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december | january 2015-2016 • vol. 21 no. 6 |

Annual Meeting 2015

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


©2014 GROWMARK, Inc. A14173C

contents vol. 21 no. 6




Board Jim Holte remains president. Derek Orth is new YFA chair.


Policy Delegates set policy directives for 2016.




Green Bay farm broadcaster saluted for his commitment to agriculture.








22 stay connected




Wolfe Long-time Buffalo County leader receives highest membership honor.

YFA Awards Hoffman, Pollacks, Schaefer and Wilfert take home top prizes.

Leopold Calumet County farmers receive 2015 Leopold Conservation Award.

Kolb Manitowoc County member receives $10,000 from American Farm Bureau contest.

Skid Steers WFBF sorts out state and federal rules on youth skid steer use on farms.

Mini Grants Foundation helps 15 teachers with ag literacy projects.

Rural Mutual Tips on cyber liability and data breach services.


December | January 2015-2016


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Editor’s Note


here’s something about this time of year… It’s when magazines enjoy publishing lists of the ‘most intriguing’ people of the past year. I’ve looked at their lists and they’ve got nothing on the people who Rural Route features. You won’t find any royal toddlers, spoiled pop stars, Olympic runners with gender issues or anyone named Kardashian in these pages. Instead, you’ll read about agricultural leaders like retired Buffalo County farmer Loren Wolfe and farm broadcaster Mike Austin. Both men have made their mark on rural Wisconsin. There’s something about this time of year…that makes you want to celebrate. It’s fitting that the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting is so close to Christmas. Within this Rural Route you’ll see the highlights of an event that in many ways is like a farm family gathering. Like its name suggests, Annual Meeting is a place where old friends see each other once every year. There’s plenty of fun and food, and even Santa Claus makes an appearance for the youngest Farm Bureau members. There are a few differences between Annual Meeting and Christmas celebrations. Whereas many families gather at farmhouses for Christmas, more than 1,100 Farm Bureau members flock to the Kalahari Resort, where thousands of beds, waterslides and even a Ferris wheel fit underneath one (giant) roof. Also, at Annual Meeting, delegates civilly discuss legislative policies. If you’re like me, you


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don’t even attempt talking politics at family gatherings anymore. This year, I’m thinking of imposing a rule that anyone who even mutters the names Obama, Hillary, Trump or Walker while sipping eggnog has to do the dishes. But I digress. There’s something about this time of year… beyond all of the ‘year in review’ stories that makes you reflect. I don’t have to tell you that the farm economy is not what it was a few years ago. Anyone who watches the news or glances at a newspaper knows too well that at times in 2015 it felt as though the world had gone mad. Fortunately, there’s something about Christmas and Annual Meeting that brings light to an otherwise dim horizon. This Christmas season, my son and I each turn a year older. His youthful zest for an Advent calendar chocolate and Elf on the Shelf (who he named after our garbage man) could warm the hearts of Scrooge and the Grinch. At Annual Meeting, the enthusiasm for agriculture displayed by participants of the Young Farmer and Agriculturist contests was infectious. Their attitudes reassure me that like those who farmed before them, the next generation of farmers stands ready to withstand whatever Mother Nature, activists and the financial markets throw at them. It’s my hope that there’s something about this issue of Rural Route that makes you proud to be a Farm Bureau member. You’re part of an extended family of hard-working folks who get up every morning to care for livestock and who eagerly await the opportunity to plant seeds when the Earth warms in the spring. That’s why, despite what other magazines might try to tell you, rural Wisconsin is full of people who deserve to be on 2015’s list of most intriguing people. Happy New Year! Casey Langan Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Casey Langan 608.828.5711

Designer Lynn Siekmann 608.828.5707

Contributor Amy Eckelberg 608.828.5706

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

Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276)

WFBF Board of Directors Jim Holte, Elk Mound, (President) Richard Gorder, Mineral Point, (Vice President) Dave Daniels, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., Janesville Joe Bragger, Independence Kevin Krentz, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, Chilton Wayne Staidl, Peshtigo Don Radtke, Merrill Rosalie Geiger, Reedsville (Promotion and Education Committee Chair) Derek Orth, Stitzer (YFA Committee Chair) Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route (ISSN 39940) (USPS 1082-1368), the official publication of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, is published six times per year in February/March, April/May, June/July, August/ September, October/November and December/ January. Subscription of $5 is included in Farm Bureau dues. Periodical postage is paid at Madison, Wisconsin. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. For advertising rates and information: Wisconsin accounts contact Slack Attack at 608.222.7630 or National accounts contact Casey McNeal at 800.798.2691 ext. 334 or For general inquiries, contact Casey Langan at 608.828.5711 or

Wisconsin farm bureau federation


Jim Holte Reelected WFBF President Geiger named Chair of new Promotion and Education Committee Orth selected to lead YFA

also was reelected to a three-year term representing District 3 (Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland and Vernon counties) on the WFBF board of directors. Dave Daniels of Union Grove in Kenosha County was reelected to a three-year term on the board representing District 1 ( Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties). Kevin Krentz of Berlin in Waushara County was reelected to a three-year term on the board representing District 5 (Adams, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Waushara and Winnebago counties). Nine of the 11 members of the WFBF board of directors are farmers elected in each of Farm Bureau’s nine districts. These nine individuals also make up the board of directors for the Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Rounding out the WFBF’s board are the chairs of WFBF’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee and WFBF’s Women’s Committee, both of which serve a one-year term on the board. Delegates at the WFBF Annual Meeting approved a bylaw change to replace the state Women’s Committee with a state Promotion and Education Committee. Rosalie Geiger of Reedsville in Manitowoc County was elected to a one-year term as the chair of the newly formed Promotion and Education Committee. Geiger served as chair of the state Women’s Committee last year.

has been reelected to a fourth one-year term as J imtheHolte president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and

Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Holte raises beef cattle and grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa on 460 acres of land near Elk Mound in Dunn County. Holte was first elected to the WFBF Board of Directors in 1995 to represent District 9 on the board. District 9 represents the Superior Shores, Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer and St. Croix county Farm Bureaus. In January of last year he was elected to a one-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s board of directors. Holte previously served as WFBF’s representative to the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium board. He also chaired the Wisconsin Livestock Siting Review board. Holte is a graduate of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program. He served as a school board member in Elk Mound, as board member for GROWMARK, Inc., a citizen board member for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and president of the Wisconsin Beef Council. A 1975 graduate of UW-River Falls, Holte and his wife, Gayle, have two children and four grandchildren. Richard Gorder, a dairy farmer from Mineral Point in Iowa County, was reelected to a one-year term as vice president. He December | January 2015-2016

Derek Orth of Stitzer in Grant County was elected to a one-year term as chair of the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee. He succeeds Andrea Brossard of Dodge County as YFA Chair. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Board Directors who were not up for reelection are: Arch Morton Jr., of Janesville in Rock County, Joe Bragger of Independence in Buffalo County, Rosie Lisowe of Chilton in Calumet County, Wayne Staidl of Peshtigo in Marinette County and Don Radtke of Merrill in Lincoln County.

On the web To meet the entire WFBF Board of Directors, please visit


Delegates Set Policy for 2016 Delegates at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells established new policy directives for the organization on Monday, December 7.


arm Bureau delegates adopted the policies that will guide the legislative agenda for the state’s largest general farm organization in 2016. Resolutions were submitted by delegates as part of a grassroots policy development process. Recognizing the need to increase funds to provide adequate roads and bridges in rural Wisconsin, delegates voted to consider a combination of gasoline taxes, vehicle registration fees, farm truck registration fees and environmental fees, as well as the establishment of local sales taxes, tolling and new vehicle taxes. Delegates support the continuation of the state fuel tax exemption for agricultural purposes. Delegates supported certified third-party audits of farms for animal care practices and land conservation practices to ensure market access and instill consumer confidence. Delegates emphasized that third-party audit information collected becomes the sole proprietary property of the farmer and audit information should be released only as aggregated data. In regards to labeling, delegates advised that the term ‘milk’ should not be used to label and describe food products that are derived from vegetative plants and trees. Recognizing the importance of natural resources and the environment, delegates support farmer-led soil and water quality initiatives.

Farm Bureau’s legislative policy is a result of the grassroots resolution process. It begins locally on the county level and culminates with statewide delegates discussing the issues on Monday morning of the WFBF Annual Meeting. 6

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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Delegates from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 61 county Farm Bureaus also voted to: • Support classifying skid steers as agricultural equipment, as well as construction. We also support training and safety programs/certification for youth similar to All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Utility-Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Certification and Wisconsin Safe Operation of Tractor and Machinery Certification programs. • Support maintaining the necropsy services and employing a state licensed veterinarian in the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Barron. • Support using technology (i.e., UAVs and electronic trap monitors) in order to monitor wildlife abatement traps and to assess crop damage. • Support the state’s adverse possession law as it has historically existed. • Oppose towns and counties imposing stricter requirements for nutrient management regulations than state standards without relevant scientific research. • Propose that when engineering a road the state and local level of governments should install culverts to assist in transporting manure to reduce traffic on roads. • Support the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s procedures for testing and license renewal of the pesticide certification and training program. On the federal level, delegates oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to shorten the permit certification timeline for pesticide applicator licensing and increase testing standards to make it more difficult for a farmer to obtain a pesticide applicator license. This resolution will be forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration at its annual meeting in January. December | January 2015-2016



Farm Broadcaster Mike Austin Receives Award for ‘Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture’


adio and TV personality Mike Austin was presented the ‘Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture’ award during the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on December 6. The Distinguished Service to Agriculture award is given for outstanding contributions to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry. “Mike has been covering agricultural news and events for more than 30 years both on radio and TV in the Green Bay area. He is the ‘voice of agriculture’,” said WFBF Board Member Rosie Lisowe of Chilton. “His agriculture reports and stories are heard throughout the Green Bay area and his advocacy for the agriculture industry reaches multiple generations.” A Wisconsin native, Austin’s first job in radio was in Cedar Falls, Iowa, doing news and farm reporting. He came back to Wisconsin and started a farm broadcast career in Oshkosh at WYTL, now WOSH. In 1980, he was hired by Midwest Communications, Inc., along with WBAY TV to do agricultural news, features and markets. In 1991, Austin left television and worked for Midwest Communications doing agriculture reports for the Green


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Bay, Wausau and Sheboygan markets. In 2004, Austin was hired to do ag features for WFRV-TV in Green Bay while continuing radio reporting. Austin does agricultural reports and markets for radio stations WTAQ AM and FM and WNCY in Green Bay, WSAU and WDEZ in Wausau and WHBL in Sheboygan. He also does a daily ag feature at noon, Monday through Friday, on WFRV Channel 5 in Green Bay along with seasonal half-hour specials and also is the co-host of Mike, Matt and the Morning News on WTAQ AM and FM. Austin has been a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting for 36 years. Besides his broadcast responsibilities, he keeps busy serving as either an emcee or speaker for 60 events a year. During the summer months, Austin also can be found serving as an emcee at dairy breakfasts and county fairs. For his commitment to the broadcast industry and his community, he was the recipient of the Associated Press Carol Brewer Award and the Town of Bellevue Community Service Award. Austin is an active member of his church, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a volunteer for several youth organizations and community events. He was a Boy Scout leader for 12 years, a baseball coach for seven years and a youth league umpire for 19 years. Austin and his wife, Connie, are the proud parents of three adult children and the in-laws to two daughters-in-law. The couple is blessed with six grandchildren—three boys and three girls, ages 3 months to 5 years. “A true friend of agriculture, Mike has inspired many throughout the agriculture community and in the broadcasting industry,” added Lisowe.

