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august | september 2017 • vol. 23 no. 4 |


Blossom into a Family Business Page 18


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contents vol. 23 no. 4










30 Farm Bureau



Rooted in





38 stay connected


What you need to know about the 2018 Farm Bill.


Share your opinion on water, labeling and the 2018 Farm Bill.


See highlights from the successful Kewaunee County show.


Preview the 2017 WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference.


Meet Door County cherry growers Terry and Toni Sorenson.


See all the great things WFBF accomplished last year.


Columns from Holte, Schimel, Camp, Eckelberg and Marketon.


Cherry recipes and facts about production in Wisconsin.


Highlights from this year's bus tour and teacher training.


Be safe on the roads.




Read our previous issues at






y family likes to laugh at me when I come to visit. Even though most of my childhood I baulked at chores on our family’s dairy farm, I usually find myself volunteering for at least one milking shift on a weekend visit. I attribute my change of heart to a couple of things. First of all, the cows. Who would have thought those large animals that have controlled my family’s life for as long as I can remember would be one of the things I miss most about living near the family farm? Secondly, the feeling of achievement. Let me explain this one in more depth. You see in my role at Farm Bureau I don’t always get to see a tangible accomplishment at the end of the day. I work on big picture items, long-term projects and more strategy-focused matters than tasks that can be checked off the todo list in one day. Even Rural Route is a non-stop, longterm project. As soon as one issue is done, another one begins. Whether it’s planning, writing or editing, Rural Route is always

on the to-do list. It’s like some of the big picture items Farm Bureau takes on legislatively. You work for a long time to get a result. While I am good at strategic thinking, there is still a sense of gratification when you get to wash down the parlor because all the cows have been milked. You could say however, that’s an on-going task, because in 12 hours they will be back there again. But, I digress. This issue is filled with long-term initiatives. Some have been accomplished, like the educational bus tour for teachers hosted by the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program (page 38), and some are on-going, such as NR151 (page 6). You’ll also find our 2017 Annual Report in this issue. We include it within the magazine so you can learn about what we have been doing with your membership dollars. Working for you is our great pride, and I sincerely hope you see that reflected in the pages of the Annual Report that starts on page 21. Whether you are cherry growers like the Sorensons featured on page 18, a dairy farmer, agriculture teacher or work in agribusiness, there’s something in this issue for you. Thinking back to my reasoning for enjoying my every-so-often milking shift, maybe I just like the feeling of getting my hands dirty, because the dirtiest I get these days is ink marks on my hands and coffee on my shirt... Thanks for reading, Amy Eckelberg Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Amy Eckelberg 608.828.5706 Designer Lynn Siekmann 608.828.5707 Contributors Sarah Marketon - 608.828.5711 Marian Viney - 608.828.5721

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) Don Radtke, Merrill, (Vice President) Dave Daniels, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., Janesville Richard Gorder, Mineral Point Joe Bragger, Independence Kevin Krentz, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, Chilton Adam Kuczer, Pulaski Rosalie Geiger, Reedsville (Promotion and Education Committee Chair) Derek Husmoen, Galesville (YFA Committee Chair) Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route (ISSN 1082-1368) (USPS 39940), 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 National accounts contact Casey McNeal at 800.798.2691 ext. 334 or For general inquiries, contact Amy Eckelberg at 608.828.5706 or


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Transportation Holds State Budget Back T

he final details of the two-year budget package are still being discussed by legislators. Normally, the budget would be signed into law by now or at least be close and awaiting the governor’s signature. However, we are not in normal circumstances. Even though Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office, some key details haven’t been mapped out on the proposed $76 billion spending plan. The biggest hang up? Transportation. When the Governor proposed his budget in February he promised not to raise fuel taxes or vehicle registration fees and offered to borrow or bond $500 million to help pay for his transportation plan. The State Senate has largely agreed with the Governor and even proposed an additional $350 million in bonds to prevent any significant delays in road projects. The State Assembly has taken a different approach. Led by Speaker Robin Vos, the Assembly Republicans have held firm they want a long-term, sustainable fix to the transportation budget and that would mean finding new revenues in the form of a modest fuel tax and/or vehicle registration fee increase. The premise behind the assembly’s plan is that they want to bring down debt service payments on the transportation fund, which ultimately means less borrowing. Under the Governor’s

By Rob Richard

plan, by the end of the 2017-19 budget, debt service payments will approach nearly 24 percent of the total transportation fund. This means that before any money goes to road or bridge construction, the first quarter of every dollar goes to pay off debt. It should be noted that Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s policy supports keeping transportation debt service at 15 percent or lower. What does this standstill mean for farmers? The budget’s impasse means many of the budget items and programs Wisconsin Farm Bureau is watching carefully, have yet to be addressed. Programs like nonpoint source funding, county conservation staff funding, soil and water resource management and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have yet to be taken up and voted on by the Joint Committee on Finance. Basically, you haven’t missed anything but we are carefully watching on your behalf. Legislators will eventually end the impasse on transportation and finalize the details on any remaining tax package. Anyone can play the guessing game of when that will happen, and when it does we hope a transportation plan will include new monies for rural roads and bridges that are desperately needed. We also hope there are no big surprises in the final DATCP and DNR budgets for programs that benefit our farmers.



What you Need to Know: I

n May, a study by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and other collaborating agencies, confirmed there is groundwater contamination in Northeast Wisconsin due to fecal contamination from both livestock and human sources. Of the almost 5,000 wells in Kewaunee County, 621 participated in the twoyear study. From the participating wells, 208 wells tested positive for bacteria or high nitrate levels. From these 208 wells, 131 wells were tested to see if they had human or bovine fecal markers. Due to timing and funding, not all 208 were tested for fecal markers. The result of the study was 62 wells tested positive for either human or bovine fecal markers as follows: Seven wells had both human and bovine fecal markers; 33 wells contained bovine fecal markers; 22 wells contained human fecal markers. The survey results are important because it proves well contamination is not just livestock-based. With this survey as background information, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing an update to NR 151 to address the contamination issue due specifically to livestock. Discussions are underway to develop a separate effort to address the human contamination


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NR151 By Paul Zimmerman

component. The DNR recently released a draft of a NR151 rule to establish areas where additional nonpoint performance standards and prohibitions are needed to address groundwater quality issues due to pathogens. The DNR will be holding public hearings and taking comments on the proposal this fall. Wisconsin Farm Bureau encourages members to attend these meetings to express their opinions and what this proposed rule could mean for your farm. Specifically, the DNR is proposing to have the targeted performance standards and prohibitions apply in areas where there is Silurian bedrock. This type of bedrock can be found in 15 counties: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. In this sensitive area DNR is proposing the following: • In areas where there are less than 2 feet to bedrock, no mechanical application of manure. However, pasturing is allowed. • In areas where there are 2 to 20 feet of soil, farmers have a list of

options to choose from to minimize the risk of pathogens leaching into the groundwater. Options include establishing cover crops, requiring pre-tillage to close up macropores or using split applications to reduce the amount of manure being applied at one time. • No manure application near direct conduits to groundwater. This includes within 1,000 feet of a community well, 250 feet of a private well or non-community water system, 300 feet upslope and 100 feet downslope of sink holes and other natural direct conduits to groundwater.

WFBF is reviewing the proposal and will be working with other livestock organizations to comment on the proposed rule revisions with the goal of supporting proposed revisions that are reasonable for farmers to implement while reducing the risk to the environment. If you have livestock in eastern Wisconsin, you can get background on the topic and the proposed rule language here: nr151Strategy.html.





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2018 Means a New Farm Bill B 2014 Farm Bill Funding By Karen Gefvert

efore we know it, we will 10 years. It was the only be ringing in 2018. With reauthorization bill in that a new year brings goals and session of Congress that a big one for 2018 is to pass a voluntarily offered savings. new farm bill. These cuts resulted from The last farm bill was passed difficult choices that were 7% 1% in 2014, so the time has come made to reform and reduce the 9% to start the process again. farm safety net, conservation Congress has already taken a initiatives and nutrition proactive approach by hosting assistance. 7% hearings about various farm The Congressional Budget bill topics and a first draft Office’s January 2017 baseline of the farm bill is expected estimated that the 2014 sometime this fall. Farm Bill has cost far less 76% To have a relevant seat than projected. According to at the table during farm the Congressional Budget bill discussions, Wisconsin Office, the bill will spend $80 Farm Bureau put together a billion less, while mandatory Farm Bill Working Group to federal spending outside the tackle and discuss farm bill Agriculture Committees’ topics. This group has heard jurisdiction has risen during from speakers, been given the same time. background information and With the agriculture and Nutrition Commodities Crop Insurance Conservation Other had discussion on many of the rural economy struggling, Virtually all the estimated total net outlays in the 2014 Farm programs within the farm bill. households across the country Bill are in four farm bill titles: nutrition, crop insurance, The only area that this group are struggling to meet their conservation and farm commodity support. This chart gives a is not considering is dairy basic nutrition needs and with breakdown of the projected outlays as of January 2017. because WFBF has its own farm income down 46 percent committee dedicated to this from only three years ago, it vital part of Wisconsin’s economy. WFBF’s Dairy Committee would be perilous to hinder development and passage of the studied federal dairy policy, heard from speakers and dove deep 2018 Farm Bill with further cuts. into federal dairy programs. It is imperative that we pass a robust 2018 Farm Bill in a During the summer, these two committees held three timely manner in order to provide certainty to America’s farmers meetings to learn and discuss relevant topic areas. They as well as consumers. recommended farm bill priorities to the WFBF Board of For more resources on future farm bill topics, please visit: Directors. Lastly, both committees and the WFBF Board of will travel to Washington, D.C., in September to depth. advocate on behalf of WFBF to our members of Congress on these positions. Farm Bill Background The 2014 Farm Bill contains 12 titles including commodity price and income supports, crop insurance, farm credit, trade, conservation, research, rural development, energy and foreign and domestic food programs, among others. At the time of passage, the 2014 Farm Bill was projected to cost $956 billion during the next 10 years (FY20142023). The bill also made a $23 billion contribution to reduce the deficit over AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017


