleeves! We’re getting into the height of the season for school visits for the Kids continued on pg. 52 BC�T April 51

Auxiliary News. . . continued from pg. 51

Dig Wisconsin Potatoes program. We always need assistance, so please call the office if you’d like to help with our visits. Otherwise, we are planning on having our WPGA Annual Meeting and Banquet in June. Keep all eyes on your mailboxes for an invitation. If you would like to be kept informed of our upcoming events, please join our mailing list. If you’d like to be added to our list, please call the WPVGA office at 715-623-7683. Talk with you soon,


WPGA Board members, from left to right, Cathy Bartsch, Marie Reid and Devin Zarda enjoy the camaraderie inherent to the Auxiliary’s paint-and-sip night.

Theresa Hartman (right) & her daughter, Dawn Lis (left), deftly work on their signs during an Auxiliary-sponsored paint-and-sip night.

Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary members Kathleen Shafel (left), of Sunnydale Farms Inc., and Karen Rasmussen (right), WPVGA financial officer, channel their inner artists during a paint-and-sip night in Antigo.

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Ali's Kitchen Pierogi Casserole— A Classic Simplified Here’s an easy twist on the traditional pierogi, and comfort food at its best! Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Pierogis are classic Polish dumplings typically filled with creamy potatoes and cheese, and often topped with sour cream and caramelized onions. In this recipe, we’ve taken all the elements of that classic pierogi and simplified them! This dish makes a delicious meal when served with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts or simple steamed green beans.

Tip 1 Do you have some leftover mashed potatoes in the refrigerator? They will work perfectly in this recipe. Simply warm them well first.

Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 13"x 9" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks, place them into a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.

Tip 2 You can assemble this casserole in advance. Simply keep it covered tightly in the fridge and add 20 to 30 minutes to the cooking time when you’re ready to bake.

When potatoes are fork tender, drain them and place into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, milk, cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to the potatoes and whip smooth using a hand mixer. Set aside. continued on pg. 54

Pierogi Casserole

• 9 lasagna noodles • 2 lbs. russet potatoes (about five-six medium spuds) • 4 tbsp. butter • ¾ cup milk • 4 ounces cream cheese • ½ tbsp. garlic powder • ½ tbsp. onion powder • 1 tsp. salt • ¼ tsp. black pepper • 16 ounces of bacon chopped into bite-size pieces • 1 large red onion halved & sliced • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (yellow cheddar is fine) BC�T April 53

Advertisers Index

Ali's Kitchen. . .

continued from pg. 53

Adams-Columbia Electric Coop...........17 Ag Systems, Inc. Ag X10.......................41 Ag Systems, Inc. Sprayer Parts.............50 AgBiome Innovations..........................15 Big Iron Equipment................................5 Chippewa Valley Bean Co. ..................38 Compeer Financial...............................35 David J. Fleischman Farms...................21 Fencil Urethane Systems.....................24 Jay-Mar, Inc. ........................................25 John Miller Farms................................47

Place the chopped bacon into a frying pan and cook until nice and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

Place three noodles in a baking dish and cover with a third of the potato mixture. Repeat layers twice. Top with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.

Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pan. Add the sliced onion to the remaining bacon grease in the pan and cook down the onions until they are soft and caramelized, about 8 minutes.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Uncover the dish for the last five minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Add the bacon and caramelized onions to the potato mixture and mix well. Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Now you’re ready to layer!

Enjoy! Find more recipes at

J.W. Mattek & Sons..............................45 KerberRose S.C....................................13 Lockwood Mfg.....................................28 Mid-State Truck...................................11 Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Inc........................................18 North Central Irrigation.......................40 Nutrien Ag Solutions...........................29 Nutrien Ag Solutions Great Lakes..........3 Oasis Irrigation....................................56 Okray Insurance...................................26 Omex USA............................................37 Riesterer & Schnell................................9 Roberts Irrigation ................................32 Ron’s Refrigeration..............................52 Rural Mutual Insurance.......................39 Sand County Equipment......................43 Schroeder Brothers Farms.....................7 Swiderski Equipment...........................19 T.I.P......................................................22 Vantage North Central.........................46 Warner & Warner................................54 WPVGA Scholarships.............................2 WPVGA Spud Seed Classic Sponsorship.......................................55