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Buffalo County’s Loren Wolfe Earns Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Highest Honor B

uffalo County’s Loren Wolfe has received the highest award that the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation bestows upon its members. Wolfe was presented the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s ‘Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau’ award during the organization’s 96th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on December 6. Wolfe, a retired dairy farmer from rural Cochrane, has provided many years of service, exceptional leadership and support to Farm Bureau’s efforts. Wolfe has been an active member of Farm Bureau for 47 years and has served in key leadership roles at both county and state levels. Wolfe was elected to the Buffalo County Farm Bureau board of directors during turbulent financial times and served as a director and was president for six years. “It was with Loren’s leadership and guidance that the Buffalo County Farm Bureau malt and shake stand was started,” Joe Bragger, Buffalo County Farm Bureau President and District 4 Board Director said. “Because of this successful fundraiser, the Buffalo County Farm Bureau is financially stable and thriving. It has allowed the county Farm Bureau to invest in programs and activities.” Wolfe earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and served for two years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was hired as a teacher at Brookwood High School and in 1968, decided to return to his family’s farm where they developed a 100-cow registered Holstein herd. In 1997, the family entered into a partnership with John and Nettie Rosenow to create Rosenholm-Wolfe Dairy, LLP. In 2014, the Wolfes sold their portion of the partnership back to John and Nettie. Wolfe has the distinction of being the first chair of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Volunteers for Agriculture political action committee after it was formed and served on that committee for six years. He also served on the WFBF Dairy Committee. Wolfe was a proud recipient of the 1972 Wisconsin Farm Bureau Outstanding Young Farmer Award. He also has been recognized as Wisconsin Conservation Farmer of the December | January 2015-2016

Year, Wisconsin Master Agriculturist, UW-River Falls Distinguished Agriculturist, School District of Arcadia Distinguished Alumni Award and Buffalo County Farm Family of the Year. As a community leader, Wolfe served on the Arcadia School Board as member, president and now as vice president; as a first responder and firefighter; as leader of the Golden Hornets 4-H Club and on the Buffalo County Fair Board. He is an active member of the Waumandee Area Lions Club and St. Boniface Parish, where he served as church council president and on the St. Boniface School Board. Wolfe also serves on the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board. Wolfe and his wife, Ruth, have two adult sons, Craig and Brad, who also live in Cochrane. “For Loren’s entire life he has given himself to his family, community, country, agriculture and in particular, Farm Bureau,” added Bragger. “It is because of his selfless dedication to others that the Buffalo County Farm Bureau is extremely proud to recognize his distinguished service to Farm Bureau.”


Congratulations YFA Award and Chris and Kelly Pollack Earn Achievement Award


ond du Lac County dairy farmers, Chris and Kelly Pollack, were selected as this year’s winners of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Achievement Award. The Pollacks farm with his parents near Ripon, where they milk 150 cows, farm 650 acres and have heifer and calf facilities. Chris attended UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course before returning to Pollack-Vu Dairy LLC. He is involved with the Fond du Lac County YFA program, Ripon FFA Alumni and coaches the Fond du Lac County

dairy judging team. Kelly (Sime) Pollack grew up on a dairy farm near Stoughton in Dane County. She earned degrees in dairy science and life sciences communication from UW-Madison. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation as a district coordinator and at Filament Marketing in Madison. Married earlier this year, they are graduates of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Institute leadership training course. Farm Bureau’s Achievement Award is a contest that awards farmers between the ages of 18 and 35, who have excelled in their farming career, understand current issues affecting agriculture and have shown leadership and involvement in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations. In 2013, Chris Pollack won the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Discussion Meet and was a top four finalist at the American Farm Bureau’s national Discussion Meet in 2014. Earlier this year, he was chosen to participate in the American Farm Bureau’s Partners in Agricultural Leadership honors program. The Pollacks will compete in the national Achievement Award contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th Annual Meeting. They also qualify to attend a trip to Washington, D.C., in 2016. He will be a guest of the WFBF at next year’s WFBF YFA Conference, and of GROWMARK, Inc., at its annual meeting in Chicago in August, 2016. The Pollacks received 40 hours use of a skid-steer loader from FABICK Cat and a free financial plan from Rural Mutual Insurance Company.

Kelly Wilfert Wins Collegiate Discussion Meet


elly Wilfert was selected the winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Collegiate Discussion Meet contest at the organization’s 96th Annual Meeting. Wilfert is a junior at UW-Madison where she is majoring


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in agricultural economics and life sciences communication with a goal of being an agricultural attorney. She also works with her family at Wilfert Farms in Two Rivers, a 700-acre fresh market fruit and vegetable farm. She enjoys softball, horseback riding and working on the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center’s Creative Content Committee. The Collegiate Discussion Meet is a panel discussion in which collegiate members are judged on their ability to lead a committee discussion on current issues affecting agriculture and to develop consensus on an action plan to effectively address issues. By participating, members build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems. Wilfert will represent Wisconsin in a national collegiate Discussion Meet contest at the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Kansas City this February. Other finalists included Abigail Martin from UW-Madison, Kye Witek and Nicole Petrie from UW-Platteville and Alexandria Dusell and Makayla Klumpyan from UW-River Falls.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Discussion Meet Winners! Beth Schaefer Earns Excellence in Agriculture Award


eth Schaefer of Hatley was selected the winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Excellence in Agriculture Award. The Excellence in Agriculture Award goes to a Farm Bureau member between the ages of 18 and 35 who is actively engaged in agriculture, but derives the majority of their income from an off-farm agricultural career. The winner is selected based on their knowledge of agriculture, leadership in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations. Schaefer is a regional program manager for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s Wisconsin Dairy Council. Covering 17 counties in north-central Wisconsin, she works with K-12 schools to explain the benefits of drinking milk and facilitate the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. She also works closely with local media to promote Wisconsin cheese. In the coming year, she will represent District 8 (north-central Wisconsin) on the state YFA Committee. She is the treasurer of the Marathon County Farm Bureau and is actively involved in her church and the Marathon County Partnership for Progressive Agriculture. She and her husband, Matt, have a son, Henry. Schaefer will compete in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th Annual Conference. She will also be guest of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau

Federation at next year’s WFBF YFA Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. Beth received a $250 FS Fast Stop gift card from GROWMARK, Inc. and will be a guest at its annual meeting in Chicago in August. She also qualifies for the YFA Washington D.C. trip in 2016.

Christa Hoffman Wins YFA Discussion Meet


hrista Hoffman of Shawano County was selected winner of the 2015 Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Discussion Meet contest. The Discussion Meet contest is a panel discussion in which Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are judged on their ability to express their ideas and opinions and reach a solution on current issues affecting agriculture. Hoffman is the Shawano County planner, where she works on land-use, farmland preservation and conservation. She works with local policy makers to develop policy and provides technical assistance on regulations. Hoffman earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from UW-Madison and a master’s degree in community and organizational leadership from UW-Stevens Point. Christa and her husband, Brad, live and work on his family’s 150-cow dairy farm. She serves on her county’s brunch on the farm committee and is involved with the Shawano County Farm Bureau’s YFA program. Hoffman will compete in the national Discussion Meet contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th Annual Meeting and qualifies for the YFA trip to Washington, D.C. in 2016. She was awarded a chainsaw from Midwest Stihl and a free financial plan provided by Rural Mutual Insurance. She will be a guest of the

December | January 2015-2016

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation at next year’s WFBF YFA Conference, and a special guest at the annual meeting of GROWMARK, Inc., in Chicago in August. Other state finalists in the Discussion Meet were: Ryan Klussendorf of Taylor County, Josh Schenk of Green County and Nate Zimdars of Fond du Lac County.



Annual Meeting & YFA Conference 12

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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Memories December | January 2015-2016




Social media highlights from the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference • December 4-7, 2015


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation


Ag-ventures s in America’s Dairyland Da

December | January 2015-2016



Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Grows in 2015 The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s membership grew again in 2015. WFBF ended its membership year in September with 45,676 members, an increase of 406 from the year prior, marking the eighth straight year of membership growth.



Superior Shores Iron Ashland Sawyer Price Polk

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St. Croix



Taylor Chippewa



Marathon Eau Claire


FBF membership is comprised of voting and associate members. Voting members are farmers, people with direct involvement in agriculture and owners of agricultural property. Associate members are individuals and businesses who join Farm Bureau to use services and benefits and to support the work of the organization. WFBF ended the 2015 membership year with 24,221 voting members and 21,455 associate members. Thirty-seven county Farm Bureaus saw an increase in membership in 2015. Those with the largest membership gains were Marathon, Winnebago and Lincoln counties. Thirty-one of the 61 county Farm Bureaus reported an increase in voting members. The largest increases came in Marathon, Wood, Clark and Portage counties. This year, 93.3% of Farm Bureau’s voting members and 90.9% of associate members renewed


(Douglas, Bayfield, Iron, Ashland)


Clark Portage












Adams La Crosse


Both Voting and Total Gain Voting Gain Only Total Gain Only



Winnebago Marquette Green Lake


Fond du Lac


Vernon Crawford




Washington Dodge Ozaukee

No Gains Waukesha





Grant Lafayette


their membership. There were 1,613 new voting members and 2,323 new associate members who joined the organization in 2015. “The largest part of Farm Bureau’s operating income is derived from membership dues, and a growing membership base also provides us with new volunteers who bring new ideas and talents to the organization,” said Bob Leege, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Member



Racine Kenosha

Relations. “By providing a voice for Wisconsin farmers and offering a number of other valuable member benefits and programs, Farm Bureau membership pays for itself in a variety of ways.”

on the web Learn more about membership and benefits at

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Membership Volunteers Earn Producer Club Status “I’m committed to doing membership work for Farm Bureau because I am committed to strengthening our organization and because Farm Bureau is committed to agriculture. To me, there is no better benefit than that.” – Jeff Ditzenberger, Green County


arm Bureau wrapped up another successful membership year on September 30, reaching a gain in membership for the eighth consecutive year. This was made possible in large part due to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteer membership workers who invited their friends and neighbors to join the organization in 2015. For more than 30 years, the Farm Bureau Producer Club has recognized volunteers who sign at least five new Farm Bureau members during the membership year, which begins on

October 1 and ends on September 30. In 2015, 63 Farm Bureau volunteers from 34 counties earned Producer Club status. Producer Club member Jim Meng from Rusk County summed up his philosophy on membership recruitment, saying “I enjoy signing new members, because the more members we have, the more ideas we have. With an increase in the variety of ideas and activities, more members are willing to participate and become involved.” Once again, Fond du Lac County Membership Chair Trayton Greenfield led the way among all volunteers with 54 new members signed.

Other top membership workers included Randy Wokatsch (50 new members), Jim Meng (17), Jeff Ditzenberger (15), Kevin Sprang (11), Terry Papcke (11), Al Klapoetke (10), Kelly Oudenhoven (10), Dean Bergseng (9) and Brad Weber (9). “Membership recruitment activities are a high priority for Farm Bureau,” said Bob Leege, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Member Relations. “Without membership growth, no other Farm Bureau program can be successful in the long term. Our volunteer membership workers have accepted the challenge of helping to ensure that Farm Bureau will have a growing base of active members and the financial strength to carry out our mission in years to come.”

