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• vol. 21 no. 2 |

april | may 2015

‘Ag Days’ Make an Impact

Members Reach Out at the Capitol and on Social Media Pages 5-7

Videos Navigate IOH Permit Process Farm Bureau’s State Budget Priorities Meet Members: Geiger, MacFarlane, Zalewski

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features 5

articles 10


Members made #WIAgProud a social media hit.




GEIGER WFBF Women’s Chair is a dairy dynamo.



AURASMA New app makes Rural Route and Wisconsin Farm Facts brochure interactive.

departments news




member benefits




ag in the classroom




Potatoes are this Langlade County member’s passion.


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PHEASANTS Nation’s largest pheasant farm is in Rock County.


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YouTube videos provide guidance on permits.

More than 400 brought their message to Madison.


vol. 21 no. 2


Annual event brings women from across Wisconsin together to discuss agriculture.

On the Cover: State Rep. Joan Ballweg (front and center) meets with constituents from central Wisconsin at Ag Day at the Capitol, March 11. Main Photo by Amy Eckelberg. Inset by Ashley henke.

New Member Benefit: See you at the ball park this summer... April | May 2015

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Editor’s Note


remember my family’s first VCR player. I came home from school one afternoon in the 1980s to find it sitting atop our television. Like a spaceship that had landed in our living room, it flashed “12:00” in a modernistic hue of blue. While Dad had yet to set the clock, he rarely was behind the times when it came to technology. He was what they call an “early adopter” especially when it came to music. We had cassette and CD players well before most families I knew. I, on the other hand, am not an early adopter. I was slow to trade my film camera for a digital one. Despite being a reporter crisscrossing the state, most teens had a cell phone long before I did. My patient wife had to walk me through my first iPod and ATM card, and co-workers introduced me to Facebook and Twitter. Like all children of the 80s, one Christmas I pleaded for an Atari; However, I never upgraded to Game Boy, PlayStation or anything else that came afterwards.

{from Casey Langan} Just last month I finally took 45 seconds to install my vehicle’s Bluetooth feature. I know I’m showing my age when I say I’m “taping” programs on my television’s DVR recording system. Start talking computer terminology around me and I swear you’re speaking Greek. Despite all of this, I want to tell you about a piece of technology that opens a whole new world of options for this magazine. Folks, I’ve seen the future and its name is Aurasma. This app can scan an image and then play a video or show another image. It’s a way to virtually pack more videos, graphics, photos and information into each magazine or brochure we create. Directions for downloading this app can be found on page 43. Trust me, even I could figure it out. Just like that hashtag thing you now see in the corner of all your favorite television shows, I think Aurasma’s little purple triangle will become a staple on Farm Bureau materials. As someone whose career started in print media, I never imagined that someday I might need to incorporate video into every story that I write. As someone who is usually techno-resistant, I know Aurasma sounds a little crazy. Trust me. You’ll get used to it, just like you did with your first VCR. Casey Langan Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Casey Langan 608.828.5711

Designer Lynn Siekmann 608.828.5707

Contributor Amy Eckelberg 608.828.5706

Address of Publication Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation PO Box 5550 1241 John Q. Hammons Dr. Madison, WI 53705-0550 Postmaster: Send address changes to Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation PO Box 5550 Madison, WI 53705-0550

Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276)

WFBF Board of Directors Jim Holte, Elk Mound, (President) Richard Gorder, Mineral Point, (Vice President) Dave Daniels, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., Janesville Joe Bragger, Independence Kevin Krentz, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, Chilton Wayne Staidl, Peshtigo Don Radtke, Merrill Rosalie Geiger, Reedsville (Women’s Committee Chair) Andrea Brossard, Burnett (YFA Committee Chair) Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route (ISSN 39940) (USPS 1082-1368), the official publication of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, is published six times per year in February/March, April/May, June/July, August/ September, October/November and December/ January. Subscription of $5 is included in Farm Bureau dues. Periodical postage is paid at Madison, Wisconsin. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. For advertising rates and information: Wisconsin accounts contact Slack Attack at 608.222.7630 or For general inquiries, contact Casey Langan at 608.828.5711 or

#WIAgProud Campaign Helps Farmers Get Social


or the second year in a row the Wisconsin Farm Bureau hosted the #WIAgProud campaign on National Ag Day, which took place on March 18. Farmers and agriculturists from around Wisconsin flooded social media to explain why they are proud to be a part of the agriculture community.

Want to see a slide show of some of the social media posts tagged with #WIAgProud? You can watch it on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau YouTube channel, Facebook page or on Aurasma.

April | May 2015

Ag Day Coloring Contest Winners For the first time the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program hosted a coloring contest in celebration of National Ag Day. More than 200 entries were received. This year’s winners included (top to bottom) Olivia C. from Franksville (6 and under), Ellie E. from Franksville (7-9) and Ava H. from Fond du Lac (10-12). You can see the runners-up on the Ag in the Classroom Facebook page (

The Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program contributed to the #WIAgProud campaign by posting farm facts every hour starting at midnight. Both Twitter and Facebook were filled with agriculture facts throughout the day so people could share and retweet them.


March 11, 2015


“We can feed the world but not if the government is standing in the way,” said Governor Scott Walker in his Ag Day address. He noted that Wisconsin’s agriculture exports are up 13.6 percent compared with last year. Gov. Walker touted lower property taxes, an improved regulatory climate and the state’s investment in the World Dairy Expo.

Left: Among the hot topics discussed at Ag Day was the need for legislation addressing high capacity wells. Attendees shared their concern that Wisconsin is currently in a state of regulatory uncertainty, and only legislators can fix this situation.


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Above: State Senator Luther Olsen and State Representative Keith Ripp met with rural constituents. Rep. Ripp’s bill with State Senator Jerry Petrowski to make updates to Wisconsin’s Implements of Husbandry law was one of the key pieces of legislation discussed at Ag Day at the Capitol. Wisconsin farm bureau federation



State Senator Howard Marklein met with a roomful of constituents, where agrelated components of the governor’s proposed two-year state budget were discussed.

Spring-like weather greeted the more than 400 Ag Day at the Capitol attendees who walked to appointments with their elected officials. The annual event is the largest gathering of farmers from across the state representing a variety of commodities and farm groups.

The scenic Assembly Chambers was the location of a legislative meeting for Ag Day attendees from northern Wisconsin. The need for more money in the state’s transportation fund for rural roads and bridges was a primary request at Ag Day.

April | May 2015


Farm Bureau’s State Budget Priorities


lmost 1,800 pages in length, the state budget proposed in February by Governor Scott Walker outlines his plan on how the state will spend nearly $70 billion during the next two years. The document is now in the hands of the Wisconsin Legislature, which is crafting its own version of the budget this spring before sending it back to Governor Walker for his approval. Based on policy set by Farm Bureau members statewide, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s government relations team is working with legislators to represent the interests of agriculture and rural Wisconsin. DATCP Board The budget proposes elimination of the citizen Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, specifying that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is responsible for overseeing DATCP. In place of the DATCP Board would be an advisory council to advise the DATCP Secretary on issues related to the agency. Farm Bureau believes citizen input at the DATCP is critical for Wisconsin farmers, so it opposes the elimination of the DATCP Board. Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory As part of revamping the University of Wisconsin (UW) System, the Governor proposes a transfer of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) from the UW System to DATCP. In 2000, the WVDL was transferred from DATCP to the UW System in order to maintain its accreditation. Farm Bureau supports the transfer of the WVDL back to DATCP only if the appropriate funding and staff hiring criteria is given to DATCP to ensure the continuation of the lab’s accreditation.


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Veterinary Examining Board The budget proposes transferring the Veterinary Examining Board (VEB) from the Department of Safety and Professional Services to DATCP. The VEB is responsible for the licensing of Wisconsin veterinarians and will be better served by DATCP, which houses the State Veterinarian, the Division of Animal Health and manages many food safety issues. Farm Bureau supports transferring the VEB to DATCP. Fertilizer Research Fees and Fertilizer Research Council (FRC) The budget proposes elimination of funding for the FRC at DATCP. This council funds fertilizer research projects at UWMadison and nutrient and pest management outreach activities by UW-Extension. This action would reduce fertilizer tonnage fees by 27 cents per ton and by 10 cents per ton on soil and plant additives. Farm Bureau opposes elimination of funding for the FRC. Nonpoint Funding (Bonding) The budget provides $7 million in new bonding authority for DATCP to administer to county land conservation departments to provide cost sharing for landowners to comply with nonpoint regulations. Farm Bureau supports bonding to assist farmers with installing nonpoint source pollution prevention projects. Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program Transfer The budget proposes a transfer of $1 million annually from the Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program (ACCP) at DATCP to the DNR’s nonpoint account. Farmers provide the funding for ACCP by surcharges on fertilizers and pesticides. Farm Bureau opposes this raid on the ACCP. Farmer-Led Watershed Grants The budget directs DATCP to make watershed protection grants available to farmer-led organizations that assist farmers in voluntarily enhancing nonpoint source pollution abatement activities. Each year, $250,000 will be made available in certain watersheds from existing DATCP funding for nonpoint source pollution prevention activities. Farm Bureau supports farmerled water quality efforts. UW Discovery Farms The budget proposes to eliminate $249,800 annually from the UW Discovery Farms Program, which comes from DATCP’s Agri-Chemical Management (ACM) fund. Farm Bureau opposes elimination of funding for UW Discovery Farms. Its on-farm research is important to assist farmers in meeting water quality goals and objectives.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Natural Resources Board The budget proposes elimination of the Natural Resources Board, specifying that the Secretary of Natural Resources be responsible for overseeing the DNR. In place of the Natural Resources Board would be an advisory council to advise the DNR Secretary on issues related to the agency. Farm Bureau opposes the elimination of the Natural Resources Board.

Transportation Funding The budget provides $1.3 billion in bonding for transportation projects (the majority goes to urban, southeastern Wisconsin projects). Local road funding is essentially frozen with no new funding for rural bridges. The budget also provides $43 million in bonding for the freight rail program. Farm Bureau seeks an increase in rural road and bridge funding.

Nonpoint Funding The budget provides $7 million in new bonding authority for the DNR to administer through the Targeted Runoff Management Program to install structures in rural areas to improve water quality. In addition, the budget reduces nonpoint source pollution prevention funding by $3,566,400 during the biennium. These funds are used in rural and urban settings. Farm Bureau supports funding that assists farmers to implement nonpoint source pollution prevention practices.

University of Wisconsin System The budget would reduce state funding for the UW System by about $300 million. This would mean a nearly $120 million reduction for UW-Madison of which about $12 million could be attributed to its College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Farm Bureau seeks to ensure adequate funding for agricultural colleges.

Stewardship Program The budget prohibits the DNR from purchasing land through the Stewardship Program when the general fund debt service on prior purchases exceeds $54 million per year. As a result, it is estimated that the DNR will not be able to purchase land until 2028. Farm Bureau supports eliminating future Stewardship purchases.

UW-Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Center The budget eliminates the UW-Extension’s Agricultural Safety and Health Center. It is responsible for the development and instruction of a tractor and machinery safety course for youth 12 years old and older. It further modifies current law to prohibit youth under 16 from operating a tractor on highways unless they are certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT), rather than UW-Extension. Farm Bureau opposes transferring the Farm Tractor Safety Course from UWExtension to the DOT.