What Do YOU Think? Your thoughts on agricultural issues are critical to Farm Bureau’s policy development process. The issues that Farm Bureau staff work on in Madison and Washington, D.C., evolve

from the input members give through our grassroots policy development process. Your opinions are wanted on these emerging issues:

Labeling and Marketing of Agricultural Products


he conversation around food labeling, whether online or off, tends to turn into a contentious debate. This issue is not new to Farm Bureau members. We have had valid discussions in recent years about the labeling of genetically modified organisms and included a policy position in the WFBF Policy Book beginning in 2015. What do food labels really mean? What actions should or could be taken to address the issue? The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are largely responsible for the labeling of products (packaged or fresh) that are either domestically produced or imported. Some food labels adhere to strict federal guidelines; for example, the Nutrition Facts panel that is closely regulated by the FDA. Much of what appears on food packaging, however, is only loosely regulated, difficult to verify or misleading. To be clear, the debate isn’t whether organic food is better or not, but whether there should be definitions, regulations and strict enforcement of labels. For instance, the USDA has no official definition for the term 'all natural.' Should they? If so, why? What should it be? These are questions that could and should be asked for many food labels. But it isn’t always whether these terms have a legal definition or not, but rather how the wording may be used to insinuate, mislead, deceive or imply superiority.

Examples: • Free range/free roaming/ cage free • Antibiotic free • Grass fed/pasture raised • No added hormone • Organic/100% organic/ made with organic ingredients • Natural/all natural • Fair trade

• GMO free/non-GMO project certified • Gluten free (on non-grain products) • Pesticide free/herbicide free • Vegetarian fed hens • Sustainably grown • Certified humane raised and handled • Animal welfare approved

Do we need more regulation when it comes to the labeling of agricultural food products? If you believe we need more regulation, should it be voluntary-based or USDA-FDA enforced? Should labels using third-party certifications be regulated by USDA-FDA? Is it the federal government’s role to regulate manufacturers on every statement made on a label? Want to know more? Visit policydevelopment to read more on this topic.


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Water: Everyone needs it.


lean water is needed for necessities: drinking, bathing and laundry. It’s also needed for recreation: boating, swimming and fishing. As farmers grow and raise food they also need access to clean water for their livestock and crops. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation has been and continues to be proactive in addressing water quality issues. In 1997, WFBF supported the redesign of the state’s nonpoint pollution prevention program that replaced the priority watershed program. WFBF is an active supporter of the UW Discovery Farms program that does on-farm research regarding the effectiveness of regulations and best management practices. WFBF is supporting efforts to increase funding for county land conservation staff in this year’s state budget. WFBF also is working to update the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s nonpoint rule to create, for the first time in Wisconsin, targeted performance standards for areas where there is shallow soil over carbonated bedrock. According to the DNR, agriculture is the primary contributor of phosphorous and sediment in most of the impaired water bodies in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, some groundwater contamination has occurred where field-applied manure contaminated neighboring wells. This is leading to numerous

2018 Farm Bill


he farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. It is typically renewed about every five years. The 2014 Farm Bill contains 12 titles encompassing commodity price and income supports, crop insurance, farm credit, trade, conservation, research, rural development, energy and foreign and domestic food programs, among others. At the time of passage, the 2014 Farm Bill was projected to cost $956 billion during the next 10 years (FY2014-2023).

local ordinances and referendum discussions to restrict commercial fertilizer and manure applications at the township and county levels. Not only is surface water quality drawing attention, but groundwater quality has some counties starting groundwater testing programs or study committees to look at the issue. Like many aspects of farming, continuous improvement on water quality is important to continuous progression. What WFBF is doing in support of water quality may not be enough. We may need to do more such as encourage additional research and use of technology or amplify the proactive things farmers are doing to improve and protect water quality. Through Farm Bureau’s policy development process in the last two decades, WFBF members have adopted extensive policy regarding water quality regulations, cost sharing, nonpoint pollution and nutrient management plans.

Is the WFBF policy adequate? Or does it need to be modified? Want to know more? Visit policydevelopment to read more on this topic.

The bill also made a $23 billion contribution to reduce the deficit over 10 years. In that session of Congress, it was the only reauthorization bill that voluntarily offered savings. These difficult decisions were made to reform and reduce the farm safety net, conservation initiatives and nutrition assistance. It is imperative that we pass a robust 2018 Farm Bill in a timely manner in order to provide certainty to America’s farmers as well as consumers.

What are priorities for Wisconsin Farm Bureau members? What changes need to be made? What areas need additional specificity? What programs could be scaled back or eliminated? Are there new programs that should be included? Want to know more? Visit policydevelopment to read more on this topic.

Full issue backgrounders are available at Perhaps an entirely different issue warrants discussion by your fellow Farm Bureau members. Attend your county Farm Bureau annual meeting to start the dialogue. A complete list of the 61 county annual meetings can be found at AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017


Thank You for

Visiting Us!

2017 Farm Technology Days

Crystal Siemers-Peterman, 2017 Alice in Dairyland, tried the distracted driving simulator that demonstrated how dangerous common distractions are for drivers.

“Sally� the cow was stationed at the front of the Rural Mutual Insurance Company and Farm Bureau tent. Attendees of all ages had fun taking pictures with her and sharing them on social media for a chance to win a prize.

Tent city at Farm Technology Days drew a large crowd despite a combination of rainy mornings and hot afternoons in Algoma.


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Rural Mutual Insurance Company agents talked with attendees who stopped by the tent about insurance options and farm safety.

Staff from the MERIT Center in Monroe set up safety demonstrations to address common farm hazards including lockout-tagout procedures, entering confined spaces and tourniquet application.

Farm Technology Days attendees had the opportunity to tour Ebert Enterprises.

The farm tour showcased technology including automatic calf feeders, a rotary milking parlor and modern farm machinery.

The Ag in the Classroom program was in the youth tent at Farm Technology Days. Volunteers from the Promotion and Education Committee distributed resources and provided insight to the program. Promotion and Education Chair Rosalie Geiger assisted these young attendees with animal tattoos.

Wisconsin State FFA Section 8 Vice President Elisha Riley stopped by the tent to learn more about the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and Rural Mutual Insurance Company.



Agenda Preview Friday, December 1

First-timers’ Orientation Session YFA Welcome Dinner District YFA Meetings Reception Featuring Vegas Casino Night

Saturday, December 2 Discussion Meet Contestant Orientation Discussion Meet Quarterfinals I Excellence in Ag Practice Session Discussion Meet Quarterfinals II YFA Buffet Brunch and General Session Featuring Michele Payn

Farm Bureau

Family Rooted in

WFBF Annual Meeting Begins

Annual Meeting AND YFA Conference


December 1-4, 2017 Kalahari Resorts and Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells 98th Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting 83rd Rural Mutual Insurance Company Annual Meeting Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference

Excellence in Ag Presentations Achievement Award Interviews Discussion Meet Semifinals Trade Show and Silent Auction YFA Workshops and Learning Labs Farm Bureau Reception FarmBureau Proud Banquet Featuring Scott Novotny Fun’d the Foundation Trivia Contest Cornhole Tournament (open to all ages)

Sunday, December 3 Morning Devotional Collegiate Farm Bureau Discussion Meet Final Resolutions Processing YFA Discussion Meet Final Buffet Brunch and General Session Featuring Chris Koch WFBF YFA Conference Ends Trade Show Workshops Silent Auction and Trade Show End Farm Bureau Awards Banquet and Program Reception and Live Music by The Memories

#WFBFAM17 #FBProud

Monday, December 4 Rural Mutual Insurance Company Annual Meeting Breakfast and General Session District Caucuses Resolutions and Business Meeting

Rural Mutual Insurance Company


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YFA Conference Entertainment • Friday, December 1

Vegas Casino Night

Bring your best hand and join us for a Vegas Casino night. Socialize and network with other YFA members as you choose from a variety of games including black jack, craps, bingo and more. There will be music and amazing prizes. You will not want to miss this!

Farm Bureau Proud Banquet • Saturday, December 2

Comedian Scott Novotny Scott Novotny recently celebrated his 30th anniversary of being a full-time professional stand-up comedian. Over that time, Scott has had people laughing from coast to coast with his clean, non-offensive, very funny observations and humor. Armed with only great comedy material, a wonderful sense of timing, and some physical comedy that is sure to make you laugh, Scott gets the job done.

Reception • Sunday, December 3

The Memories

For more than 40 years, The Memories have entertained audiences across the country. With their unique harmonies and great songs, this Wisconsin-based duo is made up of Warren Petryk and Tim Stevens. Performing at fairs and festivals, community concerts and company and corporate events – The Memories continue to deliver a show has been described as “music, laughter and wonderful times.”