54 BC�T April

WPVGA Support Our Members...........50 WSPIA..................................................49

Friday, June 21, 2019 Bass Lake Country Club W10650 Bass Lake Road Deerbrook, WI 54424

Deadline for sponsorship commitments to be included in June Badger Common'Tater: May 10, 2019* DINNER SPONSOR $2,000 • Company name and logo on three 12-foot banners placed in prominent areas including dinner area • Company name and logo in Badger Common'Tater • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event • Registration and dinner for four golfers

GOLDRUSH SPONSOR $1,500 • Company name and logo on two 12-foot banners placed in a prominent area on the course • Company name and logo in Badger Common'Tater • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event • Registration and dinner for two golfers




• Company name and logo on one 8-foot banner placed in a prominent area on the course • Company name and logo in Badger Common'Tater • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event

OCCUPIED HOLE SPONSOR $300 • Company name on hole sign • Rights to occupy a hole on the course and provide giveaways* *If alcohol is being served, it must be purchased through the golf course • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event

BASIC HOLE SPONSOR $200 • Company name on hole sign • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event

• Company name and logo on one 12-foot banner placed in a prominent area on the course • Company name and logo in Badger Common'Tater • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event • Registration and dinner for one golfer CONTACT KAREN RASMUSSEN for more details (715) 623-7683 Make checks payable to WSPIA *

We WILL accept sponsors after this date.

MAIL PAYMENT TO: WSPIA, P.O. Box 173 Antigo, WI 54409

Since 1998, this tournament raised over $95,000, which was donated to Wisconsin potato research. BC�T April 55

P.O. Box 327 Antigo, WI 54409

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




Technology I Precision Application I Decisions

Design I Dealer Network I Parts & Service

Technology I Precision Application I Decisions

Design I Dealer Network I Parts & Service



Technology I Precision Application I Decisions

Design I Dealer Network I Parts & Service

LEADING, NOT FOLLOWING. Others consistently try to imitate, but always fail to duplicate. We’ll help you solve your greatest challenges with the most innovative


products and technology. Irrigate with confidence as you simplify your irrigation management, Others consistently try to imitate, but always


reduce downtime andhelp increase youryour peace of mind. Season with afterthe season. fail to duplicate. We’ll you solve greatest challenges most innovative Others consistently try to imitate, but always products and technology. Irrigate with confidence as you simplify your irrigation management,

Talk toduplicate. your localWe’ll Zimmatic by Lindsay dealer to see how today’s will lead to fail to help®you solve your greatest challenges withinnovations the most innovative reduce downtime and increase your peace of mind. Season after season.

tomorrow’s success. products and technology. Irrigate with confidence as you simplify your irrigation management, Talk to your local Zimmatic ® by Lindsay dealer to see how today’s innovations will lead to

reduce downtime and increase your peace of mind. Season after season. tomorrow’s success.

Talk to your local Zimmatic ® by Lindsay dealer to see how today’s innovations will lead to 2017Lindsay. Lindsay.All Allrights rights reserved. reserved. Zimmatic Zimmatic and and FieldNET FieldNETare aretrademarks trademarks tomorrow’s success.©©2019

ororregistered its subsidiaries. subsidiaries. registeredtrademarks trademarksof ofthe theLindsay Lindsay Corporation Corporation and its

© 2017 Lindsay. All rights reserved. Zimmatic and FieldNET are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Lindsay Corporation and its subsidiaries.

OASIS OASIS OASIS 715-335-8300 OASIS 715-335-8300 715-335-8300



N6775 5th Avenue Plainfield, WI 54966 IRRIGATION LLC N6775 Avenue N6775 5th5th Avenue Plainfield, WI WI 54966 Plainfield, 54966 715-335-8300 N6775 5th Avenue Plainfield, WI 54966

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1904_Badger Common'Tater  

Irrigation & Specialty Equipment Issue includes an Interview with Jerry Knutson, Oasis Irrigation, Inc., and feature articles on "The Unique...

1904_Badger Common'Tater  

Irrigation & Specialty Equipment Issue includes an Interview with Jerry Knutson, Oasis Irrigation, Inc., and feature articles on "The Unique...

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