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Annual Report 2013


what we


A Message from

Roger Cliff

“You can take pride in Farm Bureau’s success too.”

After 40 years with this organization, I am preparing to retire at the end of the year. I will leave feeling proud about the many good things that happened under my watch as your chief lobbyist for 31 years and the last nine years as WFBF’s Chief Administrative Officer. I feel good about what I am handing over to my successor, Stephen Freese. You can take pride in Farm Bureau’s success too. It all starts with your membership; as members are our organization’s lifeblood. Our county Farm Bureaus are stronger and more active than ever, with a growing legion of dedicated volunteer leaders all across the state and five consecutive years of membership growth. Our three collegiate Farm Bureaus are flourishing. WFBF has a great staff that wants to excel. Last but not least, WFBF is in a much stronger financial position than when I moved into this position. I feel like I’m going out on top. At this year’s American Farm Bureau Annual

Membership The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation capped off five straight years of membership growth in 2012, finishing the year with 44,169 members. WFBF membership is comprised of voting and associate members. Voting members are farmers, people with direct involvement in production agriculture, and owners of agricultural property. Associate members are individuals and businesses who join Farm Bureau to utilize services and benefits and to support the work of the organization.

Once again, Farm Bureau’s network of volunteer membership workers across the state was instrumental to our membership growth, signing up more than 700 new members while helping to maintain a 95% renewal rate among voting members. Meanwhile, more than 1,950 new associate members joined Farm Bureau, thanks to the efforts of our Rural Mutual Insurance agents, who helped contribute to an overall membership retention rate that exceeded 90%.

Meeting, Wisconsin received its first Pinnacle Award, which is given to the best state Farm Bureau in each membership class. It’s a great feeling to retire after winning the Farm Bureau’s version of the Super Bowl trophy. Whether it be Wisconsin football or agriculture, we are not ones to simply rest on our past glory days. We strive for better days ahead. With your continued support and involvement, I am confident that WFBF will continue to succeed at providing a voice for farmers and a vision for agriculture. Thank you for the opportunity to serve Wisconsin farm families over the past four decades.

Roger Cliff Chief Administrative Officer Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

WFBF ended the 2012 membership year with 23,721 voting members and 20,448 associate members. Fifty-one of the 61 county Farm Bureaus reported an increase in voting members, while 32 counties reported increases in total membership. The 2013 membership year concludes on September 28, and thanks to the commitment of Farm Bureau volunteers and the support of our affiliate company personnel, Farm Bureau is poised to grow six years in a row!

Success is what we Reaped

YFA - Women’ s - Institute

Growing Leaders

Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program

Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) program offers leadership development experiences for members between the ages of 18 and 35. A total of 344 YFA members attended last December’s YFA Conference portion of the WFBF Annual Meeting at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. To help build the next generation of rural leaders, Rural Mutual Insurance Company sponsored 100 WFBF members as first-time attendees, as well as 24 Collegiate Farm Bureau members, to the informational, educational and fun event. The YFA program also recognizes young members for their agricultural knowledge, farming accomplishments and leadership skills through three leadership contests. Last year, 16 members completed the Achievement Award application, 27 competed in the state Discussion Meet contest and 12 completed the Excellence in Agriculture application. Wisconsin’s winners of those three contests represented their peers at the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Jenny Dierickx of Dane County competed in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest, while Green County dairy farmer, Jeffrey McNeely competed in the national Achievement Award contest. Katie Reichling, a graduate student from Lafayette County, competed in the national Discussion Meet contest. Teresa Hanson, a dairy nutritionist for Crystal Creek, Inc. from Shell Lake, leads the nine-member state YFA Committee.

