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Rural Route wisconsin Farm bureau federation’s

august | september 2015 • vol. 21 no. 4 |

Annual Report Members Developing Policy State Budget’s Ag Items Outlined

See you at Farm Technology Days Page 6

Today’s growers look to the cloud for more than just rain. Cloud-based computing is revolutionizing the way growers run their operations. The agronomy experts at FS are helping growers connect with next generation digital platforms that manage workflow, track assets and optimize productivity. What’s more, FS is partnering with leading technology providers to anticipate demands down the road, ensuring our customers are ready for what’s next.


©2014 GROWMARK, Inc. A14173B


vol. 21 no. 4

20 32 features 20

Annual meeting

34 articles 8

Sneak a peek at the schedule for WFBF’s Annual Meeting in December.



Dairy Girl Network Group formed by Iowa County Farm Bureau member helps dairy women network.


KNOW AND GROW Tour takes volunteers and teachers to center of the state to learn more about agriculture.

departments 5

Budget Recap

View a list of some key ag-related items and their eventual outcome in the state budget.


Meet a Farm Bureau couple driven by hard work and service.



Policy Development Members asked to give their thoughts and opinions on this year’s hot topics.


Catlett Futurist predicts farmers will feed the growing population with technology.


Washington Leadership Institute class takes capstone trip to Washington, D.C.

COVER photo by Jeff Hoffelt. Taken at Farm Technology Days host farm.



member benefits








ag in the classroom




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2015 ANNUAL REPORT A Message from Dale

Ray Kroc said, “When you’re green, you’re growing . When you’re ripe, you rot.”


smashed. Past annual reports described Farm Bureau’s achievemen ts by the organizatio n’s divisions (Membersh ip, Operations, Governmen Relations and Public t Relations). While our employees are categorized You probably first by these ‘silos’ we thought of your crops realize that you probably don’t or garden when reading view Farm Bureau that, but it holds true that way. Instead, we decided for organizations like Farm Bureau as well. annual report by subject to break up this year’s areas like: communica tion, advocacy, members, The Wisconsin Farm outreach, interaction Bureau Federation and strategic plan. is made up of thousands of farmers and agriculturis ts who belong to one of 61 county Farm Bureaus. While this annual report Nobody knows the highlights and celart of reinvention more ebrates what we’ve than those in agriculture achieved together during . No matter if you raise past year, your WFBF the livestock or grow crops, leaders and staff are you’re always evolving, looking forward to the improving and changing future with visionary what you do. plans to keep the organizatio n green and growing. Likewise, your hard working Farm Bureau Every year, you keep staff is committed to growing growing the impact their personal and of agriculture in our state. professional skills in We at Farm Bureau order to deliver more will continue value to you. Each year, this to work just as hard Annual Report serves to provide you with the valuable member as a look back on how services and benefits Farm Bureau evolved, you rely on. improved and changed during the course of months. There are 12 several innovative projects Here’s to another year and events to pick of success for you and from this Farm Bureau. something for an organizatioyear. That’s saying n that first took root more than 90 years ago. Stay green! If you hear the term ‘smashing silos’ you probably first think it’s a farm reference. It is, but it also relates to how people who make up Chief Administrative organizations work together. Officer Our awesome staff works Wisconsin Farm Bureau collaboratively on many of Federation events that Farm Bureau the opportunities and offers each year. Therefore, if this Annual Report looks different than others it’s because some ‘silos’ were

Farm Bureau’s Year in Review August | September 2015



Rural Route wisconsin Farm bureau federation’s

Editor’s Note


admit, I’m a bit obsessive about my yard. It started by ripping vines off the house an hour after the moving truck left. This summer an overgrown pine tree and shrubs were removed to make room for fresh plantings. It could be my farming roots that give me a sense of comfort from digging in dirt. Or maybe I just like the immediate pay-off of what an hour with a shovel and rake can accomplish. These days lawn work takes twice as long with an enthusiastic twoyear-old at my side who sees pulling weeds and moving mulch as play. Watching him grow alongside the flowers and shrubs fills me with the pride my late grandpa must have felt watching his offspring working on the farm. It was grandpa who first taught me about getting my hands dirty. He’s with us in the yard as more than a memory. The landscaping rocks that pedestrians see from the sidewalk are much more than just rocks. Before I hauled them to town, they once laid under the soil my grandpa toiled for more than 50 years.

The permanence of those rocks reminds me of how farming teaches patience; so does bringing an old house back to its former glory. Both involve leaving your mark on something that hopefully will endure long after you’re gone. Moving old rocks and pulling new weeds have taken on greater significance than just a routine chore. My son and I are doing more together than just yard work. The same could be said about Farm Bureau, where multi-generations of farmers and agriculturists strive to better the common fates of the organization and Wisconsin agriculture. Examples of the generational evolution of our farms and our organization can be found in this issue. A former state FFA president, Dale Beaty, has taken the reins as WFBF’s Chief Administrative Officer. A commitment to service by Racine County members, Bernie and Jacquie Strueder, is highlighted on our pages. The 2015 annual report lays out Farm Bureau’s successes and changes. Change in the form of forward-thinking farming practices and technology will be on display this month at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Dane County. A hallmark of Farm Bureau’s more than 90 years, the grassroots policy development process also is underway. In a nutshell, guiding Farm Bureau’s legislative direction for the upcoming year is an evolving process; sometimes messy, sometimes orderly. The work is never quite done and new growth replaces old. Just like a yard. 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


Dale Beaty is WFBF’s Chief Administrative Officer D

ale Beaty has been named as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Chief Administrative Officer. Beaty will oversee all dayto-day operations and staff for the Madison-based, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, which is the state’s largest general farm organization. “I’m very humbled and honored for the opportunity to lead the great staff we have at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. We will continue to work together to provide valuable services and representation to our members,” Beaty said. “Dale’s life experiences in service to others, as a business owner and in his current role with Farm Bureau, uniquely qualify him to lead WFBF as its Chief Administrative Officer,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. Beaty has worked as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Director of Training and Leadership Development since 2005. In that role he works with the Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) program and the Institute leadership development program. He

also conducts training programs for county Farm Bureaus and new Rural Mutual Insurance Company agents. Beaty served as a U.S. Army Officer from 1987 to 1994 and is an Army Airborne Ranger. He started Beaty Construction, a home construction company, and moved to Milton in 1994. Beaty grew up on a dairy farm near Hillsboro. He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in agricultural economics. He earned his master’s degree in organization and management with a specialization in leadership from Capella University in 2010. Beaty has served on the Rock County 4-H Fair Board, the School District of Milton Board of Education and as a consultant on the National FFA Board. After serving as the Wisconsin Association of FFA’s President from 1983 to 1984, he has been actively involved in the FFA Alumni, serving as the Wisconsin FFA Alumni president and the National FFA Alumni president. Dale, and his wife, Jillian, an agricultural educator in the Oregon School District, live in the Rock County community of Milton. He has three adult children: Kaitlyn and son-in-law Charlie Meyers, Sydney and Carson. Beaty succeeds Jim Holte, who served as the WFBF’s interim CAO. He began his duties as CAO on July 1.

House Takes Aim at EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Overreach W

isconsin’s eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives split along party lines on a bill that would scrap the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule. House Republicans passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, in May with a 261-155 vote. The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the final WOTUS rule and subsequently develop a new rule. Bill supporters say EPA’s rulemaking process was flawed due to lack of consultation with relevant stakeholders. Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 1140 the Federal Water Quality Protection Act) where Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is one of 42 cosponsors. The Senate bill sets parameters and certain limiting principles that the Corps and EPA must work within when creating a new rule.

WFBF supports both bills. “Significant concerns exist that the finalized rule expands EPA’s jurisdiction and broadens the Federal Government’s authority to regulate waters and adjacent lands,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. “There is great concern of new ambiguous language used when determining if standing or flowing water exists or ever existed on a land structure.” The American Farm Bureau Federation and 13 other organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas against the EPA and the Corps seeking to overturn the WOTUS rule. Wisconsin’s Attorney General has joined eight other states in an injunction to stop implementation of the WOTUS rule while the lawsuit is resolved.

August | September 2015


What to Expect at

Farm Technology Days “When people think Dane County they think the Capitol or State Street… not agriculture, but they should.” - 2015 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Executive Director Bob Wipperfurth

Fantastic Flavors

Farm Tours

Food is something you will always find at Farm Technology Days but this year you are in for a real treat. Sassy Cow Creamery created an ice cream flavor exclusive for the show that includes cherry ice cream with marshmallow swirl and chocolate chunks. After hosting a naming contest, Cherry Dairy Delight was selected. You can find Cherry Dairy Delight at the ice cream locations on the tent city map. The Wisconsin Pork Producers will be featuring their famous pork chop sandwich from the Wisconsin State Fair at the show. Pizza Hut also will be serving slices at Farm Technology Days, so come hungry because you’ll have plenty of choices!

With the latest technology being used at the Statz Brother, Inc., dairy farm, visitors will have a chance to see first-hand the great innovation and high-level of technology that is used on many dairy farms. Visitors attending the show will have a chance to hop on a bus for a tour of the dairy facility, with a stop at the milking parlor to see the impressive double-50 parallel parlor. You’ll want to plan ahead, as the tours are limited to 50 people per bus. Each tour will take approximately 25-30 minutes, with a bus leaving every 5 minutes from its pick-up location. Tours will start at 9:30 a.m. every day of the show and will run until 4:30 p.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday. The tours will conclude by 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, the last day of the show.


Quick Facts about Statz Bros., Inc.

• Milk 4,000 cows • Farm 6,000 acres • About 100 employees

Flying Technology

Drone demonstrations will be held at Farm Technology Days for the first time. You can find these demonstrations in the northeast corner of tent city on Donnie Statz Memorial Avenue near the heritage tractor display.

