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$22/year | $2/copy | Volume 71 No. 12 | DECEMBER 2019

THE VOICE OF WISCONSIN'S POTATO & VEGETABLE INDUSTRY

2020 GROWING SEASON & ANNUAL REVIEW ISSUE STILL TRENDING: Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin SPUDPRO COMMITTEE Names “Plover Russet” RETIREMENT LESSONS Help in Farm Transfers SPUDMOBILE LEAVES A Lasting Impression DOES IRRIGATION Cool the Region?

INTERVIEW:

JEFF SUCHON FARM MANAGER Bushman’s Riverside Ranch

A drone image beautifully captures potato harvest on Bushman’s Riverside Ranch farm, October 2019. Image courtesy of Jared Suchon


Chris Lockery Jim Stefan

Inventory • Replenishment Services • Handle all freight concerns • Long-Range Planning •

Bob Dobbe • Paul Hegewald John Hopfensperger • John Eckendorf Jerome Bushman (FL - WI) • Nic Bushman Mike Gatz, Jim Stefan and Chris Fleming (Milwaukee) Sam Saccullo (All fruits and vegetables) Mike Whyte (Michigan) Transportation: Denise Moze • Nate Sohns Mike Carter CEO

800-826-0200 715-677-4533 • Fax: 715-677-4076 Rosholt, Wisconsin


On the Cover: Nothing beats a drone image for capturing the action of potato

harvest—in this case on the “Swing Arm East” field of the Bushman’s Riverside Ranch farm in Crivitz, Wisconsin. The team uses a Case IH 310 CVT with a two-row Lockwood 4620 harvester, a 1976 Mack DM685S cement truck and a 20-foot Double LL live bottom potato box. See the Interview in this issue with Jeff Suchon, farm manager for Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, his son, Jared, and Jon and John E. Bushman. Cover image courtesy of Jared Suchon

8 BADGER COMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: Taken in the fall of 2018, the picture depicts fresh russet potatoes being harvested by Bushman & Associates in Shantytown, Wisconsin, not far from the main farm in Galloway. The current packing shed in Galloway was built, in 1979, by Jon and Robert Bushman. In 1983, a farm in Crivitz was purchased, now known as Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, a certified seed potato farm. Bushman Potato Sales is another arm of the business.

DEPARTMENTS: ALI'S KITCHEN.................... 61 AUXILIARY NEWS............... 60 BADGER BEAT.................... 48

16 “BUY LOCAL” TREND HAS STAYING POWER

Wisconsin farmers meet demand for locally grown

22 POTATOES USA NEWS

State hosts international chefs during Potatoes USA Reverse Trade Mission

38 MARKETPLACE

Curtis and Alyssa Gagas help serve McCain Foods French fries at the Spud Bowl

MARK YOUR CALENDAR...... 6 NEW PRODUCTS................ 44 NOW NEWS....................... 26 NPC NEWS......................... 52

FEATURE ARTICLES:

PEOPLE.............................. 57

32 34 46 54

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

4

REGISTRATION OPEN for 2020 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show SPUDMOBILE FULFILLS mission of touting the potato’s importance in agriculture COMMON SENSE retirement lessons to adhere to in transferring the family farm DOES IRRIGATION in the Central Sands have a cooling effect on the environment?

BC�T December

SEED PIECE........................ 20 WPIB FOCUS...................... 56


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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

9/11/19 1:30 PM

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

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 Spudmobile Assistant: Doug Foemmel

WPVGA Office (715) 623-7683 • FAX: (715) 623-3176 E-mail: wpvga@wisconsinpotatoes.com Website: www.wisconsinpotatoes.com LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/WPVGA

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

5


MARK YOUR

Calendar DECEMBER

11

DISCOVERY FARMS CONFERENCE Glacier Canyon Conference Center Wisconsin Dells, WI

14-15 16 16-17

POTATO EXPO 2020 The Mirage Las Vegas, NV NATIONAL POTATO COUNCIL ANNUAL MEETING The Mirage Las Vegas, NV POTATOES USA WINTER MEETING 2020 The Mirage Las Vegas, NV

4-6 19-20 24-27

WPVGA GROWER EDUCATION CONFERENCE & INDUSTRY SHOW Holiday Inn Convention Center Stevens Point, WI INTERNATIONAL CROP EXPO Alerus Center Grand Forks, ND POTATO D.C. FLY-IN Capital Hilton Washington, D.C.

9-12 3/31-4/2

POTATOES USA ANNUAL MEETING The Brown Palace Hotel Denver, CO 60th ANNUAL WPS FARM SHOW Experimental Aircraft Association Grounds Oshkosh, WI

16-19 19

UNITED FRESH San Diego Convention Center San Diego, CA WSPIA SPUD SEED CLASSIC GOLF OUTING Bass Lake Golf Course Deerbrook, WI

9 14 16 21-23

RHINELANDER AG RESEARCH STATION FIELD DAY Rhinelander, WI ASSOCIATE DIV. PUTT-TATO OPEN GOLF OUTING Bull’s Eye Country Club Wisconsin Rapids, WI HANCOCK AG RESEARCH STATION FIELD DAY Hancock, WI FARM TECHNOLOGY DAYS Eau Claire County Eau Claire, WI

6-16

WISCONSIN STATE FAIR West Allis, WI

JANUARY 2020

FEBRUARY

MARCH

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST 6

BC�T December

Planting Ideas Inspiration isn’t what I expected

from the Potatoes USA Reverse Trade Mission, October 8. I was invited to join team members of Potatoes USA who hosted a group of more than 35 international chefs and made a few stops in Wisconsin at Alsum Farms & Produce, Okray Family Farms, McCain Foods and the Sky Club in Plover. While I joined the group on the farm tours, my wife was also invited to enjoy dinner with the group of more than 40, including a dozen or so Wisconsin growers and WPVGA members, at the Sky Club. It was one of those, “Well, I guess it sounds nice,” type of thought processes where neither my wife nor I was sure how the evening would proceed. As it turns out, we had an amazing time and were inspired by the chefs who were visiting from 14 countries. They were truly excited to visit and learn about U.S. potatoes, how they’re grown, harvested, packaged and prepared as meals. Professional chefs from such places as China, Japan, Southeast Asia, The Philippines, Central America and Mexico, they weren’t new to gourmet cooking, yet they soaked up the experience, the tours, food and fun like sponges. And they were all so nice and friendly. See the “Potatoes USA” column in this issue to learn about the reverse trade mission, why it’s held annually, who participates and more about this year’s event and what made it so special. Above is a picture of Phoebe Tsai, of Taiwan, who, along with all her fellow chefs, introduced herself at the Sky Club, told Wisconsin growers in attendance what types of food she prepares in her home country and using what potato ingredients. Fall can be eventful in the potato industry, and the 2019 Spud Bowl went off without a hitch. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point “Pointers” football team pulled off a victory over UW-Eau Claire. As has become tradition, McCain Foods donated free French fries for all fans at the game, Bushmans’ Inc. provided baked potatoes and several WPVGA growers and Associate Division members volunteered to help. Donations from dozens of sponsors are used toward scholarships for UW-Stevens Point students. See complete coverage of the event in “Marketplace” within this issue. Please email me with your thoughts and questions. If you wish to be notified when our free online magazine is available monthly, here is the subscriber link: http://wisconsinpotatoes.com/blog-news/subscribe.

Joe Kertzman

Managing Editor jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com


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Interview JEFF SUCHON,

farm manager, Bushman’s Riverside Ranch By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

NAME: Jeff Suchon TITLE: Farm manager COMPANY: Bushman’s Riverside Ranch LOCATION: Crivitz, Wisconsin HOMETOWN: Antigo, Wisconsin YEARS IN PRESENT POSITION: 34 PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Wagner Oil, Antigo SCHOOLING: Antigo High School and Northcentral Technical College ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: St. Mary’s Catholic Church Finance Council FAMILY: Wife, Sandy, daughters, Amber and Danielle, and son, Jared HOBBIES: Shooting clay pigeons, spoiling grandkids and restoring farm equipment 8

BC�T December

A fourth-generation potato farm Bushman & Associates in

Wittenberg, Wisconsin, is currently under the leadership of John E. Bushman and his father, Jonathon “Jon.”

It encompasses Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, a seed potato farm, in Crivitz, that is overseen by Jeff Suchon, farm manager. According to John E., the current Bushman & Associates was initially known as Joseph Bushman and Sons, in the 1920s through the ’40s, and consisted of 40 cows that were milked by hand and 40 acres of potatoes harvested manually. Things changed in the 1950s with the advent of Bushman Brothers, which was founded by John Bushman (father of Jon and grandfather of John E.) and his brother, Harry. Bushman & Associates started in 1973 with Jon and bis brother, Robert. “In 1979, Jon and Robert built our current packaging shed in Galloway,” John E. says.

“In 1983, a farm in Crivitz was purchased, which is now known as Bushman’s Riverside Ranch,” he adds. “That same year, Jon and Robert created Bushman Potato Sales, a brokerage for the potatoes they were growing.” Today, Bushman & Associates has expanded to include 550 acres of Silverton and Caribou Russet potatoes and 1,500 acres of rotational crops, which consist of soybeans, sweet corn, peas and field corn. Above: Jeff Suchon (right), farm manager of Bushman’s Riverside Ranch in Crivitz, Wisconsin, shares a wagon ride with his son, Jared (left), during the 2019 Rhinelander Field Day. Jeff, who has spent 34 years at Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, hopes Jared will be the next farm manager there.


POTATOES, BEANS & CORN According to Suchon, Bushman’s Riverside Ranch boasts 450 acres of seed potatoes (Caribou Russet and Silverton), 470 acres of green beans and 500 acres of field corn. “We started with Silvertons when they were first introduced from Colorado as a numbered variety,” Jon relates. “We stuck with the variety, as it had been a challenge in the seed business growing mini-tubers and propagating increase out of state.” “After increased demand from commercial fresh growers, the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program got into growing Silvertons on the State Seed Farm,” Jon explains. “Silvertons are now their number one variety by acreage,” he says, “and that has helped the growers of Wisconsin with an excellent source of seed potatoes.” On Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, Suchon has seven full-time employees working for him, and his wife, Sandy, hires an additional 15-20 seasonal workers during planting and harvest. “Hopefully, my son, Jared, will be the next manager at this location,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed each minute of working on this farm and raising my family here, and now I enjoy bringing the grandchildren around.” Jeff, Jared and John took turns answering the below interview questions, with the names in parentheses indicating who is responsible for the reply. What cover crops do you grow, and in what type of rotation? (Jared) In Crivitz, we practice a threeyear rotation. After green beans are harvested, we plant oats that will grow until fall, which then get sprayed, disced and fumigated so that the ground will be prepared for potatoes the following year. After potatoes and field corn are harvested, winter wheat is planted.