Top County Programs and Events Recognized T

he Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation annually recognizes county Farm Bureaus that conduct outstanding programs or events to promote agriculture, build membership and strengthen the organization. During the WFBF Annual Meeting, nine county Farm Bureaus were presented with 2015 County Activities of Excellence Awards. County Farm Bureaus chosen for recognition and their outstanding areas of work include: Trempealeau County for planning and hosting a ‘Moo-vin’ with Milk’ 5K Dairy Day, a family-friendly community outreach event; Sheboygan County for conducting its annual ‘Classroom on the Farm’ event for nearly 1,000 third and fourth grade students; Barron County for organizing the Barron Ag Showcase, a hands-on learning December | January 2015-2016

day for teachers to experience different types of agriculture in the county; Fond du Lac County for its Pizza Fundraiser, which brings together more than 60 members to build awareness of the organization while raising funds for the county Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program; Buffalo County for hosting a ‘Fun on the Farm’ event to build awareness of the ways that the county Farm Bureau serves the community; Green County for its partnership with the local beef producers’ organization to conduct a beef promotion event; Manitowoc County for its efforts to showcase Farm Bureau programs and activities at the Lakeshore Women’s Expo; Portage County for hosting an educational event at a local farm that combined a tour of the farm’s conservation

practices with a policy development session and a screening of the film Farmland; and Rock County for organizing and hosting the Rock County Ag Showcase, an informational event designed to recruit new members, promote the county’s ag organizations and provide a networking opportunity for members.


The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation invites you to attend

AG DAY AT THE CAPITOL January 27, 2016

Monona Terrace Convention Center • Madison, WI

Schedule of Events: 11:00 a.m. Registration 11:30 a.m. Opening Program 11:45 a.m. Lunch 12:45 p.m. Legislative Briefings 3:00 p.m. Leave for Capitol Visits

Early Registration Deadline: January 22 Cost: $25 per person by registration deadline $30 after deadline and at the door

Presented by:

Detach and return to WFBF to register.

Ag DAy At the CApitol RegistRAtion FoRm Contact Name: Address:

City: County: Zip Code: Telephone: Amount Enclosed: (# of people)

Thank You to Our Sponsors: Rural Mutual Insurance Company

x ($25) =

Mail to: Wisconsin Farm Bureau, P.O. Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705 Questions? Call 1.800.261.FARM

Event #991022

Name & County of Attendees:


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation


Meuer Farm Wins 2015 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®


and County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association are proud to announce Meuer Farm is the recipient of Wisconsin’s Leopold Conservation Award®. The award honors Wisconsin landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. An independent judging panel made the selection September 17. David and Leslie Meuer own and manage a diverse farm in Chilton. The Meuers raise cattle and egg layers; produce a variety of crops such as specialty grains, hay, alfalfa and strawberries; and host visitors at their corn maze and pumpkin patch. They also host farm-to-table dinners during the summer and bring in local chefs to prepare meals featuring produce grown on the farm. The Meuers installed stream bank fencing along the stream running through their property, that provides water for their cows. The fencing has reduced soil loss, keeping the stream cleaner as it heads to Lake Winnebago. For several years the Meuers have let their pastures grow naturally, allowing native grasses to flourish and seeds deposited by birds to grow into apple trees and gooseberry shrubs. The trees provide ample habitat for their bees and other pollinators that pollinate their strawberry fields. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to support this important award,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte. “Conservation is top of mind for farmers. Farm Bureau is very happy to recognize the Meuers for taking the responsibility of caring for their land and natural resources to a higher level.” “The Meuers not only understand the importance of resource protection, they practice it in all they do on the farm,” said Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association Executive Director Jim VandenBrook. While the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association is honored to recognize their commitment to conservation, the land they steward so well tells the story much more powerfully. December | January 2015-2016

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. The 2015 Leopold Conservation Award was presented December 6 at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells. The award recipient was presented with a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000. The Leopold Conservation Award in Wisconsin is made possible through the generous support of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Badgerland Financial, Alliant Energy Foundation, American Transmission Company, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, DuPont Pioneer, The Mosaic Company and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.



Adam Kolb: AFBF’s Entrepreneur Challenge Semi-Finalist By Casey Langan


dam Kolb of Manitowoc County was selected as a semi-finalist of the 2016 Farm Bureau’s Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. As a semi-finalist he received $10,000 for his efforts to bring new streams of revenue (custom calf raising, grass-fed beef marketed directly to consumers, crop production and custom field work services) to a fifth-generation family farm. “I enjoy the mental and physical challenge of farming,” he said. “I also like the variety that each day brings and ingenuity it takes to farm.” Kolb was among a diverse pool of more than


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165 applicants. The challenge, now in its second year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural regions of the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. The names of the four finalists and six semi-finalists for the challenge were announced by the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. Kolb received his $10,000 check and plaque during the annual meeting of the Manitowoc County Farm Bureau on October 8 in Whitelaw. Kolb first learned of the competition from a fellow member of the Manitowoc County Farm Bureau last May. “I thought it would be worth a shot,” said Kolb, who works full-time as an agronomist in addition to building his farming business on the side. When the field work was completed last spring, he spent a week preparing the application that required financial records, a YouTube video about his business and descriptions of his marketing and management efforts. Upon learning that he was a semi-finalist, Kolb said it validated all of the nights, weekends and holidays that he spent raising calves, planting and harvesting crops and retrofitting an old dairy barn to meet his needs. He plans to invest his winnings into a new barn to house calves. Kolb grew up on his family’s dairy farm, just west of Cleveland where on a clear day you can see Lake Michigan. The dairy herd was sold while he was pursuing an agricultural business degree at the UW-Platteville. After graduation in 2012 he worked for two years as an agriculture credit analyst for Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc. In April of 2014 he was hired as an agronomist for Country Visions Cooperative in Valders. His sales, consulting and crop scouting territory is a 20-mile radius near his farm.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Since December of 2013, Kolb has bought newborn Holstein bull calves from local dairies. He raises them to 600 pounds (which is about six months of age) before selling them at cattle auctions or directly to other farmers. At any given time he keeps a herd of 60 to 80 steers. He has some part-time help on the farm from family and neighbors. He bought 70 acres of his home farm’s cropland and rents another 110 acres from neighbors. Along with his father, Mike, they own a small, but growing, cow-calf herd of Hereford and Angus cattle whose meat is marketed directly to consumers. While his father is semi-retired from farming, he still owns some of the machinery and helps with field work. “The reason I bought animals was because I could see commodity prices would come down,” Kolb said. “I wanted to use the crops that I was growing in a different way that would be profitable. In hindsight that was a good decision.” As beef prices begin to decline, he wants to transition to raising heifers for dairy farms to provide “a more predictable cash flow stream.” As for that new barn, he wants to build one that accommodates drive-by feeding for about 300 young cattle. He said it remains to be seen which will come first, a new barn or the contracts to fill it with dairy heifers. In addition to his crops, two years ago Kolb started custom planting corn and soybeans for others. Last spring he planted 900 acres for six other farmers. In addition, he provides corn cultivating and no-till planting of wheat and alfalfa for others. If the opportunity is there, he will expand those services. He sees opportunities off the farm as well. A 2008 graduate of Kiel High School, Kolb was appointed to the Planning Commission of the Town of Meeme in March. “It’s already broadened my horizons,” Kolb said. “There are a lot of opportunities (for young people in agriculture),” he said. “I’d encourage anyone to get involved in agricultural organizations like Farm Bureau and use the opportunity to network with people.” Kolb is a member of Manitowoc County Sail, a local young professionals networking group that recently recognized him as one of its ‘Future 15 for 2015.’ December | January 2015-2016

Farming is a business of uncertainty, but here’s something you can count on. Chevrolet presents this exclusive $500 private offer 1 toward the purchase or lease of an all-new Chevy Silverado — the 2014 North American Truck of the Year. From the family of the most dependable, longest-lasting 2 full-size pickup in America, rest assured your Silverado will keep you working without skipping a beat.







1 Offer available through 4/1/17. Available on qualified 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet vehicles. This offer is not available with some other offers. Only customers who have been active members of an eligible Farm Bureau for a minimum of 30 days will be eligible to receive a certificate. Customers can obtain certificates at Farm Bureau and the FB logo are registered service marks of the American Farm Bureau Federation and are used herein under license by General Motors. 2 Dependability based on longevity: 1987–April 2013 full-size pickup registrations.



Getting Answers on Youth Skid Steer Age Regs W

ith the legal age to operate a skid steer on a farm in question, WFBF’s Board of Directors and governmental relations staff, met with U.S. Department of Labor officials last September in Washington, D.C. “The uncertainty in the age requirement in the federal versus state regulations was brought to our attention by a Farm Bureau member,” said Karen Gefvert, WFBF Director of Governmental Relations. “It was time to get a definitive answer and specific guidelines for Wisconsin farmers.” Discussions with staff from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) indicated that it was prohibited for Wisconsin youth under the age of 18 to operate a skid steer on a farm that was not owned or operated by that youth’s parents or guardians. Farm Bureau requested clarification because federal guidelines allow youth age 16 and older to legally operate a skid steer on a farm that is not owned or operated by the youth’s parents or guardians (when performing operations within the scope of agriculture). As a result of the discussions, the DWD staff provided an official interpretation and enforcement position that reads:

Youth age 16 and older may operate a skid steer on any farm in Wisconsin when performing duties within the scope of agriculture. They must complete skid steer training prior to operating a skid steer on a farm that is not owned by that youth’s parents or guardians. The DWD staff aligned the state’s interpretation with federal regulations. “Agriculture remains the only permissible use for any youth to be operating a skid steer. Landscaping and construction work that occurs on a farm does not apply,” Gefvert said. “For farmers to comply with this exemption for agriculture, they must document that youth have been trained in the skid steer for the specific job duties that they will perform on the farm,” Gefvert said. The Wisconsin Farm Safety Center will be working with UW-Extension on skid steer training options available for youth in the future. For now, farmers should document when and that they have provided hands-on training to youth operating skid steers in the equipment for the job they will be doing. The Wisconsin DWD will be updating its rules for child labor standards and Farm Bureau’s governmental relations team will be involved and continue to monitor the changes to the law. Farm Bureau will continue to collaborate with the Wisconsin Farm Safety Center and UW-Extension on the documentation and training components.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Supports Manure Piping Bill A ssembly Bill 518 would give clear authority for local municipalities to permit the piping of liquid manure within a highway right-of-way. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation supports the bill in hopes that it plays a role in long-term road preservation. “With the idea of limiting excessive road use by semi tractors and manure tankers to help preserve an aging and underfunded infrastructure, it’s important we find alternative means to transport liquid manure from point source to the fields,” said Rob Richard, WFBF’s Senior Director of Governmental Relations. He testified in favor of legislation authored by State Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) at a public hearing for AB 518 by the Assembly Committee on Transportation on December 8. “Assembly Bill 518 is certainly one concept that local governments and farmers can utilize to implement best management practices for manure application. This is a step in the right direction,” Richard said. As an $88 billion piece of Wisconsin’s economy, Richard said it was important that we continue to promote agriculture’s growth and use best management practices to keep that growth sustainable. He added that the bill preserves landowner rights


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and does not lessen someone’s responsibility to prevent, clean up or pay for a manure spill. “Wisconsin is reaching a point of critical mass when it comes to finding and implementing a sustainable method for funding the state transportation fund. The percentage of debt service payment on issued bonds for road projects is heading towards 20 percent,” Richard explained. “Current funding methods are not keeping up with the maintenance of current projects nor the planning for future ones.”

