March 2020 Badger Common'Tater

Page 1

$22/year | $2/copy | Volume 72 No. 03 | MARCH 2020



Mike Firkus (right) of Firkus Farms poses with his son, Marshall, in front of a pile of Burbank potatoes in storage, February 2020.


MIKE FIRKUS Firkus Farms

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On the Cover: In the potato storage building at Firkus Farms, February

2020, Mike Firkus (right) stands with his son, Marshall, before a Spudnik 150 bin scoop and a large pile of Burbank potatoes. Since the farm, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, was bought in 1992, many of the old buildings have been replaced with new structures, including the potato storage facility, in 1997.

8 BADGER COMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: The 1993 International Harvester 4900 6x6 Firkus Farms truck looks barely broken in, hooked up to a Spudnik 4400 potato bulk bed. Mike Firkus, this issue’s interviewee, who is shown standing in front of the truck, says his farm’s crops include mostly contracted acreage of Burbank potatoes for McCain Foods, some Goldrush for the fresh market, sweet corn, peas, field corn, soybeans, hay and straw.

DEPARTMENTS: ALI'S KITCHEN.................... 69 AUXILIARY NEWS............... 48 BADGER BEAT.................... 49

18 INDUSTRY SHOW WENT OFF WITHOUT A HITCH Attendance was good for 71st Grower Ed Conference


Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association holds 60th Annual Meeting


Yale hosts comprehensive culinary nutrition and potato innovation session

EYES ON ASSOCIATES......... 62 MARK YOUR CALENDAR...... 6 MARKETPLACE................... 54 NEW PRODUCTS.............. 56 NOW NEWS....................... 58


NPC NEWS......................... 68

28 FARMING FOR THE FUTURE Foundation to deepen farmer/consumer connection

PEOPLE.............................. 38

44 BIO-GRO’S HUMIC ACID, micronutrient and fermentation lines produced in state

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

64 ORGANISAN NATURAL stimulants fight pathogenic microbes, insects & nematodes

WPIB FOCUS...................... 57


BC�T March


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

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



Calendar MARCH 9-12 24 26-27 31-4/2

POTATOES USA ANNUAL MEETING The Brown Palace Hotel Denver, CO FOOD SAFETY: OPEN FORUM Smiley’s Bar & Grill Plover, WI WPVGA PROMOTIONS RETREAT Kalahari Resort and Convention Center Wisconsin Dells, WI 60th ANNUAL WPS FARM SHOW Experimental Aircraft Association Grounds Oshkosh, WI

Planting Ideas

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

At top-left is Jessi Ebben, a Republican Party candidate running to represent Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House, a position currently held by 12-term Democrat Ron Kind. The granddaughter of WPVGA Associate Division member, Bob Ebben, of Edward Jones, Jessi announced her candidacy in August. She was given time to speak at lunch on Wednesday, February 5, during the 2020 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

JUNE 16-19 19

JULY 9 14 16 21-23


AUGUST 6-16 28-29


SEPTEMBER 12 29-10/3

ALSUM TATER TROT 5K Alsum Farms & Produce Friesland, WI POTATO BOWL FESTIVAL Grand Forks-East Grand Forks, ND-MN

OCTOBER 15-17 26-27 6

PMA FRESH SUMMIT Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, TX RESEARCH MEETING West Madison Ag Research Station Verona, WI

BC�T March

The future might just be bright for farmers and

farming in Wisconsin, at least according to a couple young people who got up to speak last month at grower-related events in the state.

From Westfield, Jessi comes from a family of farmers, with her grandfather owning Century Farm in the Livingston area. Growing up in agriculture, she worked at Flyte Family Farms, in Coloma, after college. Jessi says no current U.S. representatives sit on the House Agriculture Committee, and she’d like to change that by being our representative in Washington, D.C. In the image at top-right is Candise Miller, executive director of the Farming for the Future Foundation, which was unveiled Monday, February 3, during a dinner for industry professionals, associated businesses and invited guests at the Sky Club in Plover. The Farming for the Future Foundation organization was founded by the Pavelski family of Heartland Farms in Hancock, whose roots in agriculture date back to 1873. The new Farming for the Future Foundation aims to educate consumers on the reality of modern agriculture, transform student agricultural education resources and build a discovery center for hands-on learning. The Wisconsin-based non-profit will deliver a unique blend of in-classroom content and hands-on experiences designed to inspire students and families to appreciate the origins of their food. For more on the Farming for the Future Foundation, see the related feature article in this issue. Yes, the future looks bright for Wisconsin farming, and young people might just be the ones to lead us into a new era of potato and vegetable growing. Please email me with your thoughts and questions. If you wish to be notified when our free online magazine is available monthly, here is the subscriber link:

Joe Kertzman

Managing Editor


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MIKE FIRKUS, farm manager, Firkus Farms

By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

Mike Firkus says he has enjoyed working alongside his dad,

Lonnie, over the last 25-plus years to grow and improve Firkus Farms to the point where it is today.

NAME: Mike Firkus TITLE: Farm manager COMPANY/FARM: Firkus Farms LOCATION: Stevens Point, Wisconsin HOMETOWN: Stevens Point YEARS IN PRESENT POSITION: 20 SCHOOLING: Graduate of Stevens Point Area Senior High School AWARDS/HONORS: McCain Foods “Over 70,000 cwt. [hundredweight] Grower Storage Champion” in 2007, ’09, ’13, ’14, ’16 and ’17, and “Bruise Free” winner in 2005 FAMILY: Wife, Alycia, son, Marshall (10) and daughter, Abby (7) HOBBIES: Hunting, traveling and spending time with family 8

BC�T March

“We have worked hard to consistently improve, year after year, to grow the best crops possible through advancing the farm’s technology, as well as acquiring better equipment to improve efficiency, quality and yield,” Mike, who is the manager of Firkus Farms, says. Crops include mostly contracted acreage of Burbank potatoes for McCain Foods, some Goldrush for the fresh market, sweet corn, peas, field corn, soybeans, hay and straw. Lonnie started farming after high school in the early 1980’s. “At the time, he was also working in town,” Mike says of his father. “He bought our home farm in 1992, which was a dairy farm previously, and eventually quit his job in town to farm full time when he had the opportunity to contract with Ore-Ida.” “Since then, many of the old buildings have been replaced with new structures, including our potato storage in 1997,” Mike adds. “The

farm has changed dramatically since it was purchased in ’92.” Did you always know you wanted to work on the farm, and why or why not? Yes, it’s something that I've always enjoyed for a few reasons. First and foremost, I love that I’m able to work with my family. I also enjoy working outside and the work is never the same day to day. I'm always accomplishing something different. Firkus Farms won the crop year 2017 McCain Foods Champion Potato Grower/Grower Storage Contract Award. And you have won McCain Above: Mike Firkus (top right) poses for a picture with, counter-clockwise from topleft, his wife, Alycia, and their kids Abby and Marshall. The aerial picture was taken from the top of a silo. The Firkus Farms potato shed is shown at right and the equipment shed, left, in September 2019. Mike climbed the silo that day to install a windsock and took a few pictures while he was up there. Corn and soybean storage bins are visible in the background.

Foods awards in the past. To what do you attribute your success and how do you ensure top-quality potatoes? I think it’s a combination of a few things—timing of planting, nutrient applications, irrigation, spray applications, harvest, etc., are all critical. Spoon feeding the crop throughout the year, attention to detail and using quality products are also important. We work with some great people, starting with our top-notch seed supplier, and nutrient and pest advisers that keep us informed of the latest techniques, trials and products. Over the years, we also have been exploring applications of multiple soil health amendments, which I believe has been beneficial. Do you have your own storage, and if so, what capacity and for how long can you store potatoes? Yes, we currently own an 85,000 cwt. (hundredweight) Class A storage. We have held potatoes as late as April in the past. Do you grow cover crops, and what is your rotation? Cover crops are used extensively to improve soil health and reduce erosion, as well as for other environmental benefits. Our typical rotation is potatoes, sweet corn and soybeans, but we are transitioning some fields into a fouryear rotation. What plans are you already making for the 2020 growing season? Present plans include looking at any purchases (seed, fuel, fertilizer, etc.) and which equipment needs upgrades or changes in order to improve efficiency, quality or yield. We are also looking at incorporating new technologies or products. The WPVGA Industry Show has been instrumental at showcasing new and upcoming products. Will you be doing anything differently in 2020 than in past years, and if so, what? Yes, every year we try to improve or advance operations.

This year we are looking to increase acres that are variable-rate planted. I have planted sweet corn this way in the past two years and plan on variable-planting soybeans as well as other crops this year. We expect to variable-rate plant our potato crop in the near future and are eager to see what results that will bring. Do you have your seed purchased and ready? Machinery? Protection and treatment products? Yes, most

Above: A new 6160 Spudnik six-row windrower is used in harvesting Creamer potatoes for The Little Potato Company on Sigourney Farms of Coloma, Wisconsin.

of the main purchases are done, but there are a few equipment purchases that may happen this spring yet if the right opportunity comes along. We are also working on getting some of the planting and other equipment through the shop and ready for spring. continued on pg. 10

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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 9

A dry corner of Burbank potatoes is irrigated on a Firkus Farms field in Plover, Wisconsin, July 2019, using a water winch. In the image at left, Mike Firkus (not visible) sets the water winch to catch the edge of the potatoes.

How has the farm progressed— technologically, acreage-wise, in sustainability or best practices and more—since your dad was interviewed in 2005? So much has changed since 2005. Technologically, agriculture has come a long way in the past 15 years. In 2005, we didn’t use GPS, variable-

rate planting or VRI (variable rate irrigation), variable-rate nutrient applications, Veris mapping for soil moisture holding capacity, soil moisture probes, infrared satellite imagery, drones or yield maps. Now we implement all those things in order to be more efficient and productive.


The acres that we farm have increased since ’05. Over the years, we have purchased land when we’ve had the opportunity. From a sustainability standpoint, we are now GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified and are always looking for ways to become better stewards of the land. Technology has helped tremendously in that regard. Water has become a big issue in recent years and VRI and soil moisture probes have worked well

continued on pg. 12

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Mike Firkus’s kids, Abby (left) and Marshall (right), help their dad bolt blades on a Spudnik 6140 Windrower, October 2018.


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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 10

on our farm to improve water use efficiency. Windbreaks continued to be developed on our farm as well as pollinator habit. Environmental resources need to be protected while at the same time producing the quality product that our customers require. Is growing potatoes and vegetables more or less challenging today than when you first started in the business? I think it’s a little of both. Some things are definitely easier than

they were years ago. Technology like GPS has reduced operator fatigue, allowing you to get more done in a day while being more efficient. Today’s modern equipment has also made life much easier. On the other side, problems like the weather in the past few years, rising expenses, depressed markets and labor shortages have created plenty of challenges. Finding good, qualified and motivated help that wants to do what we do is tough. Very few kids are growing

up around agriculture anymore, so finding young workers interested in farming might be one of the biggest challenges. We are very lucky to have some great family and friends that help us through our busy seasons. What are your roles on the farm? I’m not sure that there really are specific “roles” for people on a family farm. I’m an operator when I need to be, a mechanic when something breaks, an electrician when the lights go out, a plumber when there is a leak and 50 other things in between. I manage the planting, cultivating/ hilling, much of the irrigating/ fertigating and run the harvester and combine in the fall. I also do any fabrication that is needed and take care of locating and purchasing equipment. That is what keeps this line of work interesting.

continued on pg. 14

Above: Mike Firkus says the sunset on the evening of October 26, 2019, was one of the most colorful he’s seen in a long time. Luckily, he caught these images of a John Deere 9660 STS combine during soybean harvest in Plover. The combine head is a Deere 625F. Left: The view is good from the cab of a John Deere 8245 tractor while planting Burbanks using RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) guidance on Firkus Farms, Plover, in April 2019. 12 BC�T March






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Interview. . .

continued from pg. 12

One of our key employees has been with us since the beginning and does the majority of our tillage, so that is one of the few things that I don’t spent a lot of time with. What do you like best about farming in Central Wisconsin? Honestly, what isn't to like? The people, businesses

and community are all great. The Central Sands really is a great area to farm and raise a family. What do you think are your farm’s greatest strengths? I think one of our greatest strengths is that we are hands-on with everything that happens. We personally tend to all

Above: Mike Firkus’s son, Marshall, helps sort Burbanks on the Firkus Farms B sizer in September 2018 (left), and loads out Burbanks (right) with a Spudnik 150 bin scoop at the home storage in February 2020.

aspects of management, allowing us to maintain our customers’ quality needs.


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The sun rises over a Reinke irrigation system and Firkus Farms sweet corn field, near Polonia, in September 2019.

A Spudnik 8060 planter is loaded with Burbank potato seed, and the saddle tanks of an 8245R tractor are filled with liquid fertilizer, April 2017.

We can pay attention to details, and I think that has paid off for us. Do you see the farming operation changing in the future, and if so, how? Yes, we are always looking for ways to change for the better. That

might mean trying new crops, new rotations, different equipment or growing techniques. Ag technology will keep progressing at light speed, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

We will continue to strive for environmental protection and sustainability. What do you hope for in the future? Hopefully, the future brings stronger continued on pg. 16



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BC�T March 15

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 15

markets and less April and October snow and frosts. In the more distant future, like any father, I hope to bring my children into the farm eventually. Marshall has already become a great asset and loves to take on any job given to him. Top: Field corn is harvested on Firkus Farms, October 2018, using a John Deere 9660 STS combine with 608C head. Left: The first Burbanks of the year— September 2015—are unloaded from a then-new Spudnik 4400 box and freshly restored 1993 International 4900 6x6.

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16 BC�T March

Right: Mike Firkus stands in front of a John Deere 9360R tractor and 2623 disk on the home farm in February 2020.



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• Our organization works for you, providing the information you need to make the best decisions and return profitability to your farm. • Enjoy membership access to complete data packages including critical supply and demand usage. • Wisconsin does a wonderful job of marketing and keeping grower returns at a premium. • We offer communications for marketers, which are a crucial tool and a by-product of United of Wisconsin. • The Grower Return Index (GRI) you receive will pay for your dues tenfold. • We hold weekly marketing calls! • Grower-only communication calls provide you with inputs, ideas and opinions. Everyone stays in tune.

