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february | march 2015

• vol. 21 no. 1 |

When Farm Bureau Plays Cupid Page 16

Holte Elected to AFBF Board Marathon, Shawano Programs Shine Ag Day at the Capitol is March 11

Rural Mutual wants to keep kids safe on farms Page 14


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

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

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


vol. 21 no. 1

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features 5

articles 10


Marathon and Shawano County Farm Bureaus recognized on national level.

A look at news from the AFBF Convention in San Diego.


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New campaign aims to keep kids safe on the farm.


Manure Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that manure is a pollutant.

Valentines Farm Bureau acts as cupid for some couples.


County Awards


departments 5





member benefits




ag in the classroom




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Gray wolves back on endangered species list. Farm Bureau, lawmakers respond.

Meyer Retired farmer brings ag to the classroom in Sauk County.




My American Farm Twenty ag-themed games offered free online.

Main COVER photo by amy eckelberg Heart inset provided by richard and June Johnson

Earn $300 off new Polaris snowmobiles... February | March 2015

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Editor’s Note


ot dish or casserole? For me, it’s always been called hot dish. My wife calls it casserole. Either way, I ate plenty of it growing up. It reminds me of my youth and the farm. My wife finds it funny that I like something so easy to make. I think it’s one of my comfort foods. Every year, I find this February-March issue of the Rural Route, to be like a hot dish, as it includes a little bit of everything. I won’t say it’s easy to make, instead it’s one of the more challenging issues. We have a shorter window of time to complete this one and it falls during a mini-lull between December’s WFBF Annual Meeting and upcoming events like Ag Day at the Capitol, the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit and the FFA Farm Forum. Still, this batch of Rural Route has many of the ingredients I think you’ll enjoy. There’s news from the American Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention in San Diego. Closer to home, we hope to inform readers

{from Casey Langan} on two recent court rulings: one that stops Wisconsin from managing gray wolf numbers, the other clarifies that manure is a pollutant when it comes to insurance matters. You’ll also see Rural Mutual Insurance Company’s new campaign to promote youth safety on farms originated with Farm Bureau members. Ag in the Classroom is featured prominently in this issue with a profile of Sauk County’s Don Meyer, one of its committed volunteers. Volunteerism and how it sets us apart from other organizations is the focus of WFBF President Jim Holte’s column. Our opinion pages offer up a variety of other topics ranging from federal regulations, GMOs, debt, how the global economy will impact crop prices, and what’s really behind an effort to stop youth from working in tobacco fields. For your sweet tooth, this issue also celebrates those couples who found each other through their Farm Bureau involvement. In the end, we hope Rural Route inspires you to learn more about an topic, volunteer your time, give to the WFB Foundation, share a photo or try out a new recipe. We hope this magazine is a source of comfort food for your brain during the Wisconsin winter; like a big plate of hot dish. Thanks for reading, Casey Langan Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Casey Langan 608.828.5711

Designer Lynn Siekmann 608.828.5707

Contributor Amy Eckelberg 608.828.5706

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

Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276) “Like” us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

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


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation


Jim Holte Elected to American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors


isconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte has been elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors. Holte’s election to a one-year term was made by delegates at the 96th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in San Diego on January 13. He is one of six state Farm Bureau presidents who will be new to the AFBF Board of Directors. “I look forward to representing the interests of Wisconsin’s farm families and its diverse agricultural community on the national level,” Holte said. Holte raises beef cattle and grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa on 460 acres of land near Elk Mound in Dunn County. In December, Holte was reelected for a third one-year term as the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and

Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Holte was first elected to the WFBF Board of Directors in 1995 to represent District 9 on the board. District 9 represents the Superior Shores, Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer and St. Croix county Farm Bureaus. Holte previously served as WFBF’s representative to the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) board. He formerly chaired the Wisconsin Livestock Siting Review board. He is a graduate of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program (WRLP). He formerly served as a school board member in Elk Mound, board member for GROWMARK, Inc. and citizen board member for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. He is also a past president of the Wisconsin Beef Council. A 1975 graduate of UW-River Falls, Holte and his wife, Gayle, have two children and four grandchildren. Next year, Farm Bureau members will gather for the 97th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show on January 10-13, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.

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Restrictions: Discount available only to Farm Bureau members with presentation of valid Farm Bureau Membership Verification Certificate. To be eligible, customers must be an active member of a participating state Farm Bureau for at least 30 consecutive days prior to date of vehicle purchase. Certificate valid toward the purchase of any new Polaris® RANGER®, Sportsman®, RZR®, GEM® or BRUTUS® model through March 31, 2015. All Youth model purchases excluded. Does not apply to prior purchases. Certificate must be presented at time of purchase. Not valid on purchases from the Pure Polaris® online store. This Certificate cannot be combined with any other Polaris® coupon offer or gov’t/fleet program. (Certificate is valid with current sales event pricing and financing offers.) Limit one Certificate per vehicle. Certificates do expire. Program is subject to change without notice.


