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february | march 2018 • vol. 24 no. 1 |

Meet the

Modern-day Farm Chick Page 22

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contents vol. 24 no. 1

8 12




12 16










22 stay connected


See highlights from the Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.


What you need to know about industrial hemp.


See highlights from this year's event.


Learn about this program that offers farmer leadership, on-farm research and outreach.


Browse the list of topics for this year's Lunch & Learns.


This Farm Bureau member takes advocating for agriculture to a new level.


Opinions from Holte, Duvall, Eckelberg, Marketon and Bragger.


See member-submitted winter photo favorites.


Meet the recipients of Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom's mini-grants.


What you need to know to participate.


Learn a simple method for preventing injuries on the farm.




Read our previous issues at






very February it comes on like a bad cold. I curse the wind, dread the late snow storms and paranoidly watch the ice patches on the driveway. I yearn for sunshine, a green lawn and in general, warmth. Winter blues. They are real. This year my husband and I tried to combat them with a trip to a warm place. We have never done this before, but I have seen plenty of others do it. My observation: it cured the blues until we returned home to long, dark days and frigid wind. Within a week I was right back where I started, figuratively and literally. I hear a lot of farmers talk about what they battle during the winter months. Frozen waterlines, sick calves caused by temperature fluctuation, broken equipment and the list goes on. I am often reminded, especially by my own family, that I don’t have it all that bad. It’s true, I don’t. I hope you are beating the winter blues and the overall gloom hovering over the

agricultural community. With low prices and tight margins for many sectors, 2018 is off to a less than thrilling start. Farmers are the ultimate optimists, and while 2018 might test that statement, I know it’ll remain true. It’s the unofficial meeting season in the Wisconsin ag community. Conferences, meetings and all-around catching up is in full force. Farm Bureau members around the state have had a very busy winter so far. More than 60 Farm Bureau members and staff returned from the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Nashville in early January. You’ll find a recap from that event throughout the magazine. More recently, we wrapped up Ag Day at the Capitol which drew a crowd of diverse farmers from around the state. Wearing their lobbying hat for the day they took to the Capitol to discuss important issues with their legislators. See a photo collection from the day on pages 12-13. It’s not too late to start on a new year’s resolution. If you were going to try to amplify your ‘ag’vocating skills, look to Annaliese Wegner for inspiration. She talks about her work on the farm and online on pages 22-23. Whatever you’re doing to beat the winter blues, I hope it’s working. Spring will be here before we know it. Wisconsin winters are tough but so are Wisconsin farmers and agriculturists. Amy Eckelberg Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

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

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

Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276)

WFBF Board of Directors Jim Holte, Elk Mound, (President) Don Radtke, Merrill, (Vice President) Dave Daniels, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., Janesville Richard Gorder, Mineral Point Joe Bragger, Independence Kevin Krentz, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, Chilton Adam Kuczer, Pulaski Andrea Brossard, Burnett (Promotion and Education Committee Chair) Brian Preder, Weyauwega (YFA Committee Chair) Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route (ISSN 1082-1368) (USPS 39940), the official publication of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, is published six times per year in February|March, April|May, June|July, August|September, October|November and December|January. Subscription of $5 is included in Farm Bureau dues. Periodical postage is paid at Madison, Wisconsin. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. For advertising rates and information: Wisconsin accounts contact Slack Attack at 608.222.7630 or National accounts contact Casey McNeal at 800.798.2691 ext. 334 or For general inquiries, contact Amy Eckelberg at 608.828.5706 or


Farm Bureau Re-elects President Zippy Duvall, Sets Agenda for 2018 Delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Annual Convention unanimously re-elected AFBF President Zippy Duvall. Delegates also approved measures to help assure a prosperous agricultural and rural economy in the coming year and beyond. Resolutions approved by farmer and rancher delegates from across the nation ran the gamut of issues, from trade to regulatory reform, crop insurance, biotechnology and more. Farm Bureau’s voting delegates reaffirmed their support for the dairy industry by adopting policy designed to give farmers the choice between a Title I program based on milk prices or an improved income-over-feed-cost margin protection program. Farm Bureau members also approved policy supporting the expansion of risk management tools available to dairy farmers under the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation – including a dairy revenue insurance product and the ability to use both Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency tools simultaneously. “Today’s actions give us a clear roadmap at a time when farmers are on the verge of their fifth consecutive year of shrinking net farm income,” Duvall said following the delegate session. “Despite these difficulties, we remain optimistic: Official Washington feels more like a partner than it did just a short time ago. We have real opportunities to make progress in policy that we have not had in the past.”

Among other things, delegates approved measures supporting: •• An improved Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program to decrease risk-management disparities across counties. •• A flexible cotton support program that considers cotton seed, cotton lint or both to help beleaguered cotton growers. •• Strengthened and more flexible risk management and safety-net programs for dairy farmers. •• Permission for workers to seek employment from more than one farmer under the H-2A program. •• Trade and trade agreements that strengthen market opportunities for U.S. agriculture. •• Elimination of sunset provisions in trade agreements, to give certainty to businesses into the future. •• Modification of NAFTA to improve market access to difficult Canadian dairy markets, in addition to improved food-safety standards for imported products. •• An end to use of non-GMO labels on products that do not have GMO alternatives. •• A $1 per member increase in dues paid by state affiliates of the American Farm Bureau Federation. •• Support for the use of gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR, along with a voluntary and uniform labeling program for such products.




Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Highlights Priorities, Accomplishments in New Administration and USDA T

he Agriculture Department is being reoriented with a new focus on farmers, its customers, and has already built a record of success, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. He made his comments at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Nashville. In his opening remarks, Perdue spoke about the importance of trade to U.S. agriculture and the priority of successful NAFTA negotiations. “To get a deal, we need all sides to seriously roll up their sleeves and get to work,” Perdue said. “We have put a number of proposals on the table to modernize NAFTA, and critically for agriculture, to address key sectors left out of the original agreement – dairy and poultry tariffs in Canada. Now, we want to see our negotiating partners step up and engage so we can get the deal done.” In Perdue’s first eight months as secretary, USDA has already reopened the Chinese market to American beef, signed a protocol to allow exports of U.S. rice to China for the first time ever and eased European Union regulations on citrus exports. South Korea lifted its ban on imports of U.S. poultry, while Argentina has allowed American pork back into the country for the first time since 1992. Perdue said USDA has been rolling back excessive regulations following a directive from President Donald Trump. He cited the Waters of the U.S. rule as an example of regulatory overreach negatively affecting farmers. “You know, sometimes a mud puddle is just a mud puddle,” he said. “We don’t need the federal government coming in and regulating everything to death.” USDA has targeted 27 final rules for elimination that will save $56.15 million annually. Perdue asked farmers and ranchers to bring any onerous regulations to USDA’s attention by visiting the agency’s website. Looking ahead to President Trump’s address to the Farm Bureau members later that day, Perdue emphasized that the president understands how important rural America is as the


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breadbasket of the world. “It is proof of the importance that he places on all of us – rural and urban, north, south, east, west and Midwest – working together to make our country even greater,” he said. Perdue highlighted USDA’s newly-released Economic Research Service report that shows 99 percent of American farms are family farms that account for 90 percent of production. President Trump, he said, understands that family farms are small businesses that must turn a profit to provide for their families. Perdue cited recent tax reform as a solution that will allow farmers to keep more of what they earn in order to reinvest in their farms. Perdue said a report from the administration’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity will contain more than 100 practical, actionable recommendations for economic growth in five key areas: e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, technology and economic development. In conclusion, Perdue praised America and American farmers. “One of the biggest reasons that we are the envy of the world is gathered right here in this room – the farmers of America. You feed this country and the world, with all of your labors every day,” Perdue said. “The bonds of faith are directly tied to our liberty,” he said in closing. “Every time you plant a seed in the ground, you are exhibiting your faith in a bountiful harvest. There is nothing more American than that.”


Trump Promotes Rural Development Initiative in Speech to Farm Bureau Members


resident Donald Trump unveiled a major initiative designed to strengthen a rural economy that has lagged urban areas in recovery from the Great Recession of 20072008. Trump signed two executive orders that fund and streamline the expansion of rural broadband access after an address to 7,400 farmers and ranchers gathered at American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Annual Convention. In addition to economic development, Trump touched on issues of particular importance to agriculturists such as regulations, labor and trade. He praised farmers for their enduring values. “We are witnessing a new era of patriotism, prosperity and pride—and at the forefront of this exciting new chapter is the great American farmer,” Trump said, “Farmers embody the values of hard work, grit, self-reliance and sheer determination.”

The president spent much of his address decrying the costs of excessive regulation and tallying the rules his administration has moved to eliminate. “We are also putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life. And it was an assault,” he said. Trump singled out the Waters of the U.S. rule, now being withdrawn following an executive order he signed in the first weeks of his administration. “It sounds so nice, it sounds so innocent, and it was a disaster. People came to me about it and they were crying – men who were tough and strong, women who were tough and strong – because I gave them back their property and I gave them back their farms. We ditched the rule." Trump acknowledged controversy over the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade agreements that account for roughly a quarter of U.S. agriculture revenues. “To level the playing field for all of our farmers and ranchers as well as our manufacturers we are reviewing all of our trade agreements,” he said. “On NAFTA, I am working very hard to get a better deal for our farmers and ranchers and manufacturers.” Trump promised the farm bill would continue to provide a safety net for farmers who are now entering their fifth year of declining incomes. “I look forward to working with Congress to pass the farm bill on time so that it delivers for all of you, and I support a bill that includes crop insurance,” he said. AFBF President Zippy Duvall said Trump’s visit marked a watershed in D.C. politics. “Farmers and ranchers have too long faced burdensome regulations,” Duvall said. “This president understands the toll government overreach has taken on ordinary business and is moving swiftly to clear the way for prosperity. We are moving into yet another year of economic difficulty. Relief could not have come at a better time.”