Balancing supply with demand generates positive returns. Plan your 2020 plantings wisely!

United Of Wisconsin Thanks Our Grower Members For Their Continued Membership & Support: • Alsum Farms • Coloma Farms • Fenske Farms • Gagas Farms • Gumz Muck Farms

• Hyland Lakes Spuds • Isherwood Co. • J-J Potatoes • J.W. Mattek & Sons • Okray Family Farms

• Plover River Farms Alliance • Schroeder Bros. • Ted Baginski & Sons

• Worzella & Sons • Woyak Farms • Wysocki Produce Farm • Yeska Brothers

UNITED OF WISCONSIN THANKS THE FOLLOWING PARTNERS: Warner & Warner, AMVAC, Vive Crop Protection, Investors Community Bank Compeer Financial, Clifton Larson Allen, BMO Harris

For details on membership & Grower/Marketing calls, Contact Dana Rady, Cooperative Director or 715-623-7683

Attendance was Good for 71st Grower Ed Conference & Industry Show The plans and people came together for a successful exhibit of everything Wisconsin agriculture By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater The well-regarded Grower Education Conference & Industry Show succeeded in its mission of shining a bright light on Wisconsin’s potato and vegetable growing industry and bringing all parties together on February 4-6, 2020, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point. Booth holders reported good traffic and plenty of opportunity

for networking with growers and researchers, spreading word of their companies, latest products, technologies, services and standards. A collaborative effort between the University of Wisconsin (UW) Division of Extension and the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), the 71st Grower Education Conference

Top: Implement dealers brought out the big equipment for the 2020 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show, February 4-6, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Right: The welcoming committee was out in full force for the 2020 Industry Show, including, from left to right, Tim Clark of Stokes Seeds Inc., and Moriah Rataczak and Kalie Christensen of Gumz Farms.





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& Industry Show provided the opportunity to conduct business, forge relationships and discuss relevant issues. More than 400 people registered to take full advantage of researcher presentations and informative 20-03 Badger Common'Tater .5page AD sessions on issues directly affecting

agriculture during the Grower Education Conference. In an age of email, social media and telemarking robocalls, it’s more imperative than ever to meet face-to-face with fellow growers and associated businesses and forge




9:07 AM

continued on pg. 20

Left: As part of the Grower Education Conference, Ken Potrykus, hydrogeologist for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, discussed “Groundwater Quality Surveillance in Wisconsin’s Agricultural Sensitive Regions.” Right: Booth exhibitor Mike Caves proudly displays an award his employer, Pro Fleet Care, bestowed upon him in recognition of his outstanding business accomplishments and “Going the Extra Mile” for the company.

BC�T March 19

71st Grower Ed Conference & Industry Show . . . continued from pg. 19

a path to a successful future.

emerge stronger than ever.

The WPVGA and UW Extension take their responsibilities of putting the right people together seriously. Growers and agriculture companies serving them have persevered and triumphed through weather events, governmental regulations, farm consolidation and public apathy to

THE FOOD PROVIDERS On full display during the Industry Show were technologically advanced equipment and systems to help potato and vegetable growers become more efficient farmers who use less water, fewer inputs and more environmentally friendly practices as the stewards of the land and

A good time was had by all at the 2020 Industry Show, particularly, from left to right, booth holders Tony Grapsas, Tom Grall and Julie Cartwright of Jay-Mar, Inc., Plover, Wisconsin.

The Antigo seed potato growers were well represented at the Industry Show, including, from left to right, Dan Kakes, Roy Gallenberg, Dan Wild, Aaron Kakes and Ryan Fassbender.

20 BC�T March

Left: A Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow, Department of Agronomy, UW-Madison, Elizabeth McNamee tackled the timely topics of irrigation scheduling and precision irrigation to improve water use efficiency in the Central Sands. Right: Kurtis Goman of Flyte Family Farms tosses a beanbag for a chance to win a jacket at the Bushmans’ Inc. booth during the Industry Show, with Mike Gatz (white shirt) manning the booth and refereeing.

food providers.

to put food on the table.

Through the efforts of WPVGA staff members, particularly Executive Assistant Julie Braun and Financial Officer Karen Rasmussen, and the Associate Division Board, crowds seamlessly navigated the aisles of the show floor and populated the educational presentations.

Booth holders included irrigation companies and implement dealers; banks and insurance agencies; the technology sector; fertilizer plants and chemical corporations; credit unions; parts dealers; building and roofing contractors; seed suppliers; crop consultants; equipment manufacturers and more.

The growers are to be commended and admired for always using best practices, experienced techniques and putting in long hours, pushing through planting and harvest seasons

With the aid of the WPVGA Grower Education Planning Committee, Dr. Russell L. Groves, UW-Madison Department of Entomology, put

Left: Ray Grabanski (left) of Progressive Ag Insurance talks shop with Kerry Larson (right) of McCain Foods during the 2020 Industry Show. Right: Something was interesting on Jay Warner’s phone that held the interest of Andy Diercks (blue shirt with back to the camera) of Coloma Farms. Jay represented Warner Packaging at the Industry Show.

together a stellar lineup of researcher presentations on timely topics. Topics ranged from factors influencing insecticide resistance to new potato breeding methods, continued on pg. 22

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BC�T March 21

71st Grower Ed Conference & Industry Show . . . continued from pg. 21

On display at the Grower Ed Conference & Industry Show were potatoes and chips from the UW-Madison Potato Variety & Advanced Selection Evaluation Trial.

precision agriculture, market development, disease management, genome engineering and efforts to promote conservation. Groundwater quality is a hotbutton issue in sensitive agricultural regions, as is pesticide use, irrigation scheduling, soil health, post-harvest disease management and breeding for late blight resistance. GROWER ED PRESENTATIONS To access an index of the 2020 Grower Education Conference proceedings, watch presentations and see poster sessions, as well as those of previous years, visit http:// In its fourth consecutive year, the WPVGA Associate Division’s “Bringing Value to Agriculture” session, Tuesday, February 4, consisted of five 10-minute presentations given by select exhibitors. Exhibitors apply for the opportunity to discuss new technologies, tools, services and approaches their companies offer in agricultural management of potato and vegetable production systems. Attendees anticipate an annual reception, Tuesday evening, hosted

The 2020 Industry Show brought together Dale Nelson (left) of Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems, Art Seidl (center) of Seidl Farms and Dale Bowe (right) of Wisconsin Public Service. 22 BC�T March

by the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association and WPVGA Associate Division. The WPVGA and Associate Division banquet, Wednesday night, has become the premier social event in the Wisconsin potato industry, including a nice social hour, dinner, awards and entertainment. In addition to the annual industry awards, there were drawings for cash prizes, with $1,500 given away, including more than 10 individual cash prizes and a $500 grand prize winner. Banquet attendees were treated to a nice mix of popular

Moderator Larry Binning (left), professor emeritus, UWMadison, hands over the video monitor controls to Dr. Heidi Kaeppler, associate professor, Department of Agronomy, for her presentation on “Genome Engineering/Editing of Potato, Vegetable and Specialty Crops.”

Moriah Rataczak (left) of Gumz Farms engages Mike Baginski (center) and Charlie Husnick (right) of Baginski Farms in conversation during the 2020 Industry Show.

Enjoying lunch on Wednesday, February 5, at the Industry Show are, from left to right, Jordan Lamb, DeWitt, LLP; Nick and Dianne Somers of Plover River Farms; and Jessi Ebben, Republican candidate running for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.

songs by Around Town after the awards ceremony. Our sincere thanks to all sponsors who made the 2020 UW Extension & WPVGA Grower Education Conference & Industry Show possible! For a list of sponsors, see the ad thanking them on page 71. continued on pg. 24

Left: Mallika Nocco, assistant cooperative Extension specialist in soil-plant-water relations at the University of California, Davis, gave a talk on using drones for water and nitrogen management at the Grower Education Conference. Right: From left to right, Dick Thorpe and Sandra and Marty Kolpack make for a colorful trio standing in front of the patriotic ThorPack, LLC booth backdrop.



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71st Grower Ed Conference & Industry Show . . . continued from pg. 23

WPVGA Honors Deserving Members 2020 Industry Awards recognize those who lead by example The WPVGA and Associate Division Awards Banquet is an anticipated and fun way to cap off the Industry Show each year. A nice complement to researcher presentations, the Industry Show and business networking, the Awards Banquet is a way to recognize those who go above and beyond in furthering the causes of the potato and vegetable growing industry. Held the evening of February 5, a social hour with hors d’oeuvres sponsored by McCain Foods was

Cliff and Carole Gagas of Gagas Farms Inc. were named the WPVGA Volunteers of the Year. Carole was president of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Board for six years, and Cliff has been on the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board for many years, including a term as president of the Board. Cliff is also a past board member of the United Potato Growers of Wisconsin. As a member of the Auxiliary, Carole has been volunteering to serve baked potatoes at the Wisconsin State Fair since the mid-1980’s, and Cliff also volunteers when needed. In coordination with the Auxiliary, Cliff and Carole have been running the baked potato booth at the WPS Farm Show, in Oshkosh, since 2008, and have been baking potatoes many years for the annual Spud Bowl in Stevens Point. 24 BC�T March

followed by a nice meal, the Industry Awards and two Hall of Fame inductions. An impressive lineup of awards recipients gratefully accepted their honors followed by the local Stevens Point band, Around Town, providing a mix of popular songs to entertain the crowd. Cash prizes were awarded attendees lucky enough to have their names drawn during the banquet. Following is a list of awards and recipients.

The WPVGA Researcher of the Year Award went to Dr. Paul Bethke, an associate professor in the UW-Madison Department of Horticulture. In 2006, Dr. Bethke joined the potato team in Madison as a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research is focused on how genetics and the environment influence potato tuber quality, especially as it relates to quality out of storage. His group is currently working on projects related to diploid potatoes, the appearance of red skinned potatoes, the formation and consequences of lenticels, aerial imaging, stem-end chip defect and potato virus Y.

The WPVGA Associate Division presented the Associate Division Business Person of the Year Award to Dale Bowe of Wisconsin Public Service. Dale has been an outstanding volunteer for the WPVGA Associate Division for many years, serving two terms on the Associate Division Board of Directors and continuing to serve on the WPVGA Water Task Force and the Spud Bowl Committee. He has helped the WPVGA governmental affairs efforts by volunteering to lobby in Madison as part of the annual Ag Day at the Capitol events, helped the WPVGA Promotions Committee by volunteering at Spudmobile events and does tremendous work each year in helping to coordinate the Oshkosh Farm Show.

A fourth-generation farmer at Seidl Farms, Jeff Fassbender was named WPVGA Young Grower of the Year. He is particularly proud of the farm’s reputation of producing clean, quality seed. Jeff is president of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association Board of Directors, having held many positions, including vice president, secretary/treasurer and promotions chair. He is a member of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association and the SpudPro Committee.

THE 2020 AWARD RECIPIENTS Associate Division Business Person of the Year: Dale Bowe WPVGA Volunteer of the Year: Cliff and Carole Gagas The Agri-Communicator Award for excellence in communication and dedicated service in spreading a positive message about the agricultural industry was presented to the family of the late Jerry Knutson of Oasis Irrigation. They are, from left to right, Dawson, Lindsay, Kathy, Preston and Chase. Jerry was instrumental in helping the potato and vegetable industry pass the recent high capacity well bill into law, testifying at the Wisconsin Senate hearing in Madison, and his testimony was outstanding. He received the most questions from the legislators and had intelligent answers for everything they asked. His effective communication went a long way toward convincing the legislature to pass that bill into law. Jerry had many passions in his life and family was top on the list. He treasured having his three boys working by his side. He married Kathy Jo Wilson on August 13, 1994. Jerry passed away on December 14, 2019, as a result of a snowmobile accident in Michigan. He was a great industry supporter and will be sadly missed. A special WPVGA Industry Appreciation Award was presented to Nick Laudenbach, president of Fencil Urethane Systems. Nick served on the WPVGA Associate Division Board for four years, including two as treasurer. As a member of the Board and as a liaison on the WPVGA Promotions Committee, he has helped plan and volunteered to work at the Associate Division Putt-Tato Open golf outings, the Grower Education Conference & Industry Show and the Hancock Field Days.

2019 WPVGA Board President Wes Meddaugh (left), of Heartland Farms, presented the President’s Award to his lovely wife, Jody Meddaugh, for all her love, support and guidance.

WPVGA Young Grower of the Year: Jeff Fassbender WPVGA Researcher of the Year: Dr. Paul Bethke President’s Award: Jody Meddaugh WPVGA Industry Appreciation Award: Nick Laudenbach Agri-Communicator Award: Jerry Knutson Recognition of out-going WPVGA Associate Division Board Members: Nick Laudenbach Sally Suprise Recognition of out-going WPVGA Board Members: Eric Schroeder Gary Wysocki WPVGA Hall of Fame Induction: Larry Alsum Dick Okray

continued on pg. 26 BC�T March 25

71st Grower Ed Conference & Industry Show . . . continued from pg. 25

Alsum and Okray Enter WPVGA Hall of Fame The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) Hall of Fame honors lifetime achievement in the development of the state’s potato industry. It is the intention of the WPVGA to continue to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the potato industry in Wisconsin by making annual Hall of Fame inductions. The following includes brief biographical sketches of the WPVGA Hall of Fame inductees. Awards were presented at an annual awards banquet, February 5, 2020, held during the WPVGA Grower Education Conference & Industry Show in Stevens Point.

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LAWRENCE ALSUM Lawrence “Larry” Alsum serves as president and CEO of Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc., Friesland, Wisconsin. Larry grew up on his family’s rural Wisconsin dairy farm near Randolph and is the oldest of eight children. After graduating from Randolph High School, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting. In 1981, Larry became the general manager of Alsum Produce, Inc. after his cousin, Glen Alsum, who started the business in 1973, died tragically in a plane crash. This year, Larry will be completing his 39th year as president and CEO of the company. Under Larry’s leadership, Alsum Farms & Produce has grown into an integrated group of companies involved in the production, packaging, marketing and shipping of potatoes and onions, and the wholesale distribution of a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Larry feels privileged to continue his

lower Wisconsin River Valley in Arena and in the Central Sands region in Grand Marsh. Larry values the opportunity to work alongside his two daughters and their dedicated staff of 200 full-time employees.