“What is ag all about? Family. We have to be building for tomorrow and you don’t do that without changes. You have to ask the questions for tomorrow, and you did.” - DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel to Statz Family 6

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Visit us at

Farm Technology Days Grab the kids and make your way over to the Rural Mutual/Farm Bureau tent. We have something for all ages. Rural Mutual Company’s farm safety campaign will be the highlight of the tent and will include freebies, kid activities and general information. You can find us on the corner of 6th Avenue and Donnie Statz Memorial Avenue. If you received an email coupon for a Farm Bureau bucket be one of the first 100 to stop by tent 691 each day to claim yours. Thank you to those who provided your email to us so that we can better serve you.

Restrooms Food Tents First Aid


50 100




Feet Map is subject to change. Please see for the most up-to-date map or for the moble application.

August | September 2015


State Budget’s

Impact on Agriculture Veterinary Examining Board (VEB) The Governor proposed moving the VEB from the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to DATCP. The legislature approved the transfer of VEB to DATCP; however, no employee positions were transferred from DSPS to DATCP to help administer the VEB.


overnor Scott Walker signed the 2015-17 state budget into law in July. It spends nearly $73 billion over two years to fund state government and the programs it’s required to support. Based on policy set by Farm Bureau members, WFBF’s government relations team worked with the administration and the legislature to help protect and fund those programs that support agriculture. Those items include:

DATCP and DNR boards The Governor proposed the elimination of the citizen-member Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Department of Natural Resources board and specified that they serve as advisory councils to each department’s secretary. The legislature removed these proposals from the budget to maintain current law. Livestock Premise Registration The Governor proposed eliminating the authorized, yet vacant, full-time staff position at DATCP for premise identification. DATCP contracts with the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) to administer the program for $250,000 annually. The elimination of the DATCP staff position resulted in a $66,200 general purpose revenue (GPR) annual reduction in payment to WLIC. The legislature restored $66,200 GPR annually for premise registration. Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) The Governor proposed moving the VEB from the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to DATCP. The legislature removed this from the budget to maintain current law.


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Fertilizer Research Fees and Fertilizer Research Council The Governor proposed eliminating 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. The legislature removed this from the budget to maintain current law. County Land and Water Conservation Staff The Governor reduced base funding by $1,631,800 for a total appropriation of $8,064,100. This amounts to $3,027,200 GPR and $5,036,900 nonpoint SEG each year for county staff. The legislature restored an additional $1,350,000 nonpoint SEG over the biennium for county staffing. UW Discovery Farms The Governor proposed to eliminate $249,800 annually from the UW Discovery Farms Program, which comes from DATCP’s Agri-Chemical Management fund. Its on-farm research is critical to assist farmers in meeting water quality goals and objectives. The legislature removed this from the budget to maintain current law. Farmer-Led Watershed Grants The Governor proposed DATCP 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. The legislature approved the grant program with two modifications: First, recipients must provide matching funds to equal state grants; and secondly, maximum state grants per recipient in a state fiscal year cannot exceed $20,000.

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Nonpoint Account Management (ACCP Transfer) The Governor’s budget transferred $2 million from the Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program fund to the nonpoint account in the 2015-17 biennium. The legislature approved the $2 million fund transfer but directed that $1,350,000 go to county conservation staffing. Soil and Water Resource Management Bonding The Governor provided $7 million in general obligation bonding to support cost-sharing grants under the SWRM program. The legislature approved the Governor’s proposal. Stewardship Program The Governor prohibited 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 was estimated that the DNR would not be able to purchase land until 2028. Among other specified changes, the legislature reduced borrowing authority from $50 million per year to $33 million per year through 2020 and they still allow land purchases. Wolf Depredation Program Appropriation The Governor had no position. Due to the relisting of the grey wolf, the legislature deleted $498,000 from the conservation fund appropriation for the deposit of all moneys received from wolf harvesting licenses and application fees. Wolf damage claims will be paid using the segregated endangered resources account and some GPR money, but payments will be prorated based on the number of claims. Nonpoint Source Program Grants and Contracts The Governor proposed a reduction of $3,566,400 in segregated funds and GPR for nonpoint source grant programs to help balance the account. The legislature restored $2,140,000 into the nonpoint segregated account for a net reduction of $1,426,400 over the biennium. The nonpoint account is expected to have an available balance of $5.8 million on June 30, 2017. Nonpoint Source Program Bonding The Governor provided $7 million bonding for targeted runoff management (TRM) program, and $5 million bonding for the urban nonpoint source (UNPS) programs. The legislature approved $5.9 million in TRM program bonding and $3 million in UNPS program bonding. Shoreland Zoning Standards and Ordinances The Governor had no position. The legislature approved numerous changes to county shoreland zoning and shoreland standards promulgated by the DNR. More specific to agriculture, they repealed a statute providing lands adjacent to farm drainage ditches are exempt from various types of zoning if maintained in nonstructural agricultural use.

General Transportation Aids The Governor proposed that county aids would remain at 2015 levels for 2016 and 2017. Mileage rate of $2,202 per mile in 2015 would remain for municipalities in 2016 and 2017. The legislature approved these funding levels. Transportation Funding The Governor provided $1.3 billion in bonding for transportation projects. The legislature did not adopt any significant revenue changes to the transportation fund (including registration fees and gas tax increases) but they did reduce bonding levels. They authorized $850,213,600 in transportation revenue bonds. This includes $350 million in contingent bonding authority to the Joint Committee on Finance over the biennium if/when the Department of Transportation makes a request(s) to fund road projects. Freight Rail Preservation Bonding The Governor provided $43 million in bonding authorization to be used in the acquisition of abandoned railroad lines or to make improvements on lines already owned by the state. The legislature reduced bonding authorization by $13.2 million, but by lapsing $5.2 million from the freight rail infrastructure improvement revolving loan fund balance, total bonding for freight rail preservation stands at $35 million. UW-Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Center The Governor eliminated 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. The legislature removed this from budget to maintain current law. Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit The Governor had no position. The legislature reduced the MAC percentage from 5.526 to 5.025 percent for tax year 2015, while still allowing the percentage to increase to 7.5 percent in tax year 2016 as planned. This is still an increase in the percentage of credit that was provided in tax year 2014 (4 percent). The credit was lowered for one year to help pay for numerous other tax changes, but the two primary changes were an increase in the marriage credit and federalizing the Alternative Minimum Tax. Agriculture Education Center In March the State Building Commission approved and enumerated $5 million in general fund supported bonding (GFSB) for the construction of the Agriculture Education Center in Newton. The grantee has an expected match of $6,626,800. The Governor and the legislature approved the $5 million GFSB authorization.

August | September 2015


What Do You Think About… Y

our thoughts on agricultural issues are critical to Farm Bureau’s policy development process. The issues that Farm Bureau’s lobbyists work on in Madison and Washington, D.C. evolve from the input that members give through the policy development process. This year your thoughts are sought on these emerging issues:

Collaboration between nonpoint and point-source pollution sources WFBF members have approved policies addressing nonpoint source pollution, nutrient management plans and nutrient management regulations. Yet, there’s limited policies regarding how agricultural nonpoint sources should work with point sources. Should WFBF have policy supporting point sources working with farmers to reduce nonpoint source pollution? If so, expand on these questions: • W hat is the best way for farmers, point sources and county land conservation departments to work collaboratively to accomplish this? •S  hould point sources be able to specify what conservation practices farmers must implement? • If water quality does not improve, who is liable?

How do we pay for road projects in Wisconsin? Transportation financing, maintenance and construction is a huge issue in Wisconsin. Agriculture, needing a good transportation network to move farm machinery, products and services via roads, rail and waterways, is not immune from this concern. Since the repeal of fuel tax indexing in 2006, transportation revenues have been stagnant. Mega-projects in southeastern Wisconsin and the expansion of two-lane roads to four-lanes have diminished the funding available to county, municipal and town roads. Local bridge and culvert maintenance and construction are facing similar circumstances as they are in need of repair (or replacement) in order to support the farm machinery and trucks that travel on them. Wisconsin does not have a long-term, sustainable transportation funding system in place. If no action is taken and we continue with the status quo, transportation funding will fall short between $2 and $6 billion during the next 10 years and debt service payments will encompass 25 percent of expenditures coming out of the fund. Should WFBF support an increase in transportation funding? If yes, which option(s)?

Farmer-led water quality efforts Groundwater contamination events where field-applied manure seeped into the ground and contaminated neighboring wells call existing regulations and best management practices into question. This has led to farmers finding ways to work collaboratively to improve water quality (and educate the public about these efforts). WFBF members have outlined where we stand on nonpoint source pollution, nutrient management plans and nutrient management regulations, but not on farmerled water quality efforts. Should WFBF have policy in this area, and if so: • W ho should lead these local efforts? Farmers, UWExtension, county land conservation departments or nonprofit organizations? • How can more farmers be encouraged to install conservation practices?


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• Should there be additional or specified funding for farmerled efforts?

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Third-party audits in agriculture Food retailers have responded to the trend of consumers demanding more information about food production with third-party auditing. Third-party audits have been around for some time for fruit and vegetable farms to address food safety and handling. More recently it happens in Wisconsin by conservation certification of farming practices within specific watersheds and auditing of animal welfare and management practices. As subjects of these audits, farmers should provide input regarding the real-world application of their requirements. • Are audits a positive or negative thing for farmers? • What are the potential benefits or draw backs? • W ho should control the requirements within the audits? • Should Farm Bureau be involved in audit criteria discussions? If so, how? • Should audit certification be mandated in some sectors of agriculture? • W ho can access the information provided by farmers from an audit?