IN THE FAMILY. IN THE BLOOD. When the second generation of Kaiser Family Farm approached Ruder Ware on leaving the farm to their sons, our experienced team of ag attorneys knew where to begin, and how much a smooth transition meant to them. We know that farms are highly specialized businesses requiring careful planning to minimize potential disagreements and “surprises.” But we also know that to some, a farm is more than just a business. It’s a treasure and a tradition.

April | May 2015

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Communication wth Local Government Officials is Key to Making IOH Permits Work


ince Wisconsin’s Implements of Husbandry law (IOH) was enacted in 2014, I and a handful of other individuals, have traveled the state speaking with farmers, agriculture associations, local elected officials, law enforcement and others to explain what this law means and how it impacts them. Having done 40-plus presentations, as much as I like to think that I’m the one who has been doing the educating, this whole experience has been invaluable because the people I’ve spoken with have taught me a great deal. The critical piece that stands out from all of my traveling is communication. In order for the new IOH law and its permitting system to work well, we all have to keep talking to each other. Farmers need to talk to local elected officials and I hope those officials want to hear what farmers have to say. Good, open dialogue will go so much further in helping everyone to find common ground versus any adversarial or “I know better than you” attitudes.

If local government officials recognize that farmers are at the heart of the state’s $88 billion agricultural economy and farmers can recognize that local government officials are responsible for protecting and maintaining the roads that all taxpayers fund, then I think we’re at a good point for starting a conversation about how farm machinery can and should be legally operated on Wisconsin’s highways. After the IOH law’s passage, its authors, State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and State Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi), remained in communication with Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations regarding implementation of the law. They recently introduced a new bill to make adjustments that will allow the law to work better for farmers across the state. Recognizing that it has to work for our partners who represent Wisconsin’s towns and counties, Farm Bureau will continue our good working relationship with them as this issue moves forward. Visit the legislative section of for updates on this issue. Rob Richard is the Senior Director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

More of a Visual Learner? Our Video Series Can Help!

If you visit Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s YouTube channel, ( wifarmbureau/playlists) you will find a playlist titled “Implements of Husbandry Application Informational Videos”. This four-video series by Rob Richard walks you through the IOH application process step by step.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

4 IOH questions you should be asking yourself… that the new Implements of Husbandry law (2013 I have all of my routes, how do I know if I need 1. Now 3. Once Wisconsin Act 377) is in effect, is any of the machinery I a no-fee permit to legally operate on the roads I’ll be


own and operate overweight or over-length?

driving my equipment on?

If any machinery that you intend to operate on Wisconsin roads exceeds 23,000 lbs. on an axle or exceeds the new IOH/Ag-CMV gross vehicle weight (GVW) table found at, you may need a no-fee permit to legally operate your equipment. It largely depends on what decision the maintaining authority (MA) for those roads made when implementing the IOH law. For a comprehensive look at the IOH law, visit index.htm or

Visit the DOT website at business/ag/localgov.htm to find out the options available to local MAs and what they mean, or go to this table on the WFBF website. This DOT website above also has a list of the local MAs that passed an ordinance or resolution. Local MAs not listed have likely decided on Option F, which required no resolution or ordinance. This option means that they are not putting axle weight requirements on Category B IOH. MAs have the ability to post roads or declare them “Class B” as well, which also does not require an ordinance or resolution and will not be listed on the DOT website, but can still have an impact on how you move machinery.

If the answer to question #1 is yes, what roads and/or routes will I be traveling on to plant, cultivate, fertilize or harvest? Once you know of any farm machinery that will exceed weight or length limits, you will want to find out what roads you will be traveling on with that equipment. This is going to determine if you’ll need to apply for a no-fee permit to legally operate that equipment. Every county, town or municipality (MA) will have rules in place with regard to weight and length requirements. All state and U.S. highways abide by the 23,000 lb. axle limits and 92,000 lb. GVW weight table. Depending on each MA’s decision, you may need a no-fee permit, which can be found on the Department of Transportation’s website at: business/ag/permits.htm

April | May 2015

or no permit, what am I at risk of financially and 4. Permit legally? Overweight penalties can be costly. Violations are based on the standard weight table, not the new IOH/Ag-CMV weight table. This means that if equipment weighs 96,000 lbs., it is not 4,000 lbs. overweight but rather 16,000 lbs. overweight for purposes of the citation. A permit does not remove you from liability to damage caused to a road, and you can be held legally responsible for three-times the costs to repair the damage. Finally, you may want to check with your insurer to see if you are, or what all is, covered should you be involved in an accident while operating a vehicle that is not permitted to be on the road.



IOH 2.0 Moving Forward Follow-up legislation addresses issues that farmers brought up during Implements of Husbandry presentations around the state


ince the Implements of Husbandry (IOH) law - known as 2013 WI Act 377 - was signed into law last year, there was an expectation the Legislature would revisit the issue this year to help clarify some portions of the Act. State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and State Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) have introduced companion bills, Senate Bill 83 and Assembly Bill 113. Public hearings were held on the legislation in late March. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation supports the bills. As of press time, the bill authors were hopeful the legislation would be passed and signed into law before summer.

Some of the key provisions are: • Clarifies that a single IOH or a combination of IOH being towed by a farm truck, farm truck tractor or motor truck is legal and the IOH being towed do not lose IOH status. • Specifies that towed harvesting equipment is an IOH and carries “Category B” status like other towed planting, tillage and cultivating equipment. • Instead of relying on legal interpretation, the bills clarify in statute that IOH with rubber tracks can legally operate on highways. • Specifies that “grain cart” carries “Category C” status because it is substantially similar in use and purpose to other farm wagons or farm trailers. • Clarifies that an Agricultural Commercial Motor Vehicle (Ag-CMV) used to off-load manure when field conditions do not permit direct manure application remains an Ag-CMV. • Clarifies that weight limit exceptions for potato harvesters apply to both self-propelled and towed potato harvesters. • Instead of a January 15 deadline for local maintaining authorities (MA) to pass a resolution/ordinance to implement or amend their “local option”, the bills move it to November 30 and also requires those MAs to submit it to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation by January 20 to be posted on the agency’s website.


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• Similar to the “Category B” status given to planting, cultivating, tillage and harvesting IOH, the bills give that same status (including no-fee permit and alternate route approval) to certain Ag-CMVs. • To alleviate the potential issuance of hundreds, if not thousands, of no-fee permits across the state, the bills authorize an IOH or Ag-CMV being operated in compliance with a permit to cross any highway that intersects with a highway under the jurisdiction of the MA that issued the permit. • To help incentivize the use of trailers to better distribute weight load, the bills expand the increased weight limit for IOH and Ag-CMV to also apply to two-vehicle combinations transporting by trailer or semitrailer an IOH or Ag-CMV from farm-to-field, from field-to-field, or from farm-to-farm. • The bills provide the same length and height restrictions for transporting IOH by trailer or semitrailer as if the IOH were being operated on the roadway. • WI Act 377 inadvertently deleted a portion of a statute that allowed “wide” IOH to “be moved, towed or hauled over the highways without a special permit.” The bills correct that and allow IOH of any width to be transported by trailer or semitrailer, without a permit, at times other than hours of darkness, subject to certain lighting and marking requirements.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation


Watch Farm Bureau advocates for you in Madison and Washington, D.C.

Ribble Introduces Wolf Legislation Prompted by a lawsuit from multiple animal rights groups, in December a federal judge overturned a 2011 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove the gray wolf (in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan) from the federal Endangered Species List. This action bans Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping season indefinitely. It also prohibits farmers, landowners and hunters from using lethal force when dealing with wolf conflicts involving livestock or pets. Previously, Wisconsin farmers and landowners were allowed to shoot wolves caught in the act of depredating their livestock. Now the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and FWS are only able to use non-lethal means to deter wolf depredation of livestock or deal with problem wolves. Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble has introduced federal legislation to correct this situation. His bill (H.R. 884) mirrors language used by Idaho and Montana in 2012 that upheld the FWS determination that gray wolves had recovered to a level

that no longer required them to be listed as endangered in those states. That law also prohibited the delisting from being overturned by judicial review. Congressman Ribble’s bill expressly targets the “Western Great Lakes” region (Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan) and Wyoming. If wolf numbers legitimately decrease to a level requiring protection, the FWS can implement measures. This bill, which the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation fully supports, simply stops animal rights groups from using the courts to push their legislative agenda. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau appreciates this support from Wisconsin’s federal lawmakers. Our state’s wolf population has successfully recovered in excess of the 350 wolves targeted in the DNR’s population management plan. As such, the DNR should have the legal right to manage wolf numbers,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President.

Congress Urged to Pass Trade Promotion Authority The Wisconsin and American Farm Bureaus are urging Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to give U.S. negotiators the leverage they need to keep America competitive in the international marketplace. TPA lets Congress consult on trade agreements, but requires an up or down vote without amendments that could jeopardize years of negotiations with foreign governments. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, a beef and rice farmer from Texas, testified before the House Committee on Agriculture in March. “America’s farmers and ranchers exported more than $152 billion dollars’ worth of farm goods last year,” Stallman said. “That’s a testament not just to their hard work and productivity, but the benefits of opening new markets around the globe, too. “Farmers and ranchers need access to new markets around the world. The U.S. is on the verge of completing ambitious trade negotiations from Europe to Asia, but we cannot move forward unless barriers such as high tariffs and non-scientific standards are addressed,” Stallman said. “We must forge deals that knock down those trade barriers. Getting there means giving the President the Trade Promotion Authority necessary to reach those market-opening agreements.” April | May 2015

Congress and the Obama Administration must continue to shape and set priorities based on actual business conditions. TPA will give Congress the authority to provide valuable oversight to the trade agreement process while the Obama Administration represents our priorities at the negotiating table with other countries. Having TPA in place before the next set of agreements reaches the table will ensure that our best interests are represented. Congress needs to pass TPA now to keep agricultural trade going forward tomorrow. Wisconsin Farm Bureau leaders discussed the TPA with federal lawmakers while in Washington D.C. in February. WFBF President Jim Holte said two trade agreements in the negotiation phase lend urgency to passing TPA. “The 12 nations that make up the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership make up nearly 40 percent of global gross domestic product,” Holte said. “Wisconsin’s economy and job outlook has benefitted from increased agricultural exports over the past few years. Considering that 96 percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States, it is critical that TPA is granted for these proposed trade agreements to move forward, or we risk being left behind.”