Women’s Program for Leadership and Education

Members of this program promote agriculture through a number of channels. Over the past year they advanced ag literacy among Wisconsin youth by assisting with the annual Ag in the Classroom essay contest and purchasing Ag in the Classroom children’s books for schools, libraries and childcare facilities. Women’s committees in 29 counties worked to engage consumers by promoting Farm Bureau’s Food CheckOut Week and helping with 29 beef promotion events across the state. In addition to holding district meetings where local members develop their leadership skills, network and socialize, more than 350 women attended the 2013 Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit at the Marriott West in Madison. The Summit is a joint venture of WFBF, Badgerland Financial and UW-Extension. Next year’s Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit will be March 14-15 at the Marriott West in Madison. Jane Mueller, an Eau Claire County farmer, leads the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s nine-member state Women’s Committee.

Check out how YOU can get involved at programsevents.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Institute

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Institute is a year-long leadership experience which provides premier personal growth and leadership training to develop the next crop of county Farm Bureau leaders. The 14 members of Institute Class VII have completed sessions on personal leadership development, media training and how the Wisconsin Farm Bureau functions. Their remaining sessions include studying local and state government in Madison and examining national and international ag issues at the offices of the Iowa Farm Bureau. They will graduate at the WFBF Annual Meeting in December before taking a capstone trip to Washington, D.C. in April to impact agricultural policy with their newfound leadership skills. That’s exactly what members of Institute Class VI did when they traveled with the WFBF Board of Directors to Washington, D.C. this past June. Prior to their visits with Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, they met with officials at the American Farm Bureau, leaders from USDA and the Canadian Embassy. Their capstone trip also included participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and touring Mount Vernon. As of this year, a total of 100 Farm Bureau members from across the state have graduated from the program, and more importantly, grown from their Institute experience.

Leadership is what we Reaped AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2013


Public Relations

A Voice for Farmers.

As the voice of agriculture, the Farm Bureau continues to be who the media calls when they need information about farm and food news. Over the past year, the Farm Bureau received more than 300 media requests from print, radio, television and web-based reporters from local, state, national and international media outlets. Many of these press contacts were generated by more than 200 press releases and radio reports that are produced by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau annually. In addition, the Farm Bureau’s public relations division delivers its messages to members and the consuming public through a number of other channels.

Rural Route

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Rural Route is published six times annually for voting Farm Bureau members. The publication focuses on Farm Bureau’s legislative work, events, educational efforts, sponsorships and exclusive member benefits. Rural Route can also be flipped through on our website: www.WFBF. com.


The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s website (www. serves as an interactive resource for members, agricultural leaders and media. Information about farm markets, weather, legislative issues, Farm Bureau programs and applications for various events are just a click away. Radio reports are available for listening and on-farm videos and interviews are available for watching. Issues of our state and county publications are also available digitally.

Social Media

County Newsletters


Ag Newswire

To connect with other Farm Bureau members and receive up to the minute updates on events and news, just click ‘like’ on the ‘Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’ Facebook page. In addition, members of the Farm Bureau’s Institute, Ag in the Classroom and YFA programs all have Facebook pages. Farm Bureau also gets its message out through the use of Twitter @WIFarmBureau. You can find photos from our events on our flickr page (go to www.WFBF. com and click on the “fr” tab above the search bar) and watch our videos on YouTube. Check out the photos, graphics and ideas we have pinned at wifarmbureau.

Farm Bureau’s retail food price survey remains a popular item with media outlets statewide. The information about the average price of a set of predetermined food items is collected by Farm Bureau members across the state. The Marketbasket’s findings show trends in prices paid by consumers and their correlation to trade, weather and the supply and demand issues that factor into food prices.

Forty-eight of our 61 county Farm Bureaus now have their newsletters published by the state Farm Bureau office. This is a feature of the County Farm Bureau Services Program. The quarterly newsletters promote local events, provide information on what county Farm Bureaus are doing on the grassroots level, as well as highlight individual members.