WFBF’s government relations team has prepared issue backgrounders and personalized blogs on these topics available at If you have opinions on these topics, join the conversation by commenting online. Perhaps an entirely different issue warrants discussion by your fellow Farm Bureau members. Attend your county Farm Bureau’s annual meeting to start the dialogue. A complete list of the 61 county annual meetings can be found at:

August | September 2015



Obama Receives Trade Promotion Authority A

Farm Bureau legislative priority crossed the finish line in June with congressional and presidential approvals of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, the free trade agreements that will result from passing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) will benefit our farm families with new markets and lower tariffs for Wisconsin’s agricultural products,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. “We are pleased that Senator Ron Johnson, and Congressmen Paul Ryan, Ron Kind, Jim Sensenbrenner, Reid Ribble, Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman, voted in favor

of TPA. They understand trade’s importance to Wisconsin agriculture,” Holte said. TPA allows Congress to set negotiating objectives for the White House and provides consultation between Congress and the Administration during negotiations. It also delegates the White House to participate in negotiating trade agreements on behalf of the United States. Once a final trade package is agreed upon by all participating countries, a final trade package is then delivered to Congress for a yes or no vote without amendments. The trade agreement closest to final negotiations for the United States is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It allows greater trade access with the nations of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Farm Bureau Asks Senate to ‘COOL’ It F

exports were sold in these two markets. ollowing passage by the U.S. House, the WFBF is seeking For Wisconsin, the potential targets from Canada for Senate support to repeal Country of Origin Labeling retaliatory tariffs include spirits, refrigerating equipment, (COOL) for beef, pork and chicken. cheese, breads and beef. The need for the legislation comes in the wake of a May 18 final ruling by the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body that said amended COOL rules accorded less favorable treatment to imported livestock than to U.S. livestock. In the case brought on by Canada and Mexico, WTO also determined that the COOL rules provided an advantage to U.S. livestock farmers due to the extra costs associated with segregating animals. As a result, Canada and Mexico could seek retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods if the COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken are not changed. As of press time, a Senate bill to repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken was still in drafting. “Retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico could exceed $2 billion to U.S. ag exports and more than $600 million worth of Wisconsin ag exports,” said Karen Gefvert, WFBF’s Director of Governmental Relations. The WTO Appellate Body has a 60-day window to determine and set appropriate retaliation levels. Canada and Mexico were Wisconsin’s top two export markets last year, equating to more than $10.7 billion in trade (with $1.9 billion coming from agriculture). SAVING ENERGY AND MONEY In 2014, more than $41 billion of U.S. FOR WISCONSIN FARMS


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Comments Sought on Nutrient Management Standard W

isconsin’s nonpoint source pollution prevention program requires farmers to have nutrient management plans. According to regulations from the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection these nutrient management plans shall be developed in accordance with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Technical Standard 590 for nutrient management. The Wisconsin NRCS has convened a work group over the past two years to review and propose revisions to the 590 standard. The work group included farmers, nutrient management planners, county conservationists, soil scientists and staff from NRCS, DNR and DATCP. Two key items in the proposal are new winter manure spreading restrictions and a required winter manure spreading plan. Livestock owners should review these revisions to gauge the impact on their farms and submit comments accordingly. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation will be submitting comments about the proposed revisions prior to the NRCS’s August 31 deadline. Those comments can be found at

on the web To submit comments before August 31 and to review the proposed revisions to the nutrient management standard, visit:

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.

wausau | eau claire wausau | eau claire visit our blogs at

August | September 2015



2015 ANNUAL REPORT A Message from Dale Beaty

Ray Kroc said, “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” You probably first thought of your crops or garden when reading that, but it holds true for organizations like Farm Bureau as well. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is made up of thousands of farmers and agriculturists who belong to one of 61 county Farm Bureaus. Nobody knows the art of reinvention more than those in agriculture. No matter if you raise livestock or grow crops, you’re always evolving, improving and changing what you do. Likewise, your hard working Farm Bureau staff is committed to growing their personal and professional skills in order to deliver more value to you. Each year, this Annual Report serves as a look back on how Farm Bureau evolved, improved and changed during the course of 12 months. There are several innovative projects and events to pick from this year. That’s saying something for an organization that first took root more than 90 years ago. If you hear the term ‘smashing silos’ you probably first think it’s a farm reference. It is, but it also relates to how people who make up organizations work together. Our awesome staff works collaboratively on many of the opportunities and events that Farm Bureau offers each year. Therefore, if this Annual Report looks different than others it’s because some ‘silos’ were


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smashed. Past annual reports described Farm Bureau’s achievements by the organization’s divisions (Membership, Operations, Government Relations and Public Relations). While our employees are categorized by these ‘silos’ we realize that you probably don’t view Farm Bureau that way. Instead, we decided to break up this year’s annual report by subject areas like: communication, advocacy, members, outreach, interaction and strategic plan. While this annual report highlights and celebrates what we’ve achieved together during the past year, your WFBF leaders and staff are looking forward to the future with visionary plans to keep the organization green and growing. Every year, you keep growing the impact of agriculture in our state. We at Farm Bureau will continue to work just as hard to provide you with the valuable member services and benefits you rely on. Here’s to another year of success for you and Farm Bureau. Stay green!

Chief Administrative Officer Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Members Members received discounts on admission prices to Noah’s Ark and selected Northwoods League baseball games.

The Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee hosted a fundraiser of a special-edition Steel Cow print, nicknamed

‘The Maddie Project’ “Maddie” 2015 Artist Valerie Miller. Copyright 2015 Steel Cow, LLC. All Rights Reserved

WFBF celebrated

membership gains during

its 2013-14 year.

More counties joined the financial, administrative and newsletter portions of WFBF’s innovative County Services Program.

in support of the WFB Foundation in the summer of 2015.

A new member benefit that offers a discount on some Polaris vehicles was introduced. Rural Mutual Insurance Compnay launched a campaign to keep kids safe on farms. WFBF’s leadership Institute graduated another crop of emerging leaders for our organization and rural Wisconsin.

Rural Mutual Insurance Company, which was started by Farm Bureau members, celebrated

80 years.

Interaction The first-ever

Denim & Diamonds barn dance took place in Poynette in partnership with the Wisconsin FFA Foundation.

Ag DAy

All three collegiate Farm Bureau chapters (Madison, Platteville and River Falls) hosted Ag Day on Campus events in April.

Monroe County Farm Bureau members and dairy farmers, Jack and Pat Herricks, received the 2014 Leopold Conservation Award. WFBF partially sponsored the award with the Sand County Foundation.

Communication Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program developed curriculum guides to compliment the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,Trade and Consumer Protection’s ‘Growing Wisconsin’ magazine.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau began using Instagram to share positive agricultural images and Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom expanded its social presence to Twitter and Pinterest.

#WIAgProud On National Ag Day,

March 18 16

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Farm Bureau members flooded social media with positive images and the hashtag, #WIAgProud.

Farm Bureau’s member magazine ‘Rural Route’ was selected as ‘Best Magazine’ among its peers by the American Farm Bureau Federation for the third consecutive year. farm bureau federation Wisconsin

Outreach Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom

Annual Meeting Ag in the Classroom hosted a bus tour of farms and ag-businesses in central Wisconsin for teachers statewide.


A mix of great speakers and entertainment attracted more than

1,000 members

to WFBF’s Annual Meeting in December.

Nearly 200 students attended the FFA Farm Forum in February. WFBF has hosted this event in Wisconsin Rapids for the past

43 years.


Cranberry grower and Jackson County Farm Bureau member, Nodji Van Wychen, was named the ‘AgVocate of the Year’ at the Women’s Ag Summit in Middleton in March.

DANE COUNTY August 25-27


Collaborating with Rural Mutual Insurance to expand presence at 2015 Farm Technology Days, August 25-27.




AgVocate of the Year

Advocacy WFBF’s Governmental Relations team led the charge to pass legislation that made several needed improvements to Wisconsin’s Implements of Husbandry Law.

Volunteers for Agriculture, Farm Bureau’s political action committee, successfully endorsed many legislative races in the 2014 election.

Lobbying trips were taken to Washington, D.C.

Lobbied for several key ag items in 2015-17 state budget.

Ag Day at the Capitol attracted hundreds of attendees, from all facets of agriculture, to lobby on behalf of agriculture’s interests.

Farm Bureau Staff ADMINISTRATION Jim Holte, WFBF President Dale Beaty,

608.828.5700 608.828.5714

Chief Administrative Officer

Becky Schollian, Executive Assistant


GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director Rob Richard, Senior Director Karen Gefvert, Director

608.828.5708 608.828.5703 608.828.5713



Treasurer and Executive Director of Operations

Steve Mason, General Accountant Jill Bennwitz, Administrative Assistant


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PUBLIC RELATIONS Casey Langan, Executive Director Amy Eckelberg,

608.828.5711 608.828.5706

Director of Communications

Lynn Siekmann, Graphic Designer Marian Viney, Graphic Designer

608.828.5707 608.828.5721

MEMBER RELATIONS Bob Leege, Executive Director Deb Raemisch, Director Wendy Kannel,

608.828.5710 608.828.5712 608.828.5719

Director of Training and Leadership Development

Darci Meili, Administrative Assistant

District Coordinators: Patti Roden, District 1


Amy Blakeney, District 2


Gretchen Kamps, District 3


Steve Boe, District 4


Becky Hibicki, District 5


Becky Salm, District 6


Wes Raddatz, District 7


Ashleigh Calaway, District 8


Katie Mattison, District 9



608.828.5720 608.828.5705

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Strategic Plan Member leaders developed recommendations as part of a task force charged with forging a new direction for WFBF’s Women’s Program for Leadership and Education.





Women’s Program for Education and Leadership

for Farming’s Future $5 for Farming’s Future: In early 2015 the WFB Foundation implemented a $5 voluntary contribution line item on your dues renewal.

As promotional items receive a revamp, the Wisconsin Farm Facts brochure was made interactive with the Aurasma app.

As part of the WFBF Strategic Plan, the June|July 2015 edition of the Rural Route was mailed to WFBF’s more than


associate members for the first time.