YFA Workshops and Learning Labs • Saturday, December 2


There will be a new workshop format for the YFA Conference in 2017! Learn about topics relating to connecting to consumers and water quality during our traditional 45 minute workshops or participate in our new 20 minute learning labs with topics ranging from technology to Farm Bureau and local affairs to niche markets.

Annual Meeting Workshops • Sunday, December 3

Keynote Speakers

YFA Conference Keynote • Saturday, December 2

Michele Payn President/Owner of Cause Matters Corp. Michele Payn, CSP, connects the people and science of food and farming as principal of Cause Matters Corp. She is known for being a community catalyst, a passionate advocate for global agriculture and antagonizing people into action. Michele has worked with farmers in more than 25 countries, raised more than $5 million in sponsorships for the National FFA Foundation and founded the weekly online Twitter conversations, AgChat and Food Chat. She is the author of two books, No More Food Fights! and Food Truths from Farm to Table, an Amazon #1 best seller. She resides with her daughter on a small farm in central Indiana, where they enjoy registered Holsteins, MSU Spartans, and arguing about science while cooking. Michele connects conversations between the food and farm communities at causematters. com and socially through @mpaynspeaker.

Annual Meeting Keynote • Sunday, December 3

Chris Koch - If I Can Motivational Speaker "I absolutely love sharing my story and spreading my message of, “If I Can…” My life has been a fun ride with a lot of laughs and I make sure that my presentation reflects that.  I have not let limitations or obstacles in my life stand in the way of achieving my goals and dreams and I encourage others to do the same.  Furthermore, I am constantly setting new goals for myself and I think it's important for everyone to always be challenging themselves as well. Simply put, if I can do the things I have done so far in my life, what is stopping anyone else from doing the same?"

Fun’d the Foundation Trivia Contest

Gather five 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

Workshops will begin after the noon Green Bay Packer game.

Cornhole Tournament

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.

The cornhole tournament will be on Saturday night. It is open to the first 40 teams to register and pay. All ages welcome.Each team member must attend the Competitor Meeting, which will be prior to the start of the tournament on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. with the tournament starting at 8:45 p.m. For full rules and to register your team visit wfbf. com/programsevents/event-registration.

Follow Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation on Facebook for the latest information on Annual Meeting workshop topics and presenters.

Watch For More Highlights WIFarmBureau AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017



Boe Hired as New Local Affairs Director, Olson Named District 4 Coordinator S teve Boe has been hired as the Director of Local Affairs for Wisconsin Farm Bureau. In this newly-created position, Boe will work with county Farm Bureaus to respond to local ordinances and issues and assist in conducting meetings to inform local governmental officials about agriculture within their county. “Working with county Farm Bureaus to strengthen their relationship and communication with local and state decision makers is an opportunity to share the great news about what is happening in agriculture,” Boe said. “I am excited and honored to take on this new challenge.” Boe grew up on a farm near Taylor in Jackson County. The UW-River Falls graduate has degrees in agricultural education and political science. He has worked as an agri-science teacher at Independence High School, a congressional intern for Congressman Ron Kind in Washington, D.C., and as a research assistant for State Rep. Mark Radcliffe in the Wisconsin State Assembly in Madison. Boe served as a district coordinator for Wisconsin Farm Bureau since 2011.    He is a Farm Bureau member in Jackson County and a graduate of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Leadership Institute Class III. Boe began his duties as Director of Local Affairs on June 27. Cassie Olson has been hired by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation to replace Boe as the new district coordinator in west-central Wisconsin. Olson grew up on a dairy farm near Black River Falls in Jackson County. She has a degree in agricultural education, communications and leadership from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Most recently she was a regional staff writer for Dairy Star. She also does freelance work as a writer and photographer. She is the Jackson County Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist chair, serves on the county’s Promotion and Education committee and is a member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Leadership Institute Class XI. Olson is responsible for working with county Farm


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Bureaus to develop and implement programs to serve Farm Bureau members and to coordinate membership recruitment and retention efforts. “I am very excited to work with the outstanding members in District 4,” Olson said. “I hope to bring a positive energy while continuing to recruit and develop the great leaders who call this district home.” Olson serves Farm Bureau’s District 4, which includes the counties of Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe and Trempealeau. Her duties began on June 5.


Rural Mutual Recognized as One of the Nation’s Best Insurance Companies M adison-based Rural Mutual Insurance Company announced its selection as a “Ward's 50® Property-Casualty Top Performer.” This marks nine consecutive years 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 United States and identifies the top performers. Each of the top 50 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 over the five previous years analyzed.

“This comes at a great time as we are experiencing an unusual string of bad weather events this year,” said Peter Pelizza, CEO of Rural Mutual. “I am extremely proud of our employees and agents as they work diligently to live up to our promises to our policyholders and members. It is great to know that we have the financial resources to meet the challenges presented to us.” Rural Mutual has been providing a full line of insurance products exclusively to families, businesses and farms in Wisconsin for more than 80 years. Since Rural Mutual does business in only one state, premiums paid here, stay here to keep Wisconsin strong. To learn more about Rural Mutual, please visit To learn more about the Ward Group, please visit

Rural Mutual


Insurance Company


Cherries Blossom

into a Family Business By Sarah Marketon


rowing cherries was not always part of Terry Sorenson’s plan. After graduating from UW-River Falls, the Door County Farm Bureau member worked as an agronomist at Door County Co-op. In addition, he was growing his own crops. “At that time, I was farming a little bit and I knew that if I wanted to continue to farm, I wouldn’t be able to continue working in that segment of the industry because the demands are just too high during the busy times of the year," Sorenson said. Around the time of his realization that two careers wouldn’t work, an unexpected opportunity presented itself to Sorenson when he found out his neighbor, a close family friend and cherry grower, was diagnosed with Leukemia in the middle of cherry season. “For a year and a half, I worked for him running his orchards, which is where I got the bug,” Sorenson said. With


From left: Toni, Aksel, Elias, Isaac and Terry Sorenson.

assistance from Seaquist Orchards, a cherry processor in Egg Harbor, Sorenson landed some long-term leases on orchards that were owned by growers who were not ready to sell, but liked the idea of reducing their labor load. In 2008, the first year Sorenson officially began his cherry growing venture, the entire crop froze. “It was the fastest $40,000 I ever lost,” Sorenson said. After a tough start, the next year proved very successful with large yields of high-quality cherries. In the tough years, Sorenson looks toward the future because he realizes that after investing in a cherry orchard, he has committed himself to this career path. “There are a very limited number of people doing this because it is very capital intense,” Sorenson explained. “You’ve made a pretty permanent investment that you can’t walk away from.” The Growing Process Like most farms, there are year-round duties in the orchard. The trees put buds on late July through August in preparation for next year’s crop. Throughout the fall and winter, the trees are pruned and weather conditions are monitored. Door County is a prime location for growing cherries because the lake effect makes for warmer winters and spring-time generally stays cooler, which delays blossoming until after frost is no longer a risk. Cherries are ripe and ready for harvest in mid-July. The cherries must be harvested as soon as they ripen because they are very delicate and can be damaged by wind, rain or hail.


Clockwise from top left: 1. Sweet cherries ready to be picked. Sweet cherries can be golden, bright red or a deep purple color, depending on the variety. 2. A view of some young trees in the orchard. 3. A fork lift brought a tank of cool water to the shaker for storing harvested cherries. 4. A shaker prepared to harvest cherries.

The Sorensons mainly grow Montmorency tart cherries, which are used for drying, freezing and canning. They also grow a small amount of sweet cherries. Sweet cherries are harvested by hand, while tart cherries are harvested using a shaker. The shaker clamps around the trunk of the tree and shakes it for one to two seconds causing the cherries to fall onto a conveyor that brings them to a tank of water. Tart cherries are stored in these tanks so they cool down prior to having the pits removed and to reduce bruising during transport. “It is definitely stressful for three months out of the year, but I thrive on that.” Terry does have employees to help with the work load, but equally important is the support from his family. He and his wife, Toni, have three sons: Isaac, 8; Eli, 5; and Aksel, 2. Toni helps at the orchard when she is not working off the farm as a financial services officer at GreenStone Farm Credit Services. She helps with pruning, planting, marketing the orchard on Facebook, coordinating some U-pick days and other seasonal duties. Sorenson added that his wife provides sanity during the busy times and makes sure there is food on the table and everything is under control. When asked whether his children will one day take over the orchard, Terry replied, “My middle son says he wants a big barn full of cows with a robot to milk them.” Sorenson joked. “I told him that’s not really what we’re doing here so I hope you take an interest in cherries.”

In addition to his 100-acre cherry orchard, Terry also has three acres of strawberries, 2,500 apple trees and 300 acres of crops including wheat, corn, peas and beans. Farm Bureau Connection Farm Bureau members since 2004, the Sorensons got involved in the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program. They served on the state YFA Committee for three years. An experience Sorenson describes as, “incredibly rewarding.” He sees value in being a Farm Bureau member because the organization brings all types of farmers together to share a cohesive message and provide a unified voice for agriculture. Farm Bureau’s previous work on the Right to Farm law in 1982 and again in 1995 is a large victory in Sorenson’s eyes and one of the many reasons he supports the organization. “Being in Door County, there are some people who don’t like to see a sprayer or maybe don’t understand what is happening in the orchard,” Sorenson said. “The Right to Farm law is probably the biggest thing that impacted what we’re doing and I know other cherry growers who have To learn more about the orchard visit said the same thing.”