Blakeney Joins Farm Bureau Staff A

my Blakeney has been hired by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation as the new district coordinator in south-central Wisconsin. Blakeney will be responsible for working with county Farm Bureaus to develop and implement programs to serve Farm Bureau members and to coordinate membership recruitment and retention efforts. “I am excited to join the Farm Bureau family as the District 2 Coordinator. I am looking forward to this opportunity to work with Farm Bureau members and am committed to helping each county achieve their goals,” Blakeney said. Blakeney will serve Farm Bureau’s District 2, which includes the counties of Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Rock and Sauk. She began her duties on March 17. “Along with her leadership experience as a Farm Bureau

volunteer, Amy’s enthusiasm for agriculture and her diverse farming experience will serve her well as she works with the county Farm Bureaus in south-central Wisconsin and with the collegiate Farm Bureau chapter at UW-Madison,” said Bob Leege, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Member Relations. Amy grew up on a dairy farm in southeast Wisconsin. She and her husband, Chris, live near Janesville in Rock County. They raise beef cattle and produce with his parents on Amazing Grace Family Farm. They have two daughters: Eleanor and Gloriana. Amy is a graduate of UW-Green Bay with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication. She has been an active Rock County Farm Bureau member, serving as its Ag in the Classroom Coordinator for two years. In 2009-10, she served as an ambassador for the honey and beekeeping industry on the state and national levels. Most recently, she was employed at Mid-State Equipment in Janesville. Blakeney succeeds Kelly Sime of Ripon at WFBF.

Look Out!

is on Instagram! You can find Wisconsin Farm Bureau by searching “wifarmbureau” in the Instagram app. Be sure to follow us for photos and videos throughout the year.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau is volunteers a federation of across the state who serve on the board of directors for County Farm their local Bureaus. county Farm Bureau.


The WFBF Board of Directors is composed of

11 farmers

who are elected by their peers. WFBF board members have a combined


years of service on the board. WFBF’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference attracted

There were county contestants in Farm Bureau’s participants last 2014 YFA Discussion year. Meet.




Annual Meeting You’re Invited

Farm Bureau members and guests attended their county’s annual meeting in 2014.

April | May 2015

247 Combined years of service WFBF employees have.

Farm Bureau membership in Wisconsin has doubled in the past 50 years, from 22,697 in 1964 to 45,270 in 2014. Of that current total, 24,224 are voting members who each hold the right to vote on the organization’s policies.

92% The retention rate for membership in Wisconsin Farm Bureau this year.

Last year 14 farmers from across Wisconsin served on WFBF’s Policy Development committee, which reviewed 568 resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureaus. 257 county delegates voted on the organization’s 2015 policy at the WFBF Annual Meeting.

In 2014,


volunteer membership workers signed up a combined total of new Farm Bureau members.



717 There are


By The  Numbers


Farm Bureau volunteers conduct the Marketbasket Survey in communities across the

state. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Institute has provided personal and professional training for graduates from

110 8


Wisconsin’s Collegiate Farm Bureau chapters at UW-Madison, UWPlatteville and UW-River Falls have a combined membership of

147 students.

Farm Bureau offers numerous opportunities for you to take an active role.

How will you get involved?


Meet Women’s Chair:

Rosalie Geiger S

ince December, Rosalie Geiger has served as chair of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s nine member Women’s Committee. Although a newcomer to this role, she’s no stranger to agricultural advocacy. For 21 years she has represented Manitowoc and Calumet counties on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. She led the 25-member board of dairy farmers as its chair in 2004 and 2005. She has announced that the seventh, three-year term that she will complete in June will be her last. In May, an election will occur for a new director who will take office on July 1. They will be just the third person to represent WMMB’s District 17 in the organization’s 30 years. Rosalie succeeded the late Fred Fisher of Valders, who served for nine years and was the first board chair. During her tenure, Rosalie served as a member of the National Dairy Board from 2001-2007. The WMMB is funded with checkoff dollars from milk sold by Wisconsin dairy farmers. A dime per hundredweight (100 pounds of milk) goes to the WMMB to fund dairy promotion efforts, while a nickel per hundredweight goes to a national program. Much like the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 61 county Farm Bureaus, Geiger says “the arms and legs” of the WMMB are its county dairy promotion committees.

Rosalie and her husband, Randy’s farming careers began in 1969. They moved to a farm near Reedsville in 1981 that has been owned by Rosalie’s ancestors since 1867. Ran-Rose Dairy is known for a fine herd of registered Holsteins where cows, heifers and embryos are marketed around the world. Their milk is sold to Dean Foods and is bottled as white and chocolate milk. They grow 360 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat. Randy was a longtime president of the Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative. Following a merger with two other Wisconsin dairy cooperatives, he now serves on the executive committee as treasurer for the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. The Geiger’s adult children work in agriculture. Son, Corey, is the managing editor of Hoard’s Dairyman magazine in Fort Atkinson. Daughter, Angela Zwald, performs pharmaceutical sales and dairy herd health troubleshooting for Zoetis in Beaver Dam. In 2012, Rosalie was named a Wisconsin Master Agriculturalist by the Wisconsin Agriculturalist magazine. She received honorary recognition from the UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2005. This fall the World Dairy Expo will honor her as its Dairy Woman of the Year. “I couldn’t have done all the extra things I’ve done in agriculture without the love and support of my husband, Randy,” she said. She is a member of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Women for Agriculture, Reedsville FFA Alumni, county and state Holstein Associations, Maple Rock Homemakers Club, Holy Family Catholic Parish in Brillion and serves as a board member of the Historical Building Committee for the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Reedsville. Rosalie is pictured with the other members of the 2014-15 WFBF Women’s Committee.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Q & A with Rosalie What got you involved with Farm Bureau? We had Rural Mutual Insurance for many years. I got involved when Randy became a board member for the Manitowoc County Farm Bureau. I knew some of the women involved so I got involved with its Women’s committee. In addition to lots of camaraderie, we instituted a lot of local programs, especially educating our youth. Eventually I became the co-chair of our county’s Women’s committee with Cheryl Duchow, and the rest is history. What would you change in agriculture? I see a couple of different challenges. One is the issue of manure and its application. Another is imitation milk (soy, coconut, almond, etc.). Finally, all ag organizations should work together for the common good of all farm families. This is especially true when it comes to political action. When certain parts of our ag industry are under fire, we all need to unite to support each other. What do you like about being a farmer? Working with my family. It’s your home. It’s your farm. It’s your roots. I like living in the country; seeing the seasons and seeing the results of your care for animals and the land. I like being independent and having choices. I am blessed to have been planted in the great state of Wisconsin. Why should women get involved in Farm Bureau? For many reasons. To network with people of similar backgrounds; to be a leader in the county, state and nation; to get involved in politics; to prepare for Ag in the Classroom presentations and to educate consumers about agriculture. I found that being involved in Farm Bureau is like having another big family and we need to give women a voice for their passion in agriculture.

What advice do you have for young female farmers and agriculturists? They should be connected through organizations such as Farm Bureau. If you can connect with a mentor, it’s a plus. Many opportunities exist with the Women’s Program for Education and Leadership and the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program. Attending the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit also is a great experience and networking event. Tell us about a book you recently read. Limping through Life: A Farm Boy’s Polio Memoir by Jerry Apps. His message boils down to being yourself and being proud of your rural heritage. It’s part of who you are and it makes you unique. Along those same lines, I recently read Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle to my grandchildren. In it, the chameleon figures out that you cannot be something you’re not. It’s a good message to reinforce in children. What did you want to be when you were growing up? I was lucky to find my niche in high school. I served as a state officer for the Future Homemakers Association. My home economics teacher was a good mentor. I graduated from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc with a bachelor’s degree in home economics and a minor in English. I taught and substitutetaught for several years before making the decision to farm full-time with my husband. Any unique interests or hobbies? In addition to my Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Farm Bureau hobbies, I enjoy photography, reading, travel, flower gardening and spending time with my family.

Rural Mutual Recognizes Top Agents


he Rural Mutual Insurance Company held its 2014 Honors and Awards program recognizing the top producing agents on February 19 in Middleton. Rural Mutual Insurance Company agent Chuck McDaniel is the company’s Agent of the Year. McDaniel, a member of the Big Lakes District, is based in Waupaca. He also was recognized as the Company Top Performer in Commercial Lines. The Rookie of the Year honors went to Brad Damon. Damon

Chuck McDaniel April | May 2015

Brad Damon

Kurt Johnson

is a member of the Capitol District and has an office in Portage. The District of the Year honor went to the Capitol District, managed by Kurt Johnson. Mike Immel of Fond du Lac was the Company Top Performer in Life Lines. Jacob Shropshire of Columbus was the Company Top Performer in Personal Lines. Daryl Pulsfus of Reedsburg was the Company Top Performer in Farm Lines.

Mike Immel

Jacob Shropshire

Daryl Pulsfus



Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees S

and County Foundation, Applications are due by August 7, 2015. Finalists Wisconsin Land and and winner will be announced in late 2015. Water Conservation For complete application information, visit Association and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation are accepting application-info. applications for the $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award, which honors Wisconsin farmers who demonstrate exemplary stewardship and management of natural resources. Pioneer, The Mosaic Company, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Sand County Foundation and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, American Transmission Company, Badgerland Federation are proud to partner, for the first time, with the Financial, Wisconsin Energy Foundation, Alliant Energy Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association to Foundation, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Wisconsin present the 2015 award. Corn Growers Association. “Through this important partnership, we recognize the The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that conservation efforts of outstanding Wisconsin agricultural recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. producers who have built a strong tradition of sustainable Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, agriculture,” said Brent M. Haglund, Ph.D., Sand County Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Foundation President. “We look forward to honoring more Wisconsin and Wyoming. landowners who are committed to the enhancement of Wisconsin’s landscape.” Download the Aurasama app (directions on page 43) to watch Given in honor of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic, the Leopold the video of last year’s award winner, Jack and Pat Herricks. Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation on working lands, inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where leaders from the agricultural community are recognized as conservation leaders outside of the industry. In his influential book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.” “Wisconsin Land and Water is honored to be a sponsor of the Leopold Conservation Award. We are proud to support private landowners who understand that good land management benefits the environment as well as themselves,” said Jim VandenBrook, executive director. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau is pleased to join with Sand County Foundation in recognizing working farms that demonstrate a high standard of care for the soil and water on their farms. These farmers lead by example, and inspire others to continue the search for better methods of protecting our resources,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. Since 1958 The Leopold Conservation Award . . . Suburban Commercial Agricultural Horse Barns & Arenas in Wisconsin is made possible through Toll Free 800. 558. 7800 . the generous support of DuPont

Quality Builders for Quality Buildings.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Washington County

Cheeseville Dairy, West Bend June 13, 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Winnebago County

Mike and Jane Pamer Farm, 6619 County Road M, Winneconne June 13, 8 a.m. to noon

Manitowoc County

Kenosha County

Herda Farms, 4602 Highway 83 South, Burlington June 20, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Walworth County

Walworth County Fairgrounds, 411 East Court Street, Elkhorn June 20, 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Racine County

Orthland Dairy, Cleveland June 14, 8 a.m. to noon

Lone Chestnut Farms, 26720 Plank Road, Burlington June 27, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Marquette County

Slowey Farms, N5400 County A, Westfield June 14, 7 a.m. to noon

Outagamie County Connect with others and enjoy a great meal at these Farm Bureau events.