WFBF Board Directors James Holte, President, District 9, Elk Mound Richard Gorder, Vice President, District 3, Mineral Point Dave Daniels, District 1, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., District 2, Janesville Joe Bragger, District 4, Independence Kevin Krentz, District 5, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, District 6, Chilton Wayne Staidl, District 7, Peshtigo Donald Radtke, District 8, Merrill Andrea Brossard, YFA Chair, Burnett Rosalie Geiger, Women’s Chair, Reedsville August | September 2015



Annual Meeting & YFA Conference December 4-7, 2015

Kalahari Resorts and Conference Center,Wisconsin Dells 96th Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting 81st Rural Mutual Insurance Company Annual Meeting Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Agenda 96th WFBF & 81st RMIC Annual Meetings Friday, December 4

Sunday, December 6

YFA Committee Meeting First-timers’ Orientation Session YFA Welcome Dinner District YFA Meetings Reception Featuring Rockstar Rodeo

Morning Devotional Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet Final WFBF Women’s Committee Meeting and Reorganization Resolutions Processing YFA Discussion Meet Final Buffet Brunch and General Session Featuring Dr. Lowell Catlett

Saturday, December 5 WFBF YFA Committee Reorganization Meeting Discussion Meet Contestant Orientation Discussion Meet Quarterfinals I Excellence in Ag Practice Session Discussion Meet Quarterfinals II YFA B  uffet Brunch and General Session Featuring the Peterson Farm Bros WFBF Annual Meeting Begins Producer Club Luncheon Excellence in Ag Presentations Achievement Award Interviews Discussion Meet Semifinals Trade Show Breakout Sessions Fun’d the Foundation Trivia Contest Farm Bureau Reception FarmBureau Extravaganza! Featuring Rick Wilcox

WFBF YFA Conference Ends Trade Show Workshops Policy Development Committee Meeting Reception Silent Auction and Trade Show End Farm Bureau Awards Banquet and Program Reception

Monday, December 7 Rural Mutual Insurance Company Annual Meeting Breakfast and General Session District Caucuses Resolutions and Business Meeting

#WFBFAM15 #FBProud

Keynote Speakers

Entertainment YFA Conference Entertainment • Friday, December 4

YFA Conference Keynote • Saturday, December 5

Peterson Farm Bros YouTube Agvocates

Rockstar Rodeo

Take the best you’ve heard from Austin and Nashville, the boogie from the South and the best of times you’ve had in the Midwest, now add the hottest modern, pop country hits, top rock hits and you’ll be kickin’ your night into one wild Rodeo Party.

Farm Bureau Extravaganza! • Saturday, December 5 Rick Wilcox Magic Show

For more than two decades master illusionists Rick and Suzan Wilcox have entertained and amazed thousands. Combining their unique on-stage chemistry with hilarious comedy and fast-paced magic and illusions, Rick and Suzan leave their audience with every reason to believe in the impossible.

The Peterson Farm Bros are made up of Greg (24), Nathan (21), Kendal (18) and honorary “bro” Laura (14) Peterson. They are siblings who farm together with their parents near Assaria, Kansas. They produce entertaining and educational videos on their YouTube channel (ThePetersonFarmBros) and post continuous farming and video updates to their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Ever since they began producing content, they have continued to realize a need to inform people about what they do in farming and in agriculture as a whole. There are many misconceptions about modern day farmers and they feel it is their calling to help correct some of those misconceptions.

Annual Meeting Keynote • Sunday, December 6

Dr. Lowell Catlett Regents Professor in Ag Econ Lowell Catlett, Ph.D., a futurist with positive and upbeat predictions, is an enthralling and spellbinding presenter. His unique perspective of emerging technologies prepares us to anticipate coming changes, and to deal winning hands when the deck is being continually reshuffled. Catlett is the dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Annual Meeting Workshops The Threat to the Ag Sector

Mark Ormsby, FBI Intelligence Analyst

Farm Bureau Estate and Business Succession Planning Jared Nelson Wisconsin Regional Financial Consultant Farm Bureau Financial Services

Richard Bollenbeck Attorney Bollenbeck Fyfe, S.C.

County Fair Food Stands: Ideas That Work Panel Discussion

Fun’d the Foundation Trivia Contest Gather six of your closest (or smartest) friends together for a Farm Bureau trivia contest Saturday night. Topics will include: current events, history, geography, music, movies, sports, religion, Farm Bureau and more. • Teams of six people. $10 per person • Three rounds of 25 questions • To sign up visit

FARMLAND Documentary Screening and Discussion

Silent Auction A highlight of each year’s Annual Meeting is the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation’s Silent Auction. Thanks to the generosity of members, county Farm Bureaus, businesses and sponsors, a large selection of items are offered for bid. To donate, visit and find silent auction on the right hand side of the page. All proceeds benefit the education and leadership development programs of the WFB Foundation.

Coming Soon: New and Improved WFBF Annual Meeting App Look for details in October’s Rural Route.

Watch For More Highlights WIFarmBureau WIFarmBureau wifarmbureau wifarmbureau

Farm Bureau Proud August | September 2015


Futurist Catlett on Food and Farming I

magine a cell phone app that could read a cow’s mood, assuring consumers that she is comfortable and content, or another that could analyze a plant in the field, helping farmers to better provide the precise amount of water or fertilizer. How about using sensors to target and eliminate a population of just 20 insects using only a few molecules of pesticide? These weren’t so much predictions as they were possibilities highlighted by Lowell Catlett, who believes a digital revolution in farming will dwarf the mechanical and chemical revolutions that preceded it. A noted futurist and dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Catlett pointed to a golden age for American farmers who he expects will meet growing world food demand through innovations that make the most of limited natural resources.

Story by Seth Teter

“It’s doubled since 1970. We couldn’t feed them then, but now we can.” That means American farmers will have more opportunities as an expanding middle class created new global markets, Catlett added. “They want air conditioners, they want safer food, they want more meat protein. They want the things they saw us have just 30 years ago,” he said. At the same time, he believes relatively affluent American consumers will continue to pay for specialty products, leading to a highly diversified food system. His advice to best prepare for the future: expose yourself to ideas from people you may disagree with. “We like to confirm that we’re right,” Catlett said. “But in reality, if you’re going to adjust to a very fast moving, changing world, you’ve got to understand where those people are coming from too.”

Don’t miss Catlett’s keynote address at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting, Sunday, December 6, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

None of this seems unthinkable in the current age where farmers are buying robots to milk their cows and employing GPS signals to automatically steer their tractors. Catlett said intensive growing methods have helped farmers produce more than enough calories than are needed for every person on the planet, which wasn’t always the case. “Because of advances in management, in the technology and in applications, we can feed a hungry world. And so I don’t get upset when people say ‘Well, the world’s population is going to go to 9 billion people: How are we going to do it?’” Catlett said,

Mark Your Calendar for AFBF Annual Convention in Orlando O rlando, Florida, is the site of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th Annual Convention, to be held January 9-13, 2016. Wisconsin Farm Bureau members traveling to this year’s event will stay at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, located adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center, site of this year’s convention. The 2016 annual convention will feature a variety of issue conferences, top-notch speakers and the IDEAg Trade Show.


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The convention registration fee is $100 per person, which covers entrance to all sessions. Farm Bureau members will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of optional pre- and post-convention tours, including several that highlight the diversity of Florida agriculture. Registration materials for the AFBF Annual Convention will be available in September by contacting Bob Leege, WFBF Executive Director of Member Relations, at 608.828.5710 or

Wisconsin farm bureau federation











Dairy erica’s s in Am res


Improve cattle health. Optimize rate of gain. Reduce feed cost and time on feed. Introducing the Summit “160-Head” Barn

Discover the advantages of feeding cattle indoors by requesting your information package which includes: • White paper that includes 6 key considerations that can impact your decision of whether to feed cattle indoors • 160-Head barn brochure • 160-Head barn DVD – hear what one producer has to say about his feeding operation

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Call (800) 213-0567

or visit August | September 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 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.

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.

Health ScriptSave® - ScriptSave is a prescription drug savings card available to you at NO COST as an added feature of your membership. Call 800.700.3957. Stroke Detection Plus - Stroke Detection Plus offers preventative medical screenings at a discounted price to Farm Bureau members. These ultrasound screenings help detect blockages that can lead to stroke, aortic aneurysms and other artery diseases. For more information, call 1.877.732.8258.

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.

Financial 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



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. Individuals must be members for at least 30 days to qualify.

Insurance 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

Travel 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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.


August | September 2015

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8/21/14 4:51 PM


EPA Unleashing a Flood of Regulations A Message from Jim Holte


f there’s a wet spring, I can bet the farm that I will have standing and flowing water. This has always been a reality for those who farm in the Town of Spring Brook’s Section 35. My connection to this part of Dunn County known as the Chippewa Bottoms began when my Norwegian greatgrandpa immigrated here to become a logger. After the trees were gone, he began farming the flat landscape. I’m proud to be the fourth generation to farm here. While I respect great grandpa for picking an area without rocks, its location in a floodplain sometimes causes me to scratch my head. My annual worry that spring rains will delay my planting schedule now pales in comparison to the troubling flood of regulations that the Federal Government is about to unleash on farmers. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers finalized a new regulation last month


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that expands their powers to regulate almost any land where water pools or flows at any time, or has in the past 100 years. That new rule will be effective and enforceable by the Federal Government by the end of the summer. This new reality should raise the ire of not just those of us who farm on low ground, but everyone. Everyone who farms on land with a slope and a low spot; everyone who has a drainage ditch; everyone with land that sees water channel across it following a moderate rainfall; everyone with land within a 100year flood plain. I have ditches and ephemeral drains that move channeled rainwater off my farm after a moderate rain – the new rule makes those “tributaries.” As a result, I cannot plow through them or apply a single drop of fertilizer or pesticide into those drains to combat insects and weeds – effectively imposing a buffer – without a federal permit. That is not all. The new rule regulates all waters within the 100-year floodplain (up to 1,500 feet) of these so-called “tributaries” – calling them the “adjacent waters.” Most of my farm falls in a floodplain and any of my farm’s low areas (which the Corps would likely call a wetland) are now regulated by the rule. Without a permit, I cannot farm them either. So how does this happen? Federal agencies can propose any rule they wish, allow time for interested parties to comment on it and then accept or ignore any or all comments and declare it the law of the land without a vote or meaningful review of any kind from Congress. That’s exactly what has happened.