2018 Policy Book Available Online W

ant to know where Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation stands on an issue? The 2018 policy book is available at The document reflects the most recent policy directives established by voting delegates at the 98th WFBF Annual Meeting in December. “Members and delegates establish Farm Bureau’s legislative agenda from resolutions submitted by our voting members,” said Jim Holte, WFBF President. “These grassrootsgenerated policies address agricultural topics like transportation, land and water stewardship, regulatory overreach and private property rights.” “We want this information easily accessible to all of our members and the decisionmakers who have a role in agriculture’s future,” Holte added. To view the policy book online, visit FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018



Lynn Dickman represented Wisconsin in the national Excellence in Ag competition.

President Donald Trump addressed American Farm Bureau Annual Convention attendees.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members Derek and Charisse Orth serve on the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.

Farm Bureau members enjoyed a concert at the Grand Old Opry while attending the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Nashville, TN.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members and staff attended the AFBF Leadership Luncheon where they heard from Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chin.

ore than 60 Wisconsin Farm Bureau members and staff attended the American Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.


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Farm Bureau members and staff gathered to watch Lynn Dickman give her Excellence in Ag presentation.

Chad and Katrina Gleason represented Wisconsin in the national Achievement Award competition.

Members of the WFBF Board of Directors met with Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) about moving his Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 (HR 3530) bill forward. From left, Joe Bragger, Arch Morton Jr., Rep. Comer, Jim Holte and Adam Kuczer.

Wisconsin members Carl Casper and Dave Kruschke completed a StoryCorps interview about their Farm Bureau involvement.

Outagamie County Farm Bureau member Linda Vander Heiden talked about the Milk and Cookies with Santa program.

Manitowoc County Farm Bureau member Jamie Propson (left) made it to the Sweet 16 in the YF&R Discussion Meet.




The Resurgence of Wisconsin Industrial Hemp I t was a day that former state representative and Farm Bureau member Eugene Hahn had envisioned for more than 20 years. On November 27, 2017, Governor Scott Walker signed into law Wisconsin Act 100 – an act legalizing the growing, cultivating and marketing of industrial hemp in conformity with the 2014 Farm Bill. After securing a unanimous vote in the Legislature, this event was so momentous for the 88-year old Hahn that he, like days past when he served in the Assembly with an exuberance rarely seen, broke out into boisterous song as the Governor signed his name to this historic bill and punctuated a day that was decades in the making. For Hahn, and many others who believe in the promise and potential of industrial hemp, the road to legalization began in the late-1990s when the first hemp bills were introduced in the Legislature. However, Hahn was a man ahead of his time. It wasn’t until recent years that industrial hemp’s acceptance has increased dramatically with awareness from policymakers and with demand for its commercial applications in markets that now include agriculture, textiles, automotive, food and beverages, paper, construction materials and personal care items. Even though Wisconsin is the 34th state to pass some form of hemp legislation since the passage of the farm bill, the state is most certainly at the forefront of a national resurgence thanks in part to pioneers like Eugene Hahn.

The History of Hemp

By Rob Richard

and use with its ‘Hemp for Victory’ campaign. Grown extensively across the country, hemp fiber was used for rope, parachute webbing, soldiers’ shoes and clothing and various other uses to aid in the war effort. Ultimately, by the mid-1950s, a combination of cheap labor in foreign countries and regulatory stipulations in the Marihuana Act of 1937 brought an end to legal and profitable hemp production in the U.S.

Hemp in the News

Industrial hemp is usually misaligned with its more infamous cannabis cousin, marijuana. Because of this, a great deal of agricultural heritage in hemp seed genetics, crop research and technological innovation have been hindered or lost entirely. However, the tide is turning and once again policymakers are recognizing the tremendous potential that hemp can offer farmers as an effective rotational crop with promising economic benefits. State Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) introduced companion legislation - Assembly Bill 183 and Senate Bill 119 - in early 2017 with the backing of Wisconsin Farm Bureau and thus began an 11-month education and lobbying campaign that ultimately led to the prospect of legal hemp seed being planted in Wisconsin soil for the first time since 1957.

Open Doors but Bumpy Roads

Early colonial settlers in America were required to grow hemp With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and under because it was vital to their everyday existence. It was considered supervision of research universities or state departments of legal tender and could be used to pay taxes. George Washington, agriculture, states were finally given the green light to ‘study Thomas Jefferson and John Adams grew hemp on their farms the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp.’ and advocated for its commercialization. Even the Declaration Since that time, 34 states have passed some form of legislation of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. legalizing this type of research, but its full-fledged production Kentucky was a national leader in hemp production until the early 20th century. Research and processing innovations led to Wisconsin taking the top spot by the 1920s all the way through the late 1950s. However, Wisconsin growers were dependent on getting their seed from Kentucky farmers who produced the finest seed varieties worldwide. When our supply lines were cut off from Southeast Asia after the Japanese entered Members of the WFBF Board of Directors, WFBF staff and other state Farm Bureau staff and World War II, the U.S. presidents met with Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.). The discussion, held at the American Farm Department of Agriculture Bureau Annual Convention in January, involved educating about industrial hemp and moving his championed hemp’s cultivation Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 (HR 3530) bill forward.


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and commercialization is extremely hindered by its current designation as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s historically-aggressive enforcement action against hemp. The U.S. is the only major industrialized country that cannot legally grow hemp as a crop. We import roughly $600 million of hemp products into the country, with most raw and processed hemp fiber coming from China and most hemp seed and oil cake coming from Canada. This is a lost economic opportunity for Wisconsin farmers.

The Current Scene

Wisconsin Farm Bureau coordinated an educational seminar on growing Even though many states have legalized hemp industrial hemp that was held in Eau Claire on January 30. More than 300 cultivation, some federal agencies have interpreted people were in attendance with many more watching via live stream. federal law so that the interstate commerce of hemp rural Wisconsin. The planning and investment in crops and seed and potentially some hemp byproduct is illegal. processing facilities is already occurring. Basically, states that have passed hemp legislation are essentially hemp islands that cannot transport/sell seed out of the state The Future of Hemp to be cultivated elsewhere. Many legal experts, and a lawsuit currently filed in the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals, argue Going forward, we are entering a commodity market that is that this action runs contrary to Congress’ intent. This legal not necessarily new to the rest of the world but it’s certainly new ambiguity is severely hindering research and commercialization to America’s farmers. Before you dive in, do your homework, of the plant varieties, as well as banking and financing services proceed with caution and then do some more homework. Make for processing facilities. sure growing hemp is right for you. Before you plant be sure you That is why 27 state Farm Bureau presidents, led by have a buyer or a contract. In the coming days and months, the Wisconsin’s Jim Holte, have urged USDA Secretary Sonny Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Perdue and President Donald Trump to support a bill Protection will be building an industrial hemp webpage: datcp. introduced by Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) - HR Utilize 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017. This federal this site to get information and updates. legislation would treat industrial hemp as it should be - a crop. This is no doubt a time of experimentation and learning, Wisconsin House members Glenn Grothman, Mark Pocan, but by doing this responsibly we can learn, grow and benefit Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mike Gallagher, along with 34 together and renew an industry that has lain dormant other congressional members, support this legislation. for 60 years. More recently at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, WFBF President Holte Want more information on industrial hemp invited Congressman Comer to speak to state Farm Bureau in Wisconsin? presidents and national affairs coordinators to discuss strategy Visit moving HR 3530 through Congress. Detail/evhdid/12154 to watch a free seminar. With the backing of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Conference of State Legislatures, WFBF President Holte believes we are at a tipping point as Washington, D.C., and statehouses across the country are openly accepting industrial hemp as a sustainable, eco-friendly and profitable crop. In this time of depressed commodity and milk markets, farmers need regulatory relief and they need all tools available to them to maximize profits wherever they can find them. Declassifying industrial hemp as a crop will have far reaching economic and agronomic impacts throughout FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018


Ag Day at the Capitol

Brings Farmers to Madison




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5 6



1. Wisconsin Secretary of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection Sheila Harsdorf addressed the crowd. 2. F  arm Bureau members from District 9 stopped for a quick photo with Senator-elect Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset) on their way to the Capitol. 3. P  rior to meeting with elected officials, attendees were briefed on various agricultural issues. 4. F  arm Bureau members from Districts 8 and 9 posed for a photo after meeting with the offices of Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) and Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon). 5. Surrounded by representatives from numerous commodity groups, Governor Scott Walker signed an executive order to support rural economic development. 6. M  embers from Districts 4 and 9 posed for a photo with Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) before meeting with his staff. 7. Clark County farmers and agriculturists gathered for a photo after a meeting with Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford). 8. F  arm Bureau members from the Senate's 23rd District met with State Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls).




Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s

April 5-6, 2018 Holiday Inn Conference Center, Stevens Point Presented by:


Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Tracks Governance and Organization

Building Farm Bureau

• Managing the Process of Conflict • Who’s Going to Fill Your Shoes? • Farm Bureau University • The ABCs of Being a County Farm Bureau Board Member • Fat Free Meetings • Leveraging FBL Products to Support County Farm Bureau Finances

• Taking the Mystery Out of Membership Recruitment • Turning Your Volun‘tears’ into Volun‘cheers’ • Ag in the Classroom : Getting Your Message into Schools • Ignite a Spark in your County YFA Program • Bridging the Gap Between Farmers and Consumers • Working in Partnership with Your Local Rural Mutual Agent

There’s A Snake in My Bumper! Lifting the Limits Matt Rush Executive Vice President, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau

Matt Lohr Lohr Leadership

Communicating for Agriculture and Farm Bureau • Earning Consumer Trust through the Farmer Voice • Consumer Education: Organizing a Farm Tour • Conversations with EASE • County Farm Bureau Social Media • Working with Local Media

Policy, Issues and Advocacy • WFBF’s Local Affairs Program • Volunteers for Agriculture® and the 2018 Elections • What are the Prospects for More Trade Agreements? • What are the Prospects for a 2018 Farm Bill? • Discovery Farms Water Research Updates

Register by March 23 Humor for the Heart of Agriculture

Damian Mason Indiana Farmer and Agricultural Speaker

Wisconsin Ag Update

Sheila Harsdorf Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Register and pay online at or visit for the link. Registration Fee: $135



UW Discovery Farms Farmer Leadership. On-Farm Research. Outreach.


hat happens when farmers create partnerships and assemble resources to address an issue? This is the very essence of grassroots, Farm Bureau leadership and a good example of the farmer leadership that exists in the University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms Program. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, researchers, policymakers and farmers were grappling with rules and regulations necessary to achieve water quality goals in Wisconsin. There was some research data available to address questions about the impact of agricultural practices on water quality, but very little of it had been

collected from working farms in various Wisconsin landscapes. The idea for an on-farm research program was born. The program was tasked with partnering with farmers to collect on-farm water quality data around the state and extending that information so that others could understand the impact of practices, and, if needed, adapt and adopt specific solutions to water quality challenges. As a UW-Extension program, UW Discovery Farms is dedicated to serving all members of Wisconsin’s agricultural community.

Discovery Farms is a great value to the farming community. With today’s input costs and market prices, we have to look at ways to maximize our farming dollars. Discovery Farms teaches us ways to do that and preserve our precious top soils with different farming techniques. We are encouraged to try things that are outside the box of our normal practices. After looking at the research from our farm and farms across the state, we sit down to see if there are changes we can make that fit into our farm. If we were not willing to change some things, we would not have entered into this partnership. Doug Rebout is a farmer in Janesville. The Rebout Farm currently has two Discovery Farms monitoring stations and hosted a Discovery Farms field day last summer. Doug serves as the Rock County Farm Bureau president.


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It didn’t take long for the idea to spread. Other states soon began exploring a similar model: a farmer-led program, conducting water quality research and extending the findings through outreach to farmers and other interested groups. In 2009, there were Discovery Farms Programs in North Dakota, Arkansas and Wisconsin when our neighbor to the west, Minnesota decided to begin a program. The impact of UW Discovery Farms has been magnified since partnering with Discovery Farms Minnesota. We’ve been able to work together and, as of 2017, we now have a common water quality database, a joint tile monitoring project and shared staff. Through this partnership, we can establish results from a wider range of farms and landscapes and efficiently use resources to develop messages of greater merit and impact. Over the years, our priorities and founding principles have become even more clear. In 2013, the Discovery Farms name was trademarked to reinforce the guiding principles as requirements for any program that wants to join the national Discovery Farms network. Our three guiding principles include farmer leadership, credible on-farm research and outreach.

Wisconsin and Minnesota Discovery Farms research efforts span across both states.

Interested in getting Discovery Farms research updates? Subscribe to our blog, The Ag Water Exchange. We use this blog as a platform to share our newest research and happenings within the organizations. The goal of the Ag Water Exchange is to contribute to the greater advancement of water quality knowledge and modern agricultural management practices. Posts are made frequently, and we encourage comments and discussion.

Follow along at 2017 was a successful year for UW Discovery Farms. We collected data, strengthened partnerships, hosted events and shared research results. Here is a breakdown of a few of our accomplishments by the numbers:

170 one-on-one farmer meetings 77 articles written about/by Discovery Farms for the ag community

 5 hours spent presenting water quality research to 7 4,900 people

9 events hosted with a total of 465 in attendance In 2018, we will create partnerships to develop at least two new project areas, adding to our dataset with 20 new farmers participating in Nitrogen Use Efficiency Project and sharing results from recently completed watershed projects. FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018


Wisconsin and Minnesota’s combined dataset tells us about the impact of storms. Discovery Farms monitors soil, phosphorus and nitrogen content in runoff water. We collect the corresponding weather and farm management data, and create information that is delivered directly to farmers. We take great pride in the credible water quality research we are able to produce on privately owned farms. In Wisconsin, we partner with the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct this monitoring. Combined, Wisconsin and Minnesota Discovery Farms Programs have monitored 127 site years of edge-of-field surface runoff. During these site years, 2,184 surface runoff events were measured. Given that we see, hear about, and even experience larger or ‘more extreme’ events with increasing frequency, these runoff events and the corresponding rainfall data were analyzed to answer the following questions:

What is an extreme event? What size rainfall events are we expected to absorb with on-farm conservation practices?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has defined rainfall return periods. A rainfall return period is an estimate of the likelihood of a rainfall event of a certain size to occur in any year. In general, as the return period increases, so does the rainfall or rainfall intensity. For example, there is a 20 percent chance that a rainfall event with a five-year return period will occur in 2018 (1 out of 5), whereas there is a 4 percent chance that a rainfall event with a 25 year return period will occur this year (1 out of 25). An ‘extreme’ event, for the purposes of soil and water quality, could be defined as one that exceeds the 25-year, 24-hour criteria that conservation practices are often designed to handle. In Wisconsin, rainfall events that fall below this criterion are between 4 and 5 inches in 24 hours. It varies slightly within that range depending on your location. But, in other words, practices on your farm should be able to handle a 4-5 inch storm in one day without significant soil losses.

Difference between a rainfall event and a runoff event. As you know, fields don’t run off every time it rains. In fact, Discovery Farms data show that surface runoff occurs in response to 6% of rainfall events.


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What size of rainfall events are responsible for most of the runoff?

Most (70-75 percent) of the runoff, phosphorus and nitrogen losses that we’ve monitored have been during rainfall events that are less than the 4-5 inches in one 24-hour span. Actually, most of the runoff events we monitor happen from storms that have a 1-year return period or less, which equates to 2 to 2.5 inches in 24 hours and less. This means that most runoff events are the result of common rainfall events or snowmelt, and these common events, not just large or extreme events, are key drivers of phosphorus and nitrogen losses in Wisconsin.

Percent of total runoff, soil, phosphorus and nitrogen loss varies by storm size

Is it possible to control the weather (or the impact of it) on crop fields?

As shown by the dark blue parts of the bars, total nitrogen, total phosphorus and runoff mostly happened in storms that had a short return period, less than 1 year. Soil loss was more impacted by storms of 1- to 25-year return periods. While events larger than a 1-year return period happen, doing the small things and putting protections in place to absorb smaller storms will pay the biggest dividends when managing for risks from weather events. No one practice is the cure-all, so layering practices like waterways, low or no soil disturbance, surface residue management and/or cover cropping, 4R practices for fertilizer and manure management (especially keying in on rate, timing and placement) and others will offer you protection in smaller storms and help you fare the larger ones, too. For more ideas on practices included in a network of conservation on your farm, visit our website, or talk to your local Land Conservation Department.


Farmer-leadership will ensure the preservation of Wisconsin Agriculture. By working with our local co-op we are finding ways to incorporate new cover crops. Driving a fertilizer spreader seeding cover crops into standing soybeans was a neighborhood discussion starter. We are able to share our results with each other and the public. Brian Maliszewski is a farmer and a member of BTFN and Trempealeau County Farm Bureau.

Learning by word of mouth often has the greatest impact. Jack Herricks, Monroe County Farm Bureau president and Discovery Farms participant put it this way: The single greatest source of information for farmers is to learn from other farmers. If I can talk directly to another farmer or go to their farm and see a practice that works in action, it makes me realize that if it works for him, maybe that would work for me too.

Farmer leadership occurs at Discovery Farms on a variety of levels. Our steering committee (made up of 16 members from agricultural and environmental groups, including Farm Bureau) meets to help determine future research needs and projects. Also, farmer participants lead the program through hosting events, presenting to various audiences and speaking up with data and lessons from their own farms. Farmer-led watersheds, and similar projects, also enable farmers to speak up and join the water quality discussion locally to contribute solutions and provide input on decisions that will impact their farm business. We will continue to encourage and support farmers leading and participating in local programs, as we truly believe that solutions adapted to each farm will most likely have a lasting impact. Farmers have great interest in preserving cropland. We need to conserve our land and soil for the future. Sharing ideas helps get more people involved in the discussion.

Jack and Pat Herricks

Join in on conservation related discussion on The WaterWay Network, hosted by UW Discovery Farms. It is an online discussion forum for farmers, crop consultants and experts. Register at

Phillip Waldera is a farmer and a member of the BTFN and Trempealeau County Farm Bureau.

Discovery Farms is proud to collaborate with farmerled watershed groups. One of these groups is the Buffalo Trempealeau Farmer Network (BTFN), supported by Buffalo and Trempealeau County Farm Bureaus. Farmers of this network have participated in the Nitrogen Use Efficiency Project for two years and use Discovery Farms results to improve nitrogen usage at an individual field level and are proving that cover crops can be implemented locally through trying new ideas and sharing results. It is exciting to see these farmers developing and implementing innovative practices.