Wichman Farms, N4735 County Road EE, Appleton June 14, 8 a.m. to noon

For more breakfasts visit

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or visit April | May 2015


Meet Farm Bureau Member:

By Ethan Geibel


acFarlane Pheasants, Inc., is the largest producer of competitors, we also are friends.” Blogging is another way pheasants in North America and well noted as a leader for others to get the scoop on the pheasant business. A visit in the game bird industry. Founded by the MacFarlane family to reveals up-to-date posts on the in 1929, this Janesville farm carries on an 86-year legacy in the farm’s day-to-day operations. pheasant business. Bill MacFarlane is the second generation First and foremost, MacFarlane Pheasants is in the game on the farm and serves as owner and bird business. In 2014, more than one president. million pheasant chicks were shipped to “I aspire to be as open as What does it take to operate customers throughout North America. possible about what we do,” a successful pheasant farm? With the purchase of chicks, customers “Communication is the first hurdle also receive valuable how-to advice said MacFarlane. “There aren’t to success in any business,” said on raising pheasants. In 2014, about any secrets to the way we grow MacFarlane. “With the farm’s operation 435,000 adult pheasants were raised on pheasants.” spread over 500 acres, 20 employees the farm to be sold for release. More carry walkie talkies to be in constant than 100,000 adult partridges communication. Having all employees know the goals and were sold as well, something that wouldn’t have been vision of the farm is the second hurdle. Keeping our goals possible in years past. in mind keeps us efficient and allows us to grow the From February through June, 45,000 best birds.” It takes a team of 60 employees to pheasant breeding hens lay the eggs effectively run MacFarlane Pheasants. necessary to fill demand. During the MacFarlane maintains that his philosophy is summer months, birds are raised outside one of transparency when it comes to working on 200 acres of farmland in covered pens with other growers and his customers. “I aspire built from wooden poles, wire mesh sides to be as open as possible about what we do,” and a netted top. This method of housing allows said MacFarlane. “There aren’t any secrets to the pheasants to stay in and keeps the predators the way we grow pheasants. Since out. A cover crop of corn, milo or lamb’s quarter 1998, we have been hosting a is planted in each pen for the pheasants to use seminar every other year as refuge. A pelleted feed provides a complete for growers in this ration for the pheasants to reach their growth industry to share potential. Demand for live chicks and adult birds ideas. Although is high, with customers from places as far away as we are Quebec, Oregon and Florida. While typical Ring-necked and Manchurian pheasants are raised for range environments, White pheasants are raised for processing purposes. MacFarlane identifies the processed pheasant products side of the business as the area with the most growth potential. In 2014, 170,000 pheasants were processed and primarily sold through wholesale vendors. This season, he expects that number to increase to more than 220,000 birds. “White pheasants have been bred to carry more breast meat than traditional pheasants, thus making pheasant a more affordable option for the dinner table,” said MacFarlane. “Our customers believe pheasant is a healthy choice. Pheasant has


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higher protein levels than most other meats while also having a lower cholesterol level.” “This change in eating habits and therefore the change in our business didn’t happen quickly,” said MacFarlane. “In 1979, my father asked me to come back to the farm after I graduated college. At the time, we raised 18,000 birds and the growth has been steady ever since. Growing infrastructure and a team of talented employees comes before building more pens.” Sophisticated marketing techniques have enabled MacFarlane to expand the reach of his product. In 1994, MacFarlane secured the URL “We have taken a very active role in using social media to engage our customers in conversation,” said MacFarlane. “Building a relationship with the customer is important to me. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and our blog are some of the tools we use to do exactly that.” Customers can find MacFarlane pheasant in stores, restaurants and online at Story reprinted with permission of the Wisconsin

Agriculturist magazine. Ethan Geibel is a member of the

UW-Platteville Collegiate Farm Bureau and Juneau County Farm Bureau.

Above: Bill MacFarlane. Below: MacFarlane Pheasants (the largest producer of pheasants in North America) had been a Rock County Farm Bureau member since 1968.


Farm Bureau Recipes and photos courtesy of MacFarlane Pheasants

Pheasant Fajita • 2 MacFarlane pheasant breasts (sliced into strips) • 1 yellow onion (sliced into strips) • 3 bell peppers (red, yellow, green)

• 10 mushrooms (sliced) • sour cream • 4 green onions (diced) • cilantro (diced) • tortillas • butter

• olive oil • peanut oil • salt • dried garlic • red pepper

1. Place the pheasant strips in a bowl and add salt, dried garlic, and red pepper to taste. Allow the pheasant to rest at least 15 minutes. 2. Burn the bell peppers over the open flame on the stove until the peppers are totally black on the outside. Place the burned peppers in a paper bag to cool. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Remove the peppers and peel their skins off. (The skins should just fall off the pepper). Slice the peppers into strips.

Mushroom Duxelle Stuffed Pheasant Breast By Great Caterers of Iowa • 1 tablespoon butter • ½ cup finely chopped button or baby bella mushrooms • 1 teaspoon minced shallots • 1 tablespoon minced garlic • pinch of fresh chopped basil and garlic chives • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic puree

• 6 ounces cream cheese • 2 MacFarlane boneless pheasant breasts • pinch of Kosher salt and white pepper • 4 ounces heavy cream

Preheat oven to 300˚ F. In a small saucepan, add butter, mushrooms, shallots, sauté. Add garlic and fresh herbs, mix. Remove from heat; add garlic puree and cream cheese, mix until combined. Season to taste. Make a slit in the meaty portion of the breast. Pipe mushroom mixture into the slit until plump. On a baking sheet pan, place pheasant. Place in oven, heat until internal temperature 160˚ F. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the remaining mushroom mixture and cream, mix together. Reduce to desired consistency. Pour sauce over pheasant. Serve immediately.

In separate skillets: 1. Sauté the sliced yellow onions until just barely brown. 2. Sauté the mushrooms with a pad of butter until golden. 3. Sauté the peppers with a little olive oil. 4. In a wrought iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil until hot. Slowly place a few of the strips of pheasant into the hot pan. Sear the pheasant on both sides and remove to a separate dish. 5. Continue with as many batches as it takes to cook all of the pheasant. 6. Place the tortillas, one at a time over an open flame on the stove. Slightly char each side and place between towels to keep warm. 7. Serve the pheasant, yellow onions, green onions, mushrooms, peppers, tortillas, sour cream in separate bowls. Garnish with cilantro. 8. Each person makes their own fajitas.

For more pheasant recipes, download the new Pheasant for Dinner Cookbook at consumer/home.aspx


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

County Kernels Marquette County

Dunn County

Marquette County Farm Bureau sponsored a high capacity well informational meeting on February 6 at the Marquette County Extension building in Montello. 110 people attended the event. Guest speakers included Erik Ebersberger - DNR, Don Genrich - a retired Adams County Extension Agent, Jordan Lamb - agricultural attorney and Paul Zimmerman - WFBF lobbyist.

Dunn County Farm Bureau co-sponsored the November ‘Business after Hours’ on November 17 with Value Implement, Toppers Pizza and Culver’s. The event gave Dunn County Farm Bureau an opportunity to share their passion for agriculture with members of the community and to let them know what Farm Bureau is all about. Business after Hours gives members of the Dunn County community the opportunity to take advantage of networking opportunities to promote their businesses and services, interact with other business men and women and meet government, education and community leaders.

District 5

Rusk and Sawyer Counties

WFBF Board Director Kevin Krentz hosted the District 5 Leaders Meeting on February 3 at the City Inn in Berlin. 47 members from six counties attended this annual event. New this year was the district leaders discussion meet contest for members older than 35. Matt Graff, Jim Kasten, Randi Brooks, Dave Wilke, Al Klapotke and Tim Haack participated and Dave Wilke, Green Lake County President was named the winner.

On January 17, YFA members from Rusk and Sawyer counties met to network and have some fun! Members enjoyed an evening of snow tubing at Christie Mountain in Bruce. This was the first of many YFA events that Rusk and Sawyer counties will be hosting throughout the year.

District 2 On January 21, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s District 2 held its second annual Youth Ag Summit at Kuhn North America in Brodhead. A variety of speakers and topics were offered to attendees including Kraig Knapp - aftermarket sales and support manager for Kuhn, Stephanie Kvalheim - veterinarian from Evansville Vet, Ben Huber - seed specialist for Frontier-Servco FS, Steve Stettler - master cheesemaker from Decatur Dairy near Brodhead, Nicole Barlass - Rock County Farm Bureau board member and executive director of Southern Wisconsin Agricultural Group (SWAG), Kelly Sime - District 2 WFBF Coordinator and Arch Morton, Jr. - WFBF District 2 Director. The day ended with a tour of Kuhn North America and its manufacturing and parts plant. April | May 2015


Meet Langlade County Member:

Joel Zalewski Editor’s Note: The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association recently profiled Joel Zalewski in its Common Tater magazine. Zalewski is a member of the Langlade County Farm Bureau who works as the northern area manager for Frontier-Servco-FS, a division of GROWMARK, Inc. He and his wife, Jodi, live in Bryant, and have three children: Melissa, Mary Beth and Andrew. This story and photos are reprinted with the permission of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.


oel Zalewski graduated from Antigo High School and started working at Zalewski Bros., Inc., a certified seed potato farm in Antigo. They grew about 1,000 acres of potatoes, grain and clover in Langlade County. Zalewski Bros. was originally owned by Marvin and Stanley Zalewski and later their sons Joel and Dan shared joint ownership. During his time as owner, Joel served on the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association Board as well as the potato inspection committee and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s committee to rewrite rules regarding nematode issues. When Zalewski Bros. was sold in 1995, Joel worked as farm manager for Wirz, Inc., another certified seed potato farm. In 2003, he accepted a position at Farm Bureau Cooperative, which later became Servco FS. Joel has held several positions with FS and in 2013, he was promoted to the northern area manager. In 2012, Frontier-Servco FS was formed with the merger of Frontier FS and Servco FS. Within Wisconsin this merger provided the diversity of products, facilities and skilled personnel necessary to be an effective partner to the various types of farming.

Q & A with Joel

From an agronomy standpoint, what do growers need to do to ensure a healthy start for a potato crop? Take care of your land like it is your most valuable asset because it is. Minimize soil compaction to maximize the potential of your crop. Be patient regarding planting until soil temperature and moisture are appropriate. The foundation for a high quality crop is good seed planted carefully in good soil.

What potato and vegetable related services do you offer? We provide traditional soil sampling as well as grid sampling. Our crop advisors meet with growers to evaluate information and provide recommendations to meet specific crop, field and customer needs. We have floatation equipment and operators to perform variable rate applications of lime, gypsoil and fertilizer. What are your recommendations for a strong fertility program for potatoes? Grid sampling fields to determine the level of variability of pH and nutrients. Variable rate recommendations derived from grid sampling can help to minimize variability and input cost as well as maximizing yields and quality. What is offered to growers in precision farming and where do you see that segment of the industry heading? Frontier-Servco FS believes in the value of precision farming and staff provides soil sampling, variable rate lime and fertilizer recommendations and nutrient management plans. For farms raising corn, they provide equipment and recommendations for variable rate seed spacing. We also are developing a scouting service with drones. What makes a strong nutrient management plan? A long-term nutrient management plan includes economics, long-term sustainability and minimizing environmental impact. While economics is the obvious part, long-term sustainability is important, as well. Carefully managing nutrient levels in the soil is important and requires expert help. Nutrient management will remain a growing challenge and careful planning is required. Can you offer other suggestions to aid in grower success? It is important to find trustworthy, knowledgeable partners in the industry to work collaboratively as you plan for the future. Growers are fortunate to have support from first class organizations like WPVGA, the University of Wisconsin and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. It is our goal at FS to be part of this partnership whenever possible.