Welcome to more red tape, higher costs, delayed decisions by agencies responsible to nobody, enforcement actions and third party litigation from environmental activists near and far. This certainly will burden the economy but can anyone guarantee it will advance any of the objectives of the Clean Water Act? Proponents of this sweeping set of changes assure us that there are exceptions for agriculture and ditches in the rule. Sure, there are exceptions, call me cynical but those exceptions are so confusing and narrow that hardly any farmer will benefit from them. I bet I won’t. So what do we do? Each of us needs to ask our two U.S. Senators to act to stop this power grab. A bill to do this has already passed the House. There is not a single Wisconsin farmer who is too busy to make these two phone calls. If you think that you’re busy now, consider filling out numerous forms for permits on each field you wish to crop next year and in subsequent years. Consider asking the Corps of Engineers to inspect your farm just to determine if you can plant seed, kill weeds and provide your crops the nutrients they need simply because some channeled water runs in or around your farm. Or, because a single isolated wetland can be found there. This is gravely important to all of Wisconsin agriculture. To put it mildly, wet fields next spring will be the least of our concerns if some federal bureaucrat decides to place our farms between a rock and a hard place. WFBF President since 2012, Holte is a grain and beef farmer from Elk Mound in Dunn County.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Economic Development in Rural Wisconsin: What’s Working? A Guest Column from Tom Still


ooking back on a litany of grant announcements by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the past six months or so, I reached this conclusion: Wisconsin leaves a lot of federal money on the table. In fairness, that’s true for programs well beyond those tied to rural development. Wisconsin has a long, across-the-board history of being a “donor” state when it comes to recouping tax dollars sent to Washington, D.C. It’s nonetheless striking when the state fails to earn its fair share in an area in which it should be a national leader – agriculture and the rural economy. Here are some examples of USDA grant programs I mentioned at the April 23 Wisconsin Rural Partners summit in Green Lake: • The $16 billion “StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth” is active in 21 states, but not Wisconsin. • The USDA awarded $9 million in wood innovation grants, but only two of 43 found their way to Wisconsin. • About $19 million in food safety grants were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill; there were no Wisconsin recipients. • Another $9 million was set aside for Childhood Obesity grants, also through the Farm Bill and Wisconsin was not among the winners. • There was only one Wisconsin recipient (the UW-Madison) among 32 grants targeted to four rural development programs and only two Wisconsin recipients among 40 Beginning Farmer and Rancher grants. Coming up in the USDA pipeline are deadlines for about $12 billion in federal development programs targeted at rural America. Wisconsin can and should compete for those dollars, given the expertise of the state’s farmers, producers, developers and researchers. With stronger partnerships between government,

business and higher education, more money now left on the table could be scooped up. Strategies for creating jobs and economic growth in rural Wisconsin extend far beyond government grants, of course, and many were discussed during the Rural Partners’ conference. They included extending broadband coverage to rural Wisconsin, attracting investment capital, encouraging entrepreneurs, increasing exports and making the state more appealing to young people from elsewhere – as well as those who left home and would like to return. • Just announced this month was a Gigabit Business Park mapping project that involved the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Wisconsin State Telephone Association, which identified more than 130 business sites with 1 to 100 gigabits of bandwidth per second. Fast Internet connections are vital to site selectors and small businesses seeking to compete nationally and beyond. • When the Wisconsin Angel Network was launched about 10 years ago, there were only a handful of angel networks and venture funds in Wisconsin and only one outside Madison or Milwaukee. Today, there are more than two dozen investor groups of all description and more than a half dozen outside the state’s largest cities. • When the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition examined the rural economy a few years ago, it concluded “over half of all new jobs created in most rural areas come from small, non-farm business ventures.” That’s among the reasons why the state’s universities and tech colleges are investing more in encouraging entrepreneurship. • Wisconsin’s exports have grown from $16.7 billion in 2009 to $23.5 billion last year, good for 19th among

the 50 states overall. The state ranks 13th in agricultural exports. The world’s rapidly growing middle class needs more food, feed, fuel and fiber, all products Wisconsin can offer. • Wisconsin’s “brain drain” – meaning out-migration of people – isn’t all that much better or worse than the United States as a whole. But its attraction of people from outside Wisconsin, especially recapturing those who grew up here, lags the U.S. average. Why? A lack of opportunities that pay well and a perception that parts of the state aren’t “cool” enough for millennials were factors cited by conference participants. By building on its natural strengths and partnerships, closing the digital divide, encouraging startups (which need faster broadband) and fostering trade, rural Wisconsin can prosper in the 21st century. It might help, too, if someone began filling out a few grant applications. Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

To learn more, visit www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.

August | September 2015



Wisconsin’s Water Woes: Legislature Must Address High Capacity Wells A Message from Paul Zimmerman


our help is needed! Please contact your state senator and representative and ask them to support legislation to address high capacity wells. Here’s why. High capacity wells and their impact on groundwater were a hot topic of discussion at Ag Day at the Capitol in March. I wrote a column for Rural Route in April that explained the need for new groundwater legislation. Months later it remains a complex and unresolved issue that needs legislative attention this fall. Persistence gets things done in politics. We cannot let up on this issue. A quick review of the situation: Current law requires a person to obtain approval from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before constructing


Rural Route

a high capacity well. Its definition is a well and all other wells on the same property that together have the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day. Due to a 2011 State Supreme Court decision, the DNR is conducting an extensive environmental review for all high capacity well permit applications. This includes an application to replace an existing well, reconstruct an existing well or transfer the ownership of the well to another person as part of a land purchase. Prior to the 2011 State Supreme Court decision, the DNR used the more extensive environmental review process for new high capacity wells that met one of the following conditions: • May impact the water supply of a public water utility. • May impact an outstanding resource water body or an exceptional resource water body. • Is to be used to withdraw water for bottling purposes. • May impact larger scale springs. Since 2011, there is no clear process for farmers, businesses or any other person for that matter, to work with the DNR to get high capacity well permits approved. Now it’s done on a case by case basis. This concerns Wisconsin farmers for a number of reasons. If you have an existing well that needs repair or replacement, you may be able to get the approval, but your pumping capacity could be lowered. The same thing could

apply to someone purchasing farmland that has a high capacity well. The new owner could have the pumping capacity lowered by the DNR. Imagine asking your lender for a loan to purchase farmland with an existing high capacity well. What is the financial impact of a farm’s value with pumping capacity reduced? Building a new high capacity well also is a thorny issue. According to the DNR, more than 150 high capacity well permits await action but are not being issued because of the court’s decision to require extensive environmental reviews of each application. This doesn’t take into consideration all of the farmers who are not applying for new high capacity well permits in fear that the DNR will lower pumping capacities for other wells on their farms. So whether you are a potato and vegetable farmer in the central sands, a dairy farmer near Green Bay or a cash grain farmer near La Crosse, your ability to use water is in jeopardy. Not because the DNR is unreasonable, but rather because of a court ruling. Only the Legislature can fix this. That’s why your legislators need to hear from farmers about the need to pass high capacity well legislation before this opportunity dries up. Zimmerman is WFBF’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

El Niño Not A Friend to World Crops This Year Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


l Niño fooled us in 2014, displaying signs of its return before fading into the late summer months. It seems to be here with a vengeance this year. The weather phenomenon is in full force and is a threat to crop production in the U.S. and abroad. El Niño conditions are triggered by warming water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that couple with increased air surface pressure. An associated shift in trade wind intensities causes changes in weather patterns. The effects of El Niño vary according to the strength and timing of its occurrence. There are weather anomalies occurring around the globe, some of which may be directly associated with El Niño. North America is generally soggy through its midsection and dry in the West. South America maintains favorable soil moisture levels in the North and is drier in the South. Conditions are better in the eastern half of Europe than in the West. Most of Asia is drier than normal. Farmers in the U.S. are sometimes glad to see El Niño bring cooler temperatures during corn pollination. The phenomenon also can be associated with wet weather, which has been a detrimental theme for the U.S. this season. Californians will thank El Niño this winter if it provides some drought relief as is expected. Australia and Asia get a lot of attention

during El Niño years. Australian meteorologists are renowned for their predictive capabilities regarding El Niño, having developed a knack for forecasting the phenomenon out of necessity. Hot, dry weather can wreak havoc throughout the Australian Grain Belt. Parts of Asia can be on either extreme of the precipitation spectrum. Growers in India are monitoring a monsoon season that is not providing ample rains, for one example. The Europeans suffered through a heat wave early in the summer that took the top end off of yield potentials. Record high temperatures have been recorded in the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Growers in Russia and Ukraine are worried that the heat will spread to their spring wheat regions. Drought is an issue in central Argentina as wheat and barley is being planted. Growers there will hope that dry soils find relief before corn sowings are in full swing. Dry weather was a worry for Brazil last winter, but a reversal of fortunes has the country enjoying favorable growing conditions for the second corn crop. Extreme weather patterns being experienced in some of the world’s major growing regions have been a bullish catalyst for some agricultural commodities recently. A premium has

been attached to U.S. grains as a result of wet weather, while dry conditions have put a bid under commodities like European wheat and Asian palm oil. Meteorologists are suggesting that this year’s El Niño could be one of the strongest in several decades. With an active El Niño upon us, look for the potential for some wacky world weather patterns to persist in 2016. El Niño could remain a bullish influence for crop prices if recent weather is any indication of future trend. Camp is the Risk Management Specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.

August | September 2015



The Fear of Running Out of Farmers A

demographic study of farming and ranching in Wyoming forecasts there will be no operators under the age of 35 by the year 2033. The study in Rangelands, a publication of the Society for Range Management, found that the average age of farmers has increased in every county in Wyoming since 1920, and will reach 60 by the year 2050. Based on these results, the authors predict a bleak farming future for Wyoming and the rest of the country where trends are similar. Believe it or not, the fear of not having enough farmers and ranchers has been around as long as the first county Farm Bureau, founded a little over a hundred years ago in Broome County, New York. The concern back then was that too many young men were leaving the hard life of farming to seek gainful employment in the big cities. Farm Bureau was formed out of a desire to make farming more socially and financially rewarding. The exodus from farms and ranches continued, however, but became far less worrisome because of mechanization and the tremendous increase in farm productivity. In fact, the pendulum swung the other way. During much of the 20th century there were too many people trying to make a living from farming, and too much land was in production. The aging of the farm workforce became noticeable in the 1950s and has continued relatively unabated ever since. The

average age of farmers was 48.7 years in 1945, the first year it was officially reported in the Census of Agriculture. The average age now is 58.3 years. The share of farmers age 65 and older was 14 percent in 1945: It is now 33 percent. Only 6 percent of farmers are under the age of 35. Do all these numbers spell big trouble for the nation’s agriculture? Not necessarily. The entire American workforce is aging. By the year 2020, 25 percent of the labor force will be older than 55, up from 12 percent in 1990. Agriculture, real estate and education are the three employment categories with the highest number of workers older than 55. An older agricultural workforce is nothing new, at least not in the last half century. Generally speaking, today’s 65-year-old is better educated, healthier and more willing to extend their working years than seniors in the past. It seems fair to say that a 58-year-old farmer today is comparable to a 48-year-old farmer in 1945. According to the Stanford Center on Longevity, agriculture will need to rely on a larger share of older workers and use them as well to train young workers. The U.S. birth rate is projected to average 4.6 million per year from 2015 to 2060, that’s more than the peak year of the baby boom. American agriculture has a recruiting job to do, but it has never been in a better position to convince future generations to become farmers and ranchers. Stewart Truelsen, a food and agriculture freelance writer, is a regular contributor to the American Farm Bureau’s Focus on Agriculture series.