Photo by Cheryl Skjolaas, UW-Extension.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Hosts German Delegation O

n November 16-17, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation hosted a German delegation to discuss dairy production and trade issues. The visit was coordinated by the German American Chamber of Commerce. It is part of an effort to open dialogue between American and German farmers. On the first day the six representatives from Germany spent time with WFBF Board members and dairy leaders. As part of the visit, a roundtable discussion was held at the WFBF office in Madison. There were four presentations from the German delegation. Jochen Mangelsdorf, a dairy farmer from Brandenburg, gave an overview of his 700-cow dairy farm in eastern Germany. Justus Ackermann, a dairy farmer from Niedersachsen and Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Dairy Cooperative Ammerland, gave an overview of this 100-cow dairy farm in western Germany. Astrid Jakobs de Padua, Minister Counselor of Food and Agriculture for the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., gave commentary on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Nicolia Wree, Director of Dairy, Livestock and Meat for the Farmers Union of SchleswigHolstein, discussed German dairy production and its challenges. From the Wisconsin perspective, DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel discussed the importance of trade and farmer to farmer dialogue. WFBF Board directors Dave Daniels and Kevin Krentz gave presentations about their dairy farms. UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences professor Bruce Jones discussed the financial condition of Wisconsin dairy farms. DATCP’s director of market development Jennifer Pino-Gallagher discussed ways the agency assists dairy processors in developing international trading relationships. There was extensive discussion about environmental regulations and challenges facing dairy farmers in Wisconsin and Germany. The German officials asked questions about how Wisconsin dairy farmers and processors market their milk and dairy products. The German officials also were curious about how the industry was coping since dairy subsidies were eliminated in the spring of 2015. During the second day, the group visited ABS Global, Inc., the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and Mystic Valley Dairy. From there the German delegation visited the Iowa and Illinois Farm Bureaus. At ABS Global, Inc., the German delegation discussed international trade issues pertaining to genetics. While visiting Mystic Valley dairy farm, the German officials met with Mitch Breunig, owner of the farm, to discuss his farm’s production practices and its focus on selling dairy cows based upon genetics. At the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, the German officials said they were impressed with the support the Wisconsin dairy industry gives to research. As part of the roundtable agreement, representatives from the Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa Farm Bureaus will be travelling to Germany in March to reciprocate the discussion.

December | January 2015-2016



Melissa Doyle Hired as District 3 Coordinator M

elissa Doyle was hired by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation as the new district coordinator in southwestern Wisconsin. Doyle will be responsible for working with county Farm Bureaus to develop and implement programs to serve Farm Bureau members and to coordinate membership recruitment and retention efforts. “I’m looking forward to working with Farm Bureau and assisting the counties in District 3 to create and implement new programs that will help in achieving their goals. I’m proud to represent an organization that takes great pride in its rural roots, and am excited to help build effective networks and relationships with Farm Bureau members and partners,” Doyle said.

Doyle will serve Farm Bureau’s District 3, which includes the counties of, Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland and Vernon. She started her duties on October 26. “Melissa’s diverse work experience, her agricultural studies and her past involvement with Farm Bureau in District 3 make her an ideal candidate to work with our county Farm Bureaus in southwest Wisconsin as WFBF’s District 3 Coordinator,” said Bob Leege, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Member Relations. Melissa grew up on a beef farm near Mineral Point in Iowa County, and is a UW-Madison graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and applied economics and life sciences communication. She also earned a master’s degree in life sciences communication. Her prior work experience includes serving as the 4-H youth development advisor for Iowa County UW-Extension and as the outreach coordinator for UWPlatteville Pioneer Farm. She also serves as the marketing and communications manager for her family’s auction business, On Point Auction Service.

Farm Bureau Testifies at Waters of the U.S. Hearing W

isconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte was one of six who testified at a field hearing held on November 13, by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at UW-Stevens Point. Committee Chair U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) scheduled the hearing to examine federal regulations that are being legally challenged by several states, including the far-reaching Waters of the United States rule. “At best, the Waters of the United States rule lacks clarity when it comes to permit requirements and farming exemptions. At worst it is a blatant overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers,” Holte, a Dunn County beef, corn and soybean farmer, told the panel. Holte outlined three areas where the EPA’s actions “made a mockery of the notice-and-comment procedures within the federal government’s rulemaking process.” During the rulemaking process, the EPA dismissed concerns about the rule as ‘silly,’ ‘ludicrous’ and ‘myths.’ Statements from agency officials made it clear that they were not listening to objections. The EPA engaged in a public relations campaign to solicit support for the rule. The campaign shared blogs, tweets and YouTube videos about the rule’s purported benefits without meaningful information about the rule’s actual content. The EPA allowed its own internal timeline to dictate issuance


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of a proposed rule before the fundamental scientific study underlying the proposal was complete. It later dictated issuance of a final rule without providing any further public comment. “This unchecked process culminated in a deeply flawed regulation whose true costs were never seriously considered and will not be known for years,” Holte said. Holte said that the rule sets the stage for thousands of farmers to need federal permits to conduct normal activities like till their fields or apply fertilizers and pest management products. “The EPA and the Corps has repeatedly assured (in speeches and blogs) that the new rule will not increase permitting obligations for farmers or get in the way of farming,” Holte said. “These statements are misleading as the exemptions for agriculture, as interpreted by the EPA and Corps, will not protect farmers from burdensome permit requirements and devastating liability under this proposed rule. Bottom line, the courts are unlikely to give consideration to old speeches and blogs.” “It’s impossible to know just how many farmers and landowners will be subject to agency enforcement or private citizen lawsuits. What is certain is that a vast number of common, responsible farming and forestry practices that occur today without the need for a federal permit would be highly vulnerable to Clean Water Act enforcement under this rule,” Holte said.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau Supports Improvements to State’s IOH Laws T

he Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation supports legislation that makes changes to the state’s laws regarding the use of farm machinery on roadways. Assembly Bill 564, authored by State Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) and State Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), is the third bill regarding implements of husbandry (IOH) to be addressed by the Legislature in the last two years. The two previous bills were signed into law in April of 2014 and 2015. “Assembly Bill 564, like its predecessor, addresses some issues that are more technical in nature as we strive to make this law work in a practical manner,” explained Rob Richard, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Senior Director of Governmental Relations. Richard spoke in favor of the bill at its public hearing on December 8, before the Assembly Committee on Transportation. Some of the major provisions in Assembly Bill 564 are: Current law requires an implement dealer to disclose the axle weight(s) and gross vehicle weight of an implement upon sale. This bill further clarifies that the disclosure must be in writing and that the ‘unladen’ vehicle weight be disclosed at the point of sale. The definition of farm tractor has been updated to reflect recent changes in statutory language from the two previous IOH bills. Changes several references in statutes of “from farm to field, from field to field, or from farm to farm” to “to or from a farmrelated destination” to capture the true movement between or among farms, fields, agricultural storage or processing facilities, locations where an IOH or Ag-CMV is stored (i.e., custom operators or agricultural cooperatives), or any combination of these. Three specific changes have been made to the statutes governing the definition and use of the slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign. “We believe these changes better reflect the true purpose of

December | January 2015-2016

the SMV sign, to indicate the slow moving speed of a vehicle and nothing else,” Richard said. The 2015 Budget Act created a provision allowing a farm tractor to be exempt from registration for, among other things, “occasional personal use, but not for regular daily transportation”. This language is being deleted to instead permit the registration exemption for “testing, maintenance and storage purposes.” Federal law does not authorize an Ag-CMV that exceeds 8.5 feet in width to be operated on the interstate highway system unless it has an oversize permit from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This was understood, but it will now be expressly written out in statutes. For the movement of IOH within a 75-mile radius from implement dealer to farmer or vice versa, the statutes are clarified with regard to the operation, towing or transport of IOH. The bill clarifies that if someone is transporting an IOH that exceeds 8.5 feet in width at times other than hours of darkness, they must have amber flashers activated to mark the lateral extremities of the IOH. The bill allows an applicant for a no fee permit to submit only one application for multiple IOH or Ag-CMVs if those vehicles listed in the application are identical. “For example, if a custom operator has a fleet of 10 terragators and they are all the exact same vehicle, the maintaining authority must accept one application for those vehicles and any no fee permit that is issued to the operator/owner can be copied and utilized in all the vehicles listed on the application,” Richard explained. A full analysis of the changes that Assembly Bill 564 makes is available at: A vote on AB 564 by the Assembly Transportation Committee is expected in February.


County Kernels Farmers Appreciation Day – Iowa County

Breakfast on the Farm – Oconto County

The 30th annual Farmers Appreciation Day kicked off with a parade in Dodgeville. Farm Bureau members handed out string cheese, yogurt, coloring books and bookmarks.

Oconto County Farm Bureau sponsored the My American Farm game tablets at the Oconto County Breakfast on the Farm at Golden Corners Dairy Farm. The kiosks provided fun, educational games for children to play while learning about agriculture. Games cover a range of grade levels from pre-K through fifth grade. All My American Farm games are available at

Farm Tour – Sheboygan County

Ladies Night Out – Outagamie County

In October, Mark Ramel and his family hosted a tour for 25 residents of Harwood Place Retirement Living on their dairy farm. Residents were invited out for a ‘thrashing dinner’ including ham, potatoes, beans, corn, coleslaw, cranberries and applesauce. All made from the farm. The guests were told a brief history of the farm and toured the freestall barn, maternity pen, calf facility, milking parlor and learned about feeding operations and farm equipment.

Women’s Summit – District 9


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On a beautiful fall evening, nine women enjoyed a fun night at Kerrigan Brother’s Winery. Owner and Farm Bureau member Troy Landwehr poured samples of his delicious wines for everyone. After the tasting, the group got a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery. Troy discussed the wine making process as well as the bottling, labeling and corking process. It was a great evening of fun and learning.

Women from across northwest Wisconsin came together in August to learn about different facets of Wisconsin agriculture. The day started with a tour of Cylon Rolling Acres, which is owned by St. Croix County Farm Bureau member, Leslie Svacina. She raises grass-fed meat goats and turkeys and practices rotational grazing. The group traveled to Amery where they enjoyed lunch and learned about the farm-to-table movement at Farm Table.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau Recipes and photos courtesy of

Festive Peppermint Fudge Ingredients


• 3 ⅓ cups (20 ounces) vanilla baking chips • 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract • 1 ½ cups crushed candy canes • dash red food coloring

1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. 2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk. Stir frequently until almost melted. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until smooth. 3. W hen the chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring and crushed candy canes. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. 4. Chill for 2 hours and cut into squares.

Snowball Cookies Ingredients

• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 2 ¼ cups flour • ½ teaspoon salt • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped • red and green sugar, optional


1. Heat oven to 350°F. 2. I n a large bowl, combine butter, ½ cup of powdered sugar, vanilla, flour, salt and walnuts. Using your hands, mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls. 3. B  ake cookies on an insulated baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes, until light brown. 4. W hen cool, roll in the remaining powdered sugar until well coated 5. S  prinkle with red or green sugar, if desired.