John E. Bushman takes time for a quick picture while putting fresh market russets into storage in Shantytown, Wisconsin. Bushman & Associates can store 130 acres or 65,000 cwt. (hundredweight) of potatoes at the Shantytown location.

For beans, we kill the wheat and disc. Lastly, for field corn, we practice “no till” and plant into the winter wheat, and then follow with Roundup®. Has the Wittenberg operation expanded or changed over the

years? Explain. (John) No dramatic changes have been made. We are just slowly trying to produce the best crop possible by upgrading equipment and farming practices. continued on pg. 10

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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 9

Above: Though they were hilling through a rainstorm on Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, at end of the rainbow was gold—Silverton seed potatoes. Top Right: A field is disced for planting potatoes on Bushman’s Riverside Ranch in Crivitz, Wisconsin. Right: A drone view shows how Bushman’s Riverside Ranch is set up for digging potatoes. Drone image courtesy of Jared Suchon

In operation for 36 years, Bushman’s Riverside Ranch is the certified seed arm of the business. Why did you decide to get into the certified seed business? (John) We decided to get into the seed business to try and help produce quality seed to be sold around the state and eastern states. Operating a seed farm has unique challenges. Can you give me some examples? Ultimately, how do the two operations differ? (Jeff) The biggest challenge is cleanliness— making sure every piece of equipment is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before potatoes touch them. A way that they differ is the spray program we use compared to Wittenberg. Silvertons aren’t affected 10 BC�T December

by certain diseases, but we still must spray applicable chemicals to keep the seed clean throughout the growing year. Do you have to treat Silvertons differently from other varieties? (Jeff) We suggest suberizing Silvertons for three or four days prior to planting. We’ve suberized them up to two months before planting, and it’s important to note that we also offer a cutting service. The seed farm rounds out your business, I’d guess. If so, in what ways? (Jeff) It helps us provide a healthy and steady supply of seed potatoes for the main farm. Does it make you a more selfsufficient grower? (Jeff) Yes, we know where our seed is coming from and

the practices used to grow potatoes. Who are your customers for the Wittenberg potatoes versus Crivitz? (Jeff) In Wittenberg, they deal strictly with fresh market and retail. In Crivitz, we deal mainly with our seed growers. We help them throughout the year with growing questions and any other concerns they raise. The oversize potatoes we produce are brokered out through Bushman Potato Sales. How many employees, full and part time, work in Wittenberg? (John) In Wittenberg, we employ about 25 full-time people to help in the grading shed and all other aspects of the farm. continued on pg. 12


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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 10

John, your dad, Jon, still works in the business, correct? If so, in what capacity? Yes, he gives advice on the main farm in Galloway as well as the Crivitz seed farm. You must be proud of your family heritage. Can you tell me what makes you most proud of the operation you run? (John) It has been a family operation for many years, and I am happy to see that my children are interested in farming like I was growing up. What do you most like about farming in Wittenberg? (John) The best thing is being able to farm and work some of the same fields that the past generations have done. What would be an ideal day at work for you—your favorite part of the job or what you wish you could do all the time? (Jeff) An ideal day would be any that goes as planned

Jared Suchon of Bushman’s Riverside Ranch says that this was not a bad thing to see in the middle of July when he checked the crop.

with no surprises. My favorite part of the job is harvest season. It is then that you finally see the outcome from the long hours put in the previous few months.

What are your biggest challenges? (Jeff) Trying to have a day go as planned. Honestly, for any farmer, the biggest challenge for any crop is the weather.

Spuds are harvested on Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, a certified seed potato farm in Crivitz, Wisconsin. Drone images courtesy of Jared Suchon 12 BC�T December


What are your goals for the business, or what do you hope to see happen to the farm in the next five years? (Jeff) You could say we don’t have a five-year plan; it’s more of a lifetime plan. The choices we make now are not only to help in the next five years, but also in the lifetime of the farm. We are hoping to stay on top of the newest technology to keep the farm running smoothly and prosperously. We are constantly trying new and different things to help us farm better than before. Do you hope to pass it down to the next generation? (John) Yes, I am hoping to see the farm passed on to the next generations to come and that they will continue it just as our continued on pg. 14

Right: Snap beans are picked on Bushman’s Riverside Ranch using a pair of Oxbo 2475’s. Drone image taken by Jared Suchon

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BC�T December 13


Interview. . .

continued from pg. 13

Fresh russet potatoes go into storage in Shantytown, Wisconsin, not far from the main Bushman & Associates farm in Galloway.

ancestors would have wanted to see it. Jeff, you had mentioned hoping your son would someday manage the seed farm. Is this a goal, and if so, why? Yes, Jared has been around the farm all his life. He has an advantage over me because he has been able to learn about farming at a young age versus me starting when I was 21. You can catch on to a lot more when you grow up in the business. Below: When harvest is in full swing, they work straight through the night at Bushman’s Riverside Ranch in Crivitz, Wisconsin. Drone image by Jared Suchon

14 BC�T December

The current Bushman & Associates was initially known as Joseph Bushman and Sons, in the 1920s through the ’40s, and consisted of 40 cows that were milked by hand and 40 acres of potatoes harvested manually. You know you’re in high cotton when you have your own refrigerator railcar.


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“Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Potatoes” Still Trending

Demand for locally grown and sourced produce is on the rise, and growers accommodate By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater It’s not surprising that Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers are ready and willing to accommodate customers demanding fresh, locally grown produce.

Gumz says his farm is located centrally in the state and nation, which allows the potato and vegetable grower a large area to be considered local.

The “buy local” movement has staying power, and retailers, chefs and farmers are taking note.

Christine Lindner, marketing manager for Alsum Farms & Produce in Friesland, says, “We define local as anything grown in Wisconsin that can be marketed within Wisconsin and Midwestern neighboring states as local produce.”

“We work with sales organizations and grocery stores who are looking to push the ‘buy local’ idea,” says Rod Gumz of Gumz Muck Farms in Endeavor, Wisconsin. “We also try to make sure to use product packaging that supports this.” 16 BC�T December

“Wisconsin potatoes are marketed heavily in the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River,” she adds. “Our location offers a logistical advantage,

Above: Trig’s grocery store in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, is proud of its award-winning displays such as these “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” and “Healthy Grown” bins of potatoes. “Today’s consumers want to know where their produce is grown and support our local farmers more than ever before,” says Don Theisen, store director.

allowing for quick delivery and response time to orders. This results in fresher product for consumers.” Like Gumz, she sees value in farmerfocused packaging that connects the consumer to the grower, such as a smiling picture of company president, Larry Alsum, emblazoned on potato bags. “Additionally, starting in 2016, we added the words ‘Wisconsin Grown’ on the front of our russet, red and gold potato packaging, along with the ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’ logo,” Lindner states.


Above: The Healthy Grown label is visible on bags of Gumz Muck Farms onions stored in cardboard bins. Photo courtesy of Cassie Krebs, Gumz Muck Farms

“Today’s consumers want to know where their produce is grown and support our local farmers more than ever before,” says Don Theisen, store director for Trig’s in Rhinelander.

Left: A display of Alsum Farms & Produce potatoes was set up for a tour that was part of the 2019 National Potato Council Summer Meeting.

LOVE IT LOCAL “We have started our own campaign, ‘Love it Local,’ to help draw attention to what we are doing to support ‘Wisconsin Grown.’ We strongly

encourage farmers to share their stories and photos with the retailer,” Theisen stresses. “This really helps continued on pg. 18

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“Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Potatoes” Still Trending . . . continued from pg. 17

“Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” is a popular message at Trig’s grocery store in Rhinelander.

connect the farmer to the consumer.” Lindner says it’s been a benefit for Alsum Farms & Produce to engage and create a farm-to-fork connection

An image of potatoes in the hands of Rod Gumz was part of a photo shoot coordinated with a retailer. “We work with grocery stores looking to push the ‘buy local’ idea,” Gumz says.

through television, radio, digital and social media marketing campaigns, in-store samplings and other promotions.

Theisen points out that locally grown products are taking up more retail space in stores and that he loves to feature locally sourced products and farmers’ stories in store advertisements. “Yes, we are seeing a trend toward retailers highlighting locally grown produce in ads, and chefs sourcing local ingredients and identifying them in their menus,” Lindner affirms. “Create demand that customers can’t get anywhere else,” Theisen recommends. “Work together to educate the consumer on why local is better and what you are doing in Wisconsin that is better than surrounding areas, such as with your Healthy Grown program.”

A bag of “Wisconsin Grown” russet potatoes comes off the line at Alsum Farms & Produce in Friesland. 18 BC�T December

Gumz points out that farmers markets are becoming more popular. “One can find a market to go to most days of the week and on weekends,” he says. “Restaurants in larger areas


have started featuring local items, such as Café Hollander or Graze restaurant in Madison.” “There are logistics issues on the smaller scale, though,” he explains. “We try to ship as locally as possible, but we do not provide shipping. A small fraction of our sales is direct to customers who pick up at the farm, and some of these sales do end up at farmers markets and local restaurants.”

are vital in bringing consumers and farmers together to share knowledge and build trust and confidence in our food supply, all while putting a face to the farmer.” “As shoppers look to provide healthy choices for their families,” she adds, “locally grown products provide that value.”

Gumz says his farm will continue to market its produce as locally as possible. “We believe we have a great story to tell about our farm and are proud of our team that produces the food,” he says. “It is our hope that consumers will find value and view our story in a positive light.”

So, while Gumz Muck Farms finds value in creating a local presence and sharing its agricultural story, the operation can’t logistically cater to all the smaller, local markets. “Someday we may get into the shipping business, but at this point, our focus is on growing a quality crop,” Gumz says. SHIPPING CHALLENGES Lindner concurs, explaining, “Serving the local market has its challenges, including freight and coordination to fill a truck with produce as well as the equipment needed to unload it. It takes a level of efficiency to ship produce regionally.” “Fewer miles to market means fresher produce, however,” Lindner reminds. “Carbon footprint does seem to be a part of the reason why people want to go local,” Gumz agrees. “However, there are so many of these buzz words floating around lately that true meanings can be confusing to the general public.” “It’s our job as agricultural stewards to keep educating with our story,” he surmises. Locally grown products are a $20 billion industry according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “With today’s shoppers seeking more information about how their food is grown and produced,” Linder says, “retail and foodservice partners

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Seed Piece SpudPro Committee Names New Variety Plover Russet shows medium-to-early maturity and yields a high percentage of U.S. #1 tubers

The mission

of the WPVGA SpudPro Committee is to advance Wisconsin potato breeding lines to variety status by providing foundation seed as a platform for industry review, adoption and commercialization.