Are you ready to go

back to school?

For complete details, visit

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

To find a Rural Mutual Insurance Company agent, visit or call 877.219.9550. Stock up for back to school! Save up to 80% on Office Depot Preferred Products. Members get free next-day delivery with free shipping on orders more than $50.

Travel safely. Save money on a your AAA membership.

Wyndham Hotel Group

Last minute summer vacation before back to school? Wisconsin Farm Bureau members save 20% off published rates at participating Choice and Wyndham Hotels.

Need transportation? No worries! Farm Bureau members can save up to 25% on their vehicle rentals from AVIS and Budget.

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. Visit

Accidental Death Policy • AgriVisor • LifeLine Screening • The Country Today • ScriptSave • $500 Reward Protection Program • AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program

Visit to find out more about your membership benefits! *WFBF member benefits may be changed or discontinued at anytime without notice.*


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You can get more information about the services Farm Bureau Financial offers from your local Rural Insurance agent. Learn more at f

Farm Bureau members who are agricultural producers and patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage when patronage is paid.

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Members receive an incentive discount ($300 to $500) when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealers.

Members qualify for a variety of discounts on new purchases. Visit wf to print your certificate and for details on models and discounts.



WFBF Annual Report AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017


A Message from Dale Beaty WFBF’s Vision Statement is: “Lead a growing and dynamic agriculture.” Being a growing and dynamic organization means embracing change to achieve our mission of serving you – our members. Wisconsinites know we have two seasons; winter and road construction. While road construction is rarely convenient and tests our patience, repaired and newly-rebuilt roads make travel quick, efficient and safe. To better serve you, WFBF has been under construction this past year. Some of our staff have been promoted to fill vacancies from retirements, we are hiring new staff to fill some positions and we have created a new program and position. We remodeled our office space to make room for those new staff members. Additionally, we are adopting advanced technology to streamline processes to improve efficiencies and member services.

Late last year, WFBF became aware of many local governments from across the state who were considering initiatives to restrict farming. Most county Farm Bureaus are ill-equipped to defend their members from such restrictions, so it became apparent action by WFBF was required. We set about developing a plan to assist county Farm Bureaus and district coordinators with regulatory and public relations efforts. Steve Boe has been hired as the Director of Local Affairs and will be leading this newlycreated program. Behind the scenes, WFBF is using technology in a long-term goal to become a paperless office. The operations division instituted a new paperless invoice system to track and pay invoices. The public relations division continues to use technology to better communicate with our members, the media and consumers through social media platforms and This includes bringing on a new vendor and designing a new website. The member relations division did an outstanding job conceiving and executing the "2x4" campaign. We are on track to have our tenth straight year of membership growth! Thank you for your membership. Dale Beaty

Chief Administrative Officer Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Members: Highlights Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s strong foundation begins with its members. Programs like Young Farmer and Agriculturist, Promotion and Education and Leadership Institute challenge members to develop skills to better themselves, their community and their Farm Bureau. Don’t know much about these programs? Here are some quick descriptions to help: Young Farmer and Agriculturist: Farm Bureau’s YFA program offers leadership development experiences for members between the ages of 18 and 35. Promotion and Education: The Promotion and Education program builds awareness and understanding of agriculture and provides leadership development for the agricultural community. Leadership Institute: The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Leadership Institute is a year-long experience which provides premier personal growth and leadership training to develop the next crop of county Farm Bureau leaders. As a membership organization recruiting members is important. To kick off the 2016-17 membership year, WFBF introduced the “2x4” membership campaign. The “2x4” campaign was designed to encourage Farm Bureau volunteers to make a commitment to sign at least two new Farm Bureau members by April 1, 2017 (hence the name) by signing their name on one of several wooden two-by-fours that were circulated at Farm Bureau meetings and events around the state. Nearly 400 Farm Bureau volunteers took the pledge, and as each volunteer fulfilled their pledge, their name was highlighted on the two-by-fours with a green highlighter. All the individual pledge boards, which featured a mural on the backside painted by WFBF District Coordinator Amy Blakeney, were re-assembled and displayed at the WFBF Annual Meeting trade show and the annual Council of Presidents Meeting to demonstrate the coordinated membership effort of volunteers from all parts of Wisconsin. Nearly 700 new members joined Farm Bureau during the campaign, and numerous others signed up through follow up contacts made by membership volunteers.

• Farm Bureau launched a successful "2x4" campaign where members pledged to sign up two members by April 1, 2017. The campaign brought in 694 new members. • WFBF celebrated membership gains during its 2015-16 year. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau ended the 2016 membership year with 46,149 members. • As a Wisconsin Farm Bureau member, you qualify for about 20 benefits and services that provide a range of options that respond to the needs of farmers, families and businesses in Wisconsin.

Interaction and Communication: Communication with our members is crucial to Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s success. Through efforts such as Rural Route, WFBF’s membership magazine, and county Farm Bureau newsletters we keep our members up to date on what is happening on the country-side and on Capitol Hill. Bringing members together to learn and grow from each other is equally important.

Highlights: • Between January and March, 1,500 YFA members attended an event. • More than 25 members have taken over the WFBF Snapchat and/or Instagram account during the last year. This initiative helps people learn about other Farm Bureau members and their role in the agricultural community. It also give members a chance to share their connection to farming in a public forum. •  Lunch and Learns started in May to familiarize members with Farm Bureau programs and take virtual farm tours to learn from other members. These are offered twice a month. • The WFBF blog continues to be a place where members can voice their thoughts on the issues. The blog has featured 28 guest blog posts since August written by 19 different Wisconsin Farm Bureau members. • Five issues of Farm Bureau’s Rural Route magazine were mailed to voting members. In addition, one issue was sent to both voting and associate members. • WFBF Promotion and Education Committee released the WFBF Playbook, a compilation of Farm Bureau events with specific instructions on how to implement them in other communities. • Almost 160 newsletters were sent to Farm Bureau members through the county services program in the 2016-17 year.

Outreach: Highlights: With less than 2 percent of the population involved in production agriculture the importance to teach others about agriculture has never been more prevalent. Through various efforts, Farm Bureau members share their stories and why they choose to work in the agricultural community. Part of our outreach efforts were to consumers but some involved other key stakeholders or future leaders who have a hand in helping agriculture and Farm Bureau succeed. Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program can be found at the forefront of many of these outreach efforts. This program provides Wisconsin teachers and their students with the tools to teach and learn how their next meal travels from the farm to the fork.

•  More than 2,800 students participated in the Ag in the Classroom essay contest in 2017. The essay topic revolved around cranberry production. Max Hetze was named the 2017 essay contest winner. • Rural Mutual Insurance and Wisconsin Farm Bureau once again exhibited at Farm Technology Days where they interacted with show attendees. •  Nearly 200 students attended Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s FFA Farm Forum in February. • Ag in the Classroom hosted a bus tour for teachers to farms and agribusinesses in Jefferson County. • Wisconsin Farm Bureau hosted its first live Facebook video in 2017. The live video was a panel of three Farm Bureau members who talked about sustainability, GMOs and animal care. • The Ask A Farmer Friday and On the Farm video series were started in 2017 to get more Farm Bureau members involved by answering commonly asked questions and talking about hot topics in the news. • The WFBF Promotion and Education Committee members participated in more than 36 events during the month of June. Community outreach was more than 2,000 adults and children. 

Advocacy: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots organization that works on behalf of farm families and other individuals who support agriculture. Whether in the capitol or the courts, WFBF works hard to promote policies on the local, state and national levels that lead to profitability for Wisconsin agriculture. To accomplish this WFBF understands the importance and power of its members and staff working together to accomplish the organization’s legislative and regulatory goals. The organization’s policy is established by farmers through a structured policy development process. Suggestions and policy ideas come directly from members who propose and vote on them at county Farm Bureau annual meetings. Policy ideas work their way up to the WFBF Annual Meeting each December where delegate members vote on the proposals. This process continues at the national level as well.

Highlights: • Existing high capacity wells can now be repaired thanks to legislation that Farm Bureau supported and lobbied for. • A farm bill committee has been established to help give guidance while the 2018 Farm Bill is crafted. •  More than 400 farmers and agriculturists attended Ag Day at the Capitol in 2017. • WFBF helped coordinate meetings and press events in April when numerous dairy farmers were dropped by their processor. •  Fourteen members of the WFBF Leadership Institute traveled to Washington, D.C., at the end of February to advocate for agriculture. • In the 2016 election, 59 of the 61 candidates supported by Farm Bureau's political action group Volunteers for Agriculture were sworn into office.

Direction: The Farm Bureau’s vision is to lead a growing and dynamic agriculture. The only way to continue to do that is by looking ahead. In order to achieve our mission to lead the farm and rural community through legislative representation, education, public relations, leadership development and providing services and benefits to members, is to prepare and plan for the future.