Seeding cover crops into standing soybeans

Contact us:

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Erica Olson f: UW Discovery Farms Communications and Farmer Network Manager t: @DiscoveryFarms 715.983.5668 FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018


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Meet the

Modern-day Farm Chick Story and photos by Sarah Marketon


ife on the farm started even before Annaliese Wegner could say, “moo.” Growing up on her parents’ 1,500-cow dairy in Baldwin meant she and her two younger sisters stayed busy. “At an early age, my sisters and I were on the farm feeding calves and learning everything we could,” Annaliese said. “One of the coolest things about our family farm was that we were able to learn from not just our parents, but also grandparents and great-grandparents.” Family has been a constant theme throughout Annaliese’s time on the farm. Today, she farms with her husband, Tom, and his parents near Ettrick. The Wegner family, along with 10 employees, milk 600 cows three times a day and make haylage and corn silage for the herd. “What I love most about farming is being with my family,” Annaliese said. “I hate to sound cheesy, but I really love working with my husband.” While some people may know this farm girl as Annaliese, others may know her better as the Modern-day Farm Chick on social media. “I always knew that sharing the truth about agriculture was important, but always thought, ‘eh someone else will do it, we’ve got Dairy Carrie… we are good,’” Annaliese said. From time to time, Annaliese shared farming stories with her non-farming grandparents who were captivated by the articles and how informative they were. While she was not writing them, an idea came to her – she thought she could share her farm experiences in blog stories. “My initial goal was just to share my farm life


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with my grandparents,” Annaliese said. “Not only was it a way for them to stay informed about modern agriculture, but it also allowed them to see what I was up to.” She began by writing about daily farm chores and popular topics in the news, but most importantly she noted that she was being herself. As she kept writing, she was delighted to see her number of followers grow. Shortly after, she decided it was time to bring Modern-day Farm Chick to Facebook and eventually Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat.


Being active on that many social media channels keeps this farm chick busy, but she says Instagram is her favorite because, “a picture really is worth a thousand words.” While Annaliese is proud of the work she is doing to connect consumers with the farmers who grow and raise their food, she says it is important for farmers to increase transparency because consumers’ connection to agriculture has changed considerably during the past few generations. “Not everyone lives in rural America and has the opportunity to meet a local farmer or visit a dairy farm,” said Annaliese. The way consumers are targeted with information about food and farming also has changed. Annaliese pointed out that there are a lot of groups on social media or elsewhere on the internet that are sharing false or misleading information to consumers who are literally, eating it up. “Today’s consumers have a lot of power when it comes to their food and how it is grown,” Annaliese said. “It is important that we share the truth about our farming practices… we need to put a face to agriculture and communicate with our consumers.” Working on the farm and agvocating on social media was the norm for Annaliese until last September when she and Tom became proud parents of twins, Lane and Sage. The babies were born two months premature and Lane spent a month in the hospital before coming home. Sage is proving to be a tough farm girl already, as she has undergone a few surgeries and the family is anticipating her homecoming soon. Annaliese is excited about the adventures the twins will bring and is looking forward to having two new, ‘partners in crime.’ In addition to her responsibilities on the farm, social media and with the twins, Farm Bureau activities keep this new mom busy even off the dairy. Annaliese credits Farm Bureau with helping her make connections with farmers in the area and around the state that she may not have otherwise met. “What I find most valuable are the relationships and friendships I have made within my county and state,” Annaliese said. After becoming a more active member in recent years, Annaliese is now on the Trempealeau County Farm Bureau board of directors. In addition to helping at county activities, she has been instrumental in founding and continuing the coordination of the annual Moo-vin’ with Milk 5K Fun Run in Trempealeau County. There have been a lot of changes for the Wegner family in the past few months, but one thing that remains constant is Annaliese’s passion for sharing her farm story. This Modern-day Farm Chick is showing the world that young people are still excited about a career in agriculture and that they are not afraid to get their hands dirty to put food on the table. “I think its pretty cool that what we work so hard for every day ends up on a family’s table and provides wholesome nutrition,” Annaliese said.

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County Kernels Lunch with a Farmer - Jackson County

The second annual Lunch with a Farmer was held in the Melrose and Mindoro Elementary Schools. Local farmers ate lunch with students at the schools, chatted with them about how the food on their trays was grown and shared about their own farms.

Holiday Parade - Winnebago County

Winnebago County Farm Bureau members participated in the Omro Holiday Parade on December 1. Members handed out string cheese to parade attendees. The cheese was purchased through funding from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Christmas Cheer Project - Portage County

Book Reading - Juneau County

Rural Mutual Insurance Company agent Clint Baurichter read the Ag in the Classroom Book of the Year to fourth grade students at Necedah Elementary School. Each year Juneau County Farm Bureau members volunteer to read to area elementary schools.

Portage County Farm Bureau completed a Christmas Cheer Project. Members nominated families to received Christmas trees donated by Wolosek Tree Farm (featured in the December|January 2017-18 Rural Route). Portage County Farm Bureau donated the decorations and Eron's Event Barn donated $100 to each family for gifts or other holiday expenses.

Farm Visit - Washington County In October, the second grade students from Holy Apostles School in New Berlin completed their ‘Spend, Save, Share’ social studies unit with a visit to The Stout Farm in Germantown. Farmer Jim showed the students around the farm, gave them a hay ride, showed how to feed the cows and cooked a delicious lunch. The kids worked very hard doing chores at home so they could share part of their earnings with Farmer Jim.




Farm Bureau in National Spotlight A Message from WFBF President Jim Holte


o, it wasn’t ‘fake news,’ you heard it right, President Donald Trump attended the American Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention a few weeks ago in Nashville. I’ve been asked by members and media what my thoughts were on the President’s speech. First of all, I think it’s important to note that every year the U.S. President is invited to attend the AFBF Annual Convention. It’s been 25 years since a sitting president has accepted the invitation to this mammoth Farm Bureau gathering and it truly was an honor to host our nation’s leader as many organizations can’t say they have had the privilege. During President Trump’s address he covered various topics, including regulatory reform, crop insurance, immigration, trade and NAFTA and rural broadband. He indicated that heavy regulations and taxes have burdened farmers during a time when our businesses are expected to produce food and fiber like never-before. He went on to recognize that farmers also have been the essential link in the food supply chain that is critical to supporting our military.


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He finished his speech by signing two executive orders. The first to improve rural broadband internet access and service and the second to improve rural internet infrastructure. These are key priorities identified to improve rural prosperity. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue also attended this year’s conference. He addressed attendees twice, once solo and once to introduce President Trump. A man of his word, he proved to us that he has listened carefully to our broadband concerns. A topic we covered extensively when he visited our state and my family's farm last year. The notaries were nice to have in attendance, but equally impressive was Wisconsin’s large delegation. More than 60 Farm Bureau members and staff attended the meeting. We were well-represented in the Young Farmer & Rancher contests by Lynn Dickman for the Excellence in Agriculture award, Chad and Katrina Gleason in the Achievement Award and Jamie Propson in the Discussion Meet. Jamie made it to the final 16 contestants in the Discussion Meet. Each did a phenomenal job representing Wisconsin. Outagamie County Farm Bureau members were on-hand to share the details of their event that was recognized by AFBF: Cookies and Milk with Santa. They shared the how-tos with many who wanted to implement a similar program. Even AFBF President Zippy Duvall got his photo taken with Santa at their booth. Not only did Wisconsin represent on the membership side, but also on policy topics. Wisconsin and Mississippi Farm Bureaus organized a Monday morning meeting to discuss proposed dairy policy. Delegates from numerous states discussed several dairy policy ideas. As a result, Wisconsin drafted an amendment that was jointly-supported by Mississippi and Wisconsin delegates during the

resolution session and was adopted as AFBF policy. It’s a no-brainer that Wisconsin is well known for their involvement in dairy policy. However, recently we have been engaged on the topic of industrial hemp. During the AFBF Convention Wisconsin Farm Bureau organized an educational session on industrial hemp. Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) is the author of legislation that will change classification of industrial hemp to a crop, rather than the current status as a controlled substance. He accepted our invitation to attend this meeting and spoke about the purpose of his proposal and positive impact this legislation could have for many states. It’s hard to paint a picture of what the AFBF Annual Convention is all about. There’s speeches, sessions, gatherings, networking and learning but you can’t really describe what really happened within the walls of the Opryland Convention Center. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rancher from South Dakota, a fruit farmer from California or a beef farmer from Wisconsin, you are involved in Farm Bureau because you want to be connected and want someone to be working for you while you are busy farming. The folks who gathered in Nashville knew that. The Farm Bureau passion was strong and the commitment to continue working to make things better was deep. This gathering showcased that farmers and ranchers are the life-blood of this country. That is most definitely not 'fake news.' President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

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


A Harvest of Rural Prosperity Begins with Sound Policy in 2018 A Message from AFBF President Zippy Duvall


griculture policy is off to a promising start in 2018. The American Farm Bureau Federation began the year at our 99th Annual Convention in Nashville with the theme “Transform,” because we’re committed to pushing the issues that will revitalize and transform our rural communities. We intend to keep agriculture on the cutting edge of innovation and ensure that our nation’s farmers and ranchers can continue to feed the world. We were honored to host President Donald Trump at this year’s convention, the first time in 26 years that a sitting U.S. president spoke to Farm Bureau members on that stage. The president’s visit was a visible reminder that rural America is being heard and that this administration takes a real interest in the concerns of farmers and ranchers. We’ve already seen great strides to relieve the burden on farm and ranch families with the review of the flawed 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule and a new tax law that has brought farm families additional relief from the estate tax. We hope that this is only the beginning of a transformative time for policies that support agriculture and rural America. President Trump concluded his

remarks to all of us gathered in Nashville by signing two executive orders to improve rural broadband access across the countryside. Rural America has been left behind when it comes to broadband access. But thanks to the president’s actions, rural Americans soon will be just one click away from medical services, educational resources and business tools that for too long have been hundreds or thousands of miles away. The president also pledged his full support of a robust farm bill, including risk management tools like crop insurance. Farm policy also was top-ofmind for Farm Bureau delegates as they met to vote on our policy agenda for 2018 at our annual business session following the convention. It’s time we ensure that the next farm bill works for all farmers and ranchers, so that the business of agriculture can remain sustainable for generations to come. We’ve heard from our friends in the dairy and cotton sectors, and we are committed to fixing the problems in those programs as well as improving the Agriculture Risk Coverage program to address disparities across counties. All Americans need a stable and predictable food supply. This year we are

eager to work with Congress and the administration to produce a 2018 farm bill that ensures a continued supply of the safe, affordable and high-quality American-grown products we all enjoy While the policy reforms we’ve been calling for won’t come overnight, we’re confident that the seeds planted at our annual convention to strengthen U.S. agriculture and our rural economy will bring a bountiful harvest. President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Duvall raises beef cattle, hay and poultry in Greshamville, Georgia.