Copas says, “due to low levels of misshapen tubers and a high percentage of tubers above 4 ounces.”

The SpudPro committee facilitates production of the initial foundation seed for new potato varieties from the University of Wisconsin (UW)Madison breeding program.

chairman of the SpudPro Committee, announced during a meeting, October 30, 2019, the naming of a new variety, W9133-1rus, now named Plover Russet.

Jeffrey Endelman, associate professor, UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, leads the potato variety development program for the university, which releases new varieties for the chip, French fry and fresh markets.

Copas describes Plover Russet as having a large, very blocky shape, a lighter russet color and a light degree of netting similar to that of Silverton Russet. Its specific gravity is typically 1.06-1.07, depending on the year.

HIGH YIELDS “Yields for August and September harvests have been comparable or higher than other russet varieties used during the same time period in the fresh market,” Copas relates.

Jeff and Mike Copas, senior agronomist for RPE, Inc. and

“Plover Russet exhibits medium-toearly maturity and typically yields a high percentage of U.S. #1 tubers,”

He says, though Plover Russet is more susceptible to common scab than Goldrush, it is less susceptible than Russet Norkotah. A weakness that should be considered is that the tubers tend to set higher in the hill, so erosion of the potato hill due to late season rains/irrigation can increase greening. The tubers can also develop some surface growth cracks during extreme growing conditions. “It is most similar to Silverton Russet from an appearance standpoint, but probably most comparable to Goldrush in terms of maturity and availability to the market,” Copas explains. Testing of W9133-1rus in commercial fields began as early as 2013 in small plots, and larger commercial field strips were first evaluated in 2015.

The variety card that the University of Wisconsin Potato Breeding Program currently distributes about the new variety, Plover Russet (W9133-1rus), gives information about its appearance, early maturity, yield, strengths and weaknesses. 20 BC�T December

PLOVER RIVER FARMS Plover River Farms was instrumental in assisting with the selection and development of the variety through commercial trials. The farming operation was the first to identify its potential in the production system and provide volume to evaluate the performance through a fresh pack shed beginning in 2015.


Testing of W9133-1rus (officially named Plover Russet) in commercial fields began as early as 2013 in small plots, and larger commercial field strips were first evaluated in 2015. The variety sure produces a nice floret as shown here.

Interest has grown among growers over the past couple seasons given the results and observations that have compared Plover Russet to Goldrush. “The high percentage of U.S. #1 tubers is critical to the continued profitability of fresh market growers,” Copas says. “Goldrush and Norkotah have struggled in recent years to

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According to Mike Copas, senior agronomist for RPE, Inc. and chairman of the SpudPro Committee, Plover Russet yields for August and September harvests have been comparable or higher than other russet varieties used during the same time period in the fresh market.

deliver consistently greater than a 70 percent pack-out, and Plover Russet might offer a valuable alternative.” Copas explains that Plover Russet has shown the capability to store into early March, providing more options to Wisconsin growers, after Goldrush, other than Silverton or Norkotah. While Plover Russet will fill a niche in

the packing season for fresh market potatoes, Copas says it is not a potato that will cover the entire packing season. “Long-term, fresh market potatoes will probably follow the current model of chipping potatoes,” he remarks, “where each part of the shipping season has a variety that is best suited for that time of year.”

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Potatoes USA News

Wisconsin Hosts Potatoes USA Reverse Trade Mission

Each year, Potatoes USA hosts a group of international foodservice industry members and in-country representatives from 14 countries— ranging from Northeast and Southeast Asia to Mexico and Central America—in the United States, for what is called a “reverse trade mission.” In each reverse trade mission, Potatoes USA sponsors an immersive educational trip for a select international audience, rotating between chefs, importers and distributors, to learn about U.S. potatoes. This “farm-to-fork” experience includes visits to potato farms and packing sheds in order to learn about the state-of-the-art equipment 22 BC�T December

and quality practices of U.S. potato farmers, tours of potato processing plants, and most importantly, learning about the versatility of U.S. potato products in the kitchen. The trip, October 8, kicked off in the state of Wisconsin, the third-largest producer of potatoes in the country. A large group of more than 35 international chefs from 14 countries visited the Alsum Farms & Produce packing shed, in Friesland, and Okray Family Farms in Plover. At Okray Family Farms, chefs had the opportunity to visit a potato farm during harvest and witness not only the scale of the fields, but also the capacity for harvesting, and careful transportation and storage.

The countries of origin where the chefs live and traveled from include Burma-Myanmar, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama, China, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Republic of the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. At Alsum Farms & Produce, the group observed fresh potatoes being brought in from the field, Above: Chefs from 14 countries visited Okray Family Farms in Plover, Wisconsin, as part of the Potatoes USA Reverse Trade Mission. The October 8 visit coincided nicely with potato harvest, so guests witnessed the scale and capacity of the state’s harvest, as well as careful transportation and storage. Mark Finnessy of Okray Family Farms is at center in the image, wearing a blue striped shirt and red and blue jacket.


then handled, stored and transported via automation for packaging. STRINGENT PRACTICES It was during these tours that attendees learned about the benefits of not only the climate and growing regions, but also the stringent practices and processes that U.S.

growers implement in order to efficiently and effectively run their operations. The farm and packing shed tours were followed by a wonderful potatocentric dinner at The Sky Club hosted by the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.

continued on pg. 24

Left: As part of the Potatoes USA Reverse Trade Mission, a large group of more than 35 international chefs from 14 countries visited the Alsum Farms & Produce packing shed, in Friesland, Wisconsin. Right: At Alsum Farms & Produce, the group observed fresh potatoes being brought in from the field, then handled, stored and transported via automation for packaging.

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Potatoes USA News. . . continued from pg. 23

At the dinner, the group was able to meet and converse with potato growers and then introduce themselves and the roles they play as chefs in their home countries. As a parting gift, each chef received his or her very own Wisconsin potato peeler. Following the farm tours, the chefs visited the McCain Foods Inc. processing plant and Infinity Foods Appetizer Production Facility. There, the chefs witnessed the process of fresh potatoes coming into the facilities and then being produced as quick, frozen French fries or tater tots, all in less than a two-hour timeframe. Due to market access constraints, many of the foreign countries where visitors reside only have frozen and dehydrated potatoes, and they learned about those potato formats during the facility tours. Seeing the capabilities of the process, and quality, consistency and food safety that go behind the practices, reinforces what qualifies the United States as a top-end producer. TIME TO EAT! After watching the products move through the lines and receiving a

Touring Okray Family Farms, international chefs had the opportunity to visit a potato farm during harvest and witness not only the scale of the fields, but also the capacity for harvesting, and careful transportation and storage.

technical education, chefs got to do their favorite part, eat the food! As part of the reverse trade mission, the chefs also traveled to Chicago, tasted potatoes at different restaurants and visited gourmet markets where they could view potatoes at the “grocerant” level. After this, chefs had time to prepare for the final day’s market basket competition. On the final day, chefs participated in a “Why Buy U.S. Potatoes?” presentation, learned about global foodservice trends and watched demos from Potatoes USA culinary director, Chef R.J. Harvey, Simplot, Lamb Weston and McCain Foods. The chefs began to work with the potatoes hands-on and split into

Matthew Smith (left), human resources and retail sales manager for Alsum Farms & Produce, poses with four international chefs in a potato storage facility as part of a tour given during the reverse trade mission. 24 BC�T December

teams of various countries of origin and backgrounds. Depending on what format of potatoes each of their countries has access to, they were asked to create a dish (or multiple dishes) featuring U.S. potatoes, from appetizer to dessert. Their presentations and efforts were as beautiful as the people themselves and the countries from which the chefs traveled. A final reception dinner was held at Carnivale restaurant in Chicago, specializing in Latin American cuisine, where chefs enjoyed a potatothemed menu for the occasion. Then it was time for them to travel back to their home countries with incredible memories and ideas for using U.S. potatoes.

Mark Finnessy (right) was more than happy to pose with an international chef while holding freshly harvested potatoes at Okray Family Farms during the Potatoes USA Reverse Trade Mission. Harvest was in full swing during the chefs’ visit.


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Now News Lake Family Farms Receives Leopold Conservation Award Farm uses modern technologies to cultivate the land and resources within its care Lake Family Farms from Dunn County has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

In Wisconsin, the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association is one of the sponsors of the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award. Jeff and Kelly Lake are owners of Lake

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Family Farms in Boyceville. Their farm was revealed as this year’s award recipient at the November 7 meeting of the Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in Madison. The Lakes were presented with $10,000 and a crystal award at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells, December 8. “The Lake family is very deserving of this award,” says Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte. FARMER-LED WATERSHED “From his involvement with a farmerled watershed group to his passion for education and partnerships with the University of Wisconsin and UW Discovery Farms, it is obvious that Jeff and his entire family are committed to being sustainable today and for generations to come,” Holte says. “Jeff Lake and his family are using modern technologies to cultivate the land and resources within their care,” states Patrick Geoghegan, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin’s senior vice president of marketing and industry relations. Above: Winners of the $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award are, from left tor right, April, Jeff, Kelly and Jake Lake of Lake Family Farms in Boyceville, Wisconsin.


“Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin congratulates Lake Family Farms for their award-winning environmental stewardship and applauds their willingness to share their knowledge and experiences of conservation practices with the agricultural community,” Geoghegan adds. “The Lake family members are model land stewards that exemplify the cumulative power conservation practices have on farmland,” says Matt Krueger, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association executive director. “From buffer stripping and no-till to pollinator habitats and variable spraying, Jeff and his family show how precision agriculture and conservation work hand-in-hand to improve soil fertility, water quality and crop production,” Krueger notes.

Farm Bureau Federation, American Transmission Company, Compeer Financial, McDonald’s, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, We Energies Foundation, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, and Whole Foods Market. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship

between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.” Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 20 states with a variety of conservation, agricultural and forestry organizations. For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org. continued on pg. 28

More value.