Mocha Magic Mousse Ingredients


1. Puree all ingredients in a food • 10 ounces (1 bag) high-quality processor or blender until very semisweet chocolate chips, melted smooth and creamy. • 14 ounces (1 block) tofu • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder 2. Spoon into individual ramekins or a soufflé dish. • ½ cup milk or coffee* Refrigerate until ready to • 1 teaspoon vanilla serve. • ¼ teaspoon salt *Milk makes the mousse creamier, while 3. Garnish with a small dollop coffee gives it more flavor without the fat. of fresh whipped cream and a shave of chocolate, if desired. December | January 2015-2016


1st Brad Weber, Marshfield Cassie Olson, Eau Claire County

The state YFA Committee sponsored a photo contest for Farm Bureau members to show why they are Farm Bureau Proud.

Karrie LeBotte, Algoma

The top three entries are shown here.

2nd Becky Assman, Ozaukee County

Kellie Zahn, Marion

Send us YOUR Photos 3rd Kathleen Hafemeister, Dodge County


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

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg

‘Birdfeeder Politics’


believe it was humorist Will Rogers who once professed, “I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” Perhaps, in the same vein, that is why I like all things wild and free – as they do nothing for political justification. Unless, of course, you take into account the daily entertainment right outside our kitchen window, an event I submit to you as birdfeeder politics. Even an untutored eye will notice the backyard bird chain of command on display for those willing to observe. On top of the ladder is the governing shrike, appearing occasionally, now and then, but for the most part hiding in the shadows. When he enters the picture, all others scatter, bowing to his stature and position on top of the food chain. At his side, are the lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state, blue jays, one and all. Our senate of cardinals come and goes as they please, but are first to arrive in the morning and last to leave at the end of the day. A mixed caucus of chickadees, juncos, redpolls and finches make up our assembly and can be found here, there December | January 2015-2016

and anywhere, quick to debate any birdseed deficit, swift to seek subsidy offerings. Their legislative support staff of nuthatches and sparrows, dig in and clean up after those higher on the feeder’s organizational chart. No matter what issues come to the plate, at the end of the day, all the political players at the feeder retreat and roost to survive the elements of the night. Daylight each morning brings lobbying woodpeckers of various legal stripes, which can be caught roaming the box elder and locust halls, beaks open for leftover pork and fat scraps at the trough. Always on top of their game, they are at their best while entertaining feeder landlords, influencing bureaucratic birdwatchers and securing passage of suet legislation. Bi-partisan at times, but for the most part, split by party, peace-loving doves on the left and more aggressive hawks circling the sky to the right. That is, until election storms roll in. Then it’s every bird for himself. Low pressure fronts trigger feeding frenzies, while feathered candidates perch above them all, singing promises of better weather, full feeders and sunny skies. Will Rogers was a political satirist and friend of presidents, senators, prime ministers and kings. He loved to poke fun at elected officials from all parties. He knew the nature of their antics and enjoyed following the affairs of state and nation. He summed it up when he quipped, “Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians and I love to watch both of ‘em play...” The presidential election is less than a year away. Try as we might, it is hard to hide from the daily political circus that leads up to Election Day. Unless of course we turn off the television and either watch the bird feeder, go outside to play in the snow with our granddaughter or drive to the sanctuary of the nearby cheese factory where thoughts of politics fade amongst curds, aged cheddar and ice cream cones. Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the Portage County Farm Bureau.


Farm Bureau Membership Doesn’t Cost... ...It Pays Wisconsin Farm Bureau offers benefits and services to its members, covering a range of options that respond to the needs of farmers, families and businesses in Wisconsin.


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

Supplies & Products Case IH - Eligible Farm Bureau members will receive an incentive discount ($300 to $500) when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealers. The discount can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership. Go to to see the eligible models and print your certificate. Caterpillar - Members qualify for a variety of discounts on new purchases. Members must provide a valid Member Verification Certificate to the Cat dealer at the time of quote to receive the discount. Visit to print your certificate and for details on models and discounts. The discount can be combined with any current retail discounts, promotions, rebates or offers available through Caterpillar or its dealers with the exception of other membership purchase incentives (such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association discount). FS-GROWMARK Patronage - Members who are patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage dividends when patronage is paid. Grainger Industrial Supply - Grainger Industrial Supply is the nation’s leading maintenance, repair and operational supplies distributor. Receive at least a 10% discount on all Grainger catalog items. For a free catalog call 608.221.3861. When ordering use the Farm Bureau account #855922019. Office Depot - Save up to 80% on Office Depot Preferred Products along with reduced prices on ink, paper, office supplies, toner, stamps/daters, pens, pads, furniture and much more. Members get free next day delivery with free shipping on orders over $50 and terrific copy and print pricing. Visit Polaris - Farm Bureau members will receive a manufacturer’s incentive discount of $200-$300 depending on the vehicle acquired. There is no limit to the number of incentive discounts that a Farm Bureau member may use so long as it’s no more than one per unit acquired and the acquisition(s) is/are made for their personal and/or business use. Individuals must be members for at least 30 days to qualify.


Stroke Detection Plus - Stroke Detection Plus offers preventative medical screenings at a discounted price to Farm Bureau members. These ultrasound screenings help detect blockages that can lead to stroke, aortic aneurysms and other artery diseases. For more information, call 1.877.732.8258.

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

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

Travel AAA - Members can save up to 20% on AAA membership and the enrollment fee to join AAA is waived. Farm Bureau members who already belong to AAA can receive the discount by calling before their next renewal. To enroll or to add the benefit to your existing account, call 877.731.3315 and give them the group code ‘WI07.’

AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program - The AgriPlanNOW! program is based on Section 105 of the IRS code and can allow farmers and other self-employed individuals to deduct 100 percent of their family’s medical expenses through their farm or business. To learn more about AgriPlan and/or sign up, go to or call 888.595.2261.

AVIS Car Rental Discount Program - You can save 5%-25% on Avis’ daily and weekly rates. To receive these discounted rates, all you need to do is use the Avis Worldwide Discount number: A298849. To rent a car and enjoy benefits visit or call Avis at 1.800.331.1212.

Farm Bureau Bank - Take advantage of Farm Bureau Bank’s FDIC insured checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards and vehicle and home loans. Go to

Choice Hotels International, Inc. - Members save an average of 20% at participating Choice Brand Hotels. Call 800.258.2847 to make the required advance reservation or book online at Make sure to select ‘special rate/CORPID.’ Request WFBF member rate using ID# 00209870.

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

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


ScriptSave® - ScriptSave is a prescription drug savings card available to you at NO COST as an added feature of your membership. Call 800.700.3957 or go to and login with group number 703A.

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Wyndham Hotel Group - Members save 20% off the best available rate at more than 5,000 participating locations throughout North America. Mention Farm Bureau ID# 8000004288 when making your reservations. Call 877.670.7088.

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

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

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

December | January 2015-2016

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



An Honor Serving Agriculture A Message from Bob Stallman


n January I’ll be passing the gavel to the new president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. It’s the final item on my agenda. As I look back on the last 16 years, I am proud of the hard work we’ve done to strengthen agriculture and make the voice of America’s farmers and ranchers heard.

Staying Ahead of Issues Facing Ag Farmers and ranchers know how to get things done. We aren’t afraid of a challenge. Markets are up and down, weather turns unexpectedly. Yet farmers face these twists and turns with resilience. In that same spirit we began the work of honing our strategic focus here at AFBF when I started my first term. We switched to offense and brought the whole team to Washington, D.C., to get out in front of the issues facing agriculture. Today, Farm Bureau staff and members are on the front lines making sure our voices are heard and protecting the business of agriculture. When you run into a problem on the


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farm, you don’t wish it away: You find a solution and fix it. You don’t ignore a broken fence or stop irrigating dry land. Wishful thinking doesn’t get things done and it’s not good business. “Strategic” and “action” are familiar terms here at AFBF. We established a Strategic Action Team in D.C. not just to monitor key issues but to anticipate policy battles and find solutions. As a direct result of that effort, we are supporting our state Farm Bureaus like never before in their efforts to gain grassroots support for our national policy priorities. We are also using enhanced training and social media communications to empower farm and ranch families to advocate for their businesses and rural communities.

Standing Stronger Together Together we’ve won a lot of victories by sharing our stories with lawmakers and the public. When the Department of Labor tried to stand in the way of families working together on their farms, we took action and showed that we can protect our kids while training them to run the family business. Likewise, when efforts were afoot in Congress in 2010 to unilaterally tax the fuel that powers American agriculture, we linked arms in the call: “Don’t Cap Our Future.” Sometimes, getting things done means bringing new solutions to the table. That’s just what we did with farm bills in 2002, 2008 and 2014. Most recently, we worked with Congress to update the way risk on the farm is managed. New marketfocused crop insurance programs brought the program into the new century while safeguarding farmers’ peace of mind. The success of U.S. agriculture is fueling industries in communities

across the country. We’ve worked with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to open up trade around the world. And U.S. agricultural exports are booming, bringing in $152 billion in 2014. With new trade agreements underway, we are poised for more growth still.

Keeping up the Fight Our work is far from over. We continue to raise our voices in our call to Ditch The Rule, to inform lawmakers and the courts about the far-reaching impacts of EPA’s onerous Waters of the U.S. rule on productive farm and grazing land. It’s not just lawmakers who need to understand the importance of what we do on our farms and ranches, but also consumers who are being fed misinformation about agriculture. Toward that goal, I am proud of the roles that AFBF played in the formation of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and our long track record of support for the Center for Food Integrity – two efforts that help amplify our voice in national discussions about food issues. There have been a lot of changes since I was elected to serve as AFBF president back in 2000. I have no doubt that the new leader who takes up the gavel will have AFBF primed to capitalize on opportunities and address any challenges related to the prosperity of your farms and ranches, the quality of life you want for your families and the vitality of your rural communities. It’s truly been my honor to serve you and the agricultural industry we treasure. President of the American Farm Bureau Federation since 2000, Bob Stallman is a cattle and rice farmer from Columbus, Texas.