We Can’t Afford More Division A Message from WFBF's Amy Eckelberg


rowing up in a small town in northeastern Wisconsin, Madison was practically New York City to me. When I first moved to Madison in 2012, I remember being overwhelmed. I avoided the beltline at all costs. The Capitol and its surrounding square was a giant, confusing puzzle. The traffic, the people and the proximity of everything had me stunned. Now that I am a more seasoned Dane County resident, I can maneuver around the city with much more ease. While my husband and I live north of Madison, we spend a decent amount of time in each of our hometowns visiting our families. Both of our hometowns we consider small. We classify them small because we usually are recognized by at least two or more people at the grocery store.


Working in a metropolitan area, we have grown accustomed to some of the things that go together with ‘the city.’ We have even made comments about how our wardrobe has changed since moving and how some things we wear in Madison, we would never pack for a trip home. We’ll sometimes find ourselves at a bonfire in the ‘back 40.’ Other times we find ourselves at a reception at the exquisite Edgewater Hotel in Madison. Talk about a nice lifestyle mix of rural and urban. I recently attended the Wisconsin Ag Outlook Forum hosted at UW-Madison where Professor Katherine Cramer discussed her research on how people make sense of politics and her thoughts on the prominent rural and urban divide. The divide between the two sectors is nothing new, and has always been there to some degree. However, has there ever been so much resentment between the two as there is right now? According to Cramer, rural folks feel isolated and that decision makers in Madison are not listening to them. They feel as though they work hard but earn very little. I’m sure in the other corner, urbanites don’t understand the needs of the residents living in less dense areas and the challenges they face. Now for the token question: how do we bring these groups together? Cramer suggested agriculture. Food: it’s something both sectors need and care about. Could it work? Maybe. However, before we tackle this

divide, we must remove the one within agriculture. Yes, I said it. It shouldn’t come as a shock that within agriculture we have things we don’t agree on. We have many divides within our own industry. Whether it’s production methods, conservation efforts or farm size, there’s a lot that can be debated. It was Wisconsin Counties Association Executive Director Mark O’Connell, who also spoke at the Wisconsin Ag Outlook Forum, who admitted that divides give us someone to blame when times aren’t good. With the prediction of another year of ‘scraping by,’ this could cause even more divide. I hope for the sake of our industry, it doesn’t. In a time where there are so many divisions, we can’t be divided amongst ourselves. We must think big picture and how we can step up to remove these splits. I’m not naïve enough to think we won’t ever have differences within the industry; all I ask is that we focus our energy on working together at the big things that matter: like bridging the ruralurban divide. So, I challenge us to start those conversations. What are you doing to connect to the urban areas? Eckelberg is WFBF’s Executive Director of Public Relations.


Time Flies …

A Message from WFBF’s Sarah Marketon


little over a year ago, I found myself nervously packing my bag for a job interview that led me five hours away from home. This may not sound like a great distance, but when you consider that my family lives a half mile from where my dad grew up and only a few miles from where my mom grew up, that is a daunting distance. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel. I have been halfway around the world to Thailand and Ethiopia, but no matter how much I travel, I am always glad to be back home. This job interview I was preparing for, luckily, didn’t bring me halfway around the world, just across the border from Minnesota to Wisconsin. Shortly after meeting with Wisconsin Farm Bureau staff, I accepted an offer to be the director of communications. Looking back on this a year later, I am filled with gratitude for those who believed in me and took a chance. My biggest takeaway from the past year is to never be afraid of change. Initially, I was scared to move away from a career in the swine industry, which was a focus of internships and work experiences since I was a freshman in high school. While I’m still passionate about pig farming, I’ve had many unique experiences in other facets of agriculture because of my involvement with Wisconsin Farm Bureau. One of the experiences that stands out is visiting a mink farm. I had no idea Wisconsin produces the most mink pelts in the USA and I didn’t know how mink were raised. I learned that mink farmers have the same standards for high

quality animal care as those who raise other livestock. I also learned about the stress from animal activist groups that routinely raid mink farms to release the animals. I was familiar with the stress and pressure that activist groups put on the swine industry, but this took things to a new level. During the year I have spent in Wisconsin, I certainly haven’t missed the significant impact dairy has on the state. Only a few short months after starting with Farm Bureau, I saw the uncertainty many dairy farmers faced when they lost their milk processors. I quickly learned about contracts between farmers and processors, or the lack there of and how trade is essential to the success of Wisconsin agriculture. I still have a lot to learn about the dairy community, but I have made many connections with dairy farmer members who only laugh a little when I ask, what I can only assume they consider silly questions like, “What is a dry cow?”

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein I am beyond grateful for the learning opportunities that Wisconsin Farm Bureau has provided me. It is also evident that Farm Bureau believes in the power of learning and development for members through initiatives including: WFBF Leadership Institute, trips to Washington, D.C., and Promotion and Education activities. Farm Bureau plays an important role in serving as the voice of farmers, but

this organization takes this task a step further by helping Wisconsin farmers and agriculturists refine their voice through personal and professional development. I am proud to be part of the Farm Bureau family and I am excited to see what the next year has in store. I can relate to how unnerving it is to experience change and I admire the farmers who are determined to push forward each day. Farming is not like any other business or lifestyle and I look forward to helping Wisconsin farmers manage future changes while helping lawmakers and consumers understand what happens on our farms each day. Thank you for welcoming me into the Farm Bureau family! Marketon is WFBF’s Director of Communications.





Take Action: Give Students Delicious Milk A Message from WFBF's Joe Bragger

on setting up this study. You may be wondering why students always take milk even though they do not like the taste. Being a school board member, I remember a meeting where it was indicated that all students must have a milk carton on their tray. If the school were to be audited and this wasn’t happening, the school would get a reduction in school nutrition funding. Wow, shouldn’t we be more concerned about whether students are drinking the nutritious milk that schools provide rather than just pushing it out and having it end up in the trash? This is why our schools end up with garbage pails filled with unopened milk cartons.


fter hearing from many throughout the country about schools only being able to provide skim milk and skim flavored milk in school lunch programs, and the lack of student consumption of these milk choices, USDA has acted. This summer Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, announced that schools could apply for a waiver and provide 1% flavored milk in their school nutrition programs. This sounded like great news until I actually looked into what it would take to get a variance. The form required a district to document loss of milk consumption compared with previous years or the number of student complaints from previous years (details I doubt were ever recorded) and parent complaints from prior years (if I knew anyone kept tract of complaints to this degree, I would have complained a lot more). Our school district decided to conduct a Student Food Waste Audit. You can go to the EPA website for guidance


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The Great News In late November 2017, our school received the news that we were issued a variance. I was so excited! Our nutrition director contacted our milk vender to get 1% flavored milk. The response however, was maddening. Our school was told they could not get 1% flavored milk because none of the suppliers were set up to do so as a result of the previous regulations prohibiting 1% flavored milk in schools. On November 29, 2017, USDA issued an interim ruling for the 2018-19 school year allowing schools to provide 1% flavored milk for breakfast and lunch and in milk vending machines. I keep hearing that fluid milk consumption in the U.S. is on a steady decline with young people drinking less milk. Is it any surprise why this is happening, when our students are only provided milk that one student described as, “gross watered-down milk?” What Can You Do? Here are some ways you can get 1%

flavored milk back into the hands of growing kids: • Contact local school board officials, school administration or the school’s food service director. Many schools are unaware of this option and how effortless it is now. As a school board member, I know that if people contact me about school issues, I take their concerns very seriously and they become top of mind. It often takes only a few people to make a big difference. • Provide a comment to the USDA on the interim ruling so they know how important it is for our students to receive the nutrition that delicious milk provides. • Spread the word. The more people we talk to, the greater impact we will have. The Time is Now! Please do not wait to take action as many schools will be considering their school milk and bread contracts in the next few weeks. Our school district received notice on January 18 that our milk bids would be coming due the next few weeks. If we do not act quickly this opportunity to make a positive difference for our students could be lost. When flavored milk in schools was substituted with plain milk, a 35 percent reduction in milk consumption resulted, 7 to 8 percent of fluid milk in the U.S. is consumed through school lunch programs. Let’s be a leader in the effort to get milk consumption back up in our schools. After all, we are America’s Dairyland! If not us then who? Bragger is WFBF's District 4 Board Director.