Joel Zalewski and Joe Sikora (FS safety manager for southern Wisconsin) conduct a facility inspection at the Frontier-Servco FS plant Route in Antigo. 24 fertilizer Rural

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Photo by Amy Shafer, Baldwin

Photo by Kelsey Cramer, Juda

Photo by Marian Viney, Belleville

Photo by Jared Lucey, Middle Ridge

Send us YOUR Photos April | May 2015

Photo by Krista Dolan, Dodgeville

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members live and work on some of the most beautiful pieces of land. On this page we highlight those sights and special moments. Please email your best photos (high resolution jpgs, 4x6 inches at 300 dpi) to Due to the high volume of photos we receive, we are unable to publish every photo.



National Conference Unites Leaders


or the first time the American Farm Bureau hosted FUSION, a conference that brought together volunteer leaders from the three program areas: Promotion and Education, Women's Leadership and Young Farmers and Ranchers. The conference focused on leadership and personal development opportunities for Farm Bureau members. This year Wisconsin had attendees from the Women’s Program for Education and Leadership, the Young Farmer and Agriculturist program and UW-Madison Collegiate Farm Bureau members. The American Farm Bureau plans to host the FUSION Conference every other year in odd years. In even years, the YF&R program will have a separate conference. Those in attendance from Wisconsin were: Rosalie Geiger, Susan Brugger, Tim and Danielle Clark, Andrea Brossard and Mason Rens, Amanda and Josh Knoch, Nate Zimdars, Josie Dallam, Luke Drachenberg, Sydney Endres, Kate Griswold, Sara Griswold, Lindsey Hellenbrand, Taylor Holterman, Brad Jaeger, Gabe Janke, Margie Letterer, Abigail Martin, Courtney McCourt, Erica Olson, Jackson Remer, Elizabeth Sarbacker, Jaime Sawle, Tony Schmitz, Lisa Schram, Micheala Slind and Tyler Troiola.

See what they had to say about the experience:

The Fusion Conference in Nashville provided a wonderful way for me to further develop relationships within Collegiate Farm Bureau at UW-Madison as well as meet and network with Wisconsin Young Farmer and Agriculturist members. - Kate Griswold

I really enjoyed the breakout session on ‘My American Farm.’ I learned about some very valuable resources that I can bring back and implement in the 2015 Discovery Barnyard at State Fair! - Sydney Endres

I was really excited to spend time in Nashville. The town certainly lived up to the hype, and it was a great opportunity to talk with other young farmers from across the country. - Brad Jaeger

This trip was a great professional development and social bonding experience for the 19 members of CFB at UW-Madison who attended. I am proud to have been a part of what collegiate Farm Bureau has become in its short five years as a student organization on campus, and this trip definitely showcased its growth and member investment in Farm Bureau. - Taylor Holterman

Beaty Graduates from PAL Leadership Program R ock County Farm Bureau member Jillian Beaty was one of a 10 outstanding young farm and ranch leaders who were honored February 25 by the American Farm Bureau Federation as graduates of the organization’s seventh Partners in Agricultural Leadership class. The young agricultural leaders were recognized during AFBF’s Advocacy Conference. PAL is designed to help agricultural leaders accelerate their leadership abilities and solidify their roles


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as advocates for agriculture. “This group of PAL graduates represents the very ‘best of the best’ among today’s farmers and ranchers,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “They are top-tier agricultural advocates, and we look forward to having them as vital contributors to our outreach efforts.” Beaty is an agricultural instructor at Oregon High School.

Beaty is pictured with AFBF President Bob Stallman and WFBF President Jim Holte.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

YFA Holds Contests for Members 18-35 W

isconsin Farm Bureau Federation holds three contests for Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) members. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible for the Discussion Meet Contest, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Achievement Award. Farm Bureau co-sponsors these contests with GROWMARK, Inc., and Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Information and applications for the contests can be downloaded from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s website, www., or members can call Dale Beaty, Director of Training and Leadership Development at 608.828.5714. The winners of these contests on the state level will compete at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, January 10-13, 2016. They also will be guests at the GROWMARK, Inc., Annual Meeting, August 25-26, 2016, and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau 2015 Annual Meeting/YFA Conference, December 4-5, 2015. They also will have the opportunity to take part in the YFA Washington, D.C., trip. Achievement Award contestants are judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic and service

organizations. Applicants must have derived a majority of their income from on farm production for the past three years. Rural Mutual Insurance Company will provide a free financial plan for the state winner. The final four receive a $50 FAST STOP gift card. FABCO Equipment, Inc., provides the state winner with 40 hours use of a FABCO 226 skid-steer loader. Excellence in Agriculture contestants are judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic and service organizations. Applicants must have derived a majority of their income from a non-production agribusiness enterprise for the past three years. Examples would be an agriculture teacher, fertilizer salesperson, veterinarian, farm employee, agricultural writer or marketer. The final four receive a $50 FAST STOP gift card from GROWMARK, Inc. The state winner receives a $250 FAST STOP gift card from GROWMARK, Inc., towards FS products. Applications for the 2015 Achievement Award and the Excellence in Agriculture Award are due postmarked by July 1. Finally, the Discussion Meet contest gives young members a chance to demonstrate their speaking skills on agriculturalrelated topics. Contestants are judged on their problem-solving skills as they discuss timely topics with their colleagues. Each of WFBF’s nine districts will hold a district Discussion Meet competition this fall. The three finalists in each district receive a $50 FAST STOP gift card from GROWMARK, Inc. The statewide winner also will receive a chain saw from Midwest Stihl, Inc. The YFA Program is sponsored by


for Farming’s Future (WFB Foundation)

on the web Check out more information about the YFA program and YFA contests at

April | May 2015


on the web

Member Benefits

View additional WFBF member benefits and more details on our website at

Savings for your Family or Business

Wisconsin Farm Bureau offers benefits and services to its members, covering a range of options that respond to the needs of farmers, families and businesses in Wisconsin.

Supplies & Products Case IH - Eligible Farm Bureau members will receive an incentive discount ($300 to $500) when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealers. The discount can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership. Go to www.fbverify. com/case to see the eligible models and print your certificate. FS-Growmark Patronage - Members who are patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage dividends when patronage is paid. Grainger Industrial Supply - Grainger Industrial Supply is the nation’s leading maintenance, repair and operational supplies distributor. Receive at least a 10% discount on all Grainger catalog items. For a free catalog call 608.221.3861. When ordering use the Farm Bureau account #855922019. Office Depot - Save up to 80% on Office Depot Preferred Products along with reduced prices on ink, paper, office supplies, toner, stamps/daters, pens, pads, furniture and much more. Members get free next day delivery with free shipping on orders over $50 and terrific copy and print pricing. Visit Polaris - Farm Bureau members will receive a manufacturer’s incentive discount of $200-$300 depending on the vehicle acquired. There is no limit to the number of incentive discounts that a Farm Bureau member may use so long as it’s no more than one per unit acquired and the acquisition(s) is/are made for their personal and/or business use.

Auto General Motors - Eligible members may receive a $500 discount on qualifying Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicles they purchase or lease. Individuals must be members for at least 30 days to qualify.

Protection Reward Protection Program - Farm Bureau pays a $500 reward to people providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals for arson, theft or criminal damage to a member’s property that is posted with a Farm Bureau reward sign or sticker. Accidental Death Policy - Members receive $1,500 in accidental death insurance for themselves and their spouse, and $500 for minors. The policy increases in value for consecutive years of membership up to $3,500.

AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program - The AgriPlanNOW! program is based on Section 105 of the IRS code and can allow farmers and other self-employed individuals to deduct 100 percent of their family’s medical expenses through their farm or business. To learn more about AgriPlan and/or sign up, go to or call 888.595.2261. Farm Bureau Bank - Take advantage of Farm Bureau Bank’s FDIC insured checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards and vehicle and home loans. Go to

Communication AgriVisor - WFBF members can receive a 35% discount on daily grain, livestock and feed input marketing advice, as well as current market quotes and updates. Call 800.676.5799. The Country Today - With every new subscription or renewal, The Country Today will give a discounted rate and donate $5 to the Ag in the Classroom program. Write “Farm Bureau member” on your renewal or mention it when calling 1.800.236.4004.

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Rural Mutual Insurance Company - Offering a full line of insurance and financial products for your personal, farm and business needs exclusively for Wisconsin Farm Bureau members. Our rural Wisconsin heritage assures that you’ll find in us the strong values you expect and deserve. Visit us on the web at to find your nearest Rural Mutual agent. Farm Bureau Financial Services is a dynamic multi-state insurance and investment organization serving individuals and families in not only rural areas, but also suburban and metropolitan. You can get more information about the financial services from your local Rural Insurance agent. Learn more about Farm Bureau Financial Services at





AAA - Members can save up to 20% on AAA membership and the enrollment fee to join AAA is waived. FB members who already belong to AAA can receive the discount by calling before their next renewal. To enroll or to add the benefit to your existing account, call 877.731.3315 and give them the group code “WI07.” AVIS Car Rental Discount Program - You can save 5%-25% on Avis’ daily and weekly rates. To receive these discounted rates, all you need to do is use your Avis Worldwide Discount number: A298849. To rent a car and enjoy benefits visit Avis. com or call Avis at 1.800.331.1212. Choice Hotels International, Inc. - Members save an average of 20% at participating Choice Brand Hotels. Call 800.258.2847 to make the required advance reservation or book online at Make sure to select “special rate/CORPID.” Request WFBF member rate using ID# 00209870. Wyndham Hotel Group - Members save 20% off the best available rate at more than 5,000 participating locations throughout North America. Mention Farm Bureau ID# 8000004288 when making your reservations. Call 877.670.7088.

*WFBF member benefits may be changed or discontinued at anytime without notice.*

Wisconsin farm bureau federation


Farming is a business of uncertainty, but here’s something you can count on. Chevrolet presents this exclusive $500 private offer 1 toward the purchase or lease of an all-new Chevy Silverado — the 2014 North American Truck of the Year. From the family of the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickups 2 in America, rest assured your Silverado will keep you working without skipping a beat. 1 Offer available through 4/1/17. Available on qualified 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet vehicles. This offer is not available with some other offers. Only customers who have been active members of an eligible Farm Bureau for a minimum of 30 days will be eligible to receive a certificate. Customers can obtain certificates at Farm Bureau and the FB logo are registered service marks of the American Farm Bureau Federation and are used herein under license by General Motors. 2 Dependability based on longevity: 1987–April 2013 full-size pickup registrations.

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8/21/14 4:51 PM


Be A Good Neighbor A Message from Jim Holte


ith spring planting season upon us, we become preoccupied with all the work that needs to be done. Tilling and planting fields, fixing fences for pastures, hauling manure, fixing machinery that breaks down and the list goes on and on. At the same time, many of us have the ongoing needs of caring for livestock. It is easy to be consumed by the many things we need to get done in a short time and forget about the importance of communication. Communication from us, as farmers, with neighbors and officials representing our townships, law enforcement and transportation departments is crucial. Don’t underestimate having conversations and building relationships.