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Rethinking Manure Management A Message from Jim Holte


ontinuous improvement’ is a buzz phrase that some people use to describe the process of how farmers are always upping their game with innovation and technology to produce more with less while protecting the environment. For every step farmers take forward with the public, I fear headlines from manure spills and well contaminations send us two steps back. When I say we need to rethink how we manage manure, it is not aimed at farms of a certain size, or at farmers who are subject of headlines. It’s a simple fact that livestock produce manure. It’s also obvious that Wisconsin’s agricultural economy hinges on the long-term success of the livestock industry. Therefore, this is a message for all Wisconsin farmers. As land stewards, farmers intimately know the soil from which they make their living. Above and beyond what any regulation might mandate, farmers know best how to make the most of returning nutrients to their soils while minimizing unintended impacts. Much has changed about dairy farming during the past 30 years, including the way many farms move manure from the barn to fields. I know some of agriculture’s critics think our problems would be solved if dairy farms looked like they did in the 1950s. They fail to realize the idyllic red barn and 35-cow dairy farm wasn’t as pure as the driven snow. Many dairy barns were built close to waterways. Manure was spread daily and the fields closest to the barn often were over-applied with manure during winter. It resulted in small

December | January 2015-2016

but consistent doses of pollution that degraded trout streams over time. As herd sizes grew, farmers were also told not to spread manure on frozen ground. A pendulum swung from daily spreading to a system where millions of gallons of manure held in storage are moved during a narrow window of time each spring and fall. When Mother Nature throws a curve ball, we’ve got problems. Manure storage is convenient and nixes the need for winter spreading, but when something goes wrong, the damage is not slow and consistent, it becomes large scale and immediate. ‘Farmer commonsense’ says that there needs to be a balance. It starts with applying manure more often than for a few frantic days each spring and fall, and there are ways that this can happen. Not being at the mercy of a custom manure hauler’s schedule might mean buying your own manure hauling equipment. Aerial irrigation of manure also can take pressure off. More production of small grains like wheat and rye provides options to apply manure during the summer. Winter spreading should not be banned. Not only is it anti-small farmer, but it’s over-reactive. Nutrient management planning shows it comes down to timing of application on certain slopes and soil types. The bottom line is that given our state’s soil differences, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Likewise, farmers who want to expand livestock farms must consider the area’s ability to handle the manure produced. Clearly some parts of Wisconsin are better equipped to host more livestock

than others. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation was part of a multiyear process to develop a new 590 standard with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The new standard will be unveiled soon. Whether you use a 590 plan or establish nutrient application rates with an agronomist, this winter will provide downtime to rethink manure management. From familiar red barns to freestalls with manure lagoons, I know Wisconsin farmers strive to keep their soil in place and apply manure at the appropriate rates and times. In 2016, I urge you to up your game. I know we’re ready for the challenge. It is part of the ‘continuous improvement’ we farmers are so good at. WFBF President since 2012, Holte is a grain and beef farmer from Elk Mound in Dunn County.



What Changed You?

A Message from Andrea Brossard


e all have it, lived it and breathed it…that moment that forever changed our life. Most of us don’t recognize it as a life changing moment when it happens, but as we age, mature and expand our lives we often look back and know that it did. It’s always been said that hindsight is 20/20, right? There are many moments, events, people and things that have changed my life. Yet, as my term ends on the Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) State Committee and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation State Board, where I served a one-year term as state YFA Chair, it’s time to reflect not only on these experiences but my Farm Bureau experience as a whole. When I made the decision to become a member more than nine years ago, I never knew how this organization would change my life, nor did I know that I would be a part of changing this organization.


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One of my first steps to growing in this organization came with the opportunity to be part of the very successful, WFBF leadership Institute. During my year as a member of Class II of this premiere leadership training course, I strengthened my speaking skills as well as communicated across the generational divide with classmates. I gained perceptive and a true appreciation for working with our congressional leaders on the local, state and national levels. These experiences helped to generate a personal leadership plan that cumulated who I became, goals I had and how I was going to accomplish them. Looking back I know that being a graduate of the program set in motion my leadership path. As I continued to grow and become an active YFA member, relationships were forged. It seems simple, but our lives depend on the friendships, partnerships and relationships we build. During my involvement, I have been blessed to work with remarkable individuals. Each is unique, offers skills and abilities that encourage personal growth and have challenged me to develop more as a leader. I am honored to say that the relationships that I have gained through Farm Bureau have brought incredible people into my life, many of which I wouldn’t want to be without. Wisconsin Farm Bureau has certainly impacted my life, developed me as a leader and helped shape my involvement in agriculture. But the unique aspect of our grassroots organization is the opportunity to make your mark. Since becoming a member, I dedicated myself to making my changing mark, from

being co-creator and developer of the Farm Bureau 5K run/walk where we raise funds to benefit breast cancer research and give back to our members; to serving as a director on the state board that works to successfully guide our organization. Along with a fellow Institute graduate, devoted YFA member and friend, we worked to spearhead a unique fundraising opportunity, the Maddie Project, which not only helped secure funds for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, but also raised awareness of the programs like the YFA, Women’s Leadership Program and Ag in the Classroom to name a few. Along the way there have been contests, meetings, numerous events, training sessions and travel opportunities, I met leaders and devoted agriculturists from around the state and across the country. I helped shape the future of our organization and all it took was one membership application and the desire to make a difference in agriculture. Being a dynamic leader isn’t just about showing up, it’s about stepping up and moving forward. My challenge for you is for you to determine how you’ve changed. Has it happened yet? What was it? But more importantly, how did you react? Did you sit back and watch it happen or did you step up and make it happen? Whenever you are able to make the choice, I hope you choose to make it happen! Brossard, a dairy farmer from Dodge County, was

the state Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee Chair for 2014-2015.

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The Words We Choose

A Guest Column from Nancy Kavazanjian


rganic Farmer of the Year Greg Reynolds raised a few eyebrows at a ‘Food Dialogues’ event in Minneapolis when he said, “there are words used in conventional agriculture that just grate on my ear.” Overlooking the phrase ‘conventional agriculture,’ which grates on MY ears, Reynolds has a point. He is a Minnesota grower of vegetables and small grains that he sells direct to restaurants, co-ops, schools and farmers markets and was honored by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service last winter. Truth is everyone trying to explain today’s farming methods should choose words carefully. While Reynolds couldn’t come up with specific words that bothered him, U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance research shows there are words we should use and others we should lose when talking about farming to better connect and build trust with consumers. Rather than talking about insecticides, herbicides and pesticides, our research suggests we explain how we prevent bugs from eating and stealing nutrients from crops. When talking about nitrogen and other fertilizers used on those crops, it’s best to explain that we are nurturing plants with nutrients at exactly the right time, at the right rate and in the right amount to help them grow and thrive. While GMO seed is a well-known term and trumps the use of the word biotech, our research shows it’s more effective to discuss planting seeds that grow stronger and more resilient or have a special, built-in ability to repel insects and diseases. We use the term GMO over biotechnology because it is consumer language and we want to use the language that connects in every instance even when it might not be the most accurate or is designed to actually strike fear in consumers. Animals occasionally get sick, just like people do, so we should relate how we

December | January 2015-2016

work hard to keep animals healthy and maintain growth; sometimes that means properly using antibiotics, according to label directions and under a veterinarian’s care. U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance offers specialized training sessions, called Conversation with E.A.S.E training, designed to help lead productive conversations with those who have questions about food production. The name, E.A.S.E training, stands for the four steps that help with productive conversation: engage; acknowledge; share; earn trust. This training emphasizes that there are no magic words or phrases that will connect you with others or build trust. Instead, we must: Engage by looking for common ground to start conversations and build from there. Acknowledging specific questions and concerns. Once a conversation is started, we can Share stories about how food is raised. Only then can we start to make them realize we are working hard to do the best possible job of raising food in order to Earn trust. If you have never tried talking with a stranger about agriculture, you will probably be surprised at how many people enjoy talking about it to real farmers. During a recent E.A.S.E training session, dairy farmer and St. Croix County Farm Bureau member, Todd Doornink explained how the health of his cows is tracked by wearing something similar to the popular Fitbit bracelets. It was an analogy that resonates with today’s tech-savvy consumers and helps explain how he uses modern technology to give his cows extra care. We all have stories to tell about how we care for our land, animals, farms and families. When we tell them, we need to make sure we choose words that nonfarmers understand and relate to. It will take planning and forethought to avoid

jargon and technical phrases and it will take practice to get comfortable saying them. Start thinking about how to relate what you do best on your farms and how you might explain your work. Then practice with your friends or family and when you’re ready, share your story online at Now about that ‘unconventional’ farming Reynolds believes he’s using. Actually USDA organic practices dictate well-defined standards that haven’t changed in decades. Meanwhile my farm strives for continual improvement by using the latest, scientifically proven evolving technologies as we strive to be more economically and environmentally sustainable now and in the future. For more information on the USFRA’s E.A.S.E. training, please contact Meanwhile you can check out our other resources at and on Facebook at U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. Kavazanjian is the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Chair and a Dodge County Farm Bureau member.



Make Voting a Priority in 2016 A Guest Column by Joan Sanstadt


t’s been almost a year since I wrote my last column for Agri-View. Sometimes my fingers still itch to write about something in the news that catches my eye – or ire. But instead of writing, my concentration has been on enjoying deadline-free Monday mornings and a bit of travel. Nevertheless, when asked to write a guest column for Rural Route my response was a heartfelt ‘yes.’ Next year’s presidential election is of great interest to me. Given the implications, I think voting in 2016 should be everyone’s New Year’s resolution. This means showing up at the polls on April 5 as well as the general election on November 8. In Wisconsin, the presidential primary vote is in conjunction with the spring election. When tallied, these preferences


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determine the number of delegates that each candidate will have at the party nominating conventions next summer. It’s easy to excuse ourselves from voting when we aren’t fond of the candidates whose names show up on the November ballot, but that is not a valid excuse in a democracy. I doubt any one Democratic or Republican candidate stands for every view a voter wants to see; however, we have a duty, as citizens, to vote for the candidate who best represents our priorities. John Danforth, an Episcopal priest and former Republican U.S. Senator from Missouri, has some thoughtful words about choosing candidates for office. He observed how candidates often pledge to ‘fight’ for something. That is wrong, Danforth believes. “We already have enough people in government who campaigned on that strategy,” he said. “Let’s send some to Washington who say that they are seeking common ground. It would be good to have candidates who had some business experience or have met a payroll. Let’s send some who have made a living from the land and who respect natural resources.” “Let’s send some who have a healthy respect and regard for the military,” he urged. “Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush all served in the military, with Ike having served the longest.” A Google search reveals that since WWII, every president served in some capacity in the military, with the exception of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Many of us see real leadership coming from people whose past experiences have taught them valuable lessons. Others can embrace candidates with less experience, but a greater commitment to listening to current opinions often expressed through social media. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with facts about the pluses and minuses of each candidate. The 24-7 news cycle is overflowing with snippets of information on each candidate. Unfortunately, the snippets provided are mostly incomplete or edited to fit a particular view. I find it helpful to compare some of the challenges past presidents were handed and then see if we can make any comparisons with today’s choices. Would media coverage have prevented President Franklin Roosevelt, a paraplegic, from a presidential run? Historians aplenty consider Abraham Lincoln our greatest president, but today his resume might not allow his name to reach the final ballot. The advice I give myself is to find as much information on a candidate as possible and then look at what they have done in challenging situations, and not just at what they have said. Next year, much ink and air time will be devoted to people’s opinions of our next president. Do not let the political buzz stop you from forming your own choice and voting. After all, it’s important to share your opinion, whether you’re a voter or a retired writer. Sanstadt of Madison is the former capitol reporter for the Agri-View newspaper.