“Congratulations to the Lake family as the 2019 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award recipients, and thank you for your hard work and leadership,” he praises. OUTSTANDING APPLICANTS Earlier this year, owners of Wisconsin farmland and forests were encouraged to apply (or be nominated) for the award. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders. Among the many outstanding Wisconsin landowners nominated for the award were finalists Bill Ciolkosz of Clark County, and John and Dorothy Priske of Columbia County. The first Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award was presented to woodland conservationist Gerry Mich, of Appleton, in 2006. The 2018 recipient was dairy farmer David Geiser of New Holstein in Calumet County. The Leopold Conservation Award in Wisconsin is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, Wisconsin

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Now News. . .

continued from pg. 27

Black Gold Farms Increases Shipping Reliability Launch of Horizon Logistics allows product delivery from field to customers Horizon Logistics is a new company formed by the Halverson Family and Black Gold Farms. Headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Horizon Logistics is an independent, full service, asset-based transportation company serving Black Gold Farms and other growershippers to deliver product from the field to customers with unmatched reliability. The company is part of a vertically intergrated farm-to-forklift operation. Due to the increasing challenges of reliable transportation and the cost of brokerage for many shippers, Black Gold Farms has decided to take matters into its own hands. According to Eric Halverson, CEO of Black Gold Farms, “In the last few years, we’ve seen the transportation deal be as up and down as ever, and that was affecting our customers.” POTATO DELIVERY “Our number one objective is to make sure we get our potatoes to our customers when they want them and how they want them,” he says. “Trucks have a major influence in that.” Black Gold Farms has an internal team that focuses on transportation

through a brokerage-style business. “Our current system has worked well in the past, and we know that our transportation team is the last line of defenese in order to create the most value the farm can to our customers,” says Matt Jahnke, director of transportation for Horizon Logistics. “We’ve also seen that drivers are hard to come by because of regulations, time away from home and other factors that are beyond our control,” Jahnke says. “By vertically intergrating and really focusing on resolving the transportation piece, by having our own assets, we are able to take some of those factors out of the equation.” Black Gold Farms is a fourthgeneration family farm and grower, shipper and marketer of all types of Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and other commodities. The family farm has an extensive network of locations throughout the United States and is headquartered in Grand Forks.

Black Gold Farms is committed to doing business that provides for ongoing quality, innovation, service and transparency with all of its business partners. For more information, visit www.blackgoldfarms.com.

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Legislation Supports Potato Research

AB 556/SB 497 recognizes time researchers spend advising farmers as “teaching hours” By Jordan Lamb, DeWitt LLP Wisconsin State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and State Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) have introduced legislation that will help applied agricultural researchers who are University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison, UW-River Falls and UW-Platteville faculty with joint Extension appointments get credit for the hours they spend teaching farmers and graduate students. Since 1993, the number of state integrated specialists has fallen by 45 percent. As a result, we have fewer agricultural research projects aimed at addressing some of the most pressing questions facing Wisconsin farmers today, including water quality, pest management and farm economics. In addition to conducting research projects, these researchers teach farmers at association-sponsored summer and winter meetings, hold on-farm mini clinics, field days and workshops, and provide other daily direct instruction to Wisconsin farmers. Their value to the agricultural economy as teachers is welldocumented, but their work with farmers, unfortunately, cannot be used to satisfy the statutory “teaching hours” reporting and monitoring obligations required under current law for UW-Madison and UW-System faculty. AB 556/SB 497 requires the Board of Regents to recognize as “teaching hours” the time spent by state specialists who provide extension services in the field of applied agricultural research at UW-

Platteville, UW-River Falls or the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, teaching graduate students and Wisconsin farmers. This legislation will help Wisconsin farmers retain our invaluable UW faculty researchers and allow them to continue to support Wisconsin’s farm economy. GROWER CALL TO ACTION AB 556 / SB 497, support for UW state specialists, is an important piece of legislation for Wisconsin potato growers. Legislators need to hear

from you and know that this bills is important to your businesses. Please take a moment to call or email your State Representative and your State Senator and ask them to support AB 556/SB 497 (Loudenbeck/ Marklein). For more information on potato research projects that are supported by the farmers, go to https:// wisconsinpotatoes.com/growing/ research/. continued on pg. 30

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BC�T December 29


Now News. . .

continued from pg. 29

Alsum Farms Awards FFA Chapters Third annual Tater Trot 5k Run/Walk raises more than $2,000 Images courtesy of Tanya Witthun Alsum Farms & Produce hosted more than 150 runners, walkers and local FFA supporters for the 3rd Annual Tater Trot 5k Run/Walk on September 14, 2019, in Friesland, Wisconsin. The third-year event raised more than $2,000 for local FFA chapters. This year’s FFA chapters to receive the funds include Randolph CambriaFriesland, Beaver Dam, Markesan, Pardeeville and Waupun. “Alsum Farms & Produce was elated to host the 3rd Annual Tater Trot 5k to help support local FFA chapters and provide a unique opportunity to learn about the nutritional and economic benefits of Wisconsin

30 BC�T December

potatoes,” says Alsum’s Nikki Jedlowski, logistics manager and Tater Trot 5k event coordinator.

“Potatoes fuel performance and the Tater Trot 5k promotes the healthy, flavorful and fresh attributes of the


The Kids Fun Run race included a dozen youngsters racing around the parking lot, and participants also had the opportunity to meet and get their picture taken with Spudly, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association mascot.

spud targeting everyday athletes to perform at their best and fuel their active lifestyles,” Jedlowski states. The top 3 Male Individuals in the Tater Trot 5k with finish times: 1. Marcus Kuhn, 20:16 2. Brandon Jones, 20:19 3. Scott Rosendahl, 21:23 The top 3 Female Individuals: 1. Laura Bell, 25:29 2. Kimmie Kretz, 25:30 3. Alexa Lingle, 25:50 The Kids Fun Run race included a dozen youngsters racing around the parking lot, and participants also had the opportunity to meet and get their picture taken with Spudly, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association mascot. New this year was the CambriaFriesland Chamber of Commerce Member Vendor Market. The Vendor Market included: • Tater Trot Pedal for kids age 4 and under sponsored by Rascals & Rockers Day School

Larry Alsum of Alsum Farms & Produce poses with the WPVGA mascot, Spudly, at the 3rd Annual Tater Trot 5k Run/Walk.

• Face-painting for kids sponsored by Hughes Trucking • Hanna Raley’s Late Model sponsored by United Wisconsin Grain Producers • Other vendors on hand were: Cambria-Friesland Area Chamber, Cambria-Friesland Career Coalition, CF Rocks, Randolph Chamber of Commerce & SIA Insurance,

Markesan Chamber of Commerce and Randolph/Cambria-Friesland FFA with Cambria Oil. For event photos of the day, visit https://tanyawitthun.smugmug.com/ Tator-Trot-2019/. Next Year's 4th Annual Alsum Tater Trot 5k will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

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BC�T December 33


Spudmobile Leaves Lasting Impression

Traveling billboard fulfills mission of touting important role of potatoes in agriculture By Gloria Freeland My husband, Art, has often said, “I’ve never met a potato I didn't like.” As a Wisconsin native, his enjoyment of this bulbous tuber may come naturally.

Wisconsin north woods cottage, I knew we should check it out.

While Idaho is the state that produces the most potatoes, the Badger State comes in number three, with Washington between them.

The almost-40-foot-long RV with “Wisconsin Spudmobile” emblazoned across the top above photos of potatoes and potato fields was an imposing sight, although Art said he was disappointed the vehicle wasn’t shaped like the vegetable.

So, when I heard that the Spudmobile would make a stop near our

Trig’s grocery store in Eagle River played host and paired the visit with

ads for “Potato Days,” featuring specials on items such as russets, big baking potatoes, Yukons, “Darn Good Potato Salad” and potato sausage. Above: Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association Director of Promotions & Consumer Education Dana Rady (right) poses with Spudmobile Assistant Doug Foemmel (left) in front of the “traveling billboard” and educational RV in the Trig’s parking lot, Eagle River, Wisconsin.

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300-MEMBER ORGANIZATION Stepping aboard the Spudmobile, we were immediately welcomed by Dana Rady and Doug Foemmel of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), which I learned is an organization of 300 members and affiliates. Dana is the WPVGA director of promotions and consumer education, while Foemmel’s business card simply described him as “Spudmobile Assistant.” A group of 10 Trig's employees was right behind us, so while Rady gave them a tour, I began quizzing Foemmel. I learned that, since its first road trip in August 2014, the Spudmobile has visited hundreds of locations, including schools, state fairs, festivals, parades, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears football games, and stores like Trig’s that sell Wisconsin potatoes.

Gloria Freeland (right) and her husband, Art Vaughan (left), relax on the potato beanbag chairs in the Spudmobile, proudly displaying the potato stress balls given to visitors.

The state has 63,000 acres of potatoes, with each acre averaging 42,000 pounds. Some 100 varieties

of potatoes are grown in Wisconsin, and it is home to the U.S. Potato Genebank, in Sturgeon Bay, one

continued on pg. 36

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Spudmobile Leaves Lasting Impression. . . continued from pg. 35

of four gene banks for wild potato varieties. While approximately a third of the harvest is consumed fresh, nearly half is destined to become frozen French fries and other processed foods. Twelve percent are used as seed for the next crop. The displays had many entertaining aspects as well, such as recipes for Mediterranean Crispy Potato Breakfast Roulade, Muffin Tin Baked Tex-Mex Mashed Potatoes, and Poblano Pepper and Potato Soup with Crispy Bacon. Among the fun facts, I noticed the following:

A sign in the Spudmobile displays a quote by Winnie-the-Pooh creator A.A. Milne about people who like potatoes.

• A potato was the first vegetable grown in space.

• One medium potato (5.3 ounces) with the skin contains 45 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, more potassium (620 milligrams) than bananas, spinach or broccoli, 10 percent of the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin B6, 110 calories and no fat, sodium or cholesterol, assuming, of course, that you add no butter,

• Potatoes can be used to get rid of rust. • Rest two slices of raw potato on your eyelids to reduce puffiness. • The average American eats 120 pounds of potatoes a year.

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Gloria Freeland’s brother, Dave, who has always had a green thumb, shows off part of the harvest from his garden in 2019.


people domesticated the plant at least 7,000 years ago. My sister, Gaila, lives in Bolivia, an Andean nation, and she has mentioned the hundreds of potato sizes and colors—black, red, pink, yellow and others—she has seen in the markets there. In the 16th century, the Spanish took the tuber to Europe, where it was mostly fed to livestock. Europeans began to eat potatoes in earnest in the 1800’s and they caught on in popularity. The plant can grow in cold climates and poor soil, and in some places, yields several crops each season. Once harvested, the tubers can be stored for months. Art said many Wisconsin villages in the area where he grew up had potato storage facilities in the early years of the 20th century. LOADING THE BOXCARS During the winter, boxcars would periodically be loaded to transport them to places like Milwaukee and Chicago. Young men, including his uncle, Harold, traveled with the cars to tend the heaters that kept the potatoes from freezing.