LEADERSHIP ROLES In addition to his work at Alsum Farms & Produce, Larry has been involved in numerous professional organizations and served in ® leadership roles ® for the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers ® Association (WPVGA), National Potato Council, Potatoes USA and

Larry Alsum was inducted into the WPVGA Hall of Fame, February 5, for his lifelong commitment to the Wisconsin potato industry.

Wisconsin Institute of CPA’s. Larry is a past president of the WPVGA Board, past chairman of the Potatoes USA Board and most recently past president of the National Potato Council.

Larry has also served on the school board, church council, as a Sunday school teacher, volunteer fireman, chamber of commerce and on the Second Harvesters (Madison food bank) advisory committee. Larry’s favorite part about farming is working with great people and developing relationships with customers and suppliers. He also enjoys working in nature and seeing how we can interact to produce food in harmony with our environment and learning how to be good stewards of our soil, water and natural resources. Larry and his wife, Paula, will celebrate 45 years of marriage this

summer. They have been blessed with five children: Tim, Heidi, Wendy, Chad and Noah, and nine grandchildren. Larry enjoys biking, boating, triathlons and travel.

ambassador from the United States, attending several of the World Potato Congress events in locations as far away as China, Scotland and New Zealand.


Okray Family Farms received the National Potato Council’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2016 for outstanding achievement in the area of pesticide risk reduction.

Richard W. “Dick” Okray was born October 24, 1958, in Stevens Point. The son of Joseph and Patricia Okray, he graduated in 1977 from Pacelli High School. In 1981, he taught English in Cali, Colombia, and in 1982, he graduated from UW-Stevens Point with Bachelor of Art degrees in economics and Spanish. He has been employed since 1982 at Okray Family Farms in Plover, growing 7,750 acres of quality row crops in Central Wisconsin, specializing in fresh channel potatoes. His current title and position are president and sales. The national potato industry has benefited greatly from the leadership of Dick Okray. He served on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Potato Board (now known as Potatoes USA) and has served as a potato industry

ACTIVE IN COMMUNITY Active in his community and industry, Dick has served on numerous organizations and boards, including the Wisconsin Migrant Labor Council; Saint Michael’s Foundation; United Potato Growers of Wisconsin and the United Potato Growers of America; Intevation Food Group; and the Edward J. Okray charitable Foundation. Dick served two terms, including one as chairman of the International Committee, for the U.S. Potato Board.

honors, Dick said, “I am honored to know so many great people in the best industry in the world.”

He has also served on the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board since 2015, and currently holds the position of vice president of the WPIB. Last year, he became a board member of the Farming for the Future Foundation.

Dick has been married to his wife, Carol, for 36 years. They have three adult children, Xerxes, Hannah, and Max.

When asked about his awards and

Complete List of WPVGA Hall of Fame Members and Years Inducted 1990

Joseph L. Bushman Ben H. Diercks Myron Mommsen Edward J. Okray John Okray W. James Prosser Lelah Starks James D. Swan Barron G. West Felix Zeloski


Henry M. Darling Robert H. Diercks Melvin E. Luther Albert M. Pavelski Henry L. Woodward


Lawrence Krogwold Michael Patrykus John A. Schoenemann Clarence Worzella Louis E. Wysocki


Champ Bean Tanner Ernest Bushman Melvin Hugo Rominsky Lawrence (Larry) Lapcinski Wayne Brittenham


James Burns, Sr. Myron D. Groskopp James Wencel (J.W.) Mattek Hal Roberts

Though Dick Okray was unable to attend the Awards Banquet, he sent a video expressing his gratitude for being inducted into the WPVGA Hall of Fame. Dick was inducted for his significant impact on the potato industry of Wisconsin.


A.F. (Bill) Hoeft Bennett Katz Eugene Katz Donn “Hokey” West


Charles M. Creuziger Alois (Al) Okray Joseph Jacob Okray Stanley J. Peloquin


Congratulations, Larry Alsum and Dick Okray, on your inductions into the WPVGA Hall of Fame. 2005 (Presented in Feb. 2006) Mike Finnessy Ed Wade Dennis Zeloski

2013 (Presented in Feb. 2014) Myron Soik

2006 (Presented in Feb. 2007) 2014 (Presented in Feb. 2015) Don Kichefski

Robert Helbach

John J. Bushman James G. Milward

2007 (Presented in Feb. 2008) 2015 (Presented in Feb. 2016)


2008 (Presented in Feb. 2009) Robert Guenthner

Dean Kincaid Henry V. Sowinski

Walt Stevenson Victor Anthony Jeffrey Wyman

Charles Cofer

2016 (Presented in Feb. 2017) Donald Hamerski

2001 (Presented in Feb. 2002) 2009 (Presented in Feb. 2010) Richard Pavelski James J. Mattek Francis X. Wysocki

John Landa Robert Stodola

2017 (Presented in Feb. 2018) Nick Somers


2002 (Presented in Feb. 2003) 2010 (Presented in Feb. 2011) 2018 (Presented in Feb. 2019)


2019 (Presented in Feb. 2020) 2003 (Presented in Jan. 2004) 2011 (Presented in Feb. 2012) Larry Alsum

Robert Hougas Anton (Tony) Gallenberg Gerri Okray Howard F. Chilewski Dave Curwen Francis Gilson Emil Perzinski

Larry Binning Peter Wallendal

John H. Schroeder August Winkler

Dr. Keith Kelling

Fred & Kathryne Meyer Howard “Skip” Tenpas

Dick Okray

2004 (Presented in Feb. 2005) 2012 (Presented in Feb. 2013) Jerome Bushman Harold Sargent

Steve Diercks

BC�T March 27

the origins of their food. “Ultimately, we want to help deepen the relationship between farmers and consumers,” says Richard Pavelski, Farming for the Future Foundation’s founder and director. The Farming for the Future Foundation was unveiled Monday, February 3, during a dinner for industry professionals, associated businesses and invited guests at the Sky Club in Plover, Wisconsin.

Farming for the Future Foundation to Deepen the Farmer/Consumer Connection Non-profit to highlight innovation and sustainability of potato, vegetable and crop production As the global population rises and we face pressing environmental challenges, helping people understand agriculture’s crucial role in our future has never been more important. The new Farming for the Future Foundation hopes to do just that,

becoming a world-class resource for current and future generations of consumers. The Wisconsin-based non-profit will deliver a unique blend of inclassroom content and hands-on experiences designed to inspire students and families to appreciate

It was subsequently rolled out to the entire Wisconsin potato and vegetable growing industry at the WPVGA Associate Division Banquet on Wednesday evening, February 5, as part of the Grower Education Conference & Industry Show. ROOTS RUN DEEP The Farming for the Future Foundation organization was founded by the Pavelski family, whose roots in agriculture date back to 1873. “Our family has deep ties to potato and vegetable farming, and we’ve watched agriculture grow into the technologically advanced, sciencedriven industry it is today,” says Pavelski. “Through Farming for the Future Foundation’s efforts, we’ll highlight how agriculture, specifically potato, vegetable and crop production, is providing consumers with nutritious foods in sustainable, exciting new ways,” he remarks. Modern agriculture has extensive benefits, yet there are myths about farming that hold consumers back from truly appreciating the work farmers do. “Today, the food on our table is a point of interest in how we fuel our lives. Consumers want to know how it was grown and where it comes from,” says Candise Miller, the foundation’s executive director.

The new, non-profit Farming for the Future Foundation aims to educate consumers on the reality of modern agriculture, transform student agricultural education resources and build a discovery center for hands-on learning. 28 BC�T March

“It’s our goal to be a pillar of truth for the public,” she adds, “helping them appreciate all the incredible efforts that go into growing the foods they love. We want to get people excited

During the unveiling of the Farming for the Future Foundation, February 3, at the Sky Club in Plover, Wisconsin, Jeremie Pavelski explains why its important to build up a passion in kids about agriculture.

It’s Farming for the Future Foundation’s goal to be a pillar of truth for the public, helping them appreciate all the incredible efforts that go into growing the foods they love.

about agriculture and the direction it’s headed.”

include building a state-of-the-art discovery center.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES The organization’s first initiative is to create more ag-related educational opportunities in schools by developing content that helps students connect more closely with their food and understand the variety

of careers available in agriculture. The foundation will partner with school districts in Central Wisconsin, and eventually other regions, to create lesson plans, programming and activities that weave agriculture education into existing curriculums.

The center will serve as a destination for student field trips, interactive learning experiences, industry conferences, community events and more.

The foundation’s longer-term plans

continued on pg. 30


BC�T March 29

Farming for the Future Foundation . . . continued from pg. 29

Above: One of Farming for the Future Foundation’s goals is to help connect students with agriculture and agricultural career opportunities. Left: “Ultimately, we want to help deepen the relationship between farmers and consumers,” says Richard Pavelski, Farming for the Future Foundation’s founder and director.

Plans for the center are still being finalized, but the site will be strategically located to be a resource for as many students, schools and families as possible. Visit to learn more about

Farming for the Future Foundation’s plans, or contact Candise Miller ( to find out how you can get involved. The Farming for the Future Foundation is a non-profit

organization dedicated to becoming a world-class educational resource for current and future generations of consumers, highlighting agricultural innovation and sustainability specific to potato, vegetable and crop production.

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Seed Piece

WSPIA Celebrates 60 Years at Annual Meeting Seed certification, State Farm and researcher reports take center stage

The Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association (WSPIA) reached

a milestone, holding its 60th Annual Meeting, January 29, at North Star Lanes in Antigo, Wisconsin. It was only fitting, then, that after Dan Kakes, out-going president of the WSPIA Board of Directors, gave opening remarks and thanked the Annual Meeting sponsors, the new head of seed certification was the first to take the stage. Dr. Renee Rioux is the new administrative director of the Wisconsin Speed Potato Certification Program (WSPCP) and an assistant professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She shared certification program updates in insect restrictions,

detections and surveillance, as well as state terminology updates, increased interest in true potato seed and virus management plans. She also outlined future strategies.

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Dr. Rioux’s vision for 2023-2025 includes modernizing seed certification, meeting research needs, focusing on emerging threats such as Dickeya, powdery scab and potato mop top virus, and other strategies like implementation of emerging diagnostics, data, technology and research. Alex Crockford, WSPCP program director, reminded attendees during the 60th Annual Meeting that Wisconsin was one of the first states to do a seed potato grow-out. He also shared an outlook, as well as a budget and State Farm updates. Crockford introduced two new hires

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32 BC�T March

Above: With Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association (WSPIA) Outgoing President Dan Kakes having served his term on the Board, and Jeff Suchon voted on as the newest member, the 2020 WSPIA Board is, from left to right, Roy Gallenberg, Suchon (secretary/treasurer), Matt Mattek, J.D. Schroeder (vice president) and Jeff Fassbender (president).

who are important to certified seed production—Matt Cogger, assistant farm manager at the Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm in Rhinelander, and Cole Lubinski, part-time seed potato inspector and manager of the Langlade Agriculture Research Station in Antigo. DIRECT TUBER TESTING Crockford gave an overview of Wisconsin trends in potato virus readings over the past 25 years, as well as direct tuber testing and virus risk management, gave disease updates and discussed surveillance of the foundation seed program. State Farm Manager Keith Heinzen thanked growers and businesses that got together last year and helped with new tools and equipment, and then discussed the crop, saying it was an excellent growing year. The goal, Heinzen stated, is diseasefree seed, and all second year, or


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People lined up out the door for the 60th Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association, January 29, at North Star Lanes in Antigo, including UW researcher and plant pathologist, Amanda Gevens (right), who was all smiles in anticipation of the event.

“year-two,” seed lots for planting and sale are clean, he noted. He said he and his team have clean seed to plant in the spring and that he’ll be diligent

in making sure the readings remain that way throughout the growing season.

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Clover Spacek, field inspector for the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program, presented a post-harvest report on Hawaii winter test plots. Despite only four of five days without rain while Spacek, Crockford and the team were in Hawaii, potato plants grew well, and though there were some slow-emerging varieties, they caught up. Seventy one percent of lots entered stayed in foundation and 28 percent were “certified only,” with less than 1 percent rejected. She said Lubinski traveled to Hawaii for training, went into the fields, tested 10 varieties and did a tremendous job. Spacek also thanked Baginski Farms for picking up potatoes, moving trailers and other transportation. Chuck Bolte, GPS/NMP (Nutrient Management Planning) manager

Antigo certified seed potato growers, from left to right, Matt Mattek, Dan Kakes, Jeff Fassbender and Charlie Mattek were in attendance at the 60th WSPIA Annual Meeting.

for AgSource Laboratories updated Annual Meeting attendees on Antigo Flats water quality and runoff sampling projects.

Washington State University – Department of Horticulture:


The Department of Horticulture at Washington State University is seeking a candidate who will become a core member of our potato research and extension team in the role of Potato Physiologist. This tenure-track, 12-month faculty position as Assistant or Associate Professor is located on the WSU-Pullman campus and begins during June/July 2020, as negotiated. Responsibilities: Developing a nationally and internationally recognized research program in the general areas of pre- and postharvest physiology of potato, including storage management, variety development, and crop growth and development with the goal of enhancing the productivity and quality of potato; Collaborating with departmental and interdepartmental faculty, university researchers, and USDA ARS scientists, especially those aligned with the Northwest Potato Variety Development Program; Establishing rapport with industry and communicating program results to stakeholders; Seeking and securing extramural research funding; and Contributing to scholarly literature, teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. Required: Ph.D. in horticulture or related plant science discipline at time of hire, evidence of ability to lead and manage a research program focused on potato physiology,

demonstrated record of scholarly accomplishments in basic and applied plant physiology commensurate with career level. (Candidates applying for this position at the associate professor rank must have an equivalent of 6 years of experience in an assistant-rank position or equivalent position(s) with an established record of accomplishments in program leadership, scholarship and extramural funding commensurate with the associate rank). Screening of application materials begins March 9, 2020 open until filled. To apply visit: https://www. Applications must include the following materials: 1) a cover letter of application addressing, in distinct sections, all the required and preferred qualifications for the position (including your areas of expertise and research interests), 2) a statement of vision and goals for the position that describes how your program would serve the needs of the Pacific Northwest potato industry; 3) a current curriculum vitae, 4) electronic copies of graduate program academic transcripts, and 5) names and contact information for four professional references. Reference letters will be requested for the finalists.