This “subscription only” email is sent to Farm Bureau members and to Wisconsin media. It provides an easy to read snapshot of farm, food and rural news on the state and national levels. It also highlights Farm Bureau activities and the organization’s involvement with key legislative issues. The Ag Newswire is sent to nearly 2,600 Farm Bureau members and nearly 300 reporters for print, radio, television and web-based news outlets. Are you receiving it yet? If not, send your name and email to

Awareness is what we Reaped

Governmental Relations

A Vision for Agriculture.

WFBF continues to work on behalf of Wisconsin’s farm families, providing key representation on a variety of state and federal issues. The organization’s true strength is the grassroots network of informed and politically active members who contact their legislators on issues, attend Ag Day at the Capitol in Madison and travel on Farm Bureau sponsored trips to our nation’s capital.

In Madison

In Washington, D.C.

State Budget


Farm Bill



WFBF advocated for items important to The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, agriculture in the 2013-15 state budget: Trade and Consumer Protection proposed • Maintained funding for the Buy Local, revisions to ATCP 50 (the agency’s portion Buy Wisconsin program, and county land of Wisconsin’s nonpoint source pollution and conservation department staff. prevention and abatement program). The • Created a dairy processor grant program revisions are necessary to be consistent to promote with nonpoint growth of the performance No matter what size, commodity or dairy industry. modifications • Continued approved by the management style, Wisconsin Farm cost sharing Department of Bureau works hard to represent you. for farmers to Natural Resources implement in 2010. The conservation practices. revisions establish conservation practice • Reduced agrichemical cleanup program options for farmers to meet new and fees by 20 percent. updated performance standards adopted • Increased county fair aids. by DNR. WFBF worked with DATCP to • Provided $248,400 in annual funding for ensure the conservation practices and the UW-Extension Discovery Farms. technical standards are workable. Several • Continued to fund UW-Madison’s farmers expressed concerns at public fertilizer research. hearings about the reliability of the • Provided $250,000 annually for the phosphorous index for pastures. DATCP is livestock premise registration program. working to resolve this issue. Final adoption of ATCP 50 should occur this winter.

Implements of Husbandry

Laws addressing farm equipment have not been updated for more than 50 years. Local roads were not designed to accommodate today’s heavier equipment. Citations for exceeding road weight limits and improper axel-weight configurations resulted in a Department of Transportation working group (on which the WFBF served). This panel was tasked with evaluating current agricultural equipment laws and finding a balance between what current roads can tolerate and modern farm equipment. Recommendations could result in legislation this fall.

The Volunteers for Agriculture (WFBF’s political action arm) endorsed several State Senate and Assembly incumbents who support agriculture in the 2012 general election. The VFA also endorsed State Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack for her reelection last spring. The VFA sent postcards to voting members encouraging their vote for ag-friendly incumbents. Newspaper and radio ads were run in selected races.

Passing a farm bill in 2013 is the WFBF’s top legislative priority. Despite the U.S. House voting down its farm bill proposal earlier this summer, the WFBF and a wide coalition of others will continue to support passage of a bill that eliminates direct payments and utilizes the savings for risk management programs and crop insurance. WFBF also supports streamlining programs like the Conservation Reserve Program by narrowing eligibility criteria to focus on environmentally-sensitive lands. WFBF supports dairy policy reform by the elimination of milk price support programs and replacing them with a Passing a farm margin insurance bill in 2013 is proposal. The the WFBF’ s top new program should be legislative priority. market-oriented, encouraging farmers to manage their own risk while remaining market competitive.

Wisconsin dairy farmers need a year-long, experienced workforce to help milk cows. The Senate has passed a WFBF-backed comprehensive immigration reform package, while the House is splitting immigration reform into four or five smaller bills. These bills contain new programs to address agriculture’s labor shortages with a legal and documented workforce.

Exposure whatwe we Reaped Advocacy isiswhat AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2013


Ag in the Classroom

Planting Seeds

The Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) program provides Wisconsin teachers and their students with the tools to teach and learn how their next meal travels from the farm to the fork. The goal of the program is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies.