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South America Not the Same Threat in 2016 Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


ll eyes are on South America this winter as growers there tend to large acreage planted to corn and soybeans. Traders may be entering the new calendar year with particularly high expectations for production in Brazil and Argentina, but don’t tally up bumper crops just yet. El Niño continues to be a threat to yield in Brazil. The weather phenomenon is projected to remain strong for many months into 2016. Planting efforts were delayed in parts of Brazil because of El Niño, and dry soils are still a worry throughout the northeast and in the top growing state of Matto Grosso. Better weather was enjoyed by farmers in southern Brazil this planting season. The state of Paraná collected nearly double the amount of normal rainfall in October and November. Paraná and the rest of South America will now have to watch out for the possibility of El Niño pushing back heavy rains into harvest season. It’s so far so good for Argentina’s weather. However, major political changes are afoot and that keeps Argentina on our market radar. A newly elected president took office in early December. President Macri is cutting grain export taxes and promising to be a friend of the country’s agriculture industry. Analysts are suggesting that Argentine farmers could switch considerable acres from soybeans to corn and wheat if they can find relief from relaxed grain export taxes. Such commitments are harder to implement and maintain than they are to promise. Significant impacts of a friendlier government trade stance will

December | January 2015-2016

take time to develop. Back to Brazil where political considerations also could come into play this winter. While Argentina voters are mostly happy to welcome in their new president, there is much discontent with the government administration in Brazil. A corruption scandal has rocked Brazil in recent months, with the arrests of top state officials and corporate executives for a pay-to-play graft scheme. Falling confidence in the government has weighed on the value of Brazil’s currency (called ‘real’), which has provided aid to Brazilian exporters. U.S. grain exports suffered as a result of unfavorable exchange rates of the U.S. dollar versus Brazilian and Argentinian currencies in 2015, but there are indications that U.S. trade terms are set to improve. The new administration in Argentina may be tempted to devalue its peso, but improved international confidence in Argentine credit terms would provide long-run support to the currency. Recent action in the foreign currency market also suggests that political worries have already been priced into the Brazilian real and that the currency is bound to stabilize from here. Political changes and the related economic issues in South America make it uncertain that farmers there will continue to enjoy the favorable market terms that they have known in the past year and a half. With the real and peso currencies poised for a recovery against the dollar, U.S. exporters may soon come to enjoy improved trade terms.

Despite changing political and economic landscapes, South Americans still have the potential to harvest big crops in 2016. Even so, current weather considerations make early production estimates look overly optimistic. It may well become a stretch for Argentine farmers to bring in the 25 million metric tons of corn and 85 million metric tons of soybeans that some in the trade have recently projected. Brazilians have the tough task of proving right the analysts that call for nearly 60 million metric tons of corn and more than 100 million metric tons of soybeans. Camp is the Risk Management Specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.



New Members Appointed to Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee B

eth Schaefer of Marathon County, Brian Preder of Waupaca County and Alison Kepner of Sauk County have been appointed to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Committee by the Farm Bureau’s state Board of Directors. Their terms started during the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting and Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference, December 4-7, in Wisconsin Dells. “These individuals are among the best and brightest young leaders in Wisconsin agriculture and will make great additions to the YFA Committee,” Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte said. Beth Schaefer is a regional program manager for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s Wisconsin Dairy Council. Beth works with K-12 schools in north-central Wisconsin to explain the benefits of drinking milk and works closely with media to promote Wisconsin cheese. Beth is the treasurer of the Marathon County New YFA committee members include (left to right) Beth Schaefer, Brian Preder and Alison Kepner. Farm Bureau and is actively involved in her church and the Marathon County for Sauk County Farm Bureau and helps organize Cows on Partnership for Progressive Agriculture. Beth and her husband the Concourse, an annual event in Madison that kicks off Matt live in Hatley with their son Henry. June Dairy Month. Raised on a hog and grain farm in Illinois, Brian Preder developed his passion for dairy farming on Alison lives and works in Baraboo. his family’s 60-cow farm. A graduate of UW-River Falls in The WFBF YFA Committee consists of nine couples or dairy science, he is a herd manager for Pine Breeze Dairy, a individuals (ages 18-35) from across the state. Their goal is to 2,500-cow dairy located in Poy Sippi. Before his appointment get more young farmers and agriculturists acquainted with and to the WFBF YFA Committee he was the Waupaca County involved in Farm Bureau. They carry out a variety of statewide YFA chair. Brian volunteers at the Waupaca County Fair each initiatives, such as conferences, contests and award programs. August where he assists dairy exhibitors. The YFA Program is sponsored by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Alison Kepner is an assistant vice president in the Farm Foundation. and Home segment for Badgerland Financial. Alison works For more information about Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s with farmers and rural residents in portions of Sauk County YFA Program or committee, call 1.800.261.FARM or visit and all of Juneau County. Alison is on the board of directors

Committee Chair and District 3

District 4

District 7

District 1

District 5

District 8

District 2

District 6

District 9

Derek and Charisse Orth | 608.778.9049 Peter Muth | 262.692.9323 Alison Kepner | 608.354.9232


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Derek Husmoen | 608.863.0105 Amanda and Josh Knoch | 608.297.8198 Carley Blado | 920.418.2226

Brian Preder | 920.851.5776 Beth Schaefer | 608.577.6845 Cindy Bourget | 715.505.7676

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

March 4-5, 2016 Madison Marriott West, Middleton

Register by February 3rd to

Check out the Agenda Keynote Panel: “Women In Ag: Understanding Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Heading” Moderator: Amy Pflugshaupt, Anchor/Reporter, NBC 15 Madison

Closing Keynote: “The Importance of Writing Your Own Story” Jerry Apps, Author & Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Breakout Sessions Kim Bremmer Panel Discussion Deb Ihm Laura Daniels & John Quirk Kevin Bernhardt Trish Lawson Lisa Johnson Angie Horkan & Ali Carter Anthony Schmoldt Lisa Johnson Panel Discussion Katie Digangi (TBD)

OMG, GMOs: How to Talk about this Hot Topic Working with Legislators Preserving the Family Farm Legacy Protecting the Next Generation of Farmers How to Prepare for the Bumpy Ride in Ag Insurance 101: Young Adults and Parents Where to Start in Beautifying Your Landscape Eating and Feeding On-the-Go A Deep Dive into Medicaid Recovery Straw Bale and Container Gardening The Dos and Don’ts of Hosting a Farm Tour DIY: Farmhouse Projects What to Do if Your Identity is Compromised

AgVocate of the Year Award Presentation Sponsored by Pam Jahnke, Midwest Family Broadcasting

save $25 with Early Bird Pricing Registration is easy. Register and pay online at

Early Bird Registration Fee: $125 (if received on or before February 3, 2016)

After February 3, 2016: $150 One-Day Only Registration: $110 (no early bird discount for one-day option)

Registration deadline: February 26, 2016

Book a Hotel Room by February 3rd to save

Because a hotel room is not included in the registration fee, please make your reservations at:

Madison Marriott West Middleton, WI

For reservations, call (888) 745-2032 or book online at

Reduced Hotel Room Rate: $123 + tax Request the “WI Ag Women’s Summit” room block by February 3, 2016 to receive this rate.

Nominate an AgVocate of the Year by January 7th Know a woman who is a true advocate for agriculture in Wisconsin? Nominate her for the AgVocate of the Year award, sponsored by Pam Jahnke, the Fabulous Farm Babe. Nomination forms and more information is available online at

Entertainment: Casino Night December | January 2015-2016

Presented by: University of Wisconsin–Extension

39 ©2015 Wisconsin Women’s Summit

Ag in the classroom

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation’s Ag in the Classroom Program Awards Teacher Mini-Grants The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, through the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program, has awarded 15 Teacher Mini-Grants to Wisconsin teachers to use in agricultural literacy lessons and activities. The grants provide opportunities for teachers to obtain funding that may not be available through their local school budgets. Bret Iverson, River Ridge High School, River Ridge:

Awarded $90 for ‘A Walk With Aldo Leopold.’ High School Students will read The Sand County Almanac, complete a paper on the book’s impact on the environmental movement and give an oral summary of their papers. In the spring, they will tour Leopold’s farm and a nearby waterfowl museum.

John Slipek, Abbotsford Elementary School, Abbotsford: Awarded $100 for ‘Greenhouse Gardening!’ Second graders will learn to identify flowers and vegetable seeds, the things needed for proper germination of seeds and the factors related to the successful growing of plants. This project will allow students to visit the greenhouse on a weekly basis and compare how different crops grow.

Cheri Oglesby, St. Rose Catholic School, Cuba City:

Awarded $100 for ‘Harvest Soup’. The Pre-K students will plant and grow seeds into vegetables for harvest soup. The goal of this project is to help the students connect the route between farms and gardens to the food they eat. Learning how to grow different vegetables also will allow for a discussion on healthy food choices and balanced meals and how food gets to the grocery store.

Rhonda Badeau, Sunshine Child Center, Gillett:

Awarded $100 for ‘From Farm to Table.’ Through participation in this project, Pre-K students will gain a better knowledge of where foods come from other than a grocery store. In addition, Pre-K students will identify foods that belong in the fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy and meat food groups. The Pre-K students will be aware of the healthy food choices that are available to them through daily and weekly activities.

Karen Williams, Riverside Middle School, Watertown:

Awarded $100 for ‘School Garden/ Greenhouse.’ The seventh grade science teachers started a school garden a few years ago. In addition to using the produce in science and family and consumer science classes and learning about the many dimensions of gardening,


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students also collect weather and temperature data. To enhance the experience for students a weather station that will monitor temperature and humidity along with a soil moisture meter and a compost thermometer will be purchased.

Kim Houser, Wisconsin Heights High School, Mazomanie: Awarded $100 for ‘Incubating/Hatching

Chickens.’ High school students will learn about the proper methods of raising poultry on a small-scale level by raising leg-horn chickens in large animal care class. Students will learn about set-up, candling, keeping records on the incubator, anatomy physiology of chickens as well as the initial needs of chickens. Ultimately, the students will teach more than 200 elementary students about the egg hatching process and the importance to the agricultural industry.

Lisa Bowen, Highland Elementary School, Highland:

Awarded $100 for ‘Ag Literacy in the Classroom.’ In an effort to teach fourth graders about the importance of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, books will be purchased and learning activities kits will be generated based on the books. One unit will focus on growing crops and selling the produce as a class fundraiser. In addition, local guest speakers will share personal experiences with the class.

Nicole Siem, Julie Rocco, Amy Bachtell, Plat Elementary School, Colgate: Awarded $100 for ‘Maple Sugar Time.’ Students in first grade learn about maple sugar production each year as part of the science curriculum. They work together to identify sugar maple trees, learn about the history of maple syrup and the process of making maple syrup. By purchasing a tree for the school, students will see a sugar maple tree close up and future students will be able to tap and collect their own sap.

Kristine Gerke, awarded $95.11, Amanda Hillestad, awarded $95.11 and Lindsey Guenther, awarded $100, LaGrange Elementary School, Tomah: for ‘Maple Syrup

Production.’ This project will allow for fourth grade students to collaborate with high school students to experience the process of harvesting maple syrup from start to finish. Fourth graders will learn the maple syrup industry by reading multiple texts about maple syrup. These books will focus on processing maple syrup today as well as making a connection to collecting maple syrup as a pioneer in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Teri Eberhardy, StoryBook Kids, Mosinee: Awarded $100 for ‘Things that Go Beep.’ In the pre-K classroom, learning comes through play. By introducing farm toys and books, the children will learn to make the connection between farm toys and their food. Students also will create a farm vehicle booklet and associate these vehicles with crop production. The toys and books will help students make the connection between farming and food at the grocery store. Jennifer Russell, Shullsburg High School, Shullsburg:

Awarded $100 for ‘How Did That Get in My Lunchbox Day.’ Using the book How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food, high school students will help elementary students explore how food is grown on the farm and how it gets into their lunch box. After completing the story, students will take part in a lunchbox day where they will travel to different stations to learn about foods from the story.