Where does the money come from and where does it go? T he new 2015-17 state budget spends $73.3 billion, an almost $3 billion (4.2 percent) increase compared with the 2013-15 budget. The state expects to collect $2.3 billion more in tax revenues, a 7.6 percent increase, due to projected economic activity. In addition, the state expects to receive $1.5 billion more from the federal government, a 7.8 percent increase. Program and segregated revenues (fees) remain about the same, while general obligated bonding is reduced from about $2 billion to $652 million. Transportation bonding is included in DOT’s budget as it’s paid from user (gas tax and vehicle registration) fees. You may have heard how items have been cut, such as the $250 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System or a


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cut to K-12 education. While these statements are true in the way they are presented, state budgets are based upon the last fiscal year of the previous budget doubled (to reflect the usual increased costs of salaries and benefits). However, if you compare the total dollars allocated for this budget with the last one, you’ll find the UW System and the K-12 education actually receive more money in the new budget. K-12 education increases by 6.7 percent ($839,837,300 more) while UW System increases 0.16 percent ($19,067,000 more). The largest increase (12.7 percent) goes to the Department of Health Services (more than $2.5 billion). Transportation funding will take a 5.9 percent reduction. The DNR and DATCP will take 3 and 0.96 percent reductions, respectively. Of the budget’s $73 billion price tag, $48 billion goes to three agencies: Health Services, Public Instruction and the University of Wisconsin System. Paul Zimmerman is WFBF’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg


e bought the place we call home along the creek nearly four decades ago. A gravel road separates us from an abandoned cheese factory. Both were built by a cheesemaker before the Great Depression. We remodeled the home to fit our family needs over the years. Time, economies of scale and neglect slowly slew the cheese factory. Neighbors, both alive and passed, told stories of the factory’s glory days. Neighbor Cliff told of stopping there for a few pieces of cheese and an ice cream cone on his way home from a one-room schoolhouse named Maple. The cheesemaker’s grandson, who grew up to become a state senator, told me he would visit in summer and on weekends to work, hunt and fish. Columnist and author Alan Guebert, in a recent Wisconsin State Journal interview said, “When you look around in almost any rural community anymore, you see more empty buildings and empty houses and empty silos. That, to me, is a real sad place we’ve taken agriculture.” “On the farm where I grew up, people were at least as important as the land,” Guebert added. “Today, nothing is as important as the land. We didn’t talk about making a profit, we talked about making a living.” My dairy farming neighbors (nearly four decades ago) made a living off the

land. There were at least a dozen families milking cows within a three-mile radius of our home back then. But for succeeding generations, just making a living off the land didn’t cut it. Dairy farming was hard work. Their friends in town had better paying, easier jobs. By the time they reached 18, most had left the farm. Today, there are no cows being milked within the same radius. Yet several family dairy farms beyond our small radius are following a new trend: managing larger herds with better technology and equipment, more efficient milking systems and genetic advancements. Today, Wisconsin’s average herd size is 130 cows and 99 percent of farms remain family-owned. For the first time in more than 60 years the number of Wisconsin dairy farms has dropped below 10,000. The state lost 475 dairies last year, yet those remaining produced a record 27.7 billion pounds of milk. Making a profit off the land has changed the rural landscape. Guebert notes, “When you lose sight of the people and what it is you are doing, then you’re able to lose sight of just about anything else. You’re able to lose sight of your neighbor, of soil conservation, of clean water, of your community. I don’t think you have to look very far at any of these items to see that my generation could have done a whole lot better.” I was struck by that quote and was put to mind another by Aldo Leopold. “There are two things that interest me: The relation of people to each other and the relation of people to land.” Last month I was asked to serve as my town’s planning commission chairman. The normal order of business for the commission is driveway and culvert permits, land splits and lot consolidations. No big deal, right? When I accepted the call to serve, the boss raised her eyebrows and warned, “Be careful of what you ask for.” A day later a neighbor called and insisted our township needs to adopt a large animal feed lot ordinance. Thank goodness most of the commissioners are retired farmers. This could get interesting. In the meantime, I’m going to look up Guebert’s new book, The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey. I could use some inspiration. Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the Portage County Farm Bureau.

August | September 2015


Federal Capitol and Key Ag Bills Remain…

Works in Progress Photos and captions by Casey Langan


he Wisconsin Farm Bureau Board of Directors joined the 2014 graduates of WFBF’s leadership Institute for a working trip to the nation’s capital in June. Aside from lobbying Wisconsin’s congressional delegation on hot legislative topics, the trip also was a bit of a foreign affair with a visit to the Embassy of France. It was there they learned that 52 percent of France’s land mass is devoted to agriculture. Topography largely determines whether it’s used for vineyards, dairy, meat or grain production. French officials explained how their nation’s policies target government subsidies to conservation compliance, young farmers and those actively farming. They also gave their spin on ‘geographic indicators’ which are used to identify a product as originating from a territory of a particular country. This practice often comes up in trade negotiations involving French cheese and champagne.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Visiting House members on the Hill: Trade, taxes, wolves and water were on the to-do lists of Farm Bureau leaders as they visited the offices of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation on June 10. Congressmen Ron Kind (above left, third from right) and Reid Ribble (above right, center) supported granting the Obama Administration Trade Promotion Authority. They also were lobbied to rewrite the tax code and pass two key ‘tax extenders’ (small business expensing and bonus depreciation) well before the end of 2015. Congressman Ribble has been working to delist gray wolves in Wisconsin from

the federal endangered species list, a move livestock owners support. The Environmental Protection Agency’s far-reaching Waters of the U.S. rule also was discussed. Farm Bureau members were challenged with helping lawmakers understand how this will greatly limit farmers’ options to grow crops and work their land. Working Capitol Hill as agriculture advocates serves as the ‘capstone experience’ for the graduates of Farm Bureau’s leadership Institute, a year-long course designed to empower emerging leaders in Farm Bureau and rural Wisconsin.

Senators on the spot: WFBF members met with Wisconsin’s two U.S. Senators, Tammy Baldwin (above right) and Ron Johnson (above left). Among the issues they discussed were Farm Bureau’s push for a national Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling bill. This would be in place of a costly, non-scientific state-by-state approach currently being taken by GMO opponents. There is a strong desire to have this legislation become law in order to avoid

ballot initiatives on the state level in 2016. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599) was approved by the House of Representatives in July. It provides a national framework for the voluntary labeling of GMO foods based on consistent, national standards that are driven by science. It also will authorize the U.S. Department of Agriculture to oversee these labeling requirements.

August | September 2015


Service is Everything to the

Strueders By Amy Eckelberg


acine County Farm Bureau members Bernie and Jacquie Strueder are busy people. Both in their mid-70s, there is no slowing down for these two. No matter the day, they are always working in agriculture and striving to serve. “The Same Day Kennedy Was Shot” This year Bernie celebrated 51 years of service at Harry Hansen’s Meat Service located in Raymond. What started as a favor and a part-time gig in 1964, turned into a life-long career in the meat and customer service industry. Bernie remembers the day he was asked if he would run the truck and pick up pigs as a favor for a friend. “I remember that day because it was the same day Kennedy was shot,” Bernie said. Afterwards Bernie was asked if he wanted to help out once in a while and his time spent working at Hansen’s increased. Years later, he doesn’t have a business card big enough to fill it with all the job titles he holds. “Slaughter, maintenance, cutting… whatever needs to be done I do,” Bernie said. In 1978, Bernie bought Hansen’s with his brother Joe. In 2005, they sold it and Bernie went back to farming with his brothers. When Hansen’s employee Rick Kastenson bought the business in 2009 he asked Bernie to return for help and guidance. He obliged. “(Rick) worked for us for 20 years, so now I suppose I have to work for him for 20 years,” Bernie said with a smirk. Bernie describes Harry, the original owner, as “the best guy to work for” but promises that Rick and his family hold the same standard as Harry did. “We have three generations of farmers and customers coming here,” Bernie said. “That tells you how we do business. They


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come from all over to our store. It’s a pleasure to talk to the people. We greet them when they come in and our employees take their order out to them.” Bernie says they try to work with farmers’ erratic schedules and also come in early in the morning to accommodate customers. “It’s just like farming – it’s 24/7,” Bernie said. “We even take livestock in on Sundays.” The whole family has been a part of the workforce at Hansen’s over the years including their four children, Brenda, Ann, Paul (deceased) and Jodie, who still works on the kill floor.