Commodities Playing Catch Up Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


tocks were in the spotlight throughout 2017. The broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 20 percent on the year while big-cap Dow stocks gained 25 percent and the NASDAQ technology index rallied 30 percent. Investors have entered the new year still wearing their rose-colored glasses, but will they continue to funnel capital into the equity market at the same fever pace in 2018? Some analysts are expecting a slowdown for stocks that may encourage money flows to reroute toward another asset class – commodities. The commodity market’s recent failings can be traced back to July 2014, when oil prices began sliding lower. The rest of the commodity space would have hard times as West Texas Intermediate crude futures were cut in half by the end of that year. Part of the reason for lower oil prices was that domestic oil supplies were growing at a rate that far outstripped usage gains. Producers abroad also were pumping oil into the pipeline in larger doses while global demand remained generally sluggish. Most of the rest of the commodities, from metals to grains, were oversupplied at the time. U.S. oil stocks are still plentiful but have been drawing down from the peak put during the fall of 2016. Global oil inventories have shrunk as Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producers maintain a production cut

agreement. We are aware of grain supplies still being burdensome but find it difficult to expect global growers to be able to collectively extend the current streak of much-above-trend yields. Not coincidentally, commodities started moving lower in 2014 while the dollar started its run higher. The dollardenominated oil trade was hurt by a strengthening greenback, as were the grains, which become more expensive to importers when the dollar firms up. The dollar started moving up resulting from the changing interest rate expectations. U.S. central bankers were wrapping up quantitative easing programs and began readying the public for rising interest rates, which are normally associated with a strengthening currency. Down has been the dollar trend as of late. The dollar index – which tracks our currency against the euro, yen, pound, Canadian dollar, franc and krona – is now as low as it has been since January 2015. Interest rates are rising in the U.S., but not by as fast as earlier anticipated. Other countries also are enjoying improved economic health in a way that also encourages money to rotate out of the dollar and into competing currencies. The major commodity indices show their values off by about one-third since markets started slipping lower in 2014. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is up by more than 40 percent compared with the

same period. Investors may be starting to see the commodity/equity divergence as reason to go bargain hunting in the commodity space. Commodities have a shot at gaining favor from major investors in 2018 if oil stays strong and the dollar settles back further. Capital reallocation from stocks to commodities would help, probably being the tide that lifts all ships for commodities – grains included. Camp is the risk management specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.



Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg


hroughout history, people have observed domestic and wild animal and bird behavior variations during seasonal and weather change. Cats have been observed scratching walls or posts before windy days, washing their faces before a thaw and sitting with their backs to fireplaces before snowfalls. Dogs they say, that dig, howl, eat grass or refuse to eat predict the coming of rain. And if horses stretch out their necks, sniff the air, sweat in the stable or rub their backs on the ground, we must expect rain. Season length and weather patterns influence weather lore and gather collections of proverbs, sayings and rules concerning meteorological conditions. Minute changes in the atmosphere can trigger eating activity, restlessness and migration movements in wild animals and birds. You have heard the saying, when squirrels lay in a large supply of nuts, expect a long, cold winter. Beavers, in turn, predict harsh, early winters by cutting their winter supply of wood and prepare their lodges one month “A nuthatch called earlier than before out to the author mild, late winters. as he pondered An early migration a collection of of woodcock in weather lore.”


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the fall they say, indicates the approach of a severe winter. When prairie chickens gather at creeks and woodlands and can be seen roosting on the ground with their feathers ruffled, expect cold weather. Weather lore follows that rain is forthcoming when in the morning crows scream, thrushes sing long and loud, blackbirds call out, woodpeckers cry, ravens croak at long intervals and robins sing long and hard from the ground. The Aldo Leopold Foundation phenology report in late January noted, “It may still be winter and feel every bit as much, but the blackcapped chickadee reminds us spring will come soon enough; they're beginning their spring territorial songs.” Wild birds communicate through both calls and songs. A bird’s call gives up its location to other members of their flock, or presents a warning to interlopers. Its song, usually produced by a male, is reserved for the breeding season. In turn, they both can also denote changes in weather and seasons. The chickadee called out for spring near Baraboo in January, right around the same time a nuthatch did likewise in my backyard. As I walked from the kennel to the house, I heard a male’s rapid, nasal, low-pitched “wha-wha-wha” from a nearby tree. There he was, characteristically upside down on a locust tree. Small birds indeed, but their nasal resolute chattering is loud and direct. Bird experts claim males sing two versions in late winter and spring - a half-dozen identical notes. Males sing these songs at two rates, with the fast version thought to be used for mate attraction. Were these the first proclamations by our feathered friends that spring is right around the corner? If that’s the case, Groundhog Day in February this year must have been cloudy. As weather lore says, “If the groundhog sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if he does not, due to cloudiness, spring season will arrive early.” What else can we expect from an early spring? Lore also proclaims, “Winter’s back will break about the middle of February, if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion, and a windy March and a rainy April make a beautiful May.” Oh, wouldn’t it be grand if weather was as predictable as an old saying or proverb? Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the Portage County Farm Bureau.


Steve Batterman, Mayville

Rebecca Hilby, Hazel Green

Becky Wellnitz, Brodhead

Carley Young, Rio

Brittany Olson, Chetek

Hannah and Catelyn Olsen, Berlin

Derek Husmoen, Galesville

Send us YOUR Photos

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members live and work with beautiful landscapes and livestock. On this page we highlight those sights and special moments. Please email your best photos (high resolution jpgs, 4x6 inches at 300 dpi) to Due to the high volume of photos we receive, we are unable to publish every photo. Photos sent in may be used in other WFBF publications. FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018


Farm Bureau

Recipes provided by WFBF's Promotion and Education Committee

The Promotion and Education Program helps Farm Bureau leaders develop, implement and promote projects and programs that build awareness and understanding of agriculture and provide leadership development for the agricultural community. The Promotion and Education Committee is a group of nine leaders who represent the nine Wisconsin Farm Bureau districts. The chair of the WFBF Committee sits on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Board of Directors as the program’s representative.

Wake-up Casserole Ingredients

• 8 frozen hash brown patties • 2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded • 2 c. fully-cooked ham, cubed • 7 eggs


• 1 c. milk • ½ tsp. salt • 1/8 tsp. pepper • ½ tsp. dry mustard

1. Place hash browns in a single layer in a greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle with cheese and ham. 2. In a bowl combine remaining ingredients. Pour over cheese.

3. Cover and bake at 350 F for 1 hour. 4. U  ncover and bake 15 minutes longer, or until edges are golden and knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Megan Rebout

is WFBF’s Director of Member Relations. In this role she oversees the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee.

Crockpot Chicken and Noodles Ingredients

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts • 2, 15 oz. cans chicken broth • 2 cans cream of chicken soup • 24 oz. frozen egg noodles • 1 stick of butter


1. Cook chicken, soup, butter and broth in a crock-pot on low for 6-7 hours. 2. Take chicken out and shred.

3. Put chicken back in, add noodles and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Andrea Brossard

is a third-generation dairy farmer at Brossard Dairy Farm, LLC, her family’s farm, in Beaver Dam. She serves as chair of the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee and south central Wisconsin as the District 2 Representative. Andrea and her husband, Mason Rens, reside in Burnett.


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Fruit Salad Ingredients

• 1 package instant tapioca pudding • 1 can mandarin oranges • 1 can pineapple chunks


Mix and Match Fruit • green or red grapes • green or red apples • strawberries

1. Combine juice from oranges and pineapple to equal 1 ¾ cup liquid. 2. Add liquid to tapioca pudding mix.

• cantaloupe • blueberries

3. Boil. 4. Cool and add to fruit.

Katie Roth

works on her husband’s farm Banner Ridge Farms, LLC, as the herdsperson. She serves southwestern Wisconsin as the District 3 Representative on the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee.

Pork Chop and Hash Brown Casserole Ingredients

• 1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (or olive oil) • 6 center-cut pork chops • dash of seasoned salt to taste • 10 ¾ oz. can condensed cream of celery soup • ½ c. milk • ½ c. sour cream


1. Heat the oven to 350 F. 2. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking pan or 2 ½ to 3-quart baking dish. 3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork chops and sprinkle lightly with seasoned salt. Sear the chops, turning to brown both sides. 4. In a bowl, combine the soup, milk, sour cream and pepper. Stir in the hash brown potatoes, half of the cheese, half of the French fried onion rings, garlic powder and butter.

• ¼ tsp. black pepper (freshly ground) • 24 oz. frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed • 4 oz. cheddar cheese (1 c. shredded) • 2, 2.8 oz. cans French Fried onions • dash of garlic powder to taste • ½ stick butter, cut into small pieces 5. Spoon the hash brown mixture into the prepared baking dish. 6. Arrange the pork chops over the potato mixture. 7. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. 8. Remove the foil and top with the remaining shredded cheese and fried onions. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes.

Kay Gilbertson

lives in Elk Mound with her husband, Kevin and their three children. Kay and Kevin manage Gilbertson Farms in partnership with Kevin’s family. She serves northwestern Wisconsin as the District 9 Representative on the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee.




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Farm Bureau needs members like you to step up for a special challenge: to sign up at least five new Farm Bureau members by September 28.

Farm Bureau volunteers who invite their friends and neighbors to join the organization are eligible to receive a $20 cash award for every new member they sign up. Volunteers signing five or more new members by September 28 qualify as members of the Farm Bureau Proud Club and will receive special recognition at the Farm Bureau Proud Banquet during the WFBF Annual Meeting on December 1. Membership applications are available online, from your county Farm Bureau office or by contacting the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation at 800.261.FARM. To receive proper credit for new members signed, be sure to fill in your name as ‘membership worker’ and submit all memberships prior to September 28.

Do your part to strengthen Farm Bureau’s voice! New members must have no prior membership or be at least 25 months past due. Official contest rules available from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.