Potato varieties are displayed at a market in La Paz, Bolivia. The author’s sister, Gaila, lives in Bolivia, an Andean nation, and she has mentioned the hundreds of potato sizes and colors— black, red, pink, yellow and others—she has seen in the markets there.

remembers when our family planted 50 pounds of potatoes each spring just for our use. PRIZE-WINNING POTATOES He tended the garden and entered some of the harvest in the Butler County 4-H Fair each year, winning lots of blue ribbons. He has planted several types of vegetables, including potatoes, every year for nearly 50 years. “You can’t take the country out of a boy,” he told me. “ ... lots of work, but for a city boy, a good way to get

some exercise!” Art and I didn’t get much physical exercise visiting the Spudmobile, but we did exercise our brains. And we got to sit on beanbag chairs that looked like loaded baked potatoes, complete with butter-pat pillows. Foemmel and Rady snapped pictures for their Facebook page. “You know what?” Foemmel proclaimed, “Now you are real couch potatoes!”

For a small-town boy, it was quite an adventure and one he was paid to take. So, the state's interest in the vegetable is not new. In fact, the Badger Common’Tater logo dates from 1948 and its purpose is to be a source of information, news, education and highlights of the potato and vegetable industry in Wisconsin. Foemmel said the Spudmobile’s purpose is also education—to inform people about the importance of agriculture in general and potatoes particularly. He said he found it hard to believe a teacher at one of their school visits didn’t know potatoes are grown in the ground. Since we grew up on a Kansas farm, my siblings and I are aware of what it takes to raise food. My brother, Dave,

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BC�T December 37


Marketplace

By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions and Consumer Education

Hot Potatoes Warm Spud Bowl Fans! Well, it’s not like you need a special occasion to eat a piping hot Wisconsin baked potato or a handful of French fries. But if there ever was a good reason to do so, it was at the 2019 Spud Bowl, November 2, at Goerke Park in Stevens Point. Normally, for this annual celebration of the harvest season and new crop of Wisconsin potatoes hitting the market, we experience cooler but sunny fall weather and, occasionally, some short rain showers or even 70-degree temperatures. That was far from the case this year, as the scheduled game proved a true testament for “survival of the most prepared” in terms of blankets, boots, mittens, jackets and winter hats. Those brave enough to attend the game and volunteers handing out

Potatoes power your performance and here’s proof! University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point “Pointers” football players Chandler Benn (left), Markell Outlaw (center) and Caanan Bell (right) enjoy some French fries at the 2019 Spud Bowl.

baked potatoes and fries experienced snow, sleet, wind and a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit! It was, however, the perfect environment and a good reason for eating some comfort food, like a hot baked potato with sour cream and butter and a serving of French fries. With more than 600 potatoes

generously provided by Bushmans’ Inc. and 1,300 servings of French fries donated by McCain Foods, there was little down time between handing out free servings and jumping in place to stay warm! New this year was a tailgating event just outside the football stadium at Goerke Park. The pre-game party

There’s nothing better than comfort food on a cold Wisconsin day! UW-Stevens Point CPS Café server, Anna Nushait (left), has just the dish—German Potato Soup paired with a Wisconsin Potato and Turnip Pasty. The CPS Café on campus served Wisconsin potato dishes for the entire week leading up to the Spud Bowl. A bright banner at the café asks patrons if they “Got Wisconsin Potatoes?” 38 BC�T December


From left to right, Curtis Gagas of Gagas Farms Inc.; Kerry Larson (side profile) of McCain Foods; Alex Okray (background, arms crossed and facing camera) of Okray Family Farms; Dale Bowe of Wisconsin Public Service Corp.; and Chet Biadasz (far right) prepare and serve French fries at the 2019 Spud Bowl.

started at 10:30 a.m. and lasted until the 1 p.m. kickoff.

“There’s a potato in every glass!” How can you argue with that?

People gathered by their vehicles to grill food before the game and came into a small fenced-off area where they could buy Spud Beer provided by Point Brewery.

MORE POTATO DISHES The entire week leading up to the Spud Bowl, the CPS Café on campus at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) served Wisconsin potato dishes.

The beer was brewed especially for the Spud Bowl and was made using Wisconsin potatoes. Talk about a true spud-tastic experience! As one Spud Bowl Committee member told me,

From a Wisconsin potato bar to potato and vegetable pastries, potato chowder, potato gnocchi, potato falafel and potato salad, the options

Layers, layers, layers … and Wisconsin baked potatoes in hand to keep warm! Dianne Somers (left) of Plover River Farms in Stevens Point and Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions (right), wear several layers of clothing to keep warm while happily serving baked potatoes to Spud Bowl fans.

were unique and endless. It truly shed light on the versatile nature of potatoes! Besides raising awareness of agriculture, especially in the surrounding area, one true purpose of this entire event and experience is to help deserving students with educational scholarships. Each of five university students received a $750 scholarship, continued on pg. 40

While sleet and snow whipped around outside, WPVGA Spudmobile Assistant Doug Foemmel (right in second image) chatted up visitors warming up inside the “traveling billboard” recreational vehicle at the 2019 Spud Bowl game. BC�T December 39


Marketplace. . .

continued from pg. 39

Thank You to the Sponsors of the 2019 Spud Bowl AgCountry Farm Credit Services Allen Supply Company Allied Cooperative Anderson, O’Brien, Bertz, Skrenes & Golla LLP Big Iron Equipment BioLife Plasma Services BMO Harris Bank Bushman Potato Sales Inc. Bushmans’ Inc. Bushman’s Trucking Buffalo Wild Wings Calcium Products, Inc. Central Door Solutions, LLC Clifton Larson Allen Compeer Financial Del Monte Corporation Delta Dental Fairchild Equipment Gagas Farms Inc. Guth Farm Inc. Hamerski Farms, Inc. Heartland Farms, Inc. Helbach Farms LLC Insight FS International Bank of Amherst Isherwood Family Farms Jay-Mar, Inc. Jordan Lamb, DeWitt LLP Jubilee Produce, Inc. Lands’ End, Inc. Len Dudas Motors McCain Foods Mortenson Bros. Farms Inc. Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Nutrien Ag Solutions, Inc. Okray Family Farms Omernik & Associates, Inc. Paragon Potato Farms, Inc. Plover River Farms, Inc. Portage County Bank Portage County Dairy Committee Potato Plant, Inc. Prairie Star Ranch Inc. Roberts Irrigation Co., Inc. Rural Mutual Insurance Service Motor Company Soik Sales Spectra Print Corporation Stevens Point Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram TH Agri-Chemicals, Inc. Team Schierl Companies Volm Companies Warner & Warner, Inc. Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPS) Wood Trust Bank Worzella & Sons WPVGA WPVGA Associate Division Wysocki Family of Companies 40 BC�T December

It wasn’t as simple as a game of pitch and catch when UW-Stevens Point defeated UW-Eau Claire in the 2019 Spud Bowl by a score of 40-12, but the players did occasionally make it look easy. Thanks to generous donations from Spud Bowl sponsors, Pointers starting quarterback, Matt Urmanski, was awarded a scholarship during halftime of the game.

presented during halftime of the Spud Bowl by UWSP Chancellor Bernie Patterson.

leading his team to victory on the football field, so neither were able to attend the halftime ceremony.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Junior McKenzie Durr, Senior Noah Langenfeld, Freshman Lindsey Pence, Freshman Derek Marten, who also competes on the Pointers wrestling team, and Senior Matt Urmanski, who plays starting quarterback for the Pointers football team.

What a great testament to an industry that contributes $6.4 billion in economic activity through specialty crop production and processing!

Marten had a wrestling meet the day of Spud Bowl and Urmanski was

Couple that with a Pointers 40-12 win over UW-Eau Claire, and it proved to be a great day! And perhaps the saying is true—there is no bad weather, just bad clothing! continued on pg. 42

Fans attending the 2019 Spud Bowl were treated to baked potatoes donated by Bushmans’ Inc. for the occasion.


Marketplace. . .

continued from pg. 40

Above/Right: Three of the five scholarship winners stand on the field at halftime of the 2019 Spud Bowl to be recognized along with members of the Spud Bowl Committee. Pictured left to right in the wide image are Nick and Dianne Somers; Gary Wysocki; Tamas Houlihan; Curtis Gagas; Dale Bowe; Alex Okray; scholarship winners Noah Langenfeld, Lindsey Pence and McKenzie Durr; and UWSP Chancellor Bernie Patterson. The closeup image shows Patterson (right) with scholarship winners Langenfeld (left, waving), Pence (center) and Durr (white hat). Below: There’s always room to relax on Wisconsin potato bean bag chairs complete with butter pillows! These two ladies take a moment to warm up inside the Spudmobile before heading back outside to watch the football game.

Nick Somers of Plover River Farms fires a Spud Gun T-shirt into the crowd during halftime of the 2019 Spud Bowl in Stevens Point, November 2. 42 BC�T December

Kerry Larson of McCain Foods serves French fries that his company donated to the 2019 Spud Bowl. That’s Chet Biadasz (right) and Gary Wysocki of Wysocki Family of Companies behind Larson.


Wisconsin Spudmobile Visits Trig’s Stores From Ellis to Eagle River and Minocqua, Rhinelander, Weston, Wausau and Stevens Point, it was quite the loop for the Wisconsin Spudmobile as the “traveling billboard” once again toured Trig’s stores, October 7-10, 2019.

vehicle, Trig’s stores offered cutting boards in the shape of Wisconsin while also giving away 5-pound bags of russet potatoes just for visiting the Spudmobile!

Each visit was special, with Wisconsin potato displays in stores, banners welcoming the Spudmobile and giveaways galore!

Some locations even served samples of cheesy potatoes outside, which visitors gladly accepted. It was a great way to celebrate a new crop of Wisconsin potatoes.

Besides those provided inside the

Here’s some of the fun:

Above: WPVGA Spudmobile Assistant Doug Foemmel speaks with visitors and Trig’s customers, October 7, in Eagle River. Below: Customers of Trig’s stores happily toured the Spudmobile, October 7-10, for a free bag of Wisconsin russet potatoes.

Say potato! The team at Trig’s in Eagle River came into the Spudmobile for a personal tour. One of the main features is the vehicle’s newest exhibit, the interactive grower map (right).

The Spudmobile is set up and ready at Trig’s in Rhinelander on the morning of October 8. Trig’s held a drawing for a cutting board in the shape of Wisconsin and offered free bags of russet potatoes just for visiting the Spudmobile.