Looking Ahead: • The IGNITE conference is being launched April 5-6, 2018. This member-engagement conference will strengthen county Farm Bureaus and county leaders by providing them with program ideas, resources and new skills to carry out the mission of their county Farm Bureau. • A newly-created local affairs program was created to help guide County Farm Bureaus when faced with local issues that impact farming practices. Steve Boe was hired to help this program off the ground. •  Wisconsin Farm Bureau will be implementing a member survey in 2017 to gather input on our programs and surveys. The result of this survey will drive decisions as to what our membership wants and needs. • Website: WFBF is currently undergoing a website redesign. This project will help our members navigate information easily and allow new members to sign up online. • Wisconsin Farm Bureau will be celebrating its centennial in 2019. A committee has been formed and planning is already underway. • Opportunities for members to have access to personal and professional development learning opportunities throughout the year will continue to grow thanks to WFBF’s new Lunch and Learn series online. Members can learn when they want, from where they want. • As a membership organization, WFBF members will be working towards its tenth straight year of membership growth.

Jim Holte

Don Radtke


Adam Kuczer

Douglas Iron Ashland

WFBF Board Directors

Rosie Lisowe

Sawyer Price Barron








St. Croix Dunn


Marathon Eau Claire



Trempealeau Buffalo

Joe Bragger


Marquette Green Lake


Calumet Manitowoc






Adams La Crosse

Brown Waupaca


Derek Husmoen




Fond du Lac


Rosalie Geiger


Kevin Krentz






Iowa Grant Lafayette


Washington Ozaukee Waukesha Milwaukee

Dane Green



Racine Kenosha

Richard Gorder

Arch Morton, Jr.

Dave Daniels

Jim Holte, President, District 9, Elk Mound Don Radtke, Vice President, District 8, Merrill Dave Daniels, District 1, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., District 2, Janesville Richard Gorder, District 3, Mineral Point Joe Bragger, District 4, Independence Kevin Krentz, District 5, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, District 6, Chilton Adam Kuczer, District 7, Pulaski Derek Husmoen, YFA Chair, Galesville Rosalie Geiger, Promotion and Education Chair, Reedsville

Farm Bureau Staff



Jim Holte, WFBF President Dale Beaty, Chief Administrative Officer Jill Bennwitz, Executive Assistant

GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director Rob Richard, Senior Director Karen Gefvert, Director Steve Boe, Director of Local Affairs

608.828.5700 608.828.5714 608.828.5701 608.828.5708 608.828.5703 608.828.5713 715.662.2035

OPERATIONS Jeff Fuller, Treasurer and Executive Director of Operations 608.828.5715 608.828.5720 Steve Mason, General Accountant 608.828.5705 Sonya Huebner, Administrative Assistant

PUBLIC RELATIONS Amy Eckelberg, Executive Director Sarah Marketon, Director of Communications Lynn Siekmann, Graphic Designer Marian Viney, Graphic Designer

608.828.5706 608.828.5711 608.828.5707 608.828.5721

Bob Leege, Executive Director Deb Raemisch, Director Wendy Kannel, Director of Training and Leadership Development Darlene Arneson, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darci Meili, Administrative Assistant

608.828.5710 608.828.5712 608.828.5719 608.828.5644 608.828.5704

DISTRICT COORDINATORS Patti Roden, District 1 Amy Blakeney, District 2 Melissa Doyle, District 3 Cassie Olson, District 4 Becky Hibicki, District 5 Becky Salm, District 6 Wes Raddatz, District 7 Ashleigh Calaway, District 8 Katie Mattison, District 9

866.355.7341 866.355.7342 866.355.7343 866.355.7344 866.355.2029 866.355.7345 866.355.7346 866.355.7348 866.355.7349

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation presents:

Purpose: Strengthen county leaders and Farm Bureaus by providing them with program ideas, resources and new skills to carry out the mission of their county Farm Bureau.

2018 Conference April 5-6

Holiday Inn Conference Center, Stevens Point

What: A statewide information, training, and fun-filled member engagement meeting for county Farm Bureau leaders conducted by WFBF staff with assistance from AFBF staff and various outside speakers/presenters.

20 Plus Workshop Topics Addressing 4 Training Workshop Tracks: 1. Governance and Organization (running a successful county Farm Bureau) 2.Building Farm Bureau (programs and membership) 3.Communicating for Agriculture and Farm Bureau 4. Policy, Issues and Advocacy




Are You a Policy Optimist or Pessimist? A Message from Jim Holte


armers are known for being optimistic. In trying times, they don’t look down; they look ahead. No matter the weather, markets and other challenges we face on the farm, we tend to push through, and know that we need to truck ahead because our livelihood depends on it. I feel as though when it comes to government polices we have more of a short fuse. One might even say we are pessimists. Policy can frustrate us,


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bringing out cynical remarks. As we head into another policy development season, the comments are bound to be there. “Haven’t we discussed this before? We never make progress on this issue, so who cares?” Those are perilous phrases. Policy discussions are our right, but also our responsibly. Who else will look after your business needs but yourself ? It’s ok to be frustrated with past decisions and policy constraints. It feels like they are always getting tighter. However, we need to be reminded that persistence is rewarded. A farmer wouldn’t still be farming if they gave up at the sight of push back. Wouldn’t you agree? A perfect example is the current success we are seeing with regulatory reform at the federal level. Farm Bureau has beat this drum for years, and finally progress is in sight. How to take on the issues Do you have a burning issue that you want brought to light? I highly suggest you connect with your local Farm Bureau to get those discussions going. New or old, our policy process is where the

action starts. As a grassroots organization, we take pride in giving the power to our members to create and approve our policy. Each fall at county Farm Bureau annual meetings policy is voted on, with the approved policy being passed to the state level. There’s something to appreciate about an organization that’s driven by you: our members. Yet, this process only works if you participate. Your county annual meeting is coming up. Most take place between August and October. If you haven’t checked in with your local Farm Bureau lately, it’s time. At your local meeting, you will elect your directors, hear about what Farm Bureau has been up to in the last year, talk with folks who have the same values and lifestyles and lastly, discuss important policy issues. I encourage you to get involved. It’s time we become optimists all the time, including when we are discussing policy. President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

since 2012, Holte is a grain and beef farmer from Elk Mound.


Rational Regulatory Environment Critical to Dairyland’s Success Guest Column by Attorney General Brad Schimel


ach year, during June Dairy Month we celebrate Wisconsin’s proud tradition and heritage in producing delicious dairy products. But where would our state’s top industries be if regulators in Washington, D.C., were reaching all the way across the nation to control daily farming practices, with a one-size fits all attitude and without regard to local needs? As Attorney General, I work every day to protect our state’s sovereignty and ensure Wisconsin industries like agriculture and manufacturing are not impeded by overzealous federal regulations. In 2015, the Obama Administration published an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would have drastically expanded federal authority to regulate natural resources in Wisconsin, including any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains and even roadside ditches. Commonly known as WOTUS, or waters of the United States, this regulation would have crippled the agriculture industry in Wisconsin, requiring federal permits for farmers to do daily activities on their farm.

To protect Wisconsin farmers from this federal overreach, I challenged this rule in court, and a federal court stopped the rule from being implemented while Wisconsin and a coalition of other states sued the EPA for this overreach. Once sworn into office, President Trump agreed to review the rule. In response, I led a coalition of 20 state attorneys general in requesting the EPA preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s water sources, and maintaining Wisconsin’s role as the primary regulator of land and water within our state’s borders. I also asked the EPA to seriously consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways. More control out of Washington, D.C., is not what the people of Wisconsin want or need. I am excited to announce that in late June of this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the EPA is officially considering repealing the WOTUS rule. Such a repeal would ultimately provide relief to our state, citizens and our leading industries, which is why in the coming months, I will be working to inform the EPA how

Wisconsin’s role in regulating its own land and water is sufficient. As your Attorney General, I am fighting for America’s Dairyland, and making sure that the Wisconsin agriculture industry has a stable and rational regulatory environment so our farmers can do the important work of feeding America. Schimel is an American prosecutor and the Wisconsin

Attorney General, serving since January 2015.




Add Options to Your Grain Marketing Toolbox Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


ptions on grain futures may serve as a cost-effective tool that can be used to hedge price risk by allowing the establishment of price floors or ceilings without excluding the producer from opportunities to participate in upside or downside market moves. The CME Group has described options in the following way: An option on a futures contract is the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a particular futures contract at a specific price on or before a certain expiration date. There are two types of options: call options and put options. Each offers an opportunity to take advantage of futures price moves


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without actually having a futures position - CME Group Options on Futures. Two often-applied, limited-risk option strategies include buying calls when futures prices are expected to increase while basis decreases and buying puts before futures fall and basis strengthens. The long call option is a limited-risk strategy that has the potential to profit if the underlying futures contract moves higher before the expiration of the option contract. The producer buys the call and risks the premium paid (plus commission and fees). The position profits if the underlying futures contract moves above the option strike price by more than the premium paid. Consider the sell-cash/buy-call strategy if it is expected that futures will rise and basis weaken. Selling grain in such a scenario captures a favorable basis and allows cash income to be taken when needed; buying the call option leaves open the potential for participation in futures market upside. The long put option also features risk that is limited to the premium paid and it profits if the underlying futures contract moves lower before option expiration day. Break-even occurs when the underlying futures contract equals the option strike price less premium paid. Consider buying a put option if futures are expected to fall but there remains

potential for better basis values. A long put option serves to establish a minimum futures selling price while still allowing the producer to retain some participation in an upside futures or basis move that a cash sale would eliminate. If an option contract is in-the-money (underlying futures are above the option strike in the case of the call, below in the case of a put), the option buyer may choose to exercise the call/put option, which involves taking a long/ short position in the underlying futures contract at the specified strike price. Optioning into a long or short futures position has additional risks associated with the strategy. Options are an effective marketing tool because their risk-reward profiles are well-definable, but options are also complex in structure and need full understanding before they are to be implemented in your marketing plan. Option buyers can lose all premium paid while uncovered option sellers may be subject to considerable additional financial risk. Talk with your advisor to discuss if option strategies may fit into your marketing program. Camp is the Risk Management Specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.