Ag in the Classroom Program Awards Teacher Mini-Grants The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program has awarded 13 teacher mini-grants for agricultural literacy lessons and activities. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation provided this funding, that may not otherwise be available

through local school budgets, for teachers to share information about food, fuel and fiber production. The following teachers were awarded $100 grants:

Hydroponics in the Classroom Nicholas Mees - Merrill Middle School, Oshkosh

Hydroponics, Oshkosh

The grant will be used to purchase additional hydroponic equipment, so students can expand their knowledge of hydroponics through maintenance, weekly measurements, pH readings and nutrient requirements as they grow lettuce, green beans, tomatoes and other crops.

Greenhouse Cultivation of Vegetables Dr. Julie Ray - Winter Schools, Winter

Students at Winter Schools will use this funding for pots, potting soil and other equipment used to learn about planting and caring for vegetables. Students will also further understand the importance of sunlight, water and other resources in growing plants and collect and analyze data on growth patterns.

Ready for Rural Life!

Kirstin Thompson - Greenfield Elementary, Baldwin Grant dollars will be used to support an oral history unit as students interview people about their rural life experiences. This project will lead students to research rural life skills, seek out experts in the community and complete an oral presentation on the information they gathered.

Understanding How Seeds Grow

John Slipek - Abbotsford High School, Abbotsford Abbotsford High School students will work with second grade classrooms at the elementary school to teach the principles of growing seeds into plants. The grant will be used to purchase seeds, containers and other supplies.


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Greenhouse Projects, Houlton

Greenhouse Improvements

Tim Olson - Houlton Elementary, Houlton This grant will purchase additional screens and vents needed for the school’s greenhouse. Plants grown in the greenhouse are part of a Native American farming practices unit that focuses on characteristics and life cycles of organisms.

School Greenhouse Upgrades

Lisa Wasson - Houlton Elementary, Houlton The grant will help purchase screens for the vents on the school greenhouse where fourth grade students will learn to plant corn, beans and squash for the 3 Sisters Garden, part of the Native Americans Farming Society unit.

Greenhouse Equipment Upgrade

Patrick Sahli - Houlton Elementary, Houlton Houlton Elementary will use this grant to help fund equipment that will improve ventilation in the current greenhouse. Students will observe and note changes that occur because of improved ventilation and differences in insect infiltration rates.

Together Exploring the World of Agriculture Cheri Oglesby - St. Rose of Lima, Cuba City

High school students at St. Rose of Lima will take advantage of this funding to assist in purchasing resources to teach Pre-K students about agriculture. The older students will use books, memory cards, games and other educational activities to teach the younger students.


Moovin’ to Educate About Agriculture

Lucky Ducks, Wausau

Candice Franks - Badger High School, Lake Geneva This grant will help educate more than 300 students about veterinary science and other careers in the animal science field. The funds will help purchase gates for use during the Food for America event the FFA chapter hosts, which will promote safe animal handling and allow students to gain animal husbandry skills.

Lucky Ducks

Teri Eberhardy - DCE 4K at St. John Lutheran, Wausau Students will hatch duck eggs in their classroom and learn about duckling development, hatching and new duckling care. The grant will help fund a new incubator that has an egg turner feature.

Agriculture Books

Heidi Tubbs - Warrens Elementary School, Warrens The grant money will be used to purchase books that promote agriculture, which will be read to elementary students during milk break and used with “This Business Called Agriculture” and other resources about agriculture.

Hatching Chicks, Appleton

All Suited Up

Hatching Chicks

Louise Ploederl - St. Edward School, Appleton Students at St. Edward School will observe chicks hatching and plan to use this funding to purchase incubator thermometers, bedding, feed, waterers and heat lamps. The classroom will receive fertilized eggs from a local farmer and watch and record the process of hatching and chick growth.

Frank Van Brocklin - Northland Lutheran High School, Kronenwetter Northland Lutheran High School is in the process of developing a honey bee colony and will use this grant to purchase a bee suit. Students will learn to establish a hive, work safely around bees and how bees live in a community.

Don’t forget! The Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program also has matching grants available to groups and organizations that conduct agricultural literacy projects. Applications are due by March 1 and can be found at or by contacting Darlene Arneson at or 608.828.5644.

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Celebrate National Ag Day T

he Wisconsin Agriculture in the Classroom program is encouraging you to start planning now to help celebrate National Ag Day on March 20.

Youth Contest Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom has a new twist on this annual contest. Rather than only coloring, students will draw a machine they think could be used on a farm in the year 2050 and then color it. Students can think of some of the farm machinery that inventors like John Deere, Cyrus McCormick and J.I. Case designed. Then look at machines that we have today on the farm and imagine how they started as a design or idea? What types of drawings did the inventors make and how did they change and improve the original idea? The entry page and contest rules are located on the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom website, under “What’s New.” There are three age divisions- Ages 6 and under, Ages 7-9 and Ages 10-12. Be sure to include the child’s name and age along with a parent/guardian’s street address, phone number and email address on the back page of the picture, or in the email, so winners can be notified. All entries must be emailed or postmarked by March 27. Entries can be scanned and emailed or hard copies can be sent to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom. One entry is allowed per child and winners will be notified by email, phone call or postal mail and will be announced in early April. The winner of each age group will receive a package an Ag in the Classroom resource.

from the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program website. There are activities, background information and talking points available. After the visit, send the report form, found on the Ag in the Classroom website, to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom so outreach of this activity can be tabulated. Please use #WiReadsAg2018 on social media to talk about National Ag Day and your reading activity. To download resources about National Ag Day, visit, and

Other National Ag Day Activities! Looking for other National Ag Day activities to be a part of? Search for the “National Ag Day” event on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation or Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Facebook page. The most up-to-date information will be posted on the event page with details on how you can get involved.

Ag Day Reading Event Celebrate Ag Day on Tuesday, March 20, by joining farmers, volunteers, teachers, FFA and 4-H members, college students, agri-business employees and others by reading books about agriculture to an audience of your choice. You may want to consider reading to other students, home school families, nursing home residents, day cares or other groups interested in learning more about agriculture. The recommended book is the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom’s Book of the Year: "John Deere, That’s Who!" by Tracy Maurer. The book is available


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ggie nswers



Monroe County

I love networking with others who share my passion for agriculture. In an ever-changing industry, I find my involvement invaluable and educational. We share struggles, successes and lessons learned, that give our concerns a voice through our grassroots organization.



Brown County

The best part is being part of grassroots involvement in crafting new Farm Bureau policies. I also enjoyed being a member of the WFBF Transportation Taskforce where I worked with Farm Bureau staff to develop new Implements of Husbandry rules.

We asked county Farm Bureau leaders: What is the best part about being a Farm Bureau member and serving on the county board of directors?


Dane County

I enjoy working with fellow Farm Bureau members, helping to strengthen the agricultural community. I also enjoy educating the non-agricultural public on the what, the how and the why of agricultural (farming) practices.


Clark County

Serving as a county director is very enriching. Clark County has such a balanced blend of new and veteran members. Our young members are eager to learn, while our experienced members are ready to support the new members and show them the ropes.


Ozaukee County

The best part about serving on the board of directors is that it's helped me network with people who have similar goals of supporting and promoting agriculture. Educating people on where their food comes from helps them understand why farmers do what they do.









608 4413644 FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018



Ag in the Classroom Essays Due April 2 T

he annual Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom essay contest for fourth and fifth grade students is a learning opportunity that can be used as a classroom, individual, home school or 4-H activity. This year’s topic, “Inventions that have made agriculture great,” will allow students to write about inventions that have made agriculture advance in technology, efficiency and productivity. This will tie into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), connect with careers in agriculture, look at the stories behind some of the inventions and their inventors and offer opportunities to learn about technology and equipment related to agriculture. (From left) "Time for Cranberries" author Lisl Detlefsen, 2017 Wood County essay contest coordinator Lauren McCann, teacher Rochelle There are many ways to address the topic: Grossbier, 2017 essay contest winner Max Hetze and District 8 •• Pick an invention and write how the idea was Coordinator Ashleigh Calaway. conceived and then developed. •• Pick an inventor and write about the invention(s) that •• Look at inventions in food processing, natural resources, person developed. transportation and other areas related to agriculture. •• Compare agricultural practices before and after an invention was developed for that industry, type of production or Contest rules, lesson plans, other supporting documents and processing. county essay coordinator contact information can be found on •• Compare types of farm equipment and what are the the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom website, advances that engineers and inventors made to improve the Entries are due to county coordinators on April 2. machine and its efficiency.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between December 8, 2017, and January 25, 2018

•• Marathon County Farm Bureau •• Clark County Farm Bureau •• Rural Mutual Insurance Company in memory of Shirley Daniels

•• Washington County Farm Bureau in memory of Andy Klumb •• Brown County Farm Bureau in memory of Donald Norton

•• Clark County Farm Bureau in memory of Glen Hardrath •• Bradley Farms, Inc. in memory of Ann Meffert

Thank You to the Following Leader Challenge Donors: (Donations were made between December 8, 2017, and January 25, 2018

Contributor - $1 – $249

Lloyd and Carol De Ruyter, Jack and Pat Herricks, Mark Hilgendorf, Joshua and Emma Huber, Krentz Family Dairy, Inc., Randall Mitchell, Doug and Tracy Pape and Mary Sosnovske


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Bronze - $250 – $499

St. Croix County Farm Bureau


“John Deere, That’s Who!” is also AFBFA Book of the Year W

isconsin’s 2018 Book of the Year was recently named the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year at the annual convention in Nashville. Author Tracy Nelson Maurer was on-hand to accept the honor and address the Flapjack Breakfast fundraiser attendees. The author noted, “John Deere [originally] had nothing to do with tractors; I learned from researching another project. I thought kids would think that’s a fun fact. Maybe they’d want to know more: What exactly did this guy do? Why is he famous? That’s what this book answers in a fun way, and it shows how one determined and creative person influenced an entire nation. I’m honored to receive this recognition, and I’m grateful for the Foundation’s work to share important stories about America’s farming legacy.” This book will join the ranks of nearly 500 other titles in the Accurate Ag Books collection, gathered by the AFBFA to

encourage children, teenagers and adults to read books that accurately cover agricultural topics. The Accurate Ag Books database is available at: www. recommended-pubs. In addition to the award, the AFBFA has also created an educator’s guide and a new Ag Innovations Ag Mag that Wisconsin Farm Bureau will add to the Resource Order List and Book Order form.