Glenda Crook, Lodi High School, Lodi: Awarded $100 for ‘Wisconsin Lakes and Fish.’ The National Agriculture Week goals are to conduct activities to develop more environmentally responsible people. This activity will connect high school students and more than 200 elementary school students to learn more about the lakes in the Lodi area and how natural resources and the environment are all part of agriculture.

Would you like to support agriculture literacy projects like this? Donate $100 now to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation!

Simply click on the donate button at and choose ‘Grant Contribution’ or send in this form with your check to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation at P.O. Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705.

The first 20 donors will receive a pack of Betty Engel notecards! Name: Address:

Stacey Kunde, Brillion Public Schools, Brillion: Awarded $100 for ‘Agriculture Library.’ The goal of this project is to increase the outside classroom reading of agriculture-related materials by Brillion students by providing age appropriate books, guides and how-to books based on the courses offered in the Brillion High School Agriculture Department. Providing students with course reading from chapter books, guides and how-to’s will increase the variety of literacy strategies used. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program also has matching grants available to groups and organizations that conduct agricultural literacy projects. Applications are due by April 1 and can be downloaded at or by calling 608.828.5644. December | January 2015-2016


Ag in the classroom

Lomira Educator Recognized for Agricultural Literacy K

“A key of her program is a ayla Adamson, a second cross-curricular approach to help grade teacher at Lomira Elementary School in Dodge students learn about different facets County, is the recipient of of agriculture,” Kamps added. the Outstanding Teacher “Ultimately, she wants them to be able Award from the Wisconsin to discuss how food gets from the farm to their tables.” Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Adamson received her Bachelor of Classroom program. Arts in elementary education from Each year the Wisconsin Wisconsin Lutheran College. She Farm Bureau Foundation also attended a one-year Spanish recognizes a teacher for Immersion Program at La Academia, their efforts in educating in Quito, Ecuador. She taught middle students on the importance school English at HOPE Christian of agriculture. Teachers of School: Prima, in Milwaukee before all grade levels and subject coming to Lomira in 2012. areas, with the exclusion Kamps (left) presented Adamson (right) with her award. Adamson will be Wisconsin’s of certified agriculture nominee for the National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture education instructors, are eligible to apply for the award. Award and will receive $500 to attend the National Ag in the “Adamson’s application proves that she is not only an Classroom Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. outstanding teacher in her classroom, but that she works hard For more information about Ag in the Classroom or the to network and collaborate with other teachers and volunteers Outstanding Teacher Award, please call 608.828.5644. with many organizations,” said Gretchen Kamps, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom Coordinator.

I Spy - Ag in the Classroom Workshop at YFA Conference D istrict Women’s Committee Representatives Darby Sampson, Michelle Bule and Amber Cordes led an I Spy hands-on workshop at the YFA conference highlighting some of the fun activities the Ag in the Classroom program has to offer. Workshop attendees checked out this year’s Book of the Year, Sugarbush Spring; watched the process of making lip balm and took some home; snacked around Wisconsin and brushed up on their agriculture vocabulary and coloring skills with our ABC’s and 123’s of Agriculture coloring station. Learn more about Ag in the Classroom on our new, easy-to-navigate website:


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Members Funding the Foundation 50/50 Raffle

Trivia Contest

This year the YFA Committee held two 50/50 raffles. Michelle Bula (left) was the winner Saturday night and Alex Bringe (pictured right with Derek Orth) was the winner Sunday night. A total of $2,002 was raised for the Foundation.

A trivia contest was held Saturday night during the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference. Thirty teams participated, raising about $1,800 for the WFB Foundation.

Cornhole Tournament A cornhole tournament was held Friday night of the YFA Conference. Twenty-two teams participated, raising $440 for the Foundation. First place team was from Grant County, second place from Iowa County

Electric Eclectic was the winning trivia team. Members were (L-R) Allison Wedig, Isaac Christenson, David Gallagher, Nate Zimdars, Ethan Giebel and Brianna Huebner.

Light Bulb Sales Thank you to Ralph and Becky Levzow for donating light bulbs to the Foundation to help raise money. Their donation generated $190 to support the Foundation. What a bright idea!

Pictured (L-R) are second place team: Justin Doyle and Jared Leonard. First place team: Josh Kuenster and Joe Hillby.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between September 1 and November 30, 2015

• Krentz Family Dairy • William Bruins • Dale Beaty • Carl Casper • Tracy Pape in memory of Dale Merrill • Steve Jones in memory of Robert Cashmer • Howard Paulson in memory of Robert Cashmer • David Kruschke in memory of Lucille Giese December | January 2015-2016

• Richard Gorder in memory of Dale Merrill • Peter and Christina Winch in memory of Kaila Fouks • Manitowoc County Farm Bureau in memory of Greg Cummings •D  odge County Farm Bureau in memory of Gene Hildebrandt • Taylor County Farm Bureau in memory of Gary Schafer • St. Croix County Farm Bureau in memory of Lucille Giese • Dodge County Farm Bureau in memory of Hilbert Schoenike



Silent Auction Raises Funds for Foundation The Foundation’s Silent Auction has a longstanding tradition of support from our members and partners and this year was no different. Thank you to each and every person who donated items, brought them to the Annual Meeting, purchased items at the auction and continued to bid on items throughout the Annual Meeting. With your help, 319 items were donated and more than $17,700 were raised to continue supporting our education and leadership development programs. We’re Farm Bureau Proud to have supporters like these!


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Cyber Liability and Data Breach Services C

yber liability exposures are material and growing. The global cost of data breaches is increasing nearly 3 percent a year, from roughly $600 billion this year to $2.5 trillion in 2020, according to Juniper Research, a consultancy based in Hampshire, England. Available for roughly the past five years, cyber insurance typically covers the costs involved in consumer notification, credit checks, business interruption and lawsuits that could stem from a hacker attack of corporate networks. Two main types of risks are covered by cyber insurance. ‘First-party’ risks refer to damages stemming from business interruption, data destruction, identity theft and cyber extortion. ‘Third-party’ risks refer to network security liability and software and Web content liability.

Proactive Breach Preparation Services Rural Mutual Insurance Company has partnered with IDT911 to provide coverage. Cyber Coverage will be automatically added to all new business and renewal policies with an effective date of September 1, 2015 and later. The default coverage will be $10,000 with first- and third-party shared coverage. In the unfortunate event of a breach, IDT911’s experts can help you develop a breach response strategy and incident management plan. • Breach Counseling-Help determine whether a breach has occurred and assess the severity of the incident • Crisis Management-Professional service in handling a breach • Notification Assistance-Help in preparing notification letters that comply with regulatory requirements • Remediation Services-Recommendations on remediation services for impacted individuals December | January 2015-2016

• Media Relations Consulting-Public relations assistance to help restore your business’ reputation • Legal Support-Documentation of steps taken and remediation services provided.

Why Does a Farmer Need Cyber Liability Insurance? If you have any of the following exposures you have a potential threat for a cyber liability loss: • Employee’s W2 • Participate in Virtual Farmers Markets • IRS 1099 Information • On-Line Sales • Leased Land • Grain/Fertilizer Dealer • Co-op Members • Lost Laptop or Cellphone • On-Line Banking • Credit Card Reader on a Smartphone • Farmers Market Customers • Photo of Check Deposits Please contact your Rural Mutual Insurance agent for further information.

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Article contribution by Byron Acohido and Edward Iwata, ThirdCertainty as well as IDT911. A recent three-part series of stories by lays out a comprehensive discussion of the emerging cyber insurance market.


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Reduce Market Volatility Risk with Indexed Universal Life Insurance T

oday’s market environment is not for the faint of heart. Unexpected swings can leave a lasting impact on your retirement funds, creating risks you hadn’t accounted for as you prepared for your future. To help you mitigate these risks, Farm Bureau Financial Services introduced a new indexed universal life insurance product that is designed to protect the future for your loved ones and give you the option to put your policy to work while you’re living. Farm Bureau’s Foundations Indexed Universal Life Insurance’s unique interest crediting strategy can help you use your policy’s accumulated value to take advantage of potential gains of the market while protecting you from downside risk. The product does not participate in the market1 like a more traditional variable universal life product would, but rather credits interest based on the annual performance of a designated market index2. A Foundations Indexed Universal Life policy’s accumulated value is protected from negative market returns. And, in years when the market gains, the policy’s accumulated value can earn a competitive interest rate, although that rate is subject to a cap. Indexed universal life products have recently taken off in the insurance market because of the way they reduce market volatility for the buyer and also because of their permanent life insurance features – like tax advantaged3 access to cash loans and a death benefit for beneficiaries. Through planned policy loans4, you can supplement your retirement income, fund a child or grandchild’s education or travel the world. To learn more about how indexed universal life products work and whether Farm Bureau’s Foundations Indexed Universal Life could be a good fit for you, contact your local agent. This policy does not directly participate in any stock, bond or equity investments. 2Only the Indexed Segment earns interest based on the percentage change in the designated market index. 3Neither the Company nor its agents give tax, accounting or legal advice. Please consult your professional advisors in these areas. 4Any loans from the policy’s accumulated value will reduce the policy’s accumulated value and death benefit if the borrowed funds, plus interest are not repaid by the time of your death. This is a flexible premium policy. It is important that your premium payments are sufficient to maintain coverage. In the event that premium payments are insufficient to maintain the insurance, coverage under the policy will terminate. Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, West Des Moines, IA



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Fire Safety on the Farm F

ire safety and fire prevention should be a part of every farmer’s safety plan. Do your prep in the offseason to make sure that your machinery, buildings and wiring are maintained properly and that you have taken the right precautions. Experienced fire safety officials offered these tips on avoiding a devastating fire. Hay Precautions Hay and bedding storage should not be stored near lights, fans, electrical boxes, heaters or outlets. When storing newly baled hay, monitor the temperature of the bales to make sure bales don’t get too hot and that there is adequate ventilation. If too much heat builds up, spontaneous combustion could occur. Never purchase hay that is hot, which happens if it was baled too wet. This is a fire hazard and the hay will usually turn moldy, making it unpalatable and unhealthy for animals to eat. Smoke Detection Smoke detectors can save critical time if a fire does start. Tips to keep in mind: • Make sure that you check smoke detectors regularly, at least twice a year. • Connect the smoke detectors with a loud, external siren or alarm that will sound so that they can be heard if no one is in the barn. Heat Sources Check the heating system to make sure that every furnace and stove is in good repair. Check to see that ducts and air shafts are clean of dust and debris and motors are cleaned and oiled. Monitor your pulley belts and check gas and fuel oil systems for leaks and unsafe installations. Keep all types of heating devices and other equipment clean and in good condition. Electrical Safety Wires should be encased in a metal conduit pipe. Even temporary wires such as extension cords to a tank heater, should be run through conduit pipe to keep the wires safe from breakage and away from livestock and rodent teeth and metal horse shoes. Make sure that power needs for ventilation and feed distribution are met without overloading your electrical system and follow the National Electrical Code. Use good material and proper fuse size or circuit breaker rating and junction boxes at splice points. Use waterproof wiring and receptacles, enclosed electric motors and similar equipment in any buildings that are cleaned periodically with high-pressure equipment. Thank you to Aaron Harris and Brad Subera from the Middleton Fire Department for input on this article.

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

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

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

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

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Wisconsin Farm Bureau December | January Volume 21 Issue 6

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