For questions about the position contact: Dr. Mark J. Pavek, Chair • Search Committee: 509-335-6861 • For additional information on Washington State University, CAHNRS or the Department of Horticulture, visit, and EEO/AA/ADA

34 BC�T March

Though there was considerable runoff in 2019, of the two monitoring stations, one field had very little runoff and one had more, including phosphorus, but nitrogen levels were low compared to the rest of the state. SOIL HEALTH Bolte’s team looked at soil health and structure and said 31 growers participated in soil sampling as part of the Soil Health Challenge. He explained that the growers discovered a wide range of nutrients and organic matter in the soil when testing for phosphorus, potassium and pH levels. When looking at data, Bolte said there is a wide range of soil properties, structure, texture and moisture. In 2020, his team will install a third edge-of-field monitoring station, and possibly embark in tile line monitoring, weather trends or testing for nitrates in groundwater. Lubinski briefly discussed potato disease and variety trials, insect management systems, herbicide efficacy trials and improvements made to the Langlade Agricultural Research Station since he became

manager, as well as the successful and well-attended Antigo Field Day in July. University of Wisconsin researchers Amanda Gevens and Russ Groves gave disease and insect management

updates, respectively, and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Tamas Houlihan presented his annual report and encouraged members to stay continued on pg. 36

Left: New administrative director of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program (WSPCP), Dr. Renee Rioux shared certification program updates in insect restrictions, detections and surveillance, as well as state terminology updates, increased interest in true potato seed and virus management plans. Right: Chuck Bolte, a GPS and nutrient management planning (NMP) manager for AgSource Laboratories, discussed Antigo Flats water quality and runoff sampling projects.



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BC�T March 35

2/11/20 1:44 PM

Seed Piece . . . continued from pg. 35

informed and actively engaged. Ken Cleveland from Syngenta Crop Protection, premier dinner sponsor for the WSPIA Annual Meeting, was allowed some time to go over new products such as Miravis Prime, a pre-mix fungicide for potatoes, Elatus Fungicide and Agri-Mek SC, a nematode management product. The WSPIA Board held its annual business meeting, including election of officers, one new board member, Jeff Suchon of Bushman’s Riverside Ranch, and the presentation of plaques to the out-going board president, Dan Kakes, for his service on the Board, and dedication and leadership within the Wisconsin certified seed potato industry and program.


Newly elected as president of the WSPIA Board, Jeff Fassbender (left) presented out-going president, Dan Kakes (right), with plaques in appreciation of his service on the Board, and dedication and leadership within the Wisconsin certified seed potato industry and program.

60th Annual Seed Meeting Sponsors Premier Dinner Sponsor: Syngenta Crop Protection Goldrush Sponsors: Bayer CropScience Gowan USA Insight FS Kretz Truck Brokerage LLC Nichino America-Torac Insecticide Nutrien Ag Solutions-Great Lakes Syngenta Crop Protection Volm Companies

36 BC�T March

Silverton Sponsors: Altmann Construction Co., Inc. Bio-Gro, Inc. Roberts Irrigation Company, Inc. Southside Tire Co., Inc. T.I.P., Inc. / Ag Grow Solutions Superior Sponsors AgCountry Farm Credit Services AgSource Laboratories AMVAC Chemicals Corp. BASF

Big Iron Equipment, Inc. BMO Harris Bank Chase Bank CoVantage Credit Union Jay-Mar, Inc. Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Quinlan’s Equipment, Inc. Riesterer & Schnell, Inc. Rural Mutual Insurance Co. – Antigo TH Agri-Chemicals, Inc. Warner & Warner, Inc.

Friday, June 19, 2020 Bass Lake Country Club W10650 Bass Lake Road Deerbrook, WI 54424

Deadline for sponsorship commitments to be included in June Badger Common'Tater: May 8, 2020* DINNER SPONSOR $2,000


• Company name and logo on three 12-foot banners placed in prominent areas including dinner area • Company name and logo in Badger Common'Tater • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event • Registration and dinner for four golfers

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



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

SILVERTON SPONSOR $1,000 • Company name and logo on one 12-foot banner placed in a prominent area on the course • Company name and logo in Badger Common'Tater • Verbal recognition and name on sign at event • Registration and dinner for one golfer

CONTACT KAREN RASMUSSEN for more details (715) 623-7683 Make checks payable to WSPIA *

We WILL accept sponsors after this date.

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

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

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

Since 1998, this tournament raised over $111,000, which was donated to Wisconsin potato research.


Gerald “Bob” Woyak Passes Away He loved helping his sons farm and did so until he couldn’t anymore Gerald “Bob” Woyak, age 85, of rural Plainfield, Wisconsin, passed away early Friday morning, January 24, 2020, at Maple Ridge Assisted Living in Plover. He was born September 25, 1934, in Amherst Junction, the son of Julius and Verna (Dombrowski) Woyak. He married Lynette Zywicki on October 22, 1955. Gerald was a faithful member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Plainfield, and a 4th degree Knight of Columbus. He enjoyed helping people in need and working at the Plainfield Threshermen’s Show. He was passionate about the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and farming. Gerald loved spending time farming with his family, watching the various crops grow each spring, and enjoyed when a successful harvest was completed in the fall. He loved spending time with his family and friends. Gerald’s sons are both farmers and members of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association. They farm separately, but work together, and Gerald was always ready and willing to help. Gary runs Taterland Farms, in

Plainfield, with his wife, Brenda, and Robert and Jennifer Woyak have Woyak Farms in Bancroft. A FARMER AT HEART Gerald suffered from Alzheimer’s for almost 10 years, but he farmed up to 2012, until he was unable to continue. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lynette Woyak, Bancroft; and his children, Gary (Brenda) Woyak, Plainfield, Robert “Bob” (Jennifer) Woyak, Plainfield, Jane (George) Robinson, Plainfield, Carol Beyerl, Stevens Point, Gerilynn Goodwin, Wisconsin Rapids, and Susan (Andy) Besaw, Bancroft. He is also survived by his loving grandchildren, Julie, Jamie, Gina, Chelsea, Jessica, Joshua, Isaac, Courtney, Brittany, Callyn, Nicholas, Megan, Joseph, Bradley and Luke; 20 great grandchildren; sisters, Marcy (Roger) Worzalla, Marlene Woyak and Marge (Carl) Lucht; and further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by daughter, Charlotte Chudej, granddaughter, Whitney Jo, and his siblings, Jerry, Larry, Lenny, George, James and Mary.

Gerald “Bob” Woyak 1934 – 2020

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, in the St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Plainfield. Burial was in the parish cemetery. In lieu of flowers, two memorials have been established in Gerald’s name. Anyone interested in giving anything in his memory can contact the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, 600 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 63792. This is through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Or contact the Knights of Columbus, Saint Paul Church Plainfield, 622 Beach St., Plainfield, WI 54966.

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. 38 BC�T March

Altmann Construction Carpenter Apprentice Wins Award Four of Wisconsin’s top construction apprentices have earned top honors in their respective trades and will represent the state in the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championships (NCC) in Nashville, Tennessee. The four advanced after placing first in their respective trades at the ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition, on Jan. 31, and will now compete against the top craft trainees from around the United States. The Skill Competition, held in West Bend, Wisconsin, included 40 competitors representing four technical colleges in carpentry, electrical, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) and plumbing. The day-long event included a practical competition in the morning and written exam in the afternoon. Here are the 2020 ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition winners: CARPENTRY 1st Place – John Paul Rubenzer, Plover, Altmann Construction Co., Inc., Moraine Park Technical College

HVAC 1st Place – Matthew Danish, Greenville, Van Handel Heating & Cooling, LLC, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College 2nd Place – William Bretsch, Burlington, H.J. Faust, Inc., Gateway Technical College 3rd Place – Jonathan Keyes, Belleville, Dave Jones, Inc., Madison College PLUMBING 1st Place – Caleb Warnke, Oconomowoc, Erspamer Plumbing, Waukesha County Technical College 2nd Place – Kristian Entwistle, Waterford, Water Works Plumbing Co., Waukesha County Technical College 3rd Place – Alexander Sadler, Eagle, Dave Jones, Inc., Waukesha County Technical College “This is a great experience for the competitors who get to measure their skills with those of their fellow

John Paul Rubenzer, who works as a carpenter apprentice for Altmann Construction in Plover, Wisconsin, took 1st Place in the Carpentry category during the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Skill Competition, January 31.

competitors,” says John Mielke, president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. “We’re proud of all the competitors who are passionate about their trades and come out and take advantage of this unique career opportunity.” The National Craft Championships will be held in March. Wisconsin typically produces a medal winner at the national competition in one or more trades. continued on pg. 40

2nd Place – Nicholaus Oelerich, Oshkosh, Northcentral Construction, Moraine Park Technical College 3rd Place – Tony Ehrike, Eau Claire, Royal Construction, Inc., Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College ELECTRICAL 1st Place – Jacob Falk, Richland Center, Miller Electric of Southwest WI, LLC, Madison College 2nd Place – Jesse Mueller, Hubertus, MCR Services, LLC, Moraine Park Technical College 3rd Place – Justin Sinjakovic, Eden, MCR Services, LLC, Moraine Park Technical College BC�T March 39

People. . .

continued from pg. 39

David “Sonny” Sowinski Died Surrounded by Family David Allen “Sonny” Sowinski, age 83, of Sugar Camp, died on February 5, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was born on January 31, 1937, in Sugar Camp to Henry and Evelyn (LaPorte) Sowinski. He married the love of his life, Betty Robinson, on June 17, 1961, and they enjoyed 56 years of marriage. Sonny graduated from Three Lakes High School, in 1957, where he enjoyed playing football and basketball. Sonny’s High School quote was, “My schooling’s really done no harm, but I feel safer on the farm.” Sonny also joined the National Guard where he was a sharpshooter. He was honorably discharged in 1958.

With his father and brother, they worked a dairy and beef farm, logging operation, and then came the potatoes. In 1969, Sowinski Farms, Inc., was founded. The farm expanded its operations to include potato farming in Charleston, Missouri. This is where Sonny and Betty had their second home and enjoyed the many friends they made in Missouri. When Sonny wasn’t farming, who are we kidding, there was farming to do all the time. But when he could, Sonny enjoyed the seasons. He liked to deer hunt during the gun season, unless there was enough ice on the lake to be ice fishing. That was some of the best ice fishing he ever did, during gun season.

David “Sonny” Sowinski 1937 – 2020

VOLUNTEER AND COACH Sonny was a volunteer for the Sugar Camp Youth Club, where he had

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coached his sons’ little league team. He was a longtime member of the St. Kunegunda Catholic Church and was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. Sonny his survived by his five children, Greg (Mary Jo) Sowinski of Sugar Camp, Theresa (Gary) Hamilton of Sugar Camp, Sue Oestreich of Rhinelander, Eve (Jay) Wagler of Rhinelander and John (Brenda) Sowinski of Sugar Camp. He is also survived by his 14 grandchildren, Amy, Jim and Kayla Sowinski, Lacey (Scott) Kimpel, Allen and Eric Hamilton, Josh, Molly and Jacob Wagler, Emily and Macy Sowinski, Christie (Zach) and Marisa Oestreich and Ashley (Josh) Jaeger; and his four great-grandchildren Logan, Gavin, Ayla and Clara Jaeger. Sonny is further survived by his two brothers, Alvin (Shirley) Sowinski and Henry “Butch” (Diane) Sowinski, both of Sugar Camp, his sister, Mary Ann Roberts, of Rhinelander, nieces, nephews and many in-laws. He was preceded in death by his lovely wife, Betty, his parents, a sister, Dorothy (Fred) Cirilli, his brother, Henry John Sowinski, his brotherin-law, Donald Roberts, his nephew, Vincent Sowinski, his fishing buddy, Tom Hansen, as well as another good friend who could always put a smile on his face, Denny Dart, and many great in-laws. A mass of Christian burial was held on Monday, February 10, 2020, at the St. Kunegunda Catholic Church in Sugar Camp. Father Bala Reddy Allam officiated. Interment followed in the St. Kunegunda Catholic Cemetery. Private condolences can be left for the Sowinski family at The Carlson Funeral Home, (715) 369-1414, is serving the Sowinski family. BC�T March 41

Potatoes USA News

Yale University Increases Potato Dishes on Menus

On January 7, 2020, Yale University hosted Potatoes USA for a comprehensive culinary nutrition and potato innovation session. With dozens of dining halls spread across multiple campuses, and roughly 12,000 students to feed, this premier Ivy League school aspires to offer its students top-class nutrition and a superior culinary experience. The event showcased how potatoes can be an integral and nutritious

part of the cuisines, global and plant-forward, that the university is focusing on, thus increasing potato usage on their menus. While on campus, Potatoes USA had the opportunity to educate 40 chefs and cooks, which make up the majority of Yale’s hospitality team. The attendees enjoyed a potato-themed breakfast and four culinary demonstrations, each dish highlighting potatoes in plant-forward

and global cuisine. The favorite dish demonstrated was the Smoky BBQ Burnt End Potatoes. In addition to the group learning about Potatoes USA and the U.S. potato industry, attendees received a complete education around potato types and formats, potato nutrition and global potato innovation. POTATOES AS PERFORMANCE FUEL The group was not only excited to discover how versatile potatoes are in global cuisine, but also pleasantly surprised to hear about potatoes as a performance fuel. The attendees also made their very own potato dishes during the chef workshop, using specific flavors from global cuisines (e.g., India, Latin America/Mexico and South Korea).

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The group prepared some terrific dishes, such as Indian street tacos with purple potato slaw and potato tortillas, and potato bibimbap with potatoes instead of rice. Above: While on the Yale University campus, January 7, 2020, for a comprehensive culinary nutrition and potato innovation session, Potatoes USA educated 40 chefs and cooks on potato-themed breakfasts, plant-forward and global cuisine, and potato types and formats.