Local Efforts

There are 74 local AITC coordinators in 61 Wisconsin counties with organized AITC programs. The local Agriculture in the Classroom efforts are carried out by the county’s AITC Committee. Among the counties that submitted 2012 activity reports, the average committee consisted of five members and utilized additional volunteers for farm tours, classroom presentations or other events.

the team ranked in the top five and was recognized at the National AITC Conference in Minneapolis in June. They included Jenna McCann, Jamie Christianson, Nancy Toberman, Tracy Haupt, and Kathie Thompson.

Project Funding

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 16 matching grants totaling $6,250 to Wisconsin schools and organizations to use for agricultural literacy lessons and activities.

Essay Contest

The expenditures for those county AITC programs reporting in 2012 were $151,221. Approximately 14,428 volunteer hours were contributed to conduct a variety of local AITC activities.

Teachers Recognized

Each year the Wisconsin Farm Bureau recognizes a teacher for their efforts in educating students on the importance of agriculture. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, with the exclusion of certified agriculture education instructors, are eligible to apply for the award. A team of teachers from the Merrimac Community Charter School was recognized as Wisconsin’s winner. When sent to the USDA for the National AITC competition,

Carter Schmitt of CochraneFountain City was the winner of the Agriculture in the Classroom’s essay contest. Wisconsin fourth and fifth graders were asked to write a 100 to 300 word essay with the theme, “Wisconsin farms help me eat a healthy lunch by...” A total of 1,996 Wisconsin students wrote essays for the competition sponsored by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Frontier FS and We Energies.

Other AITC Activities

• How did that get in my lunchbox? was selected as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 2013 Book of the Year. • Purchased a “My American Farm Kiosk” that is being used by county programs, groups and at events. • Wisconsin Dells High School selected for American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s “Agriculture in a Growing World” grant program. • Washington Middle School in Oconto Falls selected for American Farm Bureau Foundation for “Agriculture’s

Feeding Minds, Cultivating Growth Opportunity” grant program. Develop agricultural career workshop resources in conjunction with Wisconsin Ag Education Workforce Development Council utilizing a National FFA Alumni Local Program Grant. Offered county AITC information meetings, training sessions and workshops, reaching more than 400 people. This included a two-day training for Soybean Science Kits, Wisconsin AITC and commodity group resources. 69 Soybean Science Kits were utilized by 4,943 students. Soybean Science Kit training was offered to agriculture education advisors and other teachers in June. Coordinated Summer Teacher Training with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls offering a two-day bus tour, classroom sessions and Soybean Science Kit training.

Ag Literacy is what we Reaped

Farm Bureau Foundation

Wise Investments

Supporting agricultural education programs and developing agricultural leaders is the guiding principle of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. The Foundation accomplishes this by providing vital financial support to the Ag in the Classroom program, Farm Bureau Institute, and the Wisconsin 4-H and FFA organizations.

Foundation fundraising accomplishments: • • • •

The 2012 Wisconsin Ag Open raised more than $9,922. The silent auction at the 2012 WFBF Annual Meeting raised more than $16,631. The YFA 50-50 raffle raised $2,471 and the Money Wars raised $742. The Learn and Lead campaigns, memorial and “in honor of” gifts, and individual, county Farm Bureau and corporate donations continue to support the Foundation. The WFB Foundation has launched a new campaign - 40 by 40 to recognize the accomplishments of Roger Cliff as he retires as our CAO. With a goal of raising $40,000 by the end of the WFBF Annual Meeting, minimum gift of $40 are required to be involved in the campaign. Suggested gifts are $40, $400, $1400, and $4,000 but any give of $40 or above will be appreciated. All contributions will benefit the WFB Foundation and Wisconsin Collegiate Farm Bureau chapters at UW-Madison, UWPlatteville and UWRiver Falls.