“It’s Funny How Easy It Is To Relate To Customers” Jacquie doesn’t know if the nickname the “older lady” is a good thing or a bad thing with her customers at West View Gardens, a greenhouse located in Caledonia. Regardless, they ask for the “older lady” because they know that she will do the best she can to help them. “It’s funny how easy it is to relate to customers,” Jacquie said with a smile. Jacquie spends her days at the greenhouse transplanting plants and working with the customers. While she has a green thumb, working with the customers is one of her favorite parts of the job. As if they don’t have enough on their calendar, the Strueders also spend many Saturdays at the Brookfield Farmers’ Market where they sell apples for Brightonwoods Orchards. They have been doing this for about 18 years.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

“It’s our fun time on Saturday mornings,” Jacquie smiled. Along with some help from grandchildren on occasion, they sort and sell apples. They pick up 15 to 20 bushels from the orchard on Friday evenings and then make it to the market by 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays. They set up the apples at eye level and provide samples to give the customers the best experience possible. “It’s a different clientele (at the farmers’ market). They buy enough for the week,” Jacquie explained. “They come for more than apples, they come for the experience.” Their grandchildren seem to be following in their footsteps when it comes to customer service. “It’s so neat to watch them interact with the customers,” Jacquie said. “It’s fun to have them along with us.” Bernie said it’s good to have more hands for helping when you are ‘running around in the small area’. While smirking at Jacquie he added, “Plus, sometimes she gets distracted.”

“If They Experience It, They Might Just Go For It” The Scott and Hansen families got Strueders involved in Farm Bureau in the late 1970s. Bernie says he enjoys Farm Bureau because of the way they support agriculture and the programs they have in place to advance it. “(The) Ag in the Classroom (Program) helps get kids involved. They have to know where their food is coming from. It is such a great program.” Bernie served on the Racine County Farm Bureau board for a few terms. Jacquie is active with the county’s women’s committee and serves on the board. She

also helps with the cream puff stand at the county fair. “The leadership here on our county board is just great,” Bernie said. “I like the way Farm Bureau supports the younger generation.” Jacquie agreed, “We need this younger generation to take over, that’s why our county supports young ladies to attend the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit each year.” “We are in desperate need of young people to go into agriculture,” Bernie added. “If they experience it, they might just go for it. Even if they can work for someone-if they can get the experience they will have that forever. They have to like the work and have to stick with it.” It is clear that Bernie and Jacquie enjoy the work they are doing. When asked if they plan to slow down any time soon they said as long as they are able to move they plan to work and serve. However, the Strueders, who have been married for 53 years, are planning a trip to Hawaii in the coming year. Pictured above right: Bernie (right) stands with Rick Kastenson, current owner of Harry Hansen’s Meat Service.

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August | September 2015


Photo by Kailey Turner, Baraboo

Photo by Zach Schauf, Barron

Photo by Ashley Wilichowski, Marathon

Photo by Renae Venhuizen, Burnett

Photo by Carley Blado, New Holstein

Send us YOUR Photos 36

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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.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

• Membership in the Dairy Girl Network is free by completing a membership form on their website at • To request access to the Network’s Facebook group, send an email to Laura Daniels at

Farm Bureau Member Forms By Heidi Clausen


omen may still be a minority in the dairy industry, but their contributions, whether it’s as a calf feeder or as a public-relations professional, are not to be overlooked. Connecting women across the dairy industry is the mission of the nonprofit Dairy Girl Network, which began at the 2013 World Dairy Expo. Since a humble meeting of about 45 women at a Madison restaurant/bar, the Network has grown to about 450 enrolled members and 1,200 Facebook followers nationwide. The Network was started “by accident, really. A lot of good things really happen that way,” according to founder Laura Daniels, a mom of two who milks 250 Jerseys near Cobb, serves as the Iowa County Farm Bureau Vice President and works as a business development manager for a feed company. The first networking event at the 2013 Expo was small and word-of-mouth, with Daniels asking her friends to each bring a friend. A Facebook group was launched. When they arrived at the venue, she was asked to provide a name for her party and, off the cuff, told the greeter that they were the Dairy Girl Network. The name stuck. The point of the evening was to meet people and that happened very naturally, as women moved from group to group introducing themselves, Daniels said.

“I wanted them to mix and leave knowing 10 new people -- or 40 new people. It worked really great,” she said. “We thought there might be something to this, so we kept the Facebook group going.” Sponsors stepped up to support the initiative, and the group officially launched at Expo in 2014, with more than 150 women attending a networking get-together. She said the Network recognizes that women play significant roles on dairy farms and in vendor businesses, as well as serving in industry-organization leadership positions and that their experiences vary from women working in other sectors of agriculture. Life on a dairy farm, as well as in some other parts of the dairy industry, can be isolating, Daniels said. Many women can benefit from having a mentor or simply a friend to call who understands the unique challenges of the dairy business. The Dairy Girl Network offers opportunities for all women in the dairy industry to achieve personal and professional development. To help them connect, the Network hosts socials in conjunction with larger dairy events across the country. “Events have really worked well because people wanted to spend time together when they’re in town,” Daniels said. Also, many women at dairy shows and expos wouldn’t otherwise get to know each other because they’re so busy caring for their show string or staffing an exhibit. Alternative support networks are in the works, including a mentoring program that will link two women within a certain segment of the industry. These women may never meet in person, she said. Network staff will help prompt conversations by providing specific questions. “Networking events will always be a cornerstone of the Network, but there are thousands of women involved in dairy who will never The Dairy Girl Network World Dairy Expo Networking Event be able to make it to an event,” Daniels said. “It’s important that we keep finding Where: Monona Terrace Conference Center ways to reach women who may be isolated, When: Wednesday, September 30, from 6-9 p.m. not just on farms.” Who: This networking dinner is open to women involved with any part of dairy – As the Network grows, Daniels said, whether as a calf feeder, dairy owner, marketing or sales consultant servicing they are in the process of hiring their first dairy farms or cheese producers, veterinarians, researchers, etc. If there is a freelance employee to coordinate activities. dairy cow involved in what she does, she’s invited! What: The Dairy Girl Network strives to connect dairy women with one another as a source of support and inspiration. This networking event is a fun way to connect with other women attending the Expo from Wisconsin and across the nation. It also will be a chance to learn more about the programming and opportunities being developed by the fast-growing Dairy Girl Network.

Reprinted with permission from The Country Today.

Sign up to be a network member or register for events at August | September 2015


County Kernels Pierce and St. Croix Counties - Ag Venture Days

Jefferson County - Farm Tour

A fourth grade farm tour was hosted at the Kutz Dairy farm on May 6 and was organized by the Jefferson County Agribusiness Club and the Jefferson FFA. Nearly 820 students, parents and faculty attended the tour. Lunch was served courtesy of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau. Thanks to Kutz Dairy LLC for opening their farm for the tour!

Waushara County - Showmanship Awards

On May 8, the Coleman FFA and agriculture students held an Ag Venture Day at the high school. The event was sponsored by the Marinette County Farm Bureau and Coleman FFA. This day was an opportunity to teach more than 300 pre-K through fifth grade students about the various aspects of agriculture such as bee keeping, tractor safety, dairy and horticulture. The students learned how to plant seeds and after Ag Venture Day they eventually took the plants home. The students also enjoyed the petting zoo and the beautiful weather.

Outagamie County - WPS Farm Show

The third annual Central Wisconsin Spring Fling Jackpot Steer and Heifer show was held on May 9 at the Waushara County Fairgrounds in Wautoma. More than 160 animals were entered in the show. Waushara County Farm Bureau donated $250 and sponsored two belt buckle awards for the Pee Wee and Intermediate showmanship winners.

March 24 was a beautiful spring day in Oshkosh as members of the Outagamie County Farm Bureau spoke with visitors of the WPS Farm Show at the booth shared by five county Farm Bureaus in central Wisconsin to promote Farm Bureau programs, benefits and membership.

Rock County - Ask A Farmer Rock County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist members have organized an ‘Ask A Farmer’ booth. Inspired by Casey Langan’s (WFBF public relations executive director and Rock County member) message at a county annual meeting, members were challenged to spark conversations with consumers in new locations. The ‘Ask a Farmer’ booth was featured at the Janesville Farmers Market in downtown Janesville and Rock County Dairy Breakfast at Larson Acres in Evansville. YFA members shared their farm backgrounds, answered the public’s questions and handed out milk and cheese curds kindly donated by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese and the Rock County Dairy Promotion Council. Ag in the Classroom materials also were given out to promote ag literacy.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau速 Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program

YFA SHAPES THE FUTURE The YFA program helps young members shape the future of agriculture, as well as their individual futures, with leadership development and personal growth opportunities. Through three competitions, members are able to showcase their leadership experience, communication skills and successful farm plans as they compete against the best of the best Farm Bureau has to offer. Wisconsin Farm Bureau

Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program

As part of the YFA competitions, winners in the Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Ag areas will receive their choice of a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra truck, courtesy of Chevrolet. Three national finalists in each competition will receive a Case IH Farmall tractor, courtesy of Case IH, as well as a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in STIHL merchandise.

For more information about YFA competitive events and how you can get involved, contact the Wisconsin Farm Bureau at 1.800.261.FARM or visit You also may contact the American Farm Bureau Federation at or 202.406.3600. August | September 2015


Farm Bureau Recipes and photos courtesy of the Wisconsin Beef Council

Classic Steak Fajita • 1 beef flank or skirt steak (1-1/2 pounds) • 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices • 2 medium green bell peppers, cut into quarters • 12 small flour tortillas (6- to 7-inch diameter), warmed • Salt and pepper

Garlic-Herb Cheeseburger • 1 pound ground beef (80 to 85% lean) • 4 slices red onion, cut 1/2 inch thick • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into quarters • Salt and pepper • 1/2 cup garlic-herb cheese spread • 4 round French sandwich rolls, split, toasted

1. L  ightly shape ground beef into four 1/2-inch thick patties. 2. P  lace patties in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onion and bell pepper around patties. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 7 to 9 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. Grill vegetables 13 to 16 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Cut bell pepper into 1/2-inch strips. 3. S  pread 1 tablespoon cheese on bottom of each bun; top with burger, another 1 tablespoon cheese, onion slice and 1/4 of bell pepper. Close sandwiches.

Marinade: • 1 package (about 1.25 ounces) fajita seasoning mix • 1/4 cup water • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice Avocado Salsa: • 1-1/2 cups prepared tomatillo salsa • 1 large avocado, diced • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro • 1/2 cup minced white onion • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice • 1 teaspoon minced garlic • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally. 2. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onions and bell peppers around steak. Grill flank steak, uncovered, 17 to 21 minutes (skirt steak 10 to 13 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Grill vegetables 13 to 16 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. 3. Meanwhile combine Avocado Salsa ingredients in medium bowl. Set aside. 4. Carve flank steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into thin slices. (Carve skirt steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.) Cut bell peppers into 1/2-inch strips; coarsely chop onions. Place steak slices on tortillas; top with vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with Avocado Salsa. Makes 6 servings.