The Dairy Dilemma and Farm Bureau’s Role A Message from WFBF’s Amy Eckelberg


hen I saw the photo on social media my heart sank. The earlyApril news that dairy processors were dropping farmers made me uneasy and scared. As reports of more and more farmers impacted by a letter sent from a processor came in, Farm Bureau staff came together to determine our first steps. Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte issued a statement on April 5 acknowledging our concern and commitment to the issue and encouraged those impacted to contact the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Farm Center. The only way this situation could be handled properly was by getting the farmers who needed help finding a processor connected to DATCP for assistance. WFBF used their social media channels and other communication tools to express the importance of what was happening and it helped. Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Director of Governmental Relations Karen Gefvert, affected dairy farmers Mark and Beth Heinze and leaders of the Dairy Girl Network worked together to gather the impacted farmers in the same place so DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel could address and give guidance to those farmers. After that meeting on April 14 it was clear there was plenty of work to be done but there was now a list of farmers and contact information to keep them informed. Around April 17, Mullin’s Cheese took on eight dairies who were impacted by the letter. Farm Bureau publicly thanked Mullin’s Cheese on social media and asked that other processors do the same.

The following weeks included phone calls to impacted farmers and collaboration with DATCP staff to see how many farmers were left and where they would go with their milk on May 1. As the storm was winding down on the farm front, the media demand was increasing as the topic was news-worthy. In collaboration with the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association and Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, Wisconsin Farm Bureau hosted a media event on May 1. This was a joint-effort to have industry professionals talk about this situation at the same place at the same time. By allowing the media to have one place to visit for multiple interviews we hoped it would help them in covering the story but also provide a consistent message which is something this story so desperately needed. Farm Bureau members and impacted farmers Shane and Jennifer Sauer opened their farm for this event. More than 10 media outlets from Wisconsin and Canada attended. Like we said in our statement on May 1, DATCP did an outstanding job in getting farmers the resources they needed while collaborating with other farm groups. There is still more work to do on this subject. You could say the work has just begun, but the immediate crisis was resolved which at the time was the most pressing challenge that needed addressing. One of my colleagues likes to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Many of our members don’t know what Farm Bureau does behind the scenes for our members, but hopefully this sheds some light. WFBF has been part of the follow

up discussions with other farms groups, the UW Dairy Summit and DATCP. Lessons learned include: farmers need to know if they have a contract in place with the processor and what the terms are, have frequent and open lines of communication between you, your processor and your lender, lastly, these lessons should be on the radar for ALL farms, large and small. How do we position Wisconsin’s dairy farmers and dairy industry to be competitive in the future? To find a solid solution we will need dairy farmers of all sizes and styles with creative thoughts and ideas to put their heads together. It’s time to get to work and Farm Bureau is here for you. Eckelberg is WFBF’s Executive Director of Public Relations.




Are You Preaching to the Choir? A Message from WFBF’s Sarah Marketon


ance Crowe, Director of Millennial Engagement at Monsanto, stopped me dead in my tracks and made me critically evaluate how I advocate for agriculture. I have talked with thousands of consumers at the Minnesota State Fair, shared hundreds of positive agriculture stories on social media and I am constantly talking to my friends about food or farming, but I realized I am not sharing the right information with the right people. During Crowe’s time at the mic, he talked about engaging with your tribes. What exactly is a tribe you ask? To put it into simple terms, it is a group of people who share a common interest. For example, when I heard this presentation, I was at a communications conference. So, you could call the group of people I was with my communications tribe since each of us had an interest in some form of communication or public relations. This isn’t the only tribe that I am a part of; however, I have my college friends tribe, my church tribe and my work tribe.


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Everyone has a network of people that spans far beyond agriculture and with a bit of creativity, you will discover that you are part of some interesting tribes. Crowe made me realize I may have really good information to share, but most of the people who I am sharing this information with already support my viewpoints. So how can we use our tribes to share the story of agriculture and what we do on our farms or at work each day? It’s comfortable to talk to people who understand agriculture. We know it’s a safe audience; however, that is not where the work is done. We need to stop preaching to the choir. A good example of preaching to the choir is at the county fair. County fair booths and food stands are a great way to be involved in your community, but one could argue that the people ordering a burger and a chocolate shake aren’t the people who want to talk to a farmer to learn more of where that burger came from. These people are happy to eat a delicious hamburger, and I can appreciate that! We need to put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation with someone who thinks differently than we do, to make a difference. Farm Bureau is a powerful organization because decisions come from the grassroots level. Farm Bureau members have some fantastic ideas on how to engage those outside the agriculture tribe in conversations about food and farming and the WFBF office has resources to help bring those programs to life. Some county Farm Bureaus have already taken on new challenges by setting up a booth at their local farmers’ markets or local community fairs. Are you part of a book club? That is a tribe that you can engage. Consider these other tribes: food

writers and bloggers, school boards, parent groups, farmers’ markets or town festival attendees. There is a chance the people in these groups have a strong interest in the food they eat, the food they serve their families or future career opportunities in agriculture. What are we doing as agricultural leaders to deliver the information they are looking for? How are we ensuring the information they receive is factual and supports the future of Wisconsin farmers and agriculturists? You have an overwhelming support in the state Farm Bureau staff to bring your ideas to life. There are many staff who are passionate about promoting agriculture and personally, the most rewarding work I do is helping consumers find a connection to the farmers who grow their food. As a Farm Bureau member, you have the power to step up and support programs that will better the future of agriculture and foster a stronger connection between farmers and consumers. There may be tradeoffs from time-to-time, but ask yourself, “Is it time to stop preaching to the choir?” If your answer is yes, then I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and engage the tribes that have questions about what happens on our farms every day. Keep this in mind as you plan county events and communicate with members of the community. As a member, you hold a lot of power when it comes to advocating for agriculture. What will you choose to do with that power? Marketon is WFBF’s Director of Communications.


Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg

the moon orbits the Earth, depending on the position of the moon and sun relative to the Earth. Who among us doesn’t marvel at the full moon phase? Which one is your favorite? I for one, look forward to autumn’s Hunter’s Moon - the same one farmers wait for and know well as the Harvest Moon. In the “Farmers’ Almanac” there is a listof the full moon names and we find the words – wolf, snow, worm, pink, flower, strawberry, buck, sturgeon and harvest. These annual once-a-year celestial events have influenced man since the dawn of time. Native Americans kept track of the seasons by giving each month’s full moon a distinguishing name. Early settlers followed suit and created a few new names of their own. hat is it about the moon that December and winter secure their grips has forever intrigued mankind? on us around the full Cold Moon – at The biggest and brightest object in the times referred to as the moon before night sky, it’s the fifth largest moon in Yule, or a long night’s moon. During our solar system. The moon allows for the month of January, howling gave the our stable, livable climate by controlling moon its wolf name – the Earth’s wobble on its occasionally called the axis. The moon causes moon after Yule. February tides, influences creatures brought on the heaviest that share our planet and snow and by all accounts fashions a seasonal rhythm the name Snow Moon. that humans have followed As March brought since the dawn of time. warmer temperatures Moon up, moon down. and thawing, it also It happens daily, like the brought earthworms sun. The Earth orbits the to the surface, hungry sun once a year. The moon migrant birds like robins orbits the earth about once and the Worm Moon. a month and rotates at the Other names for this same rate it revolves around season’s moon include Earth. Therefore, according words like sap and Lent. to NASA scientists, “The April invoked thoughts moon makes a complete of spring flowers – like orbit around Earth in 27 A friend of the author herb moss pink, or wild Earth days and rotates or captured a picture of the ground phlox, one of Buck Moon over a north spins at that same rate, or in central Wisconsin lake this the earliest widespread that same amount of time. flowers of spring – hence, Because Earth is moving as summer. the Pink Moon. well – rotating on its axis as April’s full moon also took on names it orbits the sun – from our perspective, like sprouting grass, egg and fish. But just the moon appears to orbit us every 29 as April showers brought May flowers, days” – and appears daily, or nightly the month of May brought on the Flower depending on the day of the month. Moon, or for some, thoughts of corn Eight lunar phases are identified as


planting and milking moons. June in turn, gave us the Strawberry Moon, acknowledging the short harvest season of this tasty fruit. July’s Buck Moon occurred while new antlers of buck deer grow and are covered with a velvet. At times, this moon is called thunder or hay. August’s Sturgeon Moon is also referred to as the red, green corn or grain moon. The Harvest Moon of September occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years, it occurs in October. The Hunter’s Moon of October is often referred to as the blood or sanguine moon. The Beaver Moon occurs in November when supplies of warm winter furs were gathered. At times, it was referred to as the Frosty Moon. Whatever you wish to call them, full moons tend to stop us in our tracks and make us ponder celestial events. John Alden Knight, author of the book “Moon Up – Moon Down” said, “Fish feed, animals move about, birds will sing and fly from place to place, in fact, all living things will become more active, more alive, during certain Solunar (moon) periods than at other times of apparent equal value … and mental conditions (in humans) become markedly aggravated during the full of the moon.” On other phases of the moon, the “Farmers’ Almanac” noted, “A new moon in your dreams promises increased wealth or a happy marriage. A halo around the moon predicts wet or stormy weather. A bright first moon promises rain and a bountiful harvest; a red-tinted moon means a dry year. And a growing moon and a flowing tide are lucky times to marry.” Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the Portage County Farm Bureau.