40by 40

The Foundation’s support included: • •

• • • • •

Wisconsin Farm Bureau


Sponsoring the 4-H Key Awards for youth for the 39th year. Supporting “This Business Called Agriculture” booklets produced by the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council. Supporting the Wisconsin Ag Education Workforce Development Council’s career resource - Providing support to the Wisconsin Environmental Education Foundation for educational resources and projects. Providing financial support for the Wisconsin FFA’s Discussion Meet awards and Food for America program. Co-sponsoring the Farm Bureau’s annual FFA Farm Forum which provides leadership training for FFA members. Contributing to the Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarship. Providing scholarships to Farm Bureau members enrolled in Leadership Wisconsin. Offering continued support for the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center’s educational displays and tours.


Darlene Arneson

Jim Holte, WFBF President 608.828.5700 Roger Cliff, Chief Administrative Officer 608.828.5703

Casey Langan, Executive Director 608.828.5711

Becky Schollian, Executive Assistant 608.828.5701

Amy Manske,


Lynn Siekmann,

Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director 608.828.5708 Karen Gefvert, Director 608.828.5713

Sheri Sutton, Communications Director 262.949.2418

Patti Roden, District 1 Coordinator 866.355.7341 Becky Hurley, District 2 Coordinator 866.355.7342


Steve Boe, District 4 Coordinator 866.355.7344



Bob Leege, Executive Director 608.828.5710

Jeff Fuller, Executive Director 608.828.5715

Deb Raemisch, Director 608.828.5712

Steve Mason, General Accountant 608.828.5720

Dale Beaty, Director of 608.828.5714 Training and Leadership Development

Jill Bennwitz, Administrative Assistant 608.828.5705



Communications Coordinator Administrative Assistant

Foundation Director, AITC Coordinator

Gretchen Kamps, District 3 Coordinator 866.355.7343 Becky Hibicki, District 5 Coordinator 866.355.2029 Kimberly Rusch, District 6 Coordinator 866.355.7345 Wes Raddatz, District 7 Coordinator 866.355.7346 Lindsey Prahl, District 8 Coordinator 866.355.7348 Wendy Kannel, District 9 Coordinator 866.355.7349 Darci Meili, Administrative Assistant 608.828.5704

Support is what we Reaped AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2013


(First row, left to right) District 2 - Jerry Bradley, District 6 - Rosie Lisowe, Young Farmer and Agriculturist Chair - Teresa Hanson, Women’s Committee Chair - Jane Mueller, District 1 Dave Daniels, (Back row, left to right) District 4 - Joe Bragger, District 8 - Donald Radtke, District 9 President James Holte, District 3 - Vice President Richard Gorder, District 5 - Kevin Krentz and District 7 - Wayne Staidl.

2013 Board of Directors Teresa Hanson

Jane Mueller

Young Farmer and Agriculturist Chair Shell Lake

Jim Holte

Women’s Committee Chair Fall Creek

President District 9, Elk Mound

District 8, Merrill

Bayfield Douglas

Don Radtke

Wayne Staidl

District 7, Peshtigo

Superior Shores Iron

Rosie Lisowe


District 6, Chilton

Sawyer Price Polk






Taylor Chippewa

St. Croix Dunn

Eau Claire


Portage Wood

Monroe Juneau

Kevin Krentz District 5, Berlin


Adams La Crosse

Brown Waupaca


Joe Bragger

District 4, Independence




Trempealeau Buffalo

Vernon Crawford


Marquette Green Lake Columbia


Iowa Grant

Richard Gorder





Vice President District 3, Mineral Point

Jerry Bradley

District 2, Sun Prairie

Calumet Manitowoc Winnebago Fond du Lac








Washington Ozaukee Waukesha Milwaukee



We can be proud of what we have achieved together all across our great state. -Jim Holte, WFBF President


Dave Daniels

District 1, Union Grove

Unity is what we Reaped 8



2013 WFBF Annual Report  

Wisconsin Farm Bureau 2013 Annual Report

2013 WFBF Annual Report  

Wisconsin Farm Bureau 2013 Annual Report