Left: Lesley (right) at Trig’s in Tomahawk was hard to avoid as she provided cheesy potato samples to customers, encouraged them to visit the Spudmobile and gave them free bags of russet potatoes. BC�T December 43


New Products

Tasteful Selections Offers Great Taste in Even Smaller Bite Bite-size potato leader launches the smallest potato on the market—Nibbles Tasteful Selections®, in partnership with RPE, brings the newest and smallest item to the potato category. The family that loves growing bitesize potatoes presents a gourmet treat in the shape of the world’s smallest potatoes—Nibbles!

“We take great pride in being one of the largest growers/producers of bite-size potatoes,” says Tim Huffcutt, marketing director. “We are dedicated to innovation, strive to perfect our bite-size varieties and maintain our consistent sizing protocols.”

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“Through all the work, sometimes we miss the treasure at our own feet,” he remarks. “Today, we have found that treasure and we are sharing it with our consumers.” Measuring in as the smallest spuds on the market, Nibbles potatoes provide a unique presentation with great taste, texture and a variety of convenient cooking options. “Nibbles are fun, one-of-a-kindsize potatoes with really big flavor,” Huffcutt says. “Big taste in a really small bite—consumers will love everything about the new potato offering.” Nibbles potatoes made their debut at the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit, Oct. 18-19, in Anaheim, California. Attendees experienced the smallest potato in the world as presented by Tasteful Selections and RPE, Inc. About Tasteful Selections Tasteful Selections, LLC is a vertically integrated, family-owned collection of farms pioneering and leading the bite-size potato category. To ensure high standards of quality, flavor and freshness, Tasteful Selections owns and operates the entire process of planting, growing, harvesting and packaging, “field to fork fresh in every bite.”

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Xyler FC Fungicide Receives EPA Registration

Formula protects potatoes from Pythium and pink rot in fertilizer-compatible package Potato growers have a new way to combat Pythium and phytophthora (pink rot) with Xyler FC. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently registered Xyler FC fungicide (metalaxyl), and it becomes the fifth product in Vive Crop Protection’s lineup.

“Metalaxyl is a well-known and trusted chemistry, and now with Xyler FC, farmers can use it in-furrow or foliar mixed with liquid fertilizer, with other chemistries or in all types of water sources,” says Dan Bihlmeyer, vice president of sales and marketing at Vive Crop Protection.

Xyler FC provides the flexibility to be applied in-furrow or foliar.

DELIVERY SYSTEM IN A JUG “It contains Vive’s Allosperse ‘delivery system in a jug,’ which eliminates the need for extra equipment or expensive blending agents,” Bihlmeyer adds.

According to David Pratt, technical sales agronomist at Vive, “We expect most potato growers will use it at plant because the infurrow application is so simple and effective.” “Applying fungicides prior to infection provides the most effective disease management,” Pratt stresses. “In fact, metalaxyl/mefenoxam-based fungicides are considered the first line of defense against soilborne diseases and can have a significant effect on yield and tuber quality.”

Xyler FC controls pythium leak and pink rot in potatoes. When mixed with AZteroid FC 3.3, the combination is the only fertilizercompatible broad spectrum package to control pythium, phytophthora and rhizoctonia. Xyler FC is available for application in the 2020 season. Xyler FC contains the Allosperse

Delivery System—technology that changes how proven active ingredients behave in the spray tank. Farmers and retailers have peace of mind that there will be uniform protection across the field every time, through pivots, with liquid fertilizer or hard water, and when application is delayed by rain or an important family obligation. About Vive Crop Protection Vive makes proven products cutting edge with the Allosperse Delivery System. Allosperse improves the performance of pesticide active ingredients, helping farmers do more with less, while increasing crop quality and yield. Visit www.ViveCrop.com for more information.

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Transferring the Family Farm

Above: With today’s difficult farm economics, it’s challenging for farm owners to bring in new owners, buy out owners, find investors or discover opportunities to start joint ventures and partnerships.

By Patrick Sturz, principal, CliftonLarsonAllen, Eau Claire

we are in the process, is it still the correct goal?

There are common sense retirement lessons that can be adhered to and followed I regularly work in ownership and management structure changes of farms and related businesses. The work often involves discussions to address succession or changes in business structure. With today’s difficult farm economics, it’s challenging to help clients bring in new owners, buy out owners, find investors and discover opportunities to start joint ventures and partnerships. Cash isn’t raining from the sky, so we have to be creative and openminded. In an effort to be efficient when I work with a new client to assist them with one of these transactions, I have learned to emphasize a few key items. ARTICULATE GOALS First off, we begin with the end in mind. We gather the key players and have an honest conversation to make sure we understand the goal. Participants need to agree on what the end product looks like and answer key questions. Who will be involved at the end of the process? What are the needs versus wants? For example, mom and dad want to retire, and they need $10,000 a 46 BC�T December

month after taxes to service debt and for living expenses. Is that reasonable? Making big decisions about the succession of your farm can be both emotional and stressful. It may seem obvious, but transactions can proceed smoothly by focusing on a few key items. How did they determine that number? Can the operation, as it is currently structured, provide that kind of cash flow? If it can’t, we need to adjust the goal. WRITE GOAL DOWN Once we agree on the goal, we need to write it down. In this case, our goal is to have mom and dad receive $10,000 a month for 10 years by transferring ownership to the three sons who will share ownership equally and get paid for their skills based on the value that they bring to the operation. At every following meeting, we need to go around the table with family or those connected to the operation and repeat the goal. Everyone, including the professionals helping facilitate the process, must affirm the goal. Based on where

If not, let’s open the conversation and decide how we will adjust the goal. Once we have confirmed the goal again, we can proceed. I have been in too many transactions where we start the process with a goal, but somewhere in the process the goal gets changed and not everyone is made aware of the change. This leads to conflict, confusion and expense. SET REALISTIC GOALS Setting realistic goals is the next step. The farm or business will only provide a certain amount of cash flow unless you change its structure. If it can’t generate the needed cash flow, can we change the structure or the business to get the cash flow we need? Can you sell some assets to raise cash or reduce debt? Sometimes these are hard questions for a family to realistically address. Your advisor’s role is to ask the tough questions, provide feedback on ideas and help structure the deal to minimize taxes and help provide the best outcome. Reiterate the goals and identify responsibilities. At the end of each


meeting, confirm nothing has changed the goal and recap any decisions made. What are the action items? Who is responsible? When will they complete the task? Schedule the next meeting to keep things moving. IDENTIFY NEXT STEPS These seem like common sense items, but in the middle of the process, it’s easy to get lost and wander into either unrelated areas or secondary concerns. Building the foundation and identifying next steps will help you stay on task and on schedule. Making big decisions about the succession of your business can be both emotional and stressful. CLA’s agribusiness professionals have a deep understanding of what it takes to develop a thorough transition plan that takes into consideration your unique business and how it is positioned in your industry.

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Badger Beat State of the State in Potato Weed Management Current threats and future opportunities in managing weeds for Wisconsin potato production By Jed Colquhoun, professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Every once in a while, it’s

worth stepping back and taking a big picture look at where we’re at and what’s coming for Wisconsin potato production. When it comes to weed management, we’ve had success

this year in gaining new tools, but the near future poses significant challenges. The intent of this article certainly isn’t to cry wolf or paint an overly gloomy picture, but rather to simply provide a realistic gut-check.

The short version: we’ll likely be OK for a while except where herbicideresistant weeds take over, but in the relatively near future, we need to be prepared to make big changes in our weed management practices. After years of research, we’ve been reveling in the rare addition of two new herbicide registrations for Wisconsin potato production in the past year: Sonalan and Zidua. These tools will be extremely useful in controlling problematic weeds such as nightshade and pigweed species. And it’s likely that we’ll see at least a couple more potato herbicides added to the arsenal in the next few years. So why the dark clouds on the horizon? There are several reasons, but for the sake of driving the situation home, let’s focus on the Above: University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture Professor and Extension Specialist Jed Colquhoun gives a presentation on weed management and vine desiccation at the 2019 Hancock Agricultural Research Station Field Day.

48 BC�T December


top three: 1. Herbicide resistance among weeds is out of control. Globally, herbicide resistance has now been documented in 259 weed species and with 23 of 26 herbicide sites of action. (Heap, 2019, www. weedscience.org) This year, University of Illinois colleagues documented waterhemp resistance to the site of action that includes s-metolachlor, the active ingredient in Dual and several other herbicide trade names commonly used in potato and vegetable production. Why is this noteworthy? This is the first time where a broadleaf weed has been found to be resistant to that important herbicide group, and to make matters much worse, waterhemp has now been found to be resistant to seven herbicide sites of action. 2. Weed species that are almost

always found with herbicide resistance have spread at an amazing pace across Wisconsin. Waterhemp is the unfortunate poster child for the spread of herbicide resistant weeds. My colleagues in the UW-Madison Agronomy Department have now found waterhemp in 61 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, with glyphosate and other herbicide resistance traits common across those populations. 3. We haven’t seen a new herbicide site of action since 1988 and that won’t change soon, hence the recycling of some of the first commercial herbicides from the 1940’s, with 2,4-D and dicamba, in herbicide-resistant soybean and other crops to address weed resistance. Even if a new herbicide site of action were to be discovered, it takes at least 10 years and

Waterhemp has spread rapidly across Wisconsin in recent years, now found in at least 61 of 72 counties and often with herbicide resistance.

hundreds of millions of dollars to get from the lab bench to a label, and potatoes won’t be first in line to say the least. continued on pg. 50

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Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 49

Without new herbicides on the way and the potential to lose control with our existing tools, where do we go? Our solutions are going to be vastly different and creative, and hopefully practically integrated into current management programs in smooth transition and without significant economic impact. Our recent work in carrot is a great example, where we were rapidly driven to creative solutions with label changes and restrictions for linuron herbicide use on coarse textured, low organic matter soils. We’re focused on strategies that require few if any additional inputs, including grower time, but instead focus on overemphasizing inherent crop traits that improve competitiveness with weeds. In contrast, most integrated

weed management work to date has included adding inputs, like cultivation, cover crops or more herbicides. So, what traits are valuable in our potato and vegetable crops in terms of competitiveness with weeds? We’re looking for: • Rapid and uniform crop emergence. This not only gives the crop a head start in the race against weeds, but also decreases the time needed to get to a point where post-emergent herbicides and cultivation are less injurious. In our current situation, crops like carrot and potato emerge slowly and rather inconsistently. We’re changing that equation by adding very low doses of natural plant growth regulators that stimulate growth as either seed treatments

or applied to young crop foliage. These plant hormones already occur in all plants; we’re just tweaking them. However, just like my observations of my teenage children, one needs to be cautious about messing with hormones! Recent work in potato by western U.S. colleagues has shown that some of these same plant growth regulators can shift potato tuber set and size distribution. In electrician’s terms, think of it as a three-way switch and not a single pole. Flipping one switch affects others, so we’re working to make sure that we don’t cross the plant’s wires. • Planting timing that not only optimizes yield, but also early crop canopy closure. Each crop has a sweet spot for temperature and