Farm Bureau

Blue Ribbon Winner Cherry Pie

Cherry Salsa

Recipe and photo courtesy of Marian Viney. Ingredients

Recipe adapted from Photo courtesy of Wendy Kannel. Ingredients



• 4 c. pitted fresh tart cherries • 1/4 tsp. almond extract • 2 tsp. lemon juice • Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie

• 11/4 c. sugar • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch • 1/4 tsp. salt • 1 Tbsp. butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Roll out larger half of pastry on floured surface to 13-inch circle. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Trim edge to 1 inch beyond rim of pie plate. 3. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Combine almond extract and lemon juice. Add to dry ingredients, mixing well. Add cherries and mix well again. Add butter and let stand for 15 minutes. Pour cherry mixture into pie crust.

4. R  oll out remaining pastry. Cut into ½ inch wide strips. Place half of the strips over filling about 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining strips, placing them in the opposite direction, forming a diamond or square pattern. Trim strips even with pie edge. Turn bottom crust up over ends of strips. Press firmly to seal edge. Flute edge. 5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on rack. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Enjoy!

Wisconsin Production 12.3 million pounds of tart cherries were produced in 2014. Door County, Wisconsin’s top producing county, has been growing cherries since 1896. 36

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• 2 c. cherries, washed and coarsely chopped • ⅓ onions, chopped • ½ red pepper, chopped fine • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced

• ½ c. cilantro, chopped • ⅓ c. lime juice • ⅓ c. olive oil • salt and pepper, to taste

Once all the ingredients have been chopped or minced, combine all cherry salsa ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Refrigerate.

Cherry Production Cherry trees grow best in deep, well-drained, gravelly to sandy loam soils. Pollination is absolutely essential for production and honey bees are the main pollinator. After an orchard is planted, it takes approximately six years until it produces its first major crop. When cherries are harvested, they are cooled directly using chilled water—a process called hydrocooling— then sorted based on color and size, and packed in shallow flats. The shelf life of fresh cherries is only a few days at room temperature and about two weeks when refrigerated.

Types of Cherries: Sweet and Tart Sweet: The Bing cherry is the most common type of sweet cherry. They are mostly used for eating and are harvested by hand. Tart: The Montmorency cherry is the most popular tart cherry. It is popular for eating, making pies, preserves and juice.


Wisconsin Educators Attend National Conference Wisconsin was well-represented at the National Ag in the Classroom conference held in Kansas City at the end of June. Three teachers and two volunteers attended. Tracy Tumaniec received an American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture WhiteReinhardt scholarship, Sheri Hicken and Heather Grabarski received CHS Foundation scholarships and volunteers Kay Olson-Martz from Adams County and Jane Mueller from Eau Claire County received scholarships from the Jeanette Poulson Fund of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation to attend.




Ag in the Classroom Hosts Training Ag in the Classroom bus tour, July 18-19, Jefferson County

Nearly 50 participants attended the Ag in the Classroom bus tour on July 18-19 in Jefferson County. Tour stops included Hinchley’s Dairy Farm, Cambridge School District’s Severson Learning Center, Jones Market, Hoards Historical Museum and Dairy Shrine, Tyranena Brewing, McKay Nursery, Rock River Labs, Berres Brothers, Mid-State Farm Equipment and Jelli’s Market. Each stop offered a tour, background of their industry, career opportunities and supplemental materials and resources they could use in the classroom or while doing classroom presentations.

Beer was the topic discussed the most at the Tyranena Brewery Tour. Attendees learned how beer is made and what is done with the left over waste.

Participants learned more about the Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters business and their 100 types of specialty coffees.

Attendees learned about Rock River Laboratory and how it provides production assistance to the agricultural industry through forage and soil testing.

Mike Gates talked about propagation and demonstrated several grafting methods at McKay Nursery.

Agriculture educator Emily Klingbeil welcomed the group to Cambridge School District’s Severson Learning Center.

Jones Market President Philip Jones talked about the history of their family business.


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in the Field and the Classroom

Teacher training, Thursday, July 6, Madison

Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom

A one-day teacher and volunteer training was held on July 6 at West Madison Research Center and O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research Station.

Nearly 40 teachers and volunteers attended the training which included a tour of the West Madison Research Center.

Mandy Masters with the Wisconsin Pork Association shared resources available to the group.

Participants learned more about the Wisconsin Pork Association’s virtual farm tours.

Cheryl Nicholson represented the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association at the training where she shared more about the organization and Wisconsin’s Christmas Tree industry.

Wisconsin Beef Council’s Jayde Farbo shared teaching tools with attendees.



Chris Lochner, Milton

Bridget Lammers, Brandon

Shannon Boschma, Athens

Kieler Family Farm @farmrunfarm, Platteville

Rob McMillan, Belleville

Gloria Kesler, Hilbert

Shelby Shaw, Fennimore

Brooks Family Farm, Juda

Rebecca Hilby, Platteville

Send us YOUR Photos

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members live and work with beautiful landscapes and livestock. 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. Photos sent in may be used in other WFBF publications.


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County Kernels Beef Round-Up – Taylor County

Dairy Month Parade – Jackson County

The Taylor County Farm Bureau board of directors thanks everyone who came out to celebrate beef month on May 13 during the annual Beef Round-Up and Stock Sale. Taylor County members prepared food for the steak and egg breakfast.

To help promote dairy month, Jackson County Farm Bureau members Nate Kling, Karen Kling, Erica Olson and Darby Sampson distributed cheese sticks during the Taylor Old Fashioned Days Parade on June 11.

Ag Venture Day - Marinette County

Volleyball Tournament – Clark County

On May 12, in collaboration with the Coleman FFA, Marinette County Farm Bureau members taught more than 320 students about agriculture. This year’s theme was ‘Food Grows Where Water Flows.’ The topics were horticulture, aquaculture-aquaponics, cranberries, farm safety and a farm animal petting zoo.

The Clark County Young Farmer and Agriculturist hosted a volleyball tournament on June 17 at Tommy’s Hilltop in Granton. Six teams participated and each team got a pizza and a pitcher of beer. The winning team received a $100 gift card to Tommy’s Hilltop.

Dairy Promotion Breakfast – Dunn County The 24th annual Dunn County Dairy Breakfast was held May 20 at Prestrud Dairy, LLC. There were more than 1,300 attendees who came for waffles, sausage, milk, deep fried cheese curds, string cheese, ice cream, pudding and maple syrup. Governor Scott Walker also visited, helped serve sausage and presented the annual scholarship. There was a petting zoo, displays including antique tractors, quilts, barn quilts, commercial displays and educational displays by UW Extension, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and more. The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association brought the Spudmobile. AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017



Farm Bureau Part of 88th Wisconsin FFA Convention A

sea of blue jackets flooded the Alliant Energy Center June 12-15 for the 88th Wisconsin FFA Convention and Farm Bureau was there to meet our next crop of agricultural leaders. Promotion and Education Committee members Andrea Brossard, George Mroch and Rosalie Geiger interviewed the top 10 Food for America finalists and selected the Stevens Point Chapter as the state winner. The Food for America Program recognizes outstanding FFA chapters who are promoting

WFBF District 1 Coordinator Patti Roden spoke with FFA students during the Wisconsin FFA Convention.

agricultural products and knowledge to elementary school children. The top 10 chapters were awarded trophies at the Wisconsin State FFA Convention. The Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom, Young Farmer and Agriculturist and Promotion and Education programs joined together for a booth during the career show to share with FFA members the various programs Farm Bureau offers and potential careers they could pursue in agriculture. Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program Coordinator Darlene Arneson also presented a workshop on agricultural resources.

Pinchart Wins FFA Discussion Meet S am Pinchart of the LuxembergCasco FFA Chapter was named the state winner of the FFA Discussion Meet Contest at the 88th State FFA Convention in Madison. Pinchart’s advisor is Martin Nowak. The Discussion Meet tests the abilities of FFA members in cooperatively discussing agricultural issues, exchanging ideas and information and finding solutions to issues or problems. Modeled after the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet, contestants give a 30-second opening statement, participate in 15-minutes of discussion and finish with a one-minute closing statement. To qualify for the state finals,­­­Pinchert competed in several other contests during the past five months. These included: the chapter, district, sectional and state semi-finals in Madison. The other finalists were Mark Kortbein, Tomah; Reilly Klippel, River Valley; and Mason Jauquet, Pulaski. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation sponsors the State


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FFA Discussion Meet. The Wisconsin FFA Convention celebrates the accomplishments of the students, advisors and supporters. It hosts more than 3,000 members, advisors and guests, representing 250 local agricultural education programs. This year’s convention was held June 12-15 at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall in WFBF President Jim Holte Madison. presented Pinchart with his award at the convention.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between May 13 and July 17, 2017.)