Teaching and inspiring the Yale culinary team on how to creatively and effectively prepare potatoes proved to be successful. Yale purchases 182,000 pounds of potatoes per year, and attendees left with more knowledge and an eagerness to use all types of potatoes. The Yale hospitality team was grateful for the experience and is enthusiastic about having the Potatoes USA team back for more education and innovation! Left: The group of chefs prepared some terrific dishes, such as Indian street tacos with purple potato slaw and potato tortillas, and potato bibimbap with potatoes instead of rice. Right: The favorite dish demonstrated at Yale University during a Potatoes USA culinary nutrition and potato innovation session was the Smoky BBQ Burnt End Potatoes. BC�T March 43

Bio-Gro Adds Production Capabilities to Grand Marsh Facility Humic acid, micronutrient and fermentation lines now produced in Wisconsin By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater A manufacturer of more than 130 crop fertility formulations, Bio-Gro, Inc. has increased its ability to supply product to the Midwest by adding production capability to its Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, facility. “We can now manufacture our humic acid products and micronutrient line, as well as produce our fermentation products locally,” says Bruce Andersen, Bio-Gro Midwest sales. “That results in faster reaction to demand than in the past.” The company’s Grand Marsh facility, which has been functioning as a logistics hub since 2006, began production operations in March 2019. “We like being in Grand Marsh because it is close to the Central Sands production area, somewhat 44 BC�T March

central for all Midwest agriculture and near the I-90/I-94 corridor,” Andersen states. With 56,000 square feet of space, liquid storing capacity in the new facility exceeds 180,000 gallons. Bio-Gro produces humic acid formulations (Premium 6, Premium 12 and Premium 21), plant extract fermentations (Premium Bio Net and Bio SB) and a full line of soil and foliar micronutrients. The building is the old Potato World facility. “We initially leased 14,000 square feet for warehouse space, in 2006, and gradually expanded from there,” Andersen says. “Later, we were able to purchase the facility and invest in property upgrades to better fulfill our expansion as required.”

Above: Four Bio-Gro, Inc. employees flying their flags (or at least standing under them) include, from left to right, Craig Irey, Dan Vogelsang, Bruce Andersen and Don Hockerman.

“In the past, all products were produced in Washington, then shipped via rail or semi to Wisconsin,” he informs. INCREASED ROOT MASS The humic acid products blend with liquid fertilizers for more increased nutrient uptake, while Bio-Gro’s plant extract fermentations are made to increase root mass and microbiome optimization. Bio-Gro offers micronutrients for soil and foliar applications. “All these products, when used with a proper strategy,” Andersen explains, “can contribute to great plant efficiency and maximize the yield potential of a crop during the growing season.” Andersen, who worked for WilburEllis from 1994 to 2004, was tasked to design and build the liquid fertilizer facility in Grand Marsh. About 65 percent of Bio-Gro’s Midwest business is in Wisconsin, moving product lines to growers

through the retail channel. The distribution channel includes Winfield United, Allied Cooperative, Nutrien Ag Solutions and Wilbur-Ellis. “We also work with Advanced Ag, an independent dealer in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” he says. Andersen, who grew up on a corn, soybean and hog farm in Northeast Iowa, studied agriculture at Iowa State University. “Upon graduating, a deep desire to fish salmon and spend time on Lake Michigan drew me to take an agronomy position with a cooperative in Southcentral Wisconsin,” he explains.

The Bio-Gro production area and storage warehouse is shown in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin.

DIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE “That is when I discovered the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture and the amazing challenge of growing potatoes and other vegetable crops,” Andersen relates. He says the parameters of success with potatoes have many challenges compared to corn and soybeans, with the crop responding to different inputs in a dynamic way. After four years with the cooperative, Andersen changed gears to work for an independently owned company that was more in tune with specialty markets.

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His first responsibility with WilburEllis was to develop a market territory in the southern Central Sands. Andersen’s follow-up assignment was to design and oversee construction of a liquid fertilizer facility with the ability to custom blend fertilizers. Those fertilizers were designed with specific nutritional goals for crops and varying requirements throughout the growing season. One key focus was to dial in on emerging micronutrient technology. “It is standard today, but back then it was pretty innovative to be able to deliver liquid NPK [nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium] and continued on pg. 46


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Bio-Gro Adds Production Capabilities to Grand Marsh Facility. . . continued from pg. 45

sulfur with zinc, manganese, copper and boron,” Andersen says. “We were innovative in introducing cobalt, molybdenum, nickel and other compounds, and wrapped it all with humic and fulvic acids for a complete package focused on

availability and timing,” he adds. This is when Andersen first met Peter Aleman, owner of Bio-Gro, Inc. and an industry leader in nutrients and humic acid technologies. ENHANCED POTATO YIELDS Andersen believes that the

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relationship with Bio-Gro and the introduction of these developing technologies enhanced the yield potentials of potato production in Wisconsin. He took a two-year break, though, from agriculture after the events of September 11, 2001. Andersen had joined the Iowa National Guard in 1986 and continued to serve in the Army Reserve. His Strategic Intelligence Detachment was mobilized, sending Andersen to Virginia to staff intelligence requirements at a small agency. Further requirements saw him get pulled by the Defense Intelligence Agency to support the POW/ MIA Analytic Team in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After the invasion of Iraq in early 2003, that team asked him to deploy to Iraq to help determine the whereabouts of an American pilot who had been missing since January of 1991. “I returned to Wisconsin in January of 2004,” Andersen says, “very happy to be back and with a fresh outlook on life.” With the market dynamics changing, he took a position to pursue the yield Above: Some of the equipment used to manufacture formulations in Grand Marsh includes production reactors.

enhancing potential of humic acid innovation that Bio-Gro continued to develop. The products kept evolving with better quality and more diverse activity within the root-soil interaction. “We did not realize it then, but Bio-Gro was on the leading edge of making bio-stimulants and root microbiome discussions a normal part of mainstream agriculture discussions,” he says. “Although my core responsibility was to market Bio-Gro products, I invested a lot of time managing logistics,” Andersen relates. ACROSS STATE BORDERS The volumes increased every year, as well as the market footprint. Relationships with growers and retailers expanded across state borders to Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

hilling rush,” Andersen relates. “With the new addition, we now have the capability to manufacture our humic acid and specialty fertility products in Wisconsin and have heated storage capacity for bulk loads,” he says. “It sounds like a lot of capacity, but we can empty the warehouse in a couple days during peak demand.”

“We start shipping product as early as December for Florida production, then Texas, Georgia and the Carolinas,” he details. “As the warm weather moves north, customer planting operations do the same, ending sometime in June in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.” The Bio-Gro humic acid product line differs from traditional fertility inputs in that it needs to be stored above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. “With that, we need bulk indoor storage, which is prime real estate in the Midwest, so we have to ramp up our own storage inventory to be ready for our customers’ needs during the Midwest planting and

Andersen continued to serve in the Army Reserve for a total of 32 years. His last job was as operations officer for a logistics command, responsible for planning and executing requirements for more than 60 units in five states, fulfilling logistical requirements worldwide.

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With all this growth, the need arose to shorten the length of the logistical tail. To fulfill that requirement, Bio-Gro owner Peter Aleman made the commitment to invest in manufacturing capabilities in Wisconsin. Starting in the fall of 2018, Andersen was again tasked with building a facility to meet the growing requirements of emerging technology.

Department of Agriculture to ensure all environmental and regulatory standards were met or exceeded during design and construction.

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Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

If we listen to Punxsutawney Phil,

spring should be here soon. This winter has gifted us with mild temperatures, but since it started so early, it feels like the season has lasted years instead of months. However, the idea that spring is just around the corner is what keeps me going. One part of spring that I absolutely love is visiting classrooms participating in the Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes program. Students have spent time over the past few months learning all about potatoes, including how to plant them and what they need in order to grow. After multiple visits to participating schools, I realized that one of the parts I enjoy most is seeing the joy and pride these kids have over their plants. It is the same joy I see on my husband’s face when he is looking at a field of his crops growing. In our day and age, so many children can’t tell you where their food comes from before it reaches the grocery store. In fact, many kids believe that all food is made at the grocery store. They don’t realize a raw potato can be made into hash browns, French fries and potato chips. With less than 2 percent of the population growing all that feeds our country, it makes sense why children don’t know how their food gets to their plates. They are simply too many generations removed from a family that farms. So, we aim to close that gap. 48 BC�T March

The Spudmobile visited the Hurley, Wisconsin, School District in October 2019. A part of spring that the author absolutely loves is visiting classrooms participating in the Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes program.

The Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes program is built to teach at a 4thgrade level, but it can be easily modified for other grades. We’ve had everyone from pre-kindergarten to high school classes and afterschool programs participate. PLANTED & PROSPERING At this point of year, the classes received their potatoes and have hopefully been growing them for a few weeks. We provide directions on cutting seed, planting it, assisting the process with a grow light and watering and feeding the potatoes. Over the past few years, I’ve seen potatoes grown in everything from canvas bags to fish tanks and coffee and garbage cans. I love seeing how creative people can be! Over the next few months, we will be reaching out for volunteers to participate in school visits with the

Spudmobile and conduct harvest parties. We choose between four and eight schools that have made requests for a Spudmobile visit or harvest party. Even though just a few classes participate, the entire school gets to come and visit the Spudmobile. We do this so that we can positively impact even more students. If you have a few hours in your schedule and a desire to give back, please reach out to us at 715-6237683 and let us know you’d love to volunteer for the Kids Dig Wisconsin Potatoes program. We are aiming to hit all corners of the state, so it is possible that we might end up in your backyard! Until next time,


Badger Beat

Predicting Risk for Transmission of Potato Virus Y

nasturtii), Green Peach Aphid (Myzus persicae) and Potato Aphid (Macrosiphum euphorbiae). Transmission by potato colonizing aphids is greatly reduced by at-plant, systemic insecticides.

Elevated PVY levels result in loss of yield and poor raw product quality for processing and table stock

Excellent resources illustrating these aphid species can be found at the Management of Potato Tuber Necrotic Viruses website (https://; Cornell University; and via an associated USDA NIFA SCRI project involving many researchers across the United States, entitled “Biological and economic impacts of emerging tuber necrotic viruses and the development of comprehensive and sustainable management practices.”

By Russell L. Groves, Benjamin Bradford and Emily Duerr, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Entomology

It’s a continuous problem. High levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) continue to account for most of the rejections and downgrades of seed potato lots from certification programs.

Elevated infection levels also result in direct loss in yield and raw product quality for both processing and table stock. Resulting seed shortages result in growers sourcing seed from locations where certification standards may be less stringent. GLOSSARY OF PVY TRANSMISSION Colonizing aphids. Potato virus Y can be spread by many species of

aphids, including those that colonize and develop on potato, and these can include Buckthorn Aphid (Aphis

Non-colonizing, transient aphids. The virus can also be spread by many continued on pg. 50



BC�T March 49

Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 49

Species Name

Common Name

Aphis glycines Rhopalosiphum padi Myzus persicae Acyrthosiphon pisum Rhopalosiphum maidis Macrosiphum euphorbiae Capitophorus elaeagni Aphis craccivora Sitobion avenae

Soybean aphid Bird cherry-oat aphid Green peach aphid Pea aphid Corn leaf aphid Potato aphid Artichoke aphid Cowpea aphid English grain aphid

Transmission Efficiency 44.5% 6.7% 46% 10.5% 2% 28% 2% 4% 1%

Mean Annual WI Captures 2,400 1,526 71 187 896 25 199 83 88

Computed Risk Rank 1,067.84 103.73 32.61 19.67 17.91 7.06 3.99 3.32 0.88

Table 1: The comparison shows computed risk rankings for selected aphid species commonly captured in Wisconsin suction traps and capable of transmitting PVY.

species of aphids that do not colonize potato and only intermittently disperse, or migrate, through potato looking for a more suitable host. During discrete times of year, winged aphids will disperse from their

summer hosts and become active and mobile, randomly landing on plants in search of a suitable host. In Wisconsin, some of the most abundant, non-potato colonizing species include grain aphids such


PRAIRIE STAR RANCH INC. TUESDAY, MARCH 24th on the Real Estate & Personal Property of

5430 Monroe Avenue, Plover, WI 54467 * 715-459-1820 (Nathan)

Starting at 10:00 a.m. Lunch Wagon on Grounds LOCATED: Approx. 2 miles West of Plover on State Hwy 54 to Monroe Ave, then South on Monroe Ave approx. 1-1/2 miles to the site. Watch for Auction signs. THE BUILDINGS AND APPROX. 3.2 ACRES OF LAND located at 5430 Monroe Ave, in Sec 1 T22N-R7E, Town of Plover, Portage County, consisting of a 54’x64’ commodity storage; 45’x120’ pole shed; 45’x104’ two bin; 45’x120’ two bin; 80’x120’ three bin; 60’x96’ grading shed; 56’x84’ cold storage. These buildings could be used for potato storage or machinery storage. Most of them have new roofs. REAL ESTATE TERMS: Seller shall have seven (7) days to accept or reject bids on the real estate. Buyers will be expected to put down ten percent (10%) of the high bid on the day of sale with the balance due at closing in sixty (60) days. Offers will be written as cash offers not subject to financing, and the transactions will be closed by a title company to guarantee clear title. Taxes will be prorated to the day of closing. * TRACTORS * FIELD EQUIPMENT * FORAGE EQUIPMENT * WAREHOUSE EQUIPMENT * * POTATO EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES * MISC. EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES * * LIGHT TRUCKS * HEAVY TRUCKS * TRAILERS * * MANY SMALL ITEMS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION * ONLINE BIDDING: LIVE ONLINE BIDDING on the machinery will be available at Click the Proxibid logo on our website home page for easy access. Sale clerked by Nolan Auction, Inc. Regular auction terms - cash or personal check. Everything sold as is, where is. No Warranties. SALE CONduCTEd By:


P.O. Box 486, Marion, WI 54950 * (715) 754-5221 or toll-free 1-800-472-0290 Tim Nolan & Gerald “Sonny” Nolan, Reg. WI Auctioneers, Lic. #165 & #142 Visit our website at for complete list and photos. 50 BC�T March

as Soybean Aphid (A. glycines), Bird Cherry-Oat Aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi), Corn Leaf Aphid (R. maidis), Pea Aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) and many more. Aphid collection data obtained from the Midwest Aphid Suction Trap Network (https://suctiontrapnetwork. org/about/) illustrate over1/3 200 Page unique species of dispersing aphids in the Upper Midwest region, most2020 March of which would be classified as nonpotato colonizing species. Even though you may be scouting fields regularly for aphids, it is very unlikely you will see non-potato colonizing aphids on your potato plants, as most of them only alight to “taste test” the potato plant and then move on shortly after a few probing events. Here again, representative images of several non-potato colonizing aphid species can be found at the Management of Potato Tuber Necrotic Viruses web page. Non-persistent transmission. Shortly after landing, and while in search of a suitable host, aphids perform several brief probes into leaf tissue using their piercing/sucking mouthparts to determine host plant suitability. If the plant happens to be infected

with PVY, virus particles will be ingested and adhere to the mouthparts (stylets) of the probing aphid. If the aphid determines it is not on a suitable host, it will again move in search of an appropriate host plant, carrying the virus particles on its mouthparts. On the next (potential) host plant, the aphid will again begin probing, and during the process of salivation, it will inoculate the new plant with the virus particles it has been carrying. Transmission of the virus in this way is classified as non-persistent and suggests that the aphid can acquire and inoculate the virus into a new host in a matter of seconds. The virus will not persist within the aphid stylets for longer than one to two additional probing events. Transmission efficiency. Different aphid species vary in the efficiency

with which they can acquire and subsequently inoculate PVY into a susceptible potato, and this is collectively termed “transmission efficiency.” The potato colonizing species are generally regarded as having greater estimated transmission efficiencies, whereas the non-colonizing aphid species reportedly have lower estimated transmission efficiencies. Estimates of transmission efficiency, combined with mean annual abundance estimates for each species, have been used to generate an adjusted risk ranking for selected species (Table 1). Long distant migration. We have just learned that PVY can be acquired and inoculated by aphids within seconds following very brief probing events. Also consider that many non-potato colonizing aphids (e.g. grain aphids particularly) can disperse over long distances, while others can move in

from non-crop (weedy) species in the surrounding landscape. Dispersal of winged grain aphids in agricultural settings can be influenced by human-induced field activities, including forage and grain harvesting, cultivation and pesticide applications, as well as biological phenomena including crop maturation and senescence. Knowledge of the magnitude and timing of aphid flights can be critical factors when considering virus management. Specifically, the transmission of nonpersistent PVY will not be stopped by simple insecticide treatments applied to potato, as the timeframe over which PVY acquisition and inoculation takes place is far too quick for insecticides to work on these transient insects. continued on pg. 52

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Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 51

MANAGING PVY SPREAD As noted, insecticides have almost no effect on preventing PVY inoculation of plants by non-potato colonizing aphid species that are migrating into and transmitting the virus through susceptible potato. At-plant, systemic insecticides can, however, help to reduce populations of potato-colonizing species, and this can provide some relief from virus spread in the current season. Foliar applications of paraffinic oils have previously been shown to modify the feeding behaviors of nonpotato colonizing, migrating aphids alighting onto the potato canopy. Specifically, these investigations have revealed that aphids are discouraged from probing on leaves that possess residues of these oil compounds, resulting in limited inoculation attempts.

Figure 1: The aggregate Potato virus Y risk index is computed by cumulative degree-days, combining important aphid vector species in Wisconsin.

A portion of our applied research program has investigated the value of these paraffinic oils in limiting non-persistent PVY transmission by (1) determining the periods of greatest risk for aphid movement and

transmission; and (2) experimenting to evaluate the timing and coverage of these different oil-containing compounds. Of principal interest to potato seed growers in Wisconsin is the

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prevention of PVY in seed potato lots.

counts for each species.

TRANSMISSION REDUCTION Reductions in PVY transmission can be achieved, in part, by the timely application of paraffinic oils, which discourage aphids from probing leaf tissues in search of their preferred host and inadvertently transmitting the virus.

The counts are then summed for individual aphid species, or collections of species presumed to account for the majority of PVY transmission, into a single model illustrating the aggregate risk values.

The Upper Midwest Aphid Suction Trap Network has generated a wealth of data now available after almost 15 years of operation. The data enabled us to model the flight patterns for many species captured by these traps. Species-specific, predictive models have been aligned to cumulative degree-days (base 39 degrees Fahrenheit) to account for site-to-site and annual climatic variations. We have taken these species-specific models and incorporated published PVY transmission efficiency values (Table 1) to compute risk-adjusted

When taken together, these aggregate values can be modeled to better define a predicted risk window in Wisconsin for the transmission of PVY (Figure 1). The model output is a curve where the primary rising segment indicates the start, midpoint and end of the predicted “risk interval” (flight event for a combination of important vector species) or the risk window for the aggregate PVY risk model. This model incorporates all potential PVY aphid vectors and is more useful than flight models generated for any one species. Based on the model illustrated, the

PVY risk window begins around 1,967 degree-days (base 39 degrees), peaks around 2,473 degree-days and ends around 3,228 degree-days. Any method for obtaining degree-day data for your location will work (such as a personal weather station). In Wisconsin, we often use the Online Phenology and Degree-Day Models for Agricultural and Pest Management Decision Making in the United States (http://uspest. org/cgi-bin/; or the Wisconsin Vegetable Disease and Insect Forecasting Network (https:// for the computation of degree-days at a specific site. Be certain to select your nearest weather station and input the correct degree-day model parameters (base 39 degrees) to determine the number of degree-days accumulated in a growing season relative to the computed risk interval.

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By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions and Consumer Education

WPVGA Dietitian is Ambassador of the Year Sarah Agena takes home Portage County Business Council Award Energetic, entrepreneurial and positive are just a few words that come to mind for Sarah Agena, who was recently recognized as the Portage County Business Council’s Ambassador of the Year. A registered dietitian, Agena is the owner of Flexible Nutrition Solutions in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Within her nutrition program, there is no cookie-cutter approach to finding balance in life. Instead, Agena assists her clients on how to live their best life starting with nutrition that best fits each one individually. Services at her business include counseling, weight management groups, seminars and online tracking. But her expertise extends well beyond the Flexible Nutrition Solutions building located on Windy Drive in Stevens Point. About four years ago, Agena participated in a Wisconsin Ag Farm Tour and struck up a conversation with Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable 54 BC�T March

Growers Association (WPVGA) Executive Director Tamas Houlihan. It didn’t take long after that conversation for the WPVGA Promotions Committee to see the value in contracting with Agena to offer some credibility and help in showcasing the nutritional benefits of Wisconsin potatoes to consumers. That partnership is now three years running and has been a true asset to the Wisconsin potato industry. CROSS-PROMOTING A consulting dietitian for the Wisconsin Beef Council as well, Agena has assisted with many crosspromotional opportunities between the two commodities, including a shared booth at the Wisconsin Society for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health and Rehabilitation (WISCPHR) Conference held annually in April. The WISCPHR Conference welcomes more than 150 health care experts, including physicians, dietitians and

physiologists, to name a few. Thanks to Agena and WPVGA’s involvement, such professionals can learn the truth about Wisconsin potato nutrition and the benefits of complex carbohydrates in powering performance in athletes. Besides cross-promotional opportunities and conferences, Agena has also been instrumental in television appearances at stations across the state on behalf of the WPVGA. With regularly scheduled segments on WSAW in Wausau and WEAU of Eau Above: Flanked by Wisconsin Sen. Patrick Testin (left) and Rep. Katrina Shankland (right), the Portage County Business Council Annual Dinner Awards recipients are, from left to right, Alan and Debra Marten of Marten Machining (Decree of Excellence Award); WPVGA Dietitian Sarah Agena of Flexible Nutrition Solutions (Ambassador of the Year); Tori Rogoski of the Dance Education Center (Small Business of the Year); and Ward Wolff of First Weber (President’s Award winner).

Claire, Agena prepares and features a different potato recipe for each segment and educates viewers on how to make the dish at home. The segments are inspirational links to home kitchens, encouraging further creativity and innovation for family dinners, snacks, recipes beneficial for athletes, sweet rewards and more! She has also shared these segments along with nutritional information and other positive points about Wisconsin potatoes across WPVGA’s social media platforms. POTATO SAMPLINGS In addition, Agena has organized Wisconsin potato samplings at retail stores and helped at Spudmobile events.

online edition attributed Agena as being “honored for her dedication to community outreach and participation in activities that promote the mission of the PCBC.’” Also quoted in the online article is PCBC’s Director of Programs and Events Karen Myers, who says, “Sarah’s enthusiasm and dedication toward volunteering for the Business Council is outstanding. She is a patient, compassionate and humble leader who is continually an example to others and never seeks recognition for her efforts.” Agena says she appreciates working with the Wisconsin potato industry and showcasing all the great things farmers are doing to provide food on peoples’ plates.

A true leader in her own right, Agena received the Ambassador of the Year award at the 2020 Portage County Business Council’s (PCBC) Annual Dinner, January 29.

WPVGA dietitian Sarah Agena strikes a fun pose with the plaques she won from the Portage County Business Council (in her right hand) and from the State of Wisconsin recognizing her business acumen and accomplishments.

“I’ve really enjoyed representing the WPVGA and its growers as their dietitian,” says Agena, “and teaching consumers about Wisconsin potatoes.”

someone who, through her efforts, is helping to ensure that the younger generations of today become the agricultural ambassadors of tomorrow.

An article in Portage County Gazette’s

It’s a well-deserved award for

Congratulations, Sarah!


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BC�T March 55

New Products

Certis USA Now Distributes Requiem Prime New insecticide effectively controls thrips, whiteflies, aphids and mites Growers who have come to rely on the consistent performance of Requiem® insecticide products to control sucking pests across several crops will now benefit from distribution of the latest product— Requiem® Prime—through Certis USA, a leading manufacturer and distributor of biopesticide products. Requiem products, developed in the mid-2000’s, have been distributed by Bayer, and have become an important tool for effective control of thrips, whiteflies, aphids and mites in citrus and other specialty crops. As part of an ongoing collaboration between the two companies, sales and distribution of Requiem Prime has now moved under the Certis USA

umbrella of biopesticide products. “Because of its low-risk status and the numerous benefits that growers receive from incorporating it with their overall control plan, Requiem Prime is an ideal fit for the portfolio of biopesticides offered by Certis USA,” says Mike Allan, Certis USA vice president, North America. “In addition to Requiem Prime, the bionematicide MeloCon WG is another biological product from Bayer that Certis USA is proud to distribute across the United States,” Allan adds. Certis USA will offer Requiem Prime

Wallendal Farms Complete Liquidation Real Estate Auction Grand Marsh – Adams County WI

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MACHINERY AUCTION TUESDAY MARCH 31st Call Gavin Bros. (WRAC #274) • (608) 524-6416 or visit for a brochure & complete details.

56 BC�T March

to customers in all U.S. states (except New York) for all label uses. LOW-RISK INSECTICIDE Requiem Prime is considered a lowrisk insecticide because of its reduced toxicity to mammalian and non-target organisms. An emulsifiable concentrate formulation, Requiem Prime insecticide is powered by a unique blend of terpenes originally discovered in an insecticidal plant. This active ingredient is attracted to the oily outer surfaces of target pests and works against all life-cycle stages. Perhaps the greatest asset Requiem Prime provides, though, is the value of its unique mode of action as an important tool for resistance management, making this biological insecticide a powerful ally alongside chemistries that may face resistance issues. Furthermore, biological solutions like Requiem Prime help growers manage the diverse residue requirements of the global food value chain. Growers who use Requiem Prime find great benefit in the product’s flexibility. The insecticide can be used in spray

programs alone or in combination with other crop protection products, improving the sustainability of agriculture. With flexible use rates and application timing, producers are not hindered by long re-entry intervals or any pre-harvest interval.

Certis USA products provide valuable solutions by meeting the challenges faced by today’s growers.

About Certis USA Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Certis USA is a leading manufacturer and distributor of a broad line of biopesticide products for specialty agricultural and horticultural markets and the home and garden market.

For more information about Certis USA, visit and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

Fecon Introduces Low Flow Mulcher Head

With 22 carbide cutting tools, it can cut limbs and brush up to 4 inches in diameter Fecon introduces a new low-flow mulcher head that is ideal for use with most standard skid steer loaders, Avant-type wheel loaders and other carriers that are able to provide 17-27 gallons per minute of hydraulic flow, have enclosed cabs that can be properly protected with the appropriate polycarbonate guarding and have the ability to carry the 1,300-pound attachment. The new mulcher head features 22 knife or carbide-type cutting tools and has a 50-inch working width. Operating from 2,400 to 3,600 rpm (revolutions per minute), it can shred brush and small trees up to 4 inches in diameter. The mulcher head is an excellent tool for rental fleets as well as landscapers, arborists, farmers, ranchers, landowners/property managers, parks and recreational

facilities, municipalities, Christmas tree farms and others tasked with managing brush and vegetation. LONG SERVICE LIFE Weighing just 1,300 pounds with mounting plate and push bar, this new mulcher head is easily handled by the carrier, yet stout enough to provide a long service life. Overall width is approximately 60 inches with a cutting width of 50 inches, overall height is 52 inches and depth measures 33 inches. It is adaptable with varying mounting plates to fit several types of carriers. Established in 1992 near Cincinnati, Fecon manufactures the Bull Hog®, the number one selling forestry mulcher. The company also manufactures tracked carriers and tractors, as well as a full range of attachments and other equipment for vegetation management.