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Or call Jonathon or John E. Bushman: 715-454-6201 50 BC�T December

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photoperiod that enhances earlyseason growth. Our recent work with carrot is a great example. Shifting the planting timing two weeks later enhanced early carrot emergence and growth so much, very few weeds survived, and yield wasn’t compromised compared to earlier plantings. • Planting populations and configurations that lead to earlier canopy closure while maintaining or increasing crop yield. If you could increase your marketable crop yield by 10 to 20 percent without increasing water, fertilizer, pest management, time or other inputs, would you take it? Probably, provided there weren’t significant side effects. We’ve been able to do that in crops like carrot by adding two rows to each bed, in effect filling in areas that are still fertilized, watered and sprayed to get to a competitive closed canopy earlier. Side effects could include increased risk of foliar diseases with less air movement in the canopy, and most significantly, equipment changes for the seeder and harvester. These significant changes will need to be balanced with the need to control herbicide-resistant weeds with fewer tools. We’re right up against that breaking point. • Competitive crop varieties. From the standpoint of added energy and time, it can’t get more efficient than just filling the planter with a more competitive variety that still has suitable end-use characteristics. We’ve evaluated this extensively in potato with varieties dating back to some of the original Russet Burbanks from the late 1800’s to recent introductions.

The general trend was that older varieties tended to have faster developing and more complete plant canopies, likely a result of breeding for many years for higher yield at the cost (intentional or unintentional) of above-ground growth. In related work in carrot, breeders are now doing both—selecting for disease-resistant heavy top growth that outcompetes weeds, as well as for high yield and quality. More recently, this has become a renewed subject of interest of those developing and evaluating potato varieties. Similarly, work is also underway to identify and select traits that naturally resist Colorado potato beetle feeding, such as “sticky” hairs on the potato leaves.

For some, this may seem like quite a shift toward more natural or organic means of pest management that could be less reliable and consistent than current control strategies. The intent of this work isn’t to abandon what’s working, but rather to add to it in a way that makes the season-long management system more resilient and long-lasting. All the tactics outlined above can be utilized alongside traditional herbicide programs for conventional growers. While we’ll certainly face significant challenges with rapidly increasing populations of herbicide-resistant weeds, progressive Wisconsin growers will be able to adopt creative and effective solutions moving forward if we get the kinks worked out now.

❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆

We are grateful for the special people in our lives. May your holidays be filled with peace, happiness and hope. All of us wish each of you a Merry Christmas. ❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆❄❅❆

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800-236-2436

Plover (715) 341-3445 BC�T December 51


NPC News

Executive Committee Meets in Washington, D.C. Cooking demonstration provides a highlight of capital meeting During the last week of October, the National Potato Council Executive Committee met in Washington, D.C. to review the current year and make plans for the upcoming 2020 Potato Expo, Annual Meeting and related activities. The two-day meeting involved a comprehensive review of industry issues, organizational structure and finances. It kicked off with a cooking demonstration in downtown D.C. on Monday evening.

Enjoying a cooking demonstration in the nation’s capital are NPC Executive Committee members, officers and staff, clockwise from top left, Larry Alsum, R.J. Andrus, Jared Balcom, Kam Quarles, Hillary Hutchins (back-left), Mike Wenkel (front) and Hollee Alexander (second from right, back row) and Dominic LaJoie.

Secretary Perdue Announces New Round of Trade Aid On Nov. 7, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the USDA has received authorization to move forward with the second tranche of the second round of Market Facilitation

Program payments. These payments are intended to provide mitigation for export disruptions that have occurred due to various trade disputes.

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52 BC�T December

“We’ll be getting it ready hopefully at the end of this month or early December,” said the Secretary. USDA is making available a total of $14.5 billion in the second round of payments, which will be divided into three tranches; the Department has so far paid out $6.7 billion for 2019 production. The potato industry has received over $5 million from previous rounds of trade mitigation payments. Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) sent a letter to Secretary Perdue on Monday raising several issues with and inequities in the Market Facilitation Program.


Does Irrigated Farming Cool Region? Research shows irrigated farms in the Central Sands have a cooling effect on climate By Eric Hamilton, University of Wisconsin-Madison Communications

New research finds that

irrigated farms within Wisconsin’s vegetable-growing Central Sands region significantly cool the local climate compared to nearby rain-fed farms or forests. Irrigation dropped maximum temperatures by one to three degrees Fahrenheit on average while increasing minimum temperatures up to four degrees compared to nonirrigated farms or forests. In all, irrigated farms experienced a three-to-seven-degree smaller range in daily temperatures compared to other land uses. These effects persisted throughout the year. The results show that the conversion of land to irrigated agriculture can have a significant effect on the regional climate, which in turn can affect plant growth, pest pressure and human health in ways that could be overlooked unless

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An irrigation system waters corn plants growing in a Wisconsin farm field. Image courtesy of Jeff Miller

land uses are accounted for in forecasts and planning. Such a cooling effect mitigates and obscures a global warming trend induced by the accumulation

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of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere. Irrigated farming, like all agriculture, also generates greenhouses gases. The work was led by Mallika Nocco, who recently completed her doctorate through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin (UW)Madison. Nocco worked with Christopher Kucharik of the Nelson Institute and UW-Madison Agronomy Department and Robert Smail from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. PUBLISHED FINDINGS The team published their findings, July 2, in the journal Global Change Biology. “We’re finding that weather forecasts can be wrong if they don’t take these land uses into account,” says Nocco, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. “That will


affect both farmers and plants.� Irrigation, and agriculture generally, cools the air due to the evaporation of water through crop leaves, much like how evaporating sweat cools people. This evaporation also increases the water content of the air. The scientists wanted to determine if the naturally humid Wisconsin climate would respond as strongly to irrigation as drier regions, such as California, do. To find out, Nocco worked with private landowners to install 28 temperature and humidity sensors in a line that crossed through the Central Sands. The 37-mile transect extended from pine plantations in the west and over irrigated farms toward forests in the east. The researchers collected data across 32 months from the beginning of 2014 through the summer of 2016.

Each of the 28 sensors was matched to nearby irrigation levels through a regional well withdrawal database that Smail manages. THREE AND A HALF DEGREES Nocco’s team found that irrigation lowered the maximum daily temperature about 3.5 degrees compared to nearby rainfed farms. Adjacent forests were slightly warmer than either rainfed or irrigated farms. Somewhat surprisingly, the lower maximum temperatures on irrigated farms were accompanied by higher minimum temperatures. Saturated soils can hold more heat than dry soils. When that heat is released at night, it keeps nighttime minimum temperatures somewhat higher. Wet soils may also be darker, helping them absorb more sunlight during the day. continued on pg. 56

The map of the Central Sands region of Wisconsin shows where researchers studied the effects of irrigation on the local climate. A sensor was placed at each pink dot to mark a line across the region as it changed from pine plantations to farms to forests. Map image courtesy of Mallika Nocco and Christopher Kucharik

BC�T December 55


Does Irrigated Farming Cool Region?. . . continued from pg. 55

The researchers found that if all land in the study area were converted to irrigated agriculture, the daily range in temperatures would shrink nearly five degrees on average and up to eight degrees at the high end. This smaller difference between daily maximum and minimum temperatures can significantly affect plant growth or insect pest lifecycles, both of which are sensitive to daily temperatures. “If you’re adjusting the range of temperatures, you’re changing who or what can live in an area,” says Nocco. The temperature differences between irrigated fields and rain-fed fields or forests were pronounced during the growing season, when fields were being irrigated, but extended throughout the year. WINTER TEMPS Open fields of snow reflect more

winter sunlight than forests do, keeping the air above cooler, but it’s not entirely clear what drives winter temperature differences between irrigated and non-irrigated farms.

that concerns me.” The current study is the first to definitively link irrigation in the Midwest to an altered regional climate.

While the cooling effect of irrigation mitigates global climate change on the regional scale, climate models suggest that regional warming attributed to the global trend will eventually overcome the magnitude of mitigation offered by irrigated agriculture.

These results could improve weather and climate forecasts, help farmers plan better and, the researchers hope, better prepare agricultural areas to deal with a warming climate when the irrigation effect is washed out.

Farmers, who are partially buffered for now from more extreme heat, would quickly face increasing stress in that scenario.

“Irrigation is a land use with effects on climate in the Midwest, and we need to account for this in our climate models,” says Nocco.

“Farmers in irrigated regions may experience more abrupt temperature increases that will cause them to have to adapt more quickly than other groups who are already coping with a warming climate,” says Kucharik. “It’s that timeframe in which people have to adapt

This work was supported in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture “Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education” program and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Year-to-Date

CWT

1,631,620.99

1,724,518.33

1,223,827.03

2,489,512.74

7,069,479.09

Assessment

$114,203.25

$125,436.11

$95,267.11

$199,179.55

$534,086.02

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Month

Jul-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

Jan-20

Feb-20

Mar-20

Apr-20

May-20

Jun-20

Year-to-Date

CWT

1,737,634.84

616,558.70

888,994.00

2,231,926.08

5,475,113.62

Assessment

$139,082.75

$42,984.69

$77,501.87

$178,514.78

$438,084.09

56 BC�T December


People

Wisconsinite Wins Syngenta #RootedinAg Contest Tammy Wiedenbeck chose to honor her brother and role model growing up Tammy Wiedenbeck of Lancaster, Wisconsin, is the grand prizewinner of the 2019 Thrive #RootedinAg Contest from Syngenta. The annual competition challenges growers and other ag industry professionals across the country to describe the person who most nourished their agricultural roots. Wiedenbeck, who works as the social media coordinator for the Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association and helps manage her family’s seven-generation farm, chose to honor her brother, Douglas Richard Wiedenbeck. continued on pg. 58

In her grand prize winning essay, Tammy Wiedenbeck (right) of Lancaster, Wisconsin, wrote about how her brother, Douglas Richard Wiedenbeck (left), is a hard worker, full-time agronomy supervisor at the Lancaster Agricultural Research Station, a husband and father of five young children.