•• Dan Paulson in memory of David Maclean •• John Arneson •• John Arneson in memory of Maurice Cooper •• Paul Peterson in memory of Ron Johnsrud •• Dodge County Farm Bureau in memory of Marion Holl •• Dodge County Farm Bureau in memory of Garvin Pickhard


Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines Released A coalition of farm and ranch parents, and high-profile agricultural organizations, has released a set of agricultural youth work guidelines to assist parents and others in assigning appropriate tasks for youth who live or work on farms and ranches. The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety released the first 20 of the set of 50 guidelines during the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH) annual conference. Since 2001, there has been a steady decline in the number of non-fatal injuries to farm youth. Despite this, every three days in the U.S., a youth dies in an agricultural incident. For youth younger than 16 working in agriculture, the number of fatal injuries is consistently higher than all other industries combined. “Too many of these injuries and deaths are associated with children performing agricultural work that does not match their development level/abilities,” said Marsha Salzwedel, project leader and youth agricultural safety specialist at the National Children’s Center. “These voluntary guidelines help parents and supervisors determine if a youth is able to safely perform various farm tasks.”

A steering committee was formed to help guide the project. Participating organizations included farm and ranch parents, American Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist program and many other agricultural groups. Built upon the 1999 North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT), the updated and interactive Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines are based on the latest scientific research, including child growth and development, agricultural practices, child injury prevention and agricultural safety. The 1999 NAGCAT announcement came at this same conference, held in Ocean City, Md., when ISASH was known as National Institute for Farm Safety. “These guidelines aren’t just a piece of paper anymore,” said Salzwedel. “The new guidelines can be found in an interactive format on, as well as in read-only and print versions. Skin tones can be modified to make them culturally appropriate and equipment colors can be changed to make them more appealing to equipment manufacturers. Information on the benefits of farm work, supervision and child development is also available on the website.”




Safety on the Road Goes Both Ways The growing season is underway throughout Wisconsin and will continue for the months ahead as crops are harvested. This means farmers and other drivers will be sharing roadways. As harvest time approaches please share the following information with people in your community through a newsletter, event, your business Facebook page or personal social media. The most important thing for drivers of conventional cars and trucks to keep in mind is farm equipment is not very maneuverable. Farm implements don’t behave like cars and trucks when it comes to speed, turning or braking. Their size makes it hard to move over quickly and they take longer to turn into driveways or pass through an intersection. Because of the equipment’s design, the operator has a hard time seeing other vehicles that are following or passing the farm implement. Most farm equipment operates at less than 25 miles per hour. A motor vehicle coming up behind a farm implement has only seconds to brake and avoid a collision. Any type of distracted driving (talking on a cell phone, checking a text message or being tired) can make stopping before a collision almost impossible. Slower speeds make it tempting to pass farm implements. Passing a farm implement or an agricultural commercial motor vehicle in a no-passing zone is illegal. It is always illegal to pass in an intersection for any type of vehicle. A driver getting ready to pass always has the responsibility to make sure that there’s a safe passing distance. Farm implements have the right to travel on their lane of the road. At times the operator may need to travel more on the roadway due to washed-out shoulders and wet ditches which may cause machinery to overturn. While farm equipment operators are required to share the road and operate on their half of the roadway when meeting oncoming traffic, oncoming motorists can make passing safer by slowing down or giving the farm machinery a chance to move over. Wet field conditions also mean that truck tractors and trailers (semi-trucks) used for hauling crops from field may park on the right-of-way.


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Other tips and reminders for motorists: • The slow-moving vehicle emblem is an orange and red triangle located on the back of the equipment. It is the best marking to alert a driver that he or she is approaching a farm implement. Farm machinery that usually travels less than 25 miles per hour is required to display the SMV emblem on the back. The triangle should be visible on the rear of the left side of the tractor or towing implement or the rear-most towed vehicle. • Look for red and amber reflectors and marking tapes at the extremities of tractors, self-propelled implements like combines and towed machinery. These markings are indicators of the width of the equipment. With wide implements, it’s easy to mid-judge the width when passing or to catch an edge of the implement. • Keeping a safe distance between vehicles is key to crash avoidance. The farm vehicle operator may not be able to see around the equipment, so the operator may not know another vehicle is approaching from the rear or passing. Like semi-trucks, many implements use large extended mirrors. When a driver follows too closely, the vehicle isn’t visible to the farm equipment operator. Stay back and in the operator’s sight zone. • Turn signals will indicate the implement operator’s intent, so watching for those signals is another simple way other drivers can reduce the risk of a collision. On farm tractors or selfpropelled machines like combines, flashing lights are also turn signals. When following slow-moving machines for a distance, it is easy to miss that the operator has signaled for a turn. The operator also might use a hand signal when signal lights are not present. • During hours of darkness and low light situations when visibility is less than 500 feet such as when foggy or raining, all drivers are required to turn on headlights. • Drivers can watch for the yellow and black road sign with the symbol of a farmer driving a tractor. These signs are within 500 feet of a driveway to alert motorists of a farm or field drive with an obstructed view such as on a hill or around a curve. Again, please share these tips with others to help keep farmers and motorists safe through the harvest season.





Safety Starts Early and is Ongoing Y ou might know Rural Mutual Insurance Company as the number one farm insurer in the state of Wisconsin, however, what you might not know is how active Rural Mutual has been in promoting safety and prevention. The goal of Rural Mutual’s safety efforts is to help farmers and the next generation, avoid serious injury or even fatality. Over the past few years, Rural Mutual has placed an emphasis on farm safety, focusing on youth. Rural Mutual has partnered with the Monroe Emergency Response Inter-agency Training Center to develop and disseminate safety information. Rural supplied the MERIT Center with a grain bin rescue device and has given the MERIT Center a platform to conduct several training sessions including lock out/tag out, rope and harness, grain bin extraction, gas monitoring and other safety training sessions at different events. Another partner that Rural Mutual has been working with is the National Farm Medicine Center. NFMC has developed a safety monitoring system that will alert farmers of potential hazards that can cause physical injury or property loss. Rural Mutual is assisting the NFMC in distributing their safety literature at different ag-related events. “It’s great having all of this knowledge, but if you cannot

Planning for Your Retirement T

he retirement funding landscape has changed in recent years. People are living longer and spending more time in retirement, contributions to company pension plans have decreased and the future of Social Security is uncertain. The good news is that with some preparation today, you can maximize your retirement income for tomorrow.

Identify Your Goals Evaluating your goals and potential future income needs is the first step. For example, will you continue living in your current home or will you downsize? Will you travel? Will you have a summer/winter home? Will your family depend on you for financial assistance? Once you've identified your goals, you can begin outlining how you will achieve them. Evaluate Your Current Situation Your retirement funding will depend on your sources of income and your expenses. Here are some points to consider: • Employer-provided retirement plans - 401(k) contributions, pension plans, etc. • A part-time job you may have in retirement. • Social Security income. • Ongoing expenses like health insurance or long-term care insurance. • Outstanding loans.


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get the message out, it doesn’t do anyone any good,” said Mike Lubahn, director of marketing for Rural Mutual. “Our ultimate goal is to distribute as much of this information as we can to prevent injuries. The majority of injuries we see, can be prevented. Our goal is to prevent injuries by educating parents and their young children.” By taking a proactive stance on safety, Rural Mutual is focusing on educating the next generation. Educational training is being conducted by Rural Mutual’s Marketing Relationship Manager Bill Kriese at elementary schools, high schools and community safety days all around the state. Ag educators have expressed a need for safety training sessions in their classrooms, and Rural Mutual is fulfilling that need. The training sessions include lockout/tag out, personal protection devices, ATV safety, PTO safety, grain bin safety and no riders on farm equipment not designed for passengers. Farm safety sessions are free to the public to attend. Rural Mutual Insurance Company does not want you to be another statistic. To learn more about how to implement farm safety into daily activities , visit us at or contact Bill Kriese at regarding safety material or to schedule a training session.

Set the Course You can grow your retirement fund using a wide variety of investment vehicles. In fact, there are several options that can help you defer or avoid federal income tax on earnings.1 While you’re working, you can contribute to an IRA and deduct all or part of your contribution on your federal income taxes. You also can choose from stocks, bonds, money markets, CDs, mutual funds or annuities. The type of investment portfolio depends on how many years away from retirement you are, your financial objectives and how much risk you are willing to take to achieve your goals. Even small, regular savings can add up over time, meaning the earlier you start, the longer you can take advantage of compound interest and tax-deferred growth on your money. When you’re busy working and enjoying the day-to-day activities of life, retirement can seem like a far-off dream. But whether your expected retirement is 5, 15 or 30 years from now, taking charge today could mean all the difference for your financial security tomorrow. To maximize your retirement income for tomorrow, please contact your local Rural Mutual agent or Jared D. Nelson, Sr., Regional Financial Consultant at 608.250.0404 or jared. or David McNurlen ChFC, CASL, CLU, RICP, LTCP Regional Financial Consultant at 920.301.0109 or Neither the company nor its agents give tax, accounting or legal advice. Please consult your professional adviser in these areas.




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Rural Route August-September 2017  
Rural Route August-September 2017