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Wisconsin Ag Open is Fun for Everyone! What is the Wisconsin Ag Open?

When and where is tee time?

The Wisconsin Ag Open is a golf fundraiser that supports the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation’s efforts to fund education and leadership programs such as Ag in the Classroom, Young Farmer and Agriculturist and Promotion and Education and Leadership Institute.

Monday, September 10, at Christmas Mountain Village in Wisconsin Dells with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m.

Involving those who benefit

Golfers of all skill levels

Farmers and Agriculturists Welcome

Meet Our Corporate Partners

Have you benefited from programs that the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation funds? If so, participate in the Wisconsin Ag Open to ensure other members can have those same experiences.

“The Wisconsin Ag Open allows us to have fun, enjoy the game of golf and support programs like Ag in the Classroom. It gives us a chance to network, visit and we really hope to see more of our farmer members golfing this year.” - Joel Bruins, Fond du Lac County Farm Bureau member


Registration is $125 per person and the deadline to sign up is August 10. This event is limited to 144 golfers.

The event welcomes golfers of all skill levels to participate - experienced golfers, recreational golfers and those who only play once a year. This event is meant to be fun rather than competitive, so mulligans are available for purchase.

“It’s a fun event, for a great cause. I always enjoy seeing friends and business partners, and it is a great networking opportunity.” – Dan Merk, Rural Mutual Insurance Company Senior Vice President and Treasurer

Get Farm Bureau Leaders Involved

Not a golfer?

Is your county Farm Bureau looking to offer an incentive to recognize or thank leaders, food stand workers, committee chairs or others who have gone above and beyond? A day on the golf course would make a great incentive, so consider registering a team from your county.

The Wisconsin Ag Open welcomes sponsorship, door prizes and gift cards that can be used at the event. Donations and sponsorships help reduce expenses, which helps increase the funds that can be used for educational, youth, leadership and other Foundation-supported activities.

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Farm Technology Days Coming to The Season for Slips Wood County in 2018 and Falls T E

he state’s largest outdoor farm show is making its way back to central Wisconsin this summer. Once again, Rural Mutual Insurance will be a major part of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days hosted by D&B Sternweis Farms and Weber’s Farm Store/Heiman Holsteins, west of Marshfield. More than 35,000 visitors from across the state and throughout the nation are expected to visit Wood County for the show July 10-12. The show will occupy most of the 640-acre section along County Highway H on Marshfield's west side. With paved roads on all-four sides, there should be easy access to the ample parking lots. The 80-acre 'Tent City' will feature commercial exhibits and farm equipment displays with knowledgeable experts who can answer questions related to agriculture.  There will be opportunities to learn about various groups and organizations in agriculture including Wisconsin Farm Bureau. Right in the middle of Tent City, the Rural Mutual Family Living Tent will stage a steady-stream of entertainment and educational presentations each day of the show. The traditional youth tent has been renamed the 'Future Generations Tent' and will be filled with insight on what the future holds for agriculture. 'Innovation Square' also will give a peak into the future with exhibitors presenting their newest technologies.  The 'Square' will also feature a miniature cranberry marsh representing a major Wood County crop.  There’s something for country and city folks alike at Farm Technology Days. Farmers can do research on the next piece of machinery they may want to buy, while others can learn about food production, test-drive small lawn and garden equipment or just relax and enjoy the musical entertainment.  Marshfield Clinic and its National Farm Medicine Center welcome visitors to their hometown with a major presence at the show. Besides offering health screenings, there will be extensive displays and demonstrations related to farm safety.  The 'Equine Arena' will welcome the return of the Meyer Farms 10-horse Belgian pyramid hitch, the Milk Buds, Billy Yoder Horsemanship and Mounted Justice. New to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days this year will be Virtual Tours of the Sternweis and Heiman dairy farms, Weber’s Farm Store and Nasonville Dairy. Continuous videos will let visitors learn about the long family heritage and everyday activities at each of these central Wisconsin landmarks. There also will be guided tours of the Sternweis farm each day.  And of course, there will be plenty of food and beverage options throughout the grounds for attendees to enjoy.  Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the only event of its kind that moves from county to county each year and is completely run by local volunteers. The exhibition has been held every year since 1954 and has been in the Marshfield area several times in the past.  To learn more about the show, visit or

very year, thousands of people end up in emergency departments from injuries sustained from slipping on ice. Injuries range from torn ligaments, broken bones, concussions to fatalities. Even more are lucky enough to walk away bruising only an elbow, knee or their pride. Living in Wisconsin, the springtime can be some of the most treacherous walking conditions as air temperatures rise faster than the ground temperatures. This combined with more sunlight can cause surface snow and ice to melt and refreeze overnight on walking surfaces. Here are some common-sense tips to avoid a dangerous fall. •• Wear boots with aggressively-textured soles constructed of softer rubber. Boots with stiff rubber soles can increase your chances of a slip. •• When practical, wear traction aids such as cleats. Try different styles for your working conditions to find what works best. Some variations include cleats along the entire bottom of the foot, some have cleats just at the heel. Be careful of using cleats when climbing in and out of vehicles or entering a building. •• When walking, keep your stride short attempting to place your foot flat on each step. Shuffling your feet can cause build-ups of ice and snow in the treads of your footwear reducing your traction. Avoid long strides as the heel contact the walking surface first and is very likely to slide out from underneath you. •• Keep your hands out of your pockets to help maintain your balance. •• If you do fall, try to remember NOT to put your arms out to brace your fall. This is the main cause of broken and dislocated bones from falls on ice. Pull your arms in, try to squat down quickly to decrease your fall distance, and try to turn to land on your side to reduce the risk of striking the front or back of your head. •• Keep a bucket of salt or sand near outside doors to throw on walking areas when ice forms. •• Keep floor mats inside building entrances clean and dry to avoid slipping when walking in the building. •• Make sure to use mats at entryways into areas with concrete flooring to reduce the risks of slips.




Locked Out for Life

A simple and effective method of preventing injuries on the farm


farm employee was performing routine maintenance on a silo unloader; a simple belt change that he has done a dozen times in the past; however, this time something went terribly wrong. Unknowingly, another employee turned on the silo unloader while the maintenance employee had his hands in the belt drive system amputating two of his fingers. It’s a scenario that occurs all too often on the farm: Accidental Release of Hazardous Energy. A hazard on the farm that continues to cause injuries even though these types of injuries are completely preventable. How are they preventable? A program called Lockout/TagoutControl of Hazardous Energy does just that, controls the accidental release of hazardous energy while employees are performing maintenance. All farm safety programs should include Lockout/Tagout. Lockout/Tagout is very simple actually. Prior to performing service on equipment, the employee uses a lock to isolate the sources of energy that may potentially cause injury during the maintenance process. Most of the time, this simply entails locking the main electrical switch in the ‘off ’ position to prevent startup; however, there are many other potential hazardous energies that might be involved including: compressed air, hydraulic, mechanical, thermal, chemical or even gravitational energy. The lock may be applied to an electrical breaker, electrical knife switch, air swing valve, hydraulic gate valve or sometimes a combination of these. A bright printed tag is included with the lock for more visual warning and normally includes the employee’s name. The main idea is that, if done correctly, the lockout prevents the startup of that equipment, or the release of hazardous energy, until the repair or maintenance is completed. After completion, the employee takes his locks off the energy isolation points. To implement a Lockout/Tagout program, there are a few steps that are recommended for success. First, ensure that the proper lockout tagout tools are made available to the employees. Ready Lockout/Tagout kits are easily purchased. They include locks, tags and a few common lockout tools such as circuit breaker switch tools, electrical plug covers and maybe a swing valve tool. Every kit is a little different, just find one that has the tools that match the energy isolation points on the equipment being worked on.


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Next, create procedures that your employees or family members can follow for the specific equipment that they will be servicing. The most effective procedures include pictures that show the lockout points for each applicable energy. These documented procedures can be kept in hardcopy fashion directly attached to the equipment or kept in a maintenance file. Lastly, train employees on how to use those tools and procedures. The training should include a hands-on demonstration of what is expected of them and how it will protect them. The main rule during this training is that the person who is performing the equipment maintenance must be the person who implements the lockout procedure. That same employee must be the only person to remove the lock. This protects that employee during the entire time he or she is servicing the equipment. When done correctly, Lockout/Tagout will protect employees, or family members, from injury caused by accidental startup or release of hazardous energy during service of equipment. Injury rates on the farm continue to lead all industry sectors nationwide according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even though protecting employees is more important than ever in today’s competitive business climate. Focusing on prevention, is the key to lowering these injury rates. By investing into the safety of your employees or family, and implementing a Lockout/Tagout program on your farm, you will be taking a major step in preventing injuries on your farm. Cory Arndt, Certified Safety Professional Senior EHS Consultant EHS Management LLC



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Rural Route February-March 2018  
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