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People. . .

continued from pg. 57

In her winning essay, she wrote, “I always said my older brother was my role model growing up. Not only did he set the bar high for me, but he continues to be a role model in agriculture for everyone around him.” Tammy continued, “He’s as close to perfect as a person can get, being a hard worker on the farm, a full-time agronomy supervisor at the Lancaster Agricultural Research Station, and a father and husband to his wife and five young children.” Wiedenbeck’s story resonated with online voters and a panel of judges. Now, after receiving a mini touchscreen tablet alongside two other deserving finalists, she has

also won $500. SPREADING THE WEALTH Additionally, Syngenta will make a $1,000 donation to be divided equally among three organizations in honor of Wiedenbeck’s brother: the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, the Lancaster FFA Alumni and the Grant County Cattlemen’s Association. “I chose these organizations because of the impact they have had on the lives of so many people in my local community, including my brother and me,” she says. Wiedenbeck is the sixth winner of the #RootedinAg Contest. “Every

year, we’re so inspired by the stories our readers tell us,” says Wendell Calhoun, communications manager at Syngenta. “This year was no exception.” “We’re especially proud to recognize Tammy and her older brother, whose lifelong encouragement has helped strengthen her agricultural roots and shape the person she is today,” Calhoun adds. To learn more about the contest or to read other ag news stories, go to www.syngentathrive.com. Join the conversation online by connecting with Syngenta at Syngenta-us.com/ social.

Victor Bula Passes Away Victor Bula died peacefully in his home following a strong battle against acute leukemia. He was born in Antigo, Wisconsin, to Stanley Bula Jr. and Edna (Abrams) Bula. Survivors are daughter, Susan Barbara B. Gundeck; brothers, Gene (Sandy) Bula, Plainfield, and Mark (Patty) Bula; grandchildren, Christopher D. Gundeck, Madison, and Nina J. Gundeck, DeForest; great granddaughter, Addison J. (Christopher) Gundeck; and many nieces, nephews, and great nieces

and nephews. Victor grew up on his family farm on Highway 64 outside of Antigo. The oldest of four children, he learned early the responsibilities of farm life. The potato farming community nearby was at least partly settled by his grandfather, who immigrated from Poland. In high school, Victor played baseball and was afforded the opportunity to go to a Milwaukee Braves game, which he remembered well.

Following high school (class of 1962), he pursued a degree at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-River Falls. Victor passed on stories of friendship and his love of music of that time. While at UW-River Falls, he met Barbara Jeanne Whitnall, and they were married in April 1967. He graduated with a degree in agronomy in March 1967. Following that, he pursued Army leadership courses, traveled to the Washington, D.C. area and Germany.

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.

58 BC�T December


On December 7, 1968, in Frankfurt Germany, Barbara and Victor’s first child was born, a son, John Victor Bula (12-7-1968 to 12-24-2010). In July 1969, Victor was transferred to Company E, 26th Engineer Battalion (combat), American Division in Chu Lai Republic of Vietnam, where he served as a bridge specialist, gaining extensive experience emplacing bridges. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, two overseas bars and The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. With an outstanding knowledge of soil and experience working the land, he went on to blend farming into his work life. While working for Kraft in Antigo, he planted beans, among other crops, and raised hogs. Within a few years of moving to Wautoma, he settled into retirement, enjoying his time visiting his children, brothers, friends and their families. He kept himself active and utilized the library in Wautoma.

SECOND CHILD IS BORN While serving in Vietnam, his second child was born, a daughter, Susan Barbara, December 26, 1969, in Beaver Dam.

Victor devoted over 500 hours of volunteer work with service members at the King Veterans Home. Spending time on his property in Antigo was also a passion of his. He was proud of his extended family and enjoyed Bula family reunions.

Upon returning stateside, he was

He was preceded in death by his

parents, Stanley Bula Jr. and Edna Bula; brother, Jim Bula; son, John Bula; life partner, Sandy Victor Bula LaBelle; and former wife and mother of his children, Barbara J. Whitnall. A special thank you goes out to the staff of the Oncology Department at St. Michaels Hospital in Stevens Point and William Rosenau of the Waushara County Veterans Service Office. Funeral services were held on Saturday, November 16, 2019, in the Stahl Funeral Home, Plainfield, with full military honors following. Burial was in the Antigo Cemetery.

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www.potatoseed.org BC�T December 59


Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

It’s almost that time again.We’re nearly into the

season of Christmas parties and New Year’s resolutions. Since everyone is being reflective, how about we take a trip down memory lane to touch on everything the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) has accomplished in 2019. 2019—A YEAR IN REVIEW Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes: Just like last year, the Auxiliary had over 80 classrooms and thousands of students participate in the Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes program. We visited a few of these schools with the Spudmobile and others were selected to hold harvest parties and celebrate all their hard work in growing potatoes in the classroom. We started our school visits in February with a chilly trip to Lac du Flambeau and finished in Green Bay. We’ve just begun registration for schools wanting to participate in 2020. Scholarship Program: The Auxiliary continued its participation in the scholarship program along with the WPVGA Associate Division. As an organization, we love being able to help students further their education.

Annual Meeting and Banquet: After holding our 2018 annual meeting and banquet in Antigo, the WPGA rotated to the Plover area in 2019, holding the event at Shooter’s.

60 BC�T December

The Spudmobile visited Bannach Elementary School, Nov. 1, 2019, as part of the Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes and harvest parties held throughout the year. Registration for participating schools is already underway for 2020.

After the meeting, we treated everyone to an amazing dinner and loads of raffle prizes. I’m so thankful for each member who was able to attend!

again in 2019. Hunger Task Force helps feed thousands of people throughout the greater Milwaukee area. The Auxiliary is proud to be able to partner with them.

Paint-and-Sip Nights: Like last year, the Auxiliary held paint-and-sip nights to thank members for everything they help accomplish. Check your mailboxes because we might have something new up our sleeves for 2020.

We are short one group of volunteers for the 2020 State Fair baked potato booth. If you are interested in being a group leader, please contact the WPVGA office.

State Fair: The baked potato booth is a staple of the WPGA programs. We use the booth to help fund all the programs listed above, and we changed our group set-up this year. We were able to donate to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee

What’s Coming? Keep your eyes on your mailboxes because we have some fun new initiatives coming in 2020. If you’re not on our mailing list, please call the WPVGA office at 715-623-7683 to be added. Talk with you soon,

Devin


Ali's Kitchen

Potato Salad Sandwiches? Move over tuna and egg salad, these sammies are messy but good!

Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary We are familiar with potato salad as a main course’s most perfect side dish. We have all seen egg and tuna salad sammies, but potato salad sandwiches? I can’t imagine I’m the only one who has never heard of placing potato salad between slices of bread and calling it a sandwich.

But it’s actually a thing, folks! I first learned of the sandwiches from a girlfriend. As a longtime vegetarian, she had been making potato salad sammies for years and insisted that the idea was not as unusual as it might first sound. Turns out she was right. A quick Google search confirmed that people all over the world are feasting on sandwiches stuffed with different cold potato fillings. Stores and bakeries in Japan commonly have both potato salad and mashed potato options, and restaurants in Prague offer a bite-size version to hungry patrons. EXPRESSING ENTHUSIASM I even stumbled upon dozens of blog posts and discussion threads by people in the States shouting their enthusiasm for potato salad sandwiches. Today, I am sharing my take on this unusual (at least in my little corner of the world) sandwich—open-faced and layered with smoky ham, crunchy red onion, fresh tomato, hard-boiled egg and tangy pickle slices.

Ingredients

Recipe makes six open-faced sandwiches:

• 1½ cups potato salad • French bread (cut into six ½-inchthick slices) • 6 ounces thinly sliced ham • 1 tomato (sliced) • 1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced) • 2 hard-boiled large eggs (sliced) • 6 dill pickle slices Optional:

• fresh dill • ground black pepper

continued on pg. 62 BC�T December 61


Ali's Kitchen. . .

Advertisers Index

continued from pg. 61

No real measuring is necessary; you simply add layers of deliciousness on top of toasty French bread. And there is no need to fire up the oven or bring out pots and pans because you’ll use potato salad left over from your Sunday dinner or store bought from your local deli. Unusual or not, this sandwich is so good! I recommend you have a fork and knife handy. As Mr. Carter, a.k.a. my official taste tester, said as he worked his way through the potato salad sandwich in his hand, “Messy but good.” DIRECTIONS Lightly toast the slices of bread. Spread the potato salad on each piece of bread and then layer with ham, tomato, onion, eggs and a slice of pickle.

Sprinkle a bit of dill and black pepper on top of each sandwich. Serve immediately. Enjoy! Find more recipes at www.LifeOnGraniteRidge.com.

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Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative.................................. 33 AgCountry Farm Credit Services... 13 Altmann Construction Company, Inc................................ 48 Baginski Farms Inc........................ 49 Big Iron Equipment....................... 19 Bula Potato Farms, Inc.................. 54 Bushmans’ Inc................................ 3 Bushman’s Riverside Ranch.......... 50 CliftonLarsonAllen........................ 37 Compeer Financial........................ 34 David J. Fleischman Farms............ 21 Fencil Urethane Systems.............. 26 Gallenberg Farms......................... 52 Heartland AG Systems ................. 25 Jay-Mar......................................... 51 John Miller Farms......................... 15 J.W. Mattek & Sons....................... 55 Kartechner Brothers....................... 9 National Potato Council................ 53 Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Inc................................... 36 North Central Irrigation................ 35 Nutrien Ag Solutions.................... 45 Nutrien Ag Solutions Great Lakes................................... 11 Oasis Irrigation............................. 64 R&H Machine, Inc......................... 62 Riesterer & Schnell....................... 44 Roberts Irrigation ......................... 27 Ron’s Refrigeration....................... 28 Rural Mutual Insurance................ 57 Sand County Equipment............... 63 Schroeder Brothers Farms.............. 7 Seidl Farms................................... 30 Sunnydale Farms.......................... 17 Swiderski Equipment...................... 5 ThorPack, LLC............................... 29 T.I.P............................................... 23 Trinity Trailers................................. 2 Vantage North Central.................. 47 Vine Vest North............................ 31 Volm Companies........................... 41 WPVGA Support Our Members.... 58 WSPIA........................................... 59


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2020 Growing Season Preview & Annual Review Issue featuring an Interview with Jeff Suchon, Farm Manager for Bushman's Riverside Ranch, "Stil...

1912_Badger Common'Tater  

2020 Growing Season Preview & Annual Review Issue featuring an Interview with Jeff Suchon, Farm Manager for Bushman's Riverside Ranch, "Stil...

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