Cook’s Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Ag in the classroom

Essay Contest Topic and Book of the Year Both Contain Maple Syrup


aple syrup flows through this year’s book of the year and essay contest from Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program. Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall is the 2015 Book of the Year. “Tell us about producing maple syrup in Wisconsin” is the topic of the annual essay contest. “The book of the year and essay topic will allow us to educate students about Wisconsin’s maple syrup industry by highlighting the process, technology and traditions of making this sweet treat,” said Wendy Kannel, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator. “We will again link the book, the accompanying lessons, various Wisconsin educational resources and other Ag in the Classroom lessons into resources for teachers, students and volunteers to use in promoting and preparing essays.” Essay submissions must be 100 to 300 words in length and will be judged on content, grammar, spelling and neatness. All contest rules, lesson plans and sample classroom activities are located at or by contacting Kannel at 608.828.5719 or Participating students and schools need to submit essays by April 1 to their county Farm Bureau essay coordinator. A list of coordinators is

available at A state winner will be selected from nine district winners in May by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Women’s Committee. Each district winner will receive a classroom presentation in May for their homeroom or class. The contest is sponsored by FrontierServco FS, We Energies and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. Last year, nearly 2,900 students participated in the contest. In this year’s Book of the Year selection, Sugarbush Spring, introduces young readers to the process of taking sap and making it into maple syrup. The hardcover books come with an activity/lesson plan packet that teachers, students and home school parents can use to enhance the reading experience. Book order forms are found at under “Order Forms”. Ag in the Classroom is designed to help students in kindergarten through high school to understand the importance of agriculture. It is coordinated by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Be Social...

...With Farm Bureau August | September 2015


Ag in the classroom

In the field or

Ag in the Classroom bus tour, July 14-15, near Marshfield.

s for ortunitie p p o f o ride rray a wagon red an a to e ff d o te a a e re tr A d Wildlife participants were ird watching. b The Mea r e u o m T o s s rs. Bu ok in to d n a y educato e propert around th

Josh Stolzenberg from No rthwind Renewable Energ y showed bus tour participan ts how to maximize solar power with a solar pathfin der at Lonely Oak Farm.

group photo at Bus tour participants posed for a y specialize in food, AgSource Laboratories where the ing. water, environmental and milk test


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Schalow’s anager at M r te n e C nts how ld, Garden r participa u to s u Bud Arno b d. ared with constructe re a ts n Nursery sh la p arieties of different v

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

thod, tific me throughout n ie c s e s and th roblem nology er to solve p Madison. h c e t f g in ogeth a bit o Using nts worked t ne-day trainin a o particip Classroom’s he Ag in t


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f the m rack o . t p e e k y he da nts to stude roughout t w o ll kers a getting th e te trac MyPla they may b s p grou

Workshop participan ts used biodegradab le packing peanuts to create str uctures related to ag riculture.

Participan ts analyze d a whea gluten fro t plant an m bread d d also extr ough. acted

in the classroom

One-day teacher training, Wednesday, July 22, Madison.

Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom

August | September 2015



Brodhead FFA Wins Food for America Contest T

he Brodhead FFA Chapter was named the state winner with their Food for America Program at the 2015 State FFA Convention in Madison. Many chapters competed in this award area, where FFA members educate elementary school students about Wisconsin agriculture. The top 10 chapters in this award area were interviewed at the convention and the winners were selected. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation sponsors the Food for America Program at the state level. The Brodhead Agriculture Education Department only has a part-time program, but it is producing full time results with the efforts of its advisor, Becky Wellnitz, and 76 members. The Brodhead FFA has put together several activities that increase agriculture awareness among students in grades K-12 and throughout the community. They teach 100 students about agriculture through a summer school course called Digging in the Dirt that focuses on growing vegetables and gardening. It is the most popular class offered in the district's summer school program. During the school year, they host a day on the farm where 20 educational stations are set up at Spring Grove Dairy to educate fourth grade students about where their food comes from. About 400 students from seven different school districts are invited to attend the event.

Brodhead’s pizza garden.

In addition to those two major events organized by the a Brodhead FFA, the members also read books about agriculture to students in local elementary schools and they utilize the soybean science kit to engage middle school students in experiments that relate to the importance of soy. Other top 10 FFA Chapters recognized for their programs were Lake Geneva-Badger, Manawa, Adams-Friendship, Amery, Holmen, Lodi, Suring, Waupaca and WeyauwegaFremont.

Beth Zimmer is Wisconsin FFA Discussion Meet Winner B eth Zimmer of the River Ridge FFA Chapter was named the state winner of the FFA Discussion Meet Contest at the 86th State FFA Convention at Madison. Zimmer’s advisor is Kory Stalsberg. The Discussion Meet Contest tests the abilities of FFA members in cooperatively


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discussing agricultural issues, exchanging ideas and information and finding solutions to issues or problems. Modeled after the Farm Bureau’s Discussion Meet, contestants give a 30-second opening statement, participate in 15 to 20 minutes of discussion and finish with a one-minute closing statement. To qualify for the state finals, Zimmer competed in chapter, district and sectional discussion meets before competing in Madison. The other finalists were: Second Place: MaKayla Klumpyan, Plymouth Third Place: Ally Magnin, Oconto Falls Fourth Place: Emily Herness, Whitehall The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation sponsors the State FFA Discussion Meet Contest.

Zimmer is pictured with WFBF President Jim Holte.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

‘Maddie’ Sales Benefit Foundation, YFA Projects S

ales of prints, coffee cups and bags with the image of a Holstein cow named Maddie raised thousands for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist program. The project was a partnership between the Friends of the WFB Foundation and Steel Cow of Waukon, Iowa. “With the Maddie Project, not only did we raise dollars to support the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, but we While visiting Washington D.C. in June, Wisconsin Farm Bureau members posed with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin who is shown holding a ‘Maddie’ canvas bag. brought awareness to all of the fantastic programs that remain strong and highlighting our success through a unique focus on sharing the message of Wisconsin agriculture,” said promotion offered new excitement.” Andrea Brossard, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Young Farmer “Thank you to everyone who supported the project. We hope and Agriculturist Chair. “Our YFA program continue to you enjoy having your very own Maddie,” Brossard added.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between March 6 and April 22, 2015.)

Save the Date March 4-5, 2016 Middleton, WI

• John Arneson in honor of Paul Lacy • Washington County Farm Bureau in memory of Terry Kasten

Register for the 2016 Farm Bureau Caribbean Cruise January 2- 9, 2016


For details visit August | September 2015

University of Wisconsin–Extension


rural mutual

Rural Mutual Continues to be Recognized as One of Nation’s Best Insurance Companies R ural Mutual Insurance Company announces its selection as a “Ward’s 50® Top Performer.” This marks seven consecutive years that the company has been recognized for this award. Annually, Ward Group analyzes the financial performance of more than 3,000 property-casualty insurance companies domiciled in the U.S. and identifies the top performers. Each of the top fifty companies is awarded the Ward’s 50 Seal and their names are listed as the Ward’s 50 Top Performers for the year. Each Ward’s 50 company has passed all safety and consistence screens and achieved superior performance during the five previous years analyzed. “Our average five-year return on equity, assets and revenue, coupled with our net premium written and surplus growth rate have once again elevated us to be among the top 50 property and casualty companies in the United States,” Peter Pelizza, CEO of Rural Mutual Insurance Company. “I am very proud

to be associated with such a fine group of people who are the compelling reason for this ongoing success.” Pelizza notes that this recognition means that we are better prepared than most to live up to our promise to our policyholders. “That truly is the most important thing that we do.” Rural Mutual Insurance has been providing a full line of insurance products exclusively to families, businesses and farms in Wisconsin for more than 80 years. And since Rural Mutual Insurance does business in only one state, premiums paid here, stay here to keep Wisconsin strong.

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Consider Safety When Planning Agritourism Visits A gritourism can cover a wide range of scenarios including, but not limited to, corn mazes, pick your own fruit and vegetable crops, educational tours for school children, farm-based festivals and country markets and stores. Regardless of the reason for children being on the farm, it is the responsibility of the farm owner to control hazards that may risk the health and safety of children and other guests. Many of the visitors may have little or no experience with agriculture and the rural environment and it is vital that adults and the children understand the hazards in this type of environment. Visiting an agritourism attraction can be very exciting and educational for children. The children come to learn, have fun and are not aware of the dangers present and children are naturally curious and perceive the farm as a playground. Therefore, it is important to talk to children about safety when they are visiting. Keep in mind that children are unpredictable and may not follow safety instructions. The responsibility for children’s safety is up to adults. Some adults may have unrealistic expectations of children’s understanding of hazardous situations. Also remember that adults may not realize the risks associated with agricultural operations.


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“Inviting the public onto a farm site results in some degree of liability,” said Peter Pelizza, CEO of Rural Mutual Insurance Company. For more information about liability insurance and to ensure your agritourism operation has adequate coverage, please consult your Rural Mutual Insurance agent. It also is advantageous to contact and inform neighbors about plans to operate an agritourism operation or if a large group of people will be visiting the farm. “Rural Mutual Insurance also has a separate Farm Safety page on its website at,” Pelizza said. “Check it out for a wide variety of child safety tips, videos, articles, safety information and additional resources.”

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

You can’t predict your future. But we can help you protect it.

Contact your agent to see how we can help safeguard your family’s future with life insurance and prepare you for a retirement that’s financially secure.

Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company/West Des Moines, IA. LI156-WI (2-15)

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Premiums Paid Here, Stay Here To Keep Wisconsin Strong. We value what’s important in life. That’s why we have been protecting families, farms and businesses exclusively in Wisconsin for over 80 years. To find a Rural Mutual Insurance agent, call us at 877-219-9550 or go to Life insurance and annuity products offered through Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company.

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Wisconsin Farm Bureau August | September Volume 21 Issue 4

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