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As farmers we often chomp at the bit are being scrutinized more and more to haul manure and are frustrated when over how and when they apply manure. spring road weight limits are in effect. Before we start emptying the manure Even more so, 22 counties and more than pit or cleaning the lots, please talk with 150 townships have “opted in” under your neighbors to let them know when Wisconsin’s IOH law, requiring farmers you plan to spread near them. Maybe to apply for no-fee offer to adjust your permits to operate farm plans if the wind is “Just because we machinery on local blowing from the roads if the machinery wrong direction are in the farming is above the allowable or if they have an world doesn’t mean axle weight or gross event planned at vehicle weight limits. their house. customer service Also note that the Taking a few doesn’t apply.” Wisconsin Department minutes to touch of Transportation is base with your issuing no fee permits for this same neighbors could save you some headaches machinery travelling on state highways. in the future. Just because we are in the I cannot emphasize enough how farming world doesn’t mean customer important it is for farmers to talk to local service doesn’t apply. transportation and law enforcement As farmers, we are fortunate that officials about what equipment they the public regards us in a positive way. intend to operate on roads. Whether it However, some are beginning to question is getting the no-fee permits or telling the way we do things. Being proactive is them how you intend to move equipment key. Take time to talk to your neighbors during nonpeak traffic times to minimize and officials so that you can work better conflicts on local roads, a conversation together, not just this spring but in the has to be had. future as well. If applicable, work with your local Be a good neighbor. It’s worth it. transportation officials to see if roads can be designated for one-way traffic to WFBF President since 2012, Holte is a grain and beef minimize the impact of manure tankers. If you intend to pipe manure, explain to farmer from Elk Mound in Dunn County. your neighbors that you do so in safe way. Most importantly, farmers need to talk to their neighbors before spreading manure. We need to realize that farmers

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Looking at Trade with Different Eyes A Message from Richard Gorder


ention trade to most farmers and their eyes soon glaze over. Like many of you, I am often so focused on my daily farm work that I’m not looking to concern myself with things I have little control over. Another state’s Farm Bureau president recently asked me: “How do I get my members to understand and appreciate trade?” I’m not sure I have the answer, but I can put it into context. Without exports we would need to make changes on our farms. To put it blunt: we wouldn’t need all of us farming. Trade is essential to U.S. agriculture. Compared to the general economy, agriculture is more than twice as reliant on overseas markets. Agriculture’s productivity increases over the last decade have far outpaced our nation’s ability to consume it. Luckily our growth in production has come at a time when the world has demanded more food, resulting in a dramatic export growth. Never forget that 96 percent of the world’s population does not reside in the United States. Without exports, our countryside would look much different. Research from 2006 said more than 75 million acres would not be needed as farmland. That is the total harvested landmass of Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee. Given the increase in our productivity since 2006, we probably could include all of Wisconsin’s farmland into that scenario as well. Luckily over the last 10 years our agriculture exports have more than doubled. Ag exports are expected to top $152 billion this year with a net trade

April | May 2015

surplus of more than $40 billion. Trade generates 35 percent of all cash receipts for farmers. Wisconsin has witnessed a resurgence of our dairy industry over the last 15 years largely due to developing export markets. For generations our nation’s dairy policy focused on domestic supply and use. Policies focused on government price support programs, make allowances and utilization formulas – instead of producing and processing dairy products for the international marketplace. Today one out of every seven tanker loads of milk finds it way into the export market. That means about 16 percent of our milk leaves this country as a variety of dairy products. It’s hard to put a dollar equivalent on what that means, but most of us remember dairy’s economic collapse of 2009 too well. U.S. dairy exports dropped from about 12 percent to 8 percent of our total production. That 4 percent was enough to create a catastrophic drop in our milk prices. U.S. agriculture trade policy has evolved over the years. Today our trade negotiators, led by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), have elevated agriculture’s importance in trade talks. Addressing agricultural trade barriers are key components of ongoing trade negotiations like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Agriculture trade disputes are always some of the hardest to resolve because every country wants to protect its farmers and agriculture industry. It’s difficult negotiating market access into

a country without impacting someone’s livelihood. Equally challenging is getting some countries to adopt scientific-based protocols like genetically modified organisms, geographic indicators and acceptance of sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Agricultural trade is not new, but our dependence on it as American farmers has never been greater. So consider this while you’re milking cows or sitting on a tractor this spring: Visualize leaving 20 percent of your barn empty or letting 30 percent of your fields go fallow because there is no market for our products. Maybe then we’ll have a clear-eyed appreciation for the importance of trade. Gorder, a dairy farmer from Iowa County, is the

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Vice President.



Wisconsin’s Water Problems Come to the Surface A Message from Paul Zimmerman


or decades, Wisconsin agriculture has talked about water limitations that farmers elsewhere might experience. There was speculation that California dairies would stop growing because water for cows would be needed in cities, and farmers in the Great Plains would not be able to irrigate their crops. Yes, the West has its share of water quantity issues. Yet California’s milk production and cash grain crops in the Great Plains states both continue to grow. Technological advances are a big reason why today’s dairy cow is more efficient at making milk and drought resistant traits of seeds allow corn and soybeans to grown in areas once arid. What we never expected was that there would be water quantity issues in Wisconsin. While experts agree that in general, we have plenty of groundwater in Wisconsin, certain regions face challenges. Groundwater volume in Waukesha (located just outside the Great Lakes Basin) has that municipality seeking permission to draw water from Lake Michigan. In the Central Sands region (where the water table is close


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to the surface) groundwater pumping may be affecting surface water levels in certain streams and ponds. Further complicating our groundwater volume issues is a 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in a case known as the Lake Beulah decision. In this case, a lake homeowner association challenged the Village of East Troy’s permit request to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a new municipal well. The municipality sought a well (less than a half mile from Lake Beulah) that could pump 1.4 million gallons per day. The State Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the DNR had a “duty” to consider the impact of a proposed high capacity well on waters of the state, like Lake Beulah. Prior to this ruling, state law required the DNR to do a more extensive review of high capacity well applications if the proposed well might effect a municipal well, would have a water loss greater than 95 percent (i.e., water bottling), impacted a spring with a flow greater than 1 cubic foot per second, or was within 1,200 feet of a trout stream, or a water body designated as an exceptional or outstanding resource water. Otherwise, for most high capacity wells, there was no requirement that DNR do a more extensive environmental review. However, as a result of the Lake Beulah decision, the DNR now has the authority (as directed by the courts) and the “duty” to conduct an extensive environmental review of any high capacity well permit. This is where it becomes complicated for farmers. When farmers need to replace or reconstruct an existing well, or just transfer a well as part of a land transaction, the DNR now is able and arguably required to review (and change) the high capacity well permit.

According to the DNR, agriculture uses 40 percent of Wisconsin’s groundwater via high capacity wells, municipalities use another 37 percent, and the rest is from businesses and industry. A high capacity well is defined as a well or the sum of well on the same property that have the capacity to pump 100,000 gallons or more per day. That’s 70 gallons per minute. While they have not done so with regard to transfers of ownership, they have the authority to. It’s imperative that farmers contact their state legislators and ask them to pass groundwater legislation this year. Our ability to irrigate crops and water livestock depends upon it. Ask your legislators to restore certainty to Wisconsin’s high capacity well permitting program this spring. You may have never seen or even heard of Lake Beulah until now, but consider it part of the flood of evidence that groundwater issues are no longer some other state’s problem. Zimmerman is WFBF’s Executive Director of

Governmental Relations.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

You’re just a little serial #AnimalAbuser aren’t you? A Message from Casey Langan


get that many of you reading this have no interest in Twitter, but I’m guessing you do care about agriculture’s image. So read on. Milk has been the subject of vicious online attacks by vegan activists. That’s right, good old-fashioned milk. So in January, dairy promoters flooded social media with positive info about dairy’s benefits. Messages, photos and videos were accompanied with the hashtag/ slogan of #milktruth. I did my part by snapping a photo of the glass of milk next to my dinner plate and posted it on my Facebook and Twitter pages with: “Milk…it’s what’s for dinner. #milktruth.” It got a few “likes in the friendly confines of Facebook, but the less-private, rough-and-tumble world of Twitter was another story. It’s there that “trolls” like to hang out. Not little creatures found under bridges, but activists looking to tear down agriculture 140 characters at a time. I had heard of a farmer who vowed to post something every day in 2015 accompanied by the hashtag #farm365 had come under attack by trolls. It turns out #milktruth and my milk photo also would attract the venom of vegans. A self-described vegan activist by the name of Monica shot first. Her Twitter page featured photos of killer whales, and trust me, I came to find out she had the personality of one too. She ‘tweeted’ for all the world to read that I must “like drinking puss and antibiotics.” What?! I made no scientific or medical claims. It was just a picture. I replied, “Please visit a real dairy farm if you’re ever in Wisconsin.” “That’s like saying please visit San

April | May 2015

Quentin prison if ever I’m in California! NO thank you!” she quickly replied. Then Brittany who goes by ‘VeganBunnySlave’ on Twitter chimed in: “Mmm, warm breast milk of an animal that isn’t your mother. Would you drink your mother’s milk? Time to wean.” Seriously? Heather who goes by ‘RowdyVegan’ warned, “Better keep an eye on that prostate cuz milk is linked to prostate cancer.” Tacky, to say the least. Then good old Monica spewed something too graphic about my prostate to print here. I couldn’t resist, I snapped another picture of milk and typed, “I’m chugging some more milk as a toast to you.” “You are just a little serial #AnimalAbuser aren’t you?” she snapped. All of this for drinking milk? It got me thinking about all of the times I’ve encouraged Farm Bureau members to engage with the non-farm public. Is this the type of vitriol they are being opened up to? The sad truth is sometimes yes. Before you vow off of social media and retreat to your corner of the world, please consider this: The vicious vegans represent a small minority. Farmers and agriculturists are a minority too. We’re on opposite ends of a bell curve. We’re both fighting for the hearts and minds of the large majority in the middle of the bell curve. We’ll never win over militant vegans who make a hobby of spewing hate at someone for posting a photo of milk, but we do have a chance with the confused consumers in the middle.

The shock of my first encounter with ornery vegans gave way to strengthened resolve. I hope yours will, too. Are you doing what you can or will you let others fight alone? We’re all at different comfort levels with social media and speaking up for agriculture, but we all can turn our game up a notch. If we shy away when someone calls us a few names, then they’ll control what people see, hear and read about agriculture. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to turn the public dialogue about agriculture over to someone who refers to themselves as ‘VeganBunnySlave.’ Langan is WFBF’s Executive Director of Public

Relations and has not given up on Twitter or milk.