Fecon products are sold through equipment dealers and distributors worldwide. For more information on Fecon products, contact Courtney Haag at 513-696-4430, or via e-mail at, or visit them online at

WPIB Focus

Wisconsin Potato Assessment Collections: Two-Year Comparison
































































$1,045,204.01 BC�T March 57

Now News

Volm Partner Acquires Solidtec BV Merger gives customers access to packaging and end-of-line solutions Volm Companies, Inc., an industry leader in providing the highest quality packaging and equipment solutions to the fresh produce industry, has announced that its partner, Manter International B.V. of Emmen, Netherlands, has acquired shares of Solidtec BV. Solidtec, of Dronten, Netherlands, has been manufacturing gantry-style palletizing systems for fresh produce and other markets since 1999. The merger allows for a close collaboration between the companies, resulting in a more cohesive process for customers who are more commonly choosing a single source for both packaging and endof-line solutions for their operations. With the merger, Volm will complement their portfolio of palletizing offerings by offering robotic, and now, conventional palletizing systems. Volm has been manufacturing custom robotic palletizing solutions since the company opened its Ancaster, Ontario, facility, in 2016. Since the opening, new material handling 58 BC�T March

solutions have been introduced for robotic palletizing. In 2018, the patent-pending bin filling solutions end-of-arm tool, capable of placing multiple bags into a bulk bin, was introduced. In North America, Volm has seen increasing demand for any type of palletizing solution, with both conventional style and robotic stacking solutions. SYSTEMS INTEGRATION “We’ve been able to do this with the help of suppliers in the past, but feel this was a better business decision for both Volm and Manter moving forward, with all customers being able to benefit from the advantage of looking to one party for the manufacture, design and integration of the systems they need,” says Matt Alexander, vice president of sales for Volm Companies. For Manter, in the European market, the company has seen an influx of

requests from customers for help in integrating palletizing solutions into the packaging and weighing systems they install. “The closer involvement and cooperation with the Solidtec team will enable us to be more efficient with the integrating of our weighing and packaging machines along with the palletizing solution the customer needs for their application,” says Herman Wehkamp, managing director of Manter. Solidtec’s Managing Director Edwin Moerdijk adds, “In the next steps of our growing process, the cooperation with both Volm and Manter is a logical choice.” The companies will continue to operate independently, and Above: The Volmstack VST 30 Palletizer is designed to offer a high level of stacking performance with minimal manual labor. Its sturdy design results in a very low maintenance interval, and the Volmstack can reach a capacity of 22 bags per minute.

collaboration between all parties will be available via press releases and social posts. For more on Volm Companies and company news, visit http:// or follow via LinkedIn and Facebook. Volm Companies Inc., headquartered

in Antigo, Wisconsin, has been providing the produce industry with the latest generation packaging equipment and materials for over 65 years. The company’s efforts include staying in touch with the trends and needs of the grower and fresh produce

packer via traceability, automation, productivity and sustainability. As a single source supplier, Volm offers complete expert packaging, equipment and facility design consulting services, from package design and graphic development to full-line equipment integration.

Valley Teams with Cordoba Technologies Partnership is the latest step toward a fully autonomous pivot Valley® Irrigation is pleased to announce a partnership with Cordoba Technologies, Inc. (CTI), an innovator in automated, highprecision application systems for crop protection products. “This partnership is our latest step toward a fully autonomous pivot,” says Trevor Mecham, vice president, global technology strategy for Valley. “Smart application is one part of a fully connected farm, and an important aspect of our ongoing sustainability efforts. When we can be more accurate with the products we apply to crops, it’s better for farms and better for the world.” Santiago M. Prandi, chief executive officer of CTI, says he is excited to join forces with the irrigation industry leader. “Teaming up with Valley to further advance adoption of our systems is a big win for growers everywhere.”

PRODUCE MORE WITH LESS To produce more with less, the growers of tomorrow need advanced solutions that transform the way they farm today. “We are investing in this partnership to continue developing and implementing cutting-edge crop management technology that harnesses the power of the trusted equipment in their fields,” Mecham says. “Cordoba’s solutions fit our mission of precision, efficiency and positive environmental impact.” Valley and Cordoba will continue to research the most effective ways to enhance this technology, innovating and redefining the functionality of center pivots. “Our goal is to further reduce the amounts of chemicals growers use, support plant health and give

growers more crop management options,” Prandi adds. “First and foremost, we are listening to customers,” Mecham says. “Meeting their needs drives advancements in technology that help them do more with the durable structures that are already in their fields.” “We help growers produce more with fewer resources,” he continues, “making better decisions that provide return on investment and increased profits. Valley Irrigation is changing what it means to have a center pivot.” For more information, visit or continued on pg. 60

Prandi is a Valley dealer who addressed an all-too-common problem: he wanted a smarter, less time-consuming way to apply chemicals and nutrients to crops. “Growers are busy, and the timing and availability of sprayers and complex regulations can make applying chemicals difficult,” he says. “Cordoba technology offers an efficient way to apply crop protection products simply and accurately at any time.” BC�T March 59

Now News. . .

continued from pg. 59

SUL4R-PLUS Releases Field Trial Results Potato crops showed yield increases and hollow heart reduction SUL4R-PLUS®, LLC, a provider of innovative agricultural fertilizer products, has announced the results of a recent field trial on potato crops using a potent ratio of sulfate and soluble calcium delivered in a patented sustained-release, plant-

available method.

to tuber initiation.

In multiple tests, Idaho potatoes showed yield increases of circa-10 cwt. (hundredweight) alongside a two-thirds reduction in hollow heart disease when using 100 lbs./acre of SUL4R-PLUS fertilizer during or prior

The health results are notable, as plant nutrition, particularly the level of pre-growth calcium, has been directly linked to better plant health, and therefore to an increase in overall yield and quality.

2019 Field Trial—Idaho Rexburg

2019 Field Trial—Idaho Russet Burbank

GROWER STANDARD AMS base 14% Hollow Heart

SUL4R-PLUS 5% Hollow Heart

2019 Field Trial—Idaho Russet Burbank

There was a yield increase of 22 cwt. and a two-thirds reduction in hollow heart of 9 percent using SUL4R-PLUS fertilizer. 60 BC�T March

The difference in hollow heart was comparable to the difference measured in the tissue calcium concentration.

Some Basics on Sulfur: • More sulfur fertilizer is needed due to decreased air pollution. • Sulfur takes multiple forms that change in the soil. The sulfate form, which easily leaches, is most utilized by plants. Some Basics on Calcium: • It accounts for the third-highest nutrient uptake amount behind nitrogen and potassium. • Calcium is essential for healthy growing vegetation and, when limited, disorders such as internal brown spot and hollow heart can occur. • It must be in a plant-available form for uptake, and available when the

plants need it. Why SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer? • It is a great source of plant-available forms of sulfate sulfur and soluble calcium. • SUL4R-PLUS is plant safe with a salt index of 5 versus 88.3 for AMS. • It is an economical, immediately available and seasonally sustained release of sulfate and calcium proven to match crop uptake. About SUL4R-PLUS®, LLC Based in Louisville, Kentucky, SUL4RPLUS®, LLC develops innovative products for the agricultural market including SUL4R-PLUS fertilizer, an indemand granular calcium sulfate that is engineered to provide improved

crop yield for growers. While synthetic gypsum has been used in agriculture applications in the past, SUL4R-PLUS, LLC has a patented process to create dust-free, uniformly sized granules, making calcium and sulfur application easier for the farmer and meeting the increasing demand for higher yields by the regional farming industry. SUL4R-PLUS® BORON fertilizer, SUL4RPLUS® ZINC fertilizer and SUL4RPLUS® B+Z fertilizer are also now available. For more information, visit www. or email info@ Follow us on twitter @sul4rplus or LinkedIn for up-to-date field trial results.

David J. Fleischman Farms Offers Mercury Russets Oblong tubers are resistant to hollow heart, and black spot and shatter bruise David J. Fleischman Farms announces it is now carrying the Mercury Russet (CO99100-1RU) variety of certified seed potatoes. Developed by Colorado State University, Mercury Russets are attractive for production because of their early maturity, processing potential and attractive tuber type. The potato plants are defined by small vine size and white flowers, and the resulting tubers are oblong with medium russet skin and white flesh. This early russet variety is ideal for the upcoming fresh russet market, which could potentially be strong. Tubers are resistant to hollow heart, and black spot and shatter bruise. Yield potential is determined to be 308-409 cwt. (hundredweight) per acre, with a mean average of 358

cwt./acre and a high percentage of U.S. Number 1 tubers. Specific gravity is medium.

For more information, contact David J. Fleischman Farms, 715-623-6353 (office) or 715-216-2343 (cell). BC�T March 61

Eyes on Associates

A COMBINED EFFORT The success of the show would not be possible without the dedication By WPVGA Associate Div. President Kenton Mehlberg, T.I.P. / Ag Grow Solutions and effort of growers, educators and associates alike. I cannot say this It’s hard to believe we are three months enough, so thank you to everyone into a new year already and spring is knocking at our door. Hopefully, spring involved. preparations are going well for all of you. In 2016, the Associate Division created the Avis M. Wysocki With the 2020 WPVGA Grower I am happy to report that all officer Scholarship in memory of its Education Conference & Industry positions will stay unchanged for namesake, who was a founding Show recently completed, it is 2020 in the Associate Division. I am member of the Wisconsin Potato customary for the Associate Division extremely proud of what the group Growers Auxiliary and an integral part to bid farewell to those who have has accomplished in the past year, of the state potato industry. served terms on the Board of and this smooth transition will allow Directors and to elect new members. us to continue that trend in 2020. This scholarship, along with others awarded to dedicated and I would like to sincerely thank the Next time you see our board deserving students whose families outgoing board members for their members, please thank them for are WPVGA members, is awarded service and contributions. Nick their commitment. As a board, we to the top candidate and funded Laudenbach and Sally Suprise have will continue to support, foster and not only through a silent auction done a fantastic job on the Board and promote causes that benefit our the Associate Division holds during will be missed (though Suprise will industry. the Grower Education Conference & serve again on the Board). The weather was fantastic for this Industry Show, but also from a special I am honored to serve as president year’s WPVGA Grower Education contribution made by the Auxiliary. of the Associate Division and will be Conference & Industry Show. joined by returning members Paul Attendance was exceptional again, All proceeds from the silent Cieslewicz, Chris Brooks, Rich Wilcox, with well over 400 participating in auction go to the Avis M. Wysocki Julie Cartwright and Kristi Kulas. the Grower Education Conference. Scholarship, and this year, we raised We welcome two newly elected We served 465 individuals for lunch over $1,500 for one deserving board members, Suprise and Justin on Tuesday, which was the highest student. Thank you for the generous Yach. number ever. bids that help support a great cause and to all the businesses that Above: The Associate Division of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association donated auction items. (WPVGA) elected board members during its annual meeting at the 2020 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show, February 5. The board members are, from left to right, Paul To help vendors educate attendees Cieslewicz, Rich Wilcox, Sally Suprise, Justin Yach, Kenton Mehlberg, Julie Cartwright, Chris about what their businesses have Brooks and Kristi Kulas (inset). Mehlberg enters his second year as board president; Cieslewicz to offer, how they bring value to the was voted vice president; Cartwright is secretary; and Wilcox was nominated treasurer. Wilcox industry and to drive more traffic and Brooks were incumbent board members elected to second terms; Suprise, who had filled in to their booths, we conducted the for a year upon the departure of another board member, was elected for her first official term; “Bringing Value to Ag” presentation Yach was elected to his first term on the Board; Kulas enters the second year of her first term; and Nick Laudenbach, not shown, completed his second term on the Board. session again this year.

Greetings, everyone.

62 BC�T March

The Associate Division selected five vendors to each give a 10-minute presentation on something that is new or newly relevant to the industry. This year, we had more attendance than previous years and believe this will continue to be a benefit to all who participate. Remember, this is designed to be valuable to associates and growers, so please consider participating in this opportunity in future years. ALTERNATE SHOW PARKING In a continued effort to improve the parking situation at the show, I would like to thank Slumberland Furniture for allowing us to use a portion of their parking lot for attendees. If you were not aware that this is available, please keep it in mind for future years. Hopefully everyone had a chance to participate in the cancer screening that took place on Tuesday, February 4. We were fortunate to have this opportunity available again at this

Kenton Mehlberg (right) presented a plaque to Nick Laudenbach (left) for his dedicated service on the Board of Directors.

Sally Suprise (left), was presented with a plaque by Kenton Mehlberg (right) during the Industry Show for her dedicated service.

year’s show.

If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on the Industry Show or anything else for us to consider, please contact me or one of our board members. As we move into a new year, please consider this: if you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, stay positive and keep moving forward. Stay warm, see you next month.

Several times, when I walked by, the line was out the door, and I think it is a valuable addition. We will try hard to continue the service at future shows. It is our goal as a division to contribute to research grants, scholarships, promotions and any other good will for our industry. As an industry, we are in this together, and by supporting each other, we are all stronger.

Kenton Mehlberg

WPVGA Associate Division President

Heartland Agriculture, LLC

4180 Reardon Road / DeForest, WI 608.846.9064 / 800.523.2350

1180 State Hwy 7 East / Hutchinson, MN 320.587.4030 / 800.328.5866 BC�T March 63

Chitinase Triggers Defense Mechanisms of Plants Natural stimulants from Organisan fight pathogenic microbes, insects and nematodes By Tom Wood and Kenton Mehlberg Farmers today face many challenges. They always have and always will, and as history has proven, farmers will learn to adapt and survive.

chitin through a process called deacetylation. Through this process, the proteins associated with shellfish allergies are also removed.

Along with weather and market pressures, farmers today are also facing a dynamic shift with their pesticide management strategies.

Once chitosan is achieved, further refinement can take place to obtain specific molecular weights of the products.

From chemistries losing their efficacy to an end user that is demanding more transparency and less pesticide residues in the products they buy, where will farmers turn to manage this apparent dichotomy? Enter Chitosan.

“People involved with this science have known for years that certain molecular weights of chitosan will work differently against specific pests,” explains Tom Wood, western territory manager for Organisan, a chitosan product manufacturing company based out of Broussard, Louisiana.