Grain Markets Guided by More than Weather Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


he grains have had somewhat of an uneventful start to 2015. Corn and soybean futures were trading a tight sideways range to start the year while wheat drifted quietly lower in the first quarter. Before traders were able to have a look at the USDA’s Prospective Plantings and Stocks reports, fresh fundamental input for the grains was limited. But, while agriculture markets were starved for news, outside markets were not. It has been an eventful few months for stocks, bonds and currencies. Metals and energy markets have also featured plenty of action. External influences will have less of an impact on the grains now that the U.S. row crop season has kicked off, but outside markets still have plenty of potential to contribute a few shocks in the months ahead. Traders of stocks, bonds, currencies and non-farm commodities play an important role in price determination


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for agricultural goods because they direct money flows back and forth between investments with the highest expected returns. If investors become skittish about stocks, they may park money in commodities and bonds, or vice-a-versa. There are several storylines that will guide trading in outside markets this year. The relative strength of the U.S. economy should continue to be the most talked about, with related implications having far reach. Investors are tagging stocks with record valuations in response to the continued string of strong corporate earnings. U.S. companies are flush with cash and they are hiring at an increasing pace. Balance sheets may look strong, but stocks have benefited most from the Federal Reserve’s accommodation of low interest rates. Expectations for the timing of an initial rate hike will be a guiding hand for equites in 2015. As traders begin to price in higher interest rates, they are likely to funnel money into the commodity space as a hedge against lower prices for stocks and bonds. Barring a massive sell-off that would spook buyers across all markets, the grains could enjoy a boost from investment money inflows. Currency markets will continue to have a larger-than-normal impact on the grain trade. A sharply stronger dollar has been a headwind for farm futures in recent months as it deteriorates the terms of trade for our exports. Even at highs not seen for more than a decade, the dollar may still have more room to run. Sustained U.S. economy strength and the anticipation of an interest rate hike are likely to lend

support to our currency in such a way that places at least some pressure on grain prices. A sturdy dollar may pressure energy prices, too. Softer oil prices weigh on the grains in a number of ways, in part because of the drag on broader commodity market sentiment and also because of complementarities for the agriculture industry and its various fuel uses. The fundamentals are likely to remain bearish for energy prices in the nearterm, but the cure for low prices is low prices. Cheaper fuel should begin to spark greater individual and industrial demand, providing one reason to believe that the energies could carve out a bottom and be less of a drag on the grains going forward. Stock market performance, currency rate movements, and potential spillover sentiment from the energy space are just three of many external influences that are considered by grain traders. All influences are part of an interlinked international economy that is managed within financial markets. Grain traders will be keeping a close eye on economic developments in 2015, knowing that they dictate the direction of money that flows among the world’s various financial markets. More than ever, our outlook for grain prices will have to account for much more than the specific fundamentals of crop production and use. Camp is the Risk Management Specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Food Fear Could Lead to Out-of-Control Labeling Guest Column by Texas Farm Bureau’s Mike Barnett


ore than 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on food containing DNA.” So says a recent survey conducted by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agriculture Economics, as reported by The Washington Post. And it’s the same numbers that support labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) foods. According to Oklahoma State Economist Jayson Lusk, a government-imposed label on foods containing DNA might look something like this: WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both humans and animals. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children. A little scary, huh? No, not that DNA is in food. Of course DNA is in food. It is the building block of life. Most of us learned that—or should have learned that—in school. It’s as frightening as 80

percent believe DNA should be labeled. Then look again. Why shouldn’t they? We are bombarded with 10-second messages constantly on social media, television and the Internet. It’s an age of instant gratification. If you need to research 10 minutes to find the truth about something, it probably ain’t going to happen. That continues to be a huge problem for agriculture as technology evolves to produce more food with fewer resources. Modern methods like biotechnology are misunderstood and easily blown out of proportion by activists who think you should eat differently. It boils down to consumers without knowledge about genetics or biotechnology and who aren’t real interested in learning. If consumers are misled and allow excessive and unnecessary warning labels, real dangers will get lost in the shuffle. So does agriculture hunker down and let the masses have their way? Or use the tools and methods like social media to go directly to consumers and tell our story. The choice is apparent to me.

Meanwhile, here’s the food label I’d like to see: WARNING: This product contains fresh, wholesome ingredients and is grown with care by a farm family. The Surgeon General has determined it will be good for your health. That’s the story we need to tell. Barnett is the Senior Associate Director of Public Relations for the Texas Farm Bureau.

New Wind Damage Coverage Endorsement for Crop Hail


ural Mutual Insurance Company is introducing a new coverage option on its crop hail policy. You can now purchase a Corn Wind and Green Snap with Extra Harvest Expense Endorsement, for field corn with a 10 percent deductible with full payment over 75 percent loss. Coverage includes loss due to green snap and/or lodging for field corn with extra harvest expense caused by natural wind. For more information on this new coverage, please contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent.

April | May 2015



Farm Bureau Hosts 43rd FFA Farm Forum N

early 200 high school juniors from across Wisconsin attended Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s FFA Farm Forum in Wisconsin Rapids, February 20-21. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau takes pride in hosting this special event with the FFA to help grow our next crop of agricultural leaders,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. During the two-day event, FFA members attended workshops that covered topics including post-high school agricultural opportunities, social media, advocating for agriculture, leadership and more. Keynote speakers at the forum included Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau President; Kaitlyn Riley, WQOW multimedia journalist and Gretchen Kamps, beef farmer and Wisconsin Farm Bureau District 3 Coordinator. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation sponsored the FFA Farm Forum in cooperation with the Wisconsin Association of FFA. This year’s FFA Farm Forum marks the 43rd year the Farm Bureau family of affiliates has sponsored the event for Wisconsin youth.

The FFA Farm Forum is sponsored by


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for Farming’s Future (WFB Foundation)

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Because no food should go to waste...

April | May 2015



Nodji VanWychen Named Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit ‘AgVocate of the Year’ N

odji VanWychen of Warrens, was recognized as a true promoter of agriculture, being named the 2015 AgVocate of the Year at the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit held March 13-14 in Middleton. About 350 women were in attendance to celebrate their role in agriculture at the event, hosted by Badgerland Financial, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation and UWExtension. Nodji and her husband, Jim, of Wetherby Cranberry Company, have welcomed visitors from around the country and world to their cranberry bogs for educational and international trade purposes. While the work on the bog keeps her extremely busy, the role that she cherishes is being a true leader and

champion for Wisconsin agriculture. “My whole life, I have loved to be on our cranberry marsh telling our story to thousands of people. I enjoy going to agriculture-related events and hosting tours and educating the public on the cranberry industry,” said VanWychen. “As an extension of my teaching days I give tours to school groups and offer a public Cranberry Blossom Day and a Cranberry Harvest Day for the general public to come out to our marsh and see the process first-hand.” Jim and Nodji are members of the Monroe County Farm Bureau and Jim serves as a county board director. Since 2013, the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit has recognized an AgVocate of the Year. This award is given to a woman who actively and positively represents agriculture to both her peers and those outside of the agriculture community. She works to tell agriculture’s story in a professional manner and is seen as a leader and voice for local and state issues and events. Women are invited to save the date for the 2016 Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit, to be held March 4-5 at the Madison Marriot West in Middleton. For event details, visit

In honor of the Summit’s five year anniversary, a new logo was unveiled.

The Women’s Program is funded by


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Both Friday and Saturday featured several breakout sessions including DIY: Upcycling Farm Finds presented by Laura Distin, owner of Ironstone Nest.

for Farming’s Future (WFB Foundation)

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Attendees packed the room for two keynote speakers at the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit. On Friday the women listened to Scott Zimmer of BridgeWorks discuss generational differences. On Saturday Wisconsin dairy farmer Laura Daniels presented “Using Baler Twine and Barn Lime to Live a Life with Purpose.”

Amber Cordes, Carrie Mess and Kay Zwald taught attendees how to handle tough conversations in their breakout session. April | May 2015

WFBF President Jim Holte read “So God Made a Farmer’s Wife” at the Summit.


Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg


t’s a fine spot to live, this place we call “Reality.” Our home, the land and the creek lie along the Wisconsin River valley, not too far from the county line separating Portage and Marathon. The house was built before the Great Depression and our family has called it home since the late 1970s. It was here that the “boss” and I raised a pair of boys, a kennel full of bird dogs, pheasants, quail, chickens, a couple of horses and a wide variety of other critters. The creek that flows behind the house is the lifeblood of the land. It bisects our property after draining the neighbor’s woods and adjoining farm fields. Three-quarters of a mile in length, it controls the water table and eventually feeds a backwater slough that empties into the Wisconsin River. When the boys were very young, I dared them to spit into the creek and then asked them to imagine their saliva’s journey to the ocean, by way of the Mississippi River and New Orleans. We share our space with a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, turkeys, bears, wolves, fishers, rabbits, squirrels, grouse, woodcock, as well as a host of nongame song birds, owls, hawks and bald eagles. As fate would have it, it was a majestic bald eagle soaring above the river valley that convinced me to buy the then 50-year-old cheese maker’s house. I contacted the realtor and closed the deal that same day. Over the years, our place in the country has been home to scores of bird dogs, with


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German Shorthaired Pointers and field bred English Cocker Spaniels being our breeds of choice. Buck, my first shorthair puppy, came to me from a small game farm near Shawano named Kentwood and he taught me how to hunt game birds. He stayed with our family for two months and 14 days short of 16 years. He’s buried down by the creek, but his ghost still runs in the uplands behind the house. The shorthairs we own today are related to Buck, whose blood runs through their veins. Their registered bloodlines carry the name of our township and nearby river: Eau Pleine. While many dogs from the past are buried along the creek, a ninth generation now lives in the kennel. Rural north-central Wisconsin has been our home for nearly four decades. Much has changed, yet a great deal is still as it was. Our place was once surrounded by small family dairy farms. They are all now gone. When the old-timers retired, the cows and land were sold – or split up among children, who have long since moved away. In many respects, progress has been kind, but the consequences of development can take a toll on the landscape. Planned growth can save the rural nature of our counties in the future, but it will take a strong land ethic, an unwavering commitment by our decisionmakers and support for those that own and live on the land. Twenty-some years ago I met farming neighbor Leonard. I bought a quarter horse named Sam from his son. Leonard made large round baled hay and would deliver. Sam is long gone, as is a mare and a pony, but Leonard - who currently serves as a director for the Portage County Farm Bureau - still stops by once in a while. A few years back he plugged a membership in the Federation. “Some of us raise corn and hay. You raise dogs. You need to belong to the Federation.” So I joined and here I am. I hope you enjoy this ongoing story of our life, the land, the creek and the thoughts that come to mind as we share this place we call "Reality." Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the Portage County Farm Bureau.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

ag in the classroom

Cultivating the Next Generation Last fall, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation offered $100 mini-grants to pre-school through high school teachers, in a public or private school system, to fund projects that promoted agricultural literacy in the classroom. Grants were used for innovative lessons, activities, projects, resources, presentations,

school fairs and other projects and focused on integrating agriculture into a variety of curriculum areas. Here’s an update of some of the projects:

Karen Williams, a middle school family and consumer science teacher from Watertown used grant funds to help purchase an iPad that allowed students to visualize many aspects of her curriculum. Students took recipes and learned about where their food comes from with the use of this technology. About 600 students per year will benefit from the use of the iPad which also will enhance large group learning.

Cheri Ogelsby, a teacher at St. Rose School in Cuba City shared experiences of what life on the farm would be like with her prekindergarten students. Funds were used to purchase educational items for the classroom including animal puppets, farm puzzles, a pretend milking setup among other items. Students will end their farm unit with a field trip to a local farm.

Members of the New Richmond FFA Chapter, led by advisor Rachel Sauvola were given a $100 mini-grant for their Veggie of the Month program. FFA members taught elementaryaged children about different vegetables and gave students the opportunity to taste them. The program culminated with a Power Up pep rally organized by Health Partners where elementary students were challenged to “Try for 5� meaning five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Would you like to support agriculture literacy projects like these? Donate $100 now to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation! Simply click on the donate button at and choose $100 mini-grants or send in your check to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation at PO Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705. The first 20 donors will receive a pack of Betty Engel notecards! April | May 2015


ag in the classroom

Volunteer Spotlight Shining a light on some of Ag in the Classroom’s Shining Stars

We asked Ag in the Classroom volunteers to answer the question, “What has been your biggest highlight of volunteering?”

Becky Murkley Dane County “UWMadison’s Collegiate Farm Bureau and I have been working together to organize classroom visits. I think we all agree that seeing children’s faces light up as we teach them about Wisconsin agriculture is well worth the short amount of time it takes during our days to plan and implement a lesson!”

George Blomberg Price County “Being from a county where the vocational ag programs have been removed from our high schools, it’s a joy to be able to encourage the fourth and fifth grade teachers to include ag education to their students. Last year we had nearly 100 students take part in the essay contest and then we had the state winner. United Pride Dairy has been a great place to bring all the fourth grade students to spend time on a farm. The teachers and kids agree this is their best field trip of the year!”

Teachers Chosen for CHS Scholarships T

racey Tumaniec (above right), a fifth grade teacher at Manz Elementary School in Eau Claire and Sheri Hicken (below right) an agriculture educator at the School for Agricultural and Environmental Studies in Fox Lake have been chosen as recipients of a CHS Scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Louisville in June. This marks the third year of special financial support from the CHS Foundation headquartered in St. Paul, MN. This year, the CHS Foundation is graciously providing a $20,000 grant that will allow even more teachers to attend the conference.


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Ashley Prue Brown County “Being a teacher I love learning. I have learned so much about Wisconsin agriculture and agricultural businesses. It is an honor to share facts with students and others. Going to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in 2014 was a fun and exciting way to learn from other educators about how they promote ag literacy. I am excited to be a presenter at the 2015 National Ag in the Classroom Conference and share how I promote agriculture in the classroom.”

Don’t Forget...

Farm Bureau member signs are still available. These single-sided 18” x 24” heavy aluminum all-weather signs are ideal for indoor/outdoor use (for your yard, buildings or shop areas) and can be personalized with up to 14 characters per line. The signs are $45 each. Download your order form today at: foundation/farm-bureau-member-signs.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Learn About Wisconsin Agriculture Agriculture provides $88.3 billion to Wisconsin’s economy every year! See what makes Wisconsin’s agriculture industry so distinct and diverse.

It’s Interactive! Make this brochure come to life with Aurasma! 1. Download the Aurasma app (it’s free!) 2. O  pen the app and select the arrow on the bottom (middle) which brings you to the menu. 3. Select the magnifying glass to search. 4. Search “WIAITC”. 5. Tap WIAITC Public Auras and select “follow”. 6. W ith the Aurasma app open, place your device over the photo with an Aurasma symbol next to it and learn even more about Wisconsin agriculture! It’s just like using a QR code but with photos and video!

Look for the Aurasma logo on pages 5 and 18 in this issue of Rural Route! April | May 2015



White-Reinhardt Grants, Scholarships Announced T

he American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture announced that the Adams County Farm Bureau is a recipient of a $500 White-Reinhardt Mini-Grant. The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education is a project of the Foundation in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee. The fund honors two former committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were trailblazers in early national efforts to expand the outreach of agricultural education and improve agricultural literacy. Adams County Farm Bureau is working with fifth grade students in the Adams-Friendship School District to implement an AgriSTEM greenhouse program that uses STEM disciplines to teach students about teamwork and business principles, while increasing agricultural knowledge. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture also has recognized educators and volunteers with $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, June 16-20. The Foundation, through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education, sponsors the scholarships. This year’s recipients from Wisconsin are Don Meyer, Sauk County Ag in the Classroom volunteer

for Farming’s Future (WFB Foundation)

Thank you

A voluntary $5 contribution now appears on your dues notice. These funds support education and leadership development programs.


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Don Meyer

Becky Panzer

and Becky Panzer, teacher from the School for Agricultural and Environmental Studies in Fox Lake. Educators nationwide attend the conference to learn to incorporate real-life agricultural applications into science, social studies, language arts, math and nutrition lessons.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between January 6 and February 28, 2015.)

• Pearl Goetsch • David Kruschke in memory of Joyce Goodrich • Howard Poulson in memory of Lois Kressin • David Kruschke in memory of Leona Neuman • Howard Poulson in memory of Stewart Calkins • Jefferson County Farm Bureau in memory of Linda Dernall • Eau Claire County Farm Bureau in memory of Kathleen Mueller • Eau Claire County Farm Bureau in memory of Elmer Kohlhepp • Howard Poulson in memory of Mariann Kienbaum • Howard Poulson in memory of Donald Payne • David Kruschke in memory of Carl Oehlke • Sally Schoenike in honor of Sam Skemp

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Attend a Member Appreciation Day This Summer W

isconsin Farm Tickets must be Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance purchased one of Company team up for two ways: Member Appreciation Day 1. Order online at the at the Northwoods League ballparks home team’s website Get your peanuts and 2. Call the home Cracker Jacks ready! team’s ticket office in The Wisconsin Farm advance. Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance Company are teaming up Be sure to use for a special Farm Bureau the promo code Member Appreciation Day ‘farmbureau’ at the ballparks of the eight Wisconsin Northwood’s to receive the League teams. discounted rate. “This will be a great opportunity for Farm Bureau members to take part in a member event and enjoy America’s favorite past time,” said Jim Holte. Throughout the summer, May through August, there will be three Farm Bureau Member Appreciation games at each of the eight Wisconsin teams. This will be a special event for Farm Bureau members with special deals on game tickets that will include a team hat, soda and a hot dog. There also will be special recognition of Farm Bureau during the game as well as advertising in the program book and radio ads so come on out and support your local Northwood’s League team! In 1994, the Northwoods League with affiliates in Kenosha, Wausau and Manitowoc, Wisconsin; Dubuque, Iowa and Rochester, Minnesota was created. This League was made up of "All-Star" teams of college players who competed in a 56game schedule between June and August. Each affiliate was to promote their games just like a professional team would Fans could look forward to nightly giveaways, concessions, fireworks and many exciting games. Wisconsin teams include Eau Claire Express, Lakeshore Chinooks, Madison Mallards, Wisconsin Woodchucks, Green Bay Bullfrogs, Kenosha Kingfish, La Crosse Loggers and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. “Nothing beats sitting in your favorite ballpark, watching your favorite team on a hot, sunny day, with a hot dog smothered with all the goods in one hand and an ice cold drink in the other,” said Todd Argall, Vice President of Customer Acquisition and Sales for Rural Mutual Insurance Company. “We are looking forward to seeing you at the ballpark.” The Northwoods League strives to provide the finest environment for the development of collegiate players; maximize the operational effectiveness of its affiliated teams; and enrich the quality of life in its member communities. April | May 2015

Eau Claire Express Friday, June 12 • 7:05 p.m. Monday, July 6 • 6:35 p.m. Saturday, August 1 • 6:35 p.m. Green Bay Bullfrogs Friday, May 29 • 6:35 p.m. Saturday, June 13 • 6:05 p.m. Friday, July 3 • 7:05 p.m. Kenosha Kingfish Wednesday, June 24 • 7:05 p.m. Monday, July 6 • 7:05 p.m. Monday August 3 • 7:05 p.m. La Crosse Loggers Tuesday, June 2 • 7:05 p.m. Monday, June 15 • 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, July 1 • 7:05 p.m.

Lakeshore Chinooks Tuesday, June 2 • 6:35 p.m. Monday, June 15 • 6:35 p.m. Thursday, July 2 • 6:35 p.m.

Madison Mallards Wednesday, May 27 • 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, June 9 • 6:35 p.m. Wednesday, July 1 • 7:05 p.m. Wisconsin Woodchucks Tuesday, June 30 • 6:35 p.m. Sunday, July 5 • 5:05 p.m. Sunday, August 2 • 5:05 p.m.

Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Wednesday, May 27 • 6:25 p.m. Saturday, June 20 • 6:05 p.m. Saturday, July 18 • 6:05 p.m.


Growing New Farming Traditions Protecting the Next Generation of Farmers After protecting farms across the state for over 80 years, Rural Mutual Insurance Company knows how important farming traditions are to Wisconsin. “Rural Mutual also knows that protecting the families and children in our farming communities needs to be a priority in order to keep Wisconsin strong,” said Peter Pelizza, Rural Mutual’s Chief Executive Officer. In the United States, farming and other agricultural professions consistently rank among the most dangerous, along with mining, transportation and construction. The difference, however, between agricultural professions and the other dangerous industries is the presence of children in the worksite. “Farming is typically a family business, where children are raised on the farm and participate in farming activities beginning at young ages,” Pelizza said.

The good news is that the rate of injury among kids declined by over 60 percent from 1998 to 2002. But when you break the numbers down by age, you uncover another frightening statistic: injuries among kids under age 10 are increasing. From 2009 to 2012 the rate of injury among kids under age 10 almost doubled. What does an injury cost? • $143,580 for injury of a youth that required 10 or more days of hospitalization • $6,577 for an injury requiring less than 10 days of hospitalization • $4,293 in lost work for a hospitalization lasting 10 days or more “Bottom line, you cannot afford to NOT make safety a priority on your farm. For many, a single injury could wipe out a farm’s operating profit for an entire year,” said Pelizza.

So where do we go from here? Rural Mutual knows that protecting the families and children in our farming communities needs to be a priority in order to keep Troubling child safety statistics Wisconsin strong and safe. We have developed a Farm Safety page • One child dies about every three days on a farm on our website that provides information on a variety of topics • Of the leading sources of fatalities among all youth, 25% including ATV, Animal Handling, Confined Spaces, Agritourism, Farm involved machinery, 17% involved motor vehicles (includes Buildings, Tractors, Safe Play Areas and more. There also are a ATVs), and 15% were drownings number of resources, farm safety videos and upcoming events that • Every day, 38 kids are injured in an agricultural related you can view and share. We also are doing a number of farm safety accident seminars during 2015. To find more information on a variety of farm • It’s estimated that over 7,700 kids were hurt on a farm in 2012 safety resources, if you are interested in sharing your own story, or you and 80% of them were not working when the injury occurred would like to request a safety seminar conducted on your farm, visit Statistical information provided by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health & Safety


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To learn more about farm safety visit us at Wisconsin farm bureau federation

One Agent for Life and Annuities and Farm Succession and Estate Strategies

All from one agent. We take simple seriously. Contact your Rural Mutual Insurance agent to learn more.

Farm Bureau Property Life Insurance Company,/ West Des Moines, IA. M122-WI (1-15)

Rural Mutual Insurance Company


New Wind Damage Coverage Endorsement Available For Crop Hail For more information on this new coverage contact your local Rural Mutual agent.

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April | May 2015 Volume 21 Issue 2

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