Chitosan is a derivative compound from its parent material chitin. Chitin is the second most common polymer on the planet, only behind cellulose, and is a key building block in nature. Chitin is what gives exoskeletons their rigidity. Everything from crustaceans to aphid stylets, to the mouth parts of nematodes and cell walls of pathogenic fungi, they all contain chitin. Chitosan is derived from 64 BC�T March

NEMATODE CONTROL “Lighter weights are known to be better against pathogenic microbes, while heavier weights work better against larger organisms like nematodes and insects,” Wood relates. Tom also farms in the Newdale, Idaho, area, and ran his own custom application business with a brother

for 14 years, specializing in potato services before joining the Organisan team. There is a system in nature that has been at work since the beginning of life on earth, where an enzyme called chitinase is used to break down and recycle chitin. This enzyme is mainly produced by beneficial microbes. If a microbe produces chitinase, it is sub-classed as a chitolytic organism. A few examples of chitolytic organisms are Trichoderma, Psuedomanas, Bascillus, Beauvaria, and the list goes on and on. With new devices like the MicroBioMeter, it is now possible to test in the field to see what an application of a stimulant like chitosan has done for the microbial population. Plants, on their own, are also capable of producing chitinase to some extent, as it is a natural self-defense compound, and chitosan applications made in season stimulate the plant to

manufacture its own chitinase. Wood explains, “Generally speaking, when a chitosan application is made to either plant or soil, it stimulates the chitolytic microbes and the plant itself to start exuding chitinase.” REPULSION EFFECT “Once the chitinase levels are elevated, the first thing that happens is a repulsion effect, as insects are keenly aware of chitinase and what it does to them,” he adds. “If the pest does hang around, the chitinase begins to dissolve their chitin components.” “Many times, with larger insects and beetles, a chitolytic organism will be present on the insect itself and the direct application of chitosan will trigger these microbes to go to work producing chitinase,” Wood remarks. Nematodes also have a chitinous component. The Organisan product Nemasan has been in use by farmers continued on pg. 66

Left and Right: Eastern Idaho Norkotah potato plants treated in-furrow with Organisan OII-YS survived a 27-degree Fahrenheit freeze with little frost damage and were nearly double the size of untreated plants.

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


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See Us At Booth #C5510 BC�T March See 65

Wisconsin Public Service Service Wisconsin Public Farm Oshkosh Farm Show, Show, Oshkosh


Us i Bo

Now News. . .

continued from pg. 65

in Idaho for several years now. Tim Parkinson is an independent consultant and owner of Parkinson Potato Services based out of Rexburg, Idaho. Parkinson has been working with several farms that are utilizing the Organisan products and had this to say, “After 28 years of dealing with these nasty nematodes, this Nemasan product is one of the best when applied correctly.” Correct application is crucial for success. This includes timing, rate and proper tank solution modification if needed to 5 pH or less. If farmers have been using fumigation, the addition of beneficial microbes to the soil can also be very important to achieve maximum efficacy. COMPONENTS IN PLACE “We’re capitalizing on a naturally occurring process, so it’s important that we have as many of those natural components in place as possible,” Wood says. “As another side benefit to all of this, as we increase the population of beneficial microbes, we naturally decrease the pathogens and the diseases they foster,” he adds. “Therefore, we are automatically reducing the need for fungicides and reducing the collateral damage done to the beneficial microbes when fungicides are applied, and the whole system of plant health starts to function on its own,” Wood concludes. The Organisan products are also applied in season for disease control and have been so effective, the company is awaiting final paperwork from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at this time for a fungicidal label, as well as an insecticidal label and seed treatment label. Chitosan is effective against 66 BC�T March

The presence of root knot nematodes can be economically devastating to a potato field. Nemasan can be applied at anytime during the growing cycle. Tim Parkinson, an independent consultant and owner of Parkinson Potato Services based out of Rexburg, Idaho, says, “After 28 years of dealing with these nasty nematodes, this Nemasan product is one of the best when applied correctly.” Correct application includes timing, rate and proper tank solution modification if needed to 5 pH or less.

pathogenic microbes, especially pathogenic fungi, Wood explains.

viral infections like PVY and Tomato Leaf Curl Virus.

“Speaking in generalities, nature has made a distinction between the good guys and the bad guys, as the bad guys have a chitin component to their cell structure,” he says.

“I’ve been getting reports back from potato seed producers that PVY numbers are holding steady with the prior generation,” Wood relates, “something that generally never happens. We think this is from the reduction in aphid pressure, as well as the heightened plant self-defense mechanisms.”

“Chitosan has a direct attraction to the chitin within the cell of these pathogens,” Wood states. “The chitosan on the outside and the chitin on the inside try to come together like magnets.” “The internal cell structure of the pathogen is compromised, and the organism basically bleeds to death through cell lysis,” he says. “Here again, the chitinase also comes into play, so it’s sort of a two-fold effect.” GOOD FUNGI “Chitosan will not harm good fungi like mycorrhizal,” Wood stresses, “and studies have shown that chitosan actually benefits this population as it hypersensitizes the plant to the organism’s presence.” Chitosan also works against pathogenic bacteria, but that process is more of interference at the point of cell division, so it’s a little slower. Organisan’s chitosan products are also showing good efficacy against

Chitosan also has anti-transpirant properties, as has been shown in numerous studies. Pepper plants are used in these studies because they transpire heavily, and reductions of up to 42 percent have been observed with chitosan applications. Chitosan has strong plant eliciting properties. Increases in brix, chlorophyll and photosynthetic rates are usually observed quickly after an application. However, proper plant nutrition is crucial for plant systems to function correctly. A focus on preemptive nutrition applications, both macro and especially micro, are key to proper plant self-defense. The micronutrients are responsible for fueling and becoming co-factors in the enzymatic processes that chitosan will spark within the plant.

SPARKING PLANT RESPONSE “Chitosan can be the ignition spark to get a function or plant response moving, but just like a tractor, you’re only going to move so far relying on the starter before something burns out,” Wood says.

“I had a situation with a farmer in eastern Idaho where the temperature got down to 27 degrees for about four hours on June 9, 2019,” Wood relates. “The visual difference between the treated and untreated sides of the field were stunning.”

“We need fuel in the tank to actually get any work done, and in plant functions, that fuel is the micronutrients,” he explains.

“The side that was treated in-furrow at planting with 1 pint per acre of OII-YS had plants that were already much larger, and that side received very little frost damage,” he remarks. “The grower standard side had much smaller plants and got smoked by the cold temps.”

Chitosan applications can help move a nutrient into and through a plant faster. Chitosan trans-locates translaminar, phloem and xylem, and applies nutrient and treatment applications that it is tank-mixed with onto a plant surface. There are a few caveats to this, though, that farmers and applicators need to be aware of. “Chitosan is an active cationic molecule, so it needs to be kept out of tank mixes with anions,” Wood warns. “This can include phosphates, nitrogen, sulfurs, etc.” “There are products out there, though, that through a chelation process, enable a tank mix to be possible with these anions,” he says. “When mixed with these products, a much quicker translocation of the nutrient into the plant occurs.” Another thing to be aware of is spray solution pH. A final pH solution of 5 or lower must be achieved before adding the chitosan to keep the molecule soluble. EASY TO HANDLE “It’s just a characteristic of chitosan that it flocculates and coagulates as pH rises,” Wood informs. “This is the purpose of Organisan’s Citri-San product. It is 100 percent citric acid and easy to use and handle.” “We usually don’t recommend synthetic pH modifiers because they often have a phosphorous acid component to them,” he adds. Chitosan can also help with cold germination and can show a valuable return on investment with frost tolerance.

As farmers struggle to keep up with an ever-changing landscape of environmental and marketing challenges that are out of the traditional norm, they may now have another treatment option available to them that is also not in the traditional norm. This product can help them achieve control and a new benchmark of production standards.

OII-YS™ is a uniquely formulated, all-natural adjuvant proven to greatly increase the efficacy of nematicides, fungicides, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and nutritional sprays. It can be applied to turf, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and row crops.

For more information, visit, or contact Kenton Mehlberg at AgGrow Solutions, 715-592-4650.

ADJUSTABLE AUTOMATIC MASTER POTATO BALER Bag Sense “no bag, no dump” Works with poly and paper master bags! Two year limited warranty

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BC�T March 67

NPC News

NPC Celebrates Signing of USMCA into Law President Donald J. Trump signs U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

The National Potato Council (NPC) cheered the signing of the U.S.Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact into law by President Donald J. Trump. The agreement is expected to stabilize the U.S. potato export markets of Canada and Mexico by eliminating the threat of retaliatory tariffs and precluding the loss of tariff benefits previously provided by the North American Free Trade Agreement. “The National Potato Council welcomes today’s signing of the USMCA trade agreement, one of the most significant trade pacts in decades, and thanks President Trump for his support of the U.S.-Japan Agreement on Agricultural Trade and the U.S.-China Phase One Agreement earlier this year,” National Potato Council President Britt Raybould says. For the agreement to enter into force, Canada will need to become the third and final signatory to ratify the pact. Canada is the second largest export market for U.S. potatoes with over $300 million in sales annually, while Mexico is the third largest export market for U.S. potatoes comprising over $250 million in annual sales. REMOVING TARIFFS Japan is the U.S. potato industry’s largest export market with exports totaling over $350 million in annual sales. Once fully implemented, the U.S.-Japan Agreement on Agricultural

68 BC�T March

President Donald J. Trump signs the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact into law.

“USMCA and the other trade agreements are good news for potato growers, industry members and communities across the U.S. that are supported by our $3.7 billion industry.” Trade will reduce and eventually remove tariffs on U.S. frozen and flaked potatoes. It is believed that this market can grow by another $150 million annually (42 percent) in the very near future. China is currently a top 10 export market for potatoes, primarily in processed products. With a combination of competitive tariffs and enhanced market access through the Phase One Agreement, China could become a top five market soon.

“Combined, these agreements will expand four of the top 10 export markets for U.S. potatoes and potato products, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in potential growth for the U.S. potato industry,” explains Jared Balcom, NPC vice president of trade affairs. “USMCA and the other trade agreements are good news for potato growers, industry members and communities across the U.S. that are supported by our $3.7 billion industry,” Balcom adds.

Ali's Kitchen

Heap on the Hash Brown Taco Casserole The humble casserole doesn’t always get the love that it deserves Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary In our home hangs a framed letter gifted to me on Mother’s Day by my then eight-year-old daughter. The letter is filled with the reasons I am loved, sprinkled with a few sweetly misspelled words, and scrawled in her precious little-girl handwriting. I treasure this letter. And one line particularly brings a smile each time I read it: “I love my mom because she makes the BEST casseroles!” Back then, we ate a lot of casseroles. A lot of casseroles. I made it my mission to stretch our food budget as far as possible while feeding our family of six.

This meant some creative cooking and yesterday’s leftovers often became today’s casserole. Not exactly elegant dinner fare, but we always ate well, enjoyed mealtimes together and made some memories with a few of the inspired combinations attempted over the years. COMFORT FOOD The humble casserole (or “hotdish” if you’re our neighbor one state over) doesn’t always get the love that it deserves. But what’s not to love about a meal that’s both baked and served in the same dish (less dirty dishes to scrub) and filled with delicious and comforting ingredients? Three of our four children have now moved out of the house to begin their own next chapters, so I typically have less people to feed throughout the week. Yet, being a unique way of combining flavors and textures, we still enjoy the occasional casserole. *I used eight individual ramakins for this recipe, but a typical casserole dish will be perfect as well. **If using one large baking vessel, allow the casserole to cook in the oven a bit longer than I mention in this recipe to ensure that everything is nicely warmed through. continued on pg. 70


Hash Browns Taco Casserole • 1 lb. ground beef • 1 bell pepper (diced) • 1 medium yellow onion (diced) • 1/2 cup corn • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans (drained) • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce • 3 tbsp. taco seasoning • 4 oz. cream cheese • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided • 1 (20 oz.) bag frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed • 1 tsp. salt • 1/2 tsp. pepper • 1 tsp. cumin • Chopped green onion BC�T March 69

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Ali's Kitchen. . .

continued from pg. 69

Add the corn, black beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cream cheese and 1 cup of the shredded cheese to the skillet and stir together to combine the ingredients. Divide the beef mixture equally among the prepared ramekins (or spread in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish). In a separate bowl, combine the defrosted hash browns, salt, pepper, cumin and remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese. Stir well to combine and then top the beef with the potato mixture. Place in the preheated oven and bake 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the tops of the hash browns begin to brown and become a bit crispy.

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease ramekins (or a 2-quart casserole dish) and set aside. Brown the ground beef over mediumhigh heat in a large skillet. Add the bell peppers and onion and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until veggies are softened.



Enjoy! Find more recipes at

N7158 6TH DRIVE P.O. BOX 215 PLAINFIELD, WI 54966 OFFICE: (715) 335-6660 FAX: (715) 335-6661





Remove from oven and top with chopped green onions.








AgBiome Innovations.......................... 49 AgCountry Farm Credit Services.......... 55 Big Iron Equipment.............................. 45 Central Door Solutions........................ 21 Chippewa Valley Bean Co. .................. 39 CliftonLarsonAllen................................. 9 Compeer Financial............................... 23 David J. Fleischman Farms................... 33 Fencil Urethane Systems..................... 16 Gavin Brothers..................................... 56 Heartland AG Systems................... 14, 63 Jay-Mar, Inc.......................................... 46 John Miller Farms.................................. 2 J.W. Mattek.......................................... 29 Lockwood Mfg. ................................... 41 M.P.B. Builders, Inc.............................. 42 Mid-State Truck................................... 18 Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Inc........................................ 70 Nolan Sales LLC.................................... 50 North Central Irrigation....................... 51 Nutrien Ag Solutions........................... 53 Nutrien Ag Solutions Great Lakes........ 31 Oasis Irrigation.................................... 72 Omex USA............................................ 26 Oro Agri................................................. 3 Potatoes USA ................................ 11, 13 R&H Machine, Inc................................ 10 Riesterer & Schnell.............................. 32 Roberts Irrigation ................................ 47 Ruder Ware......................................... 15 Rural Mutual Insurance....................... 52 Sand County Equipment...................... 65 Schroeder Brothers Farms..................... 7 Swiderski Equipment........................... 35 ThorPack.............................................. 67 T.I.P........................................................ 5 United Potato Growers of Wisconsin... 17 Vantage North Central......................... 43 Vive Crop Protection........................... 40 Volm Companies.................................. 19 Washington State University............... 34 WPVGA Spud Seed Sponsorship.......... 37 WPVGA Support Our Members........... 38 WPVGA Thank Industry Sponsors........ 71 WSPIA.................................................. 30

2020 UW-Madison Division of Extension and WPVGA Grower Education Conference and 71st Annual Industry Show


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NACHURS Quinlan’s Equipment, Inc. Roberts Irrigation Sand County Equipment T H Agri-Chemicals, Inc. Thorpack Vista Financial Strategies, LLC Warner & Warner, Inc.

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