American Farm Bureau Delegates Set Public Policy Positions for 2015


armer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention approved resolutions that will provide the organization grassroots authority to ask Congress to finish many measures that remain unsettled at the start of 2015. “Our delegates are the men and women growing the food and fiber for our nation and much of the rest of the world every day,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “They have made great strides over the last decades in improving their environmental performance, in adopting cutting edge technologies and taking actions to make sure they can pass their farms and ranches on to the next generation.” According to Stallman, however, these same farmers recognize that many of the challenges they face are derived from the federal government’s attempt to overreach in its regulation of land use. “This is particularly true with respect to improper application of federal water rules,” Stallman said. “Our members also want us to continue our effort to secure a stable and reliable supply of agricultural labor.” Regarding other policy matters, delegates: • Reaffirmed that farmers’ proprietary data remain strictly the property of the farmer or rancher when submitted to third parties for analysis and processing; • Agreed that farmers and ranchers must have the right to remove their data permanently from the systems of agricultural technology providers. Members feel especially strongly about this point given the exponential growth of agricultural data systems and the double-digit productivity gains they have generated in just a few short growing seasons; • Opposed state efforts to dictate out-of-state, farm-level production practices; • Reaffirmed support for producerled and -approved checkoff programs;


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• Reaffirmed support for country-of-origin labeling provisions consistent with World Trade Organization rules; • Called for a state-led, voluntary pollinator stewardship program to address concerns over recent declines in the populations of honey bees and butterflies; • Supported the production, processing, commercialization and use of industrial hemp; • Called for an end to the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to require permits for farmers to repair erosion damage on their property; • Opposed the current cap on agricultural labor visas under the H2-B program; and • Called for common-sense reform in endangered species protection legislation. A total of 355 voting delegates representing every crop and livestock sector in the United States deliberated on policies affecting farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and profitability. Wisconsin’s three delegates were: WFBF President Jim Holte of Dunn County, WFBF Vice President Richard Gorder of Iowa County and District 1 Director Dave Daniels of Kenosha County. The policies approved at the convention will guide the nation’s largest general farm organization throughout 2015.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Stallman: Farmers Still Optimistic Despite Washington’s Past Dysfunction


hile America’s farmers and ranchers achieved notable victories on the farm bill and waterways infrastructure legislation in 2014, agriculture must push harder for important policy reforms in 2015, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. Stallman, a cattle and rice farmer from Columbus, Texas, told Farm Bureau members gathered for their annual convention in San Diego that progress in Washington will only come through real but principled compromise. “We cannot ignore the extremes of the left and right, but we must speak to the center: the legislators in both parties who go to Washington because they want to make policy and get things done,” Stallman said. “It’s time for Congress to get back to work -- to do their job so you can do yours.” Stallman said that time to act in 2015 will likely be shortened due to pressure created by the 2016 elections for Congress and the presidency. “Farm Bureau members will need to be aggressive, and we will need to begin our advocacy efforts as soon as possible,” Stallman said. “Farm Bureau members will also need to cut through the political noise.” While true opportunities for policy progress could grow slim by the time fall rolls around, Stallman detailed the long list of jobs that remain before Congress, including: • Immigration reform, which must include a reliable and legal workforce for America’s farms and ranches; • A national, fact-based approach to food labeling, rather

than patchwork regulation that only raises the price of food while doing nothing for food safety; • Tax rules that will encourage economic growth and multigenerational farming and; • Policies to continue growing our nation’s energy independence through the production of all forms of energy, including those that come from America’s farms and ranches. And yes, he said, it was time for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to ditch the widely reviled Waters of the U.S. proposal, which would regulate land use under the guise of the Clean Water Act. No matter what the outlook in Washington, there’s plenty of reason to remain optimistic, Stallman said. “Whether it’s a shortage of labor or water, or floods, or hail, or windstorms -- too much heat… or too much cold, farmers and ranchers across America keep working to farm another day,” he said. Overcoming adversity is nothing new to those who have succeeded in farming and ranching, Stallman said. During the historic farm crisis of the 1980s, thousands of families lost their farms to foreclosure due to high debt and high interest rates, sinking demand around the world and depressed commodity prices. But today, while commodity prices have dipped compared to recent years, in general, America’s farmers and ranchers are better off than they were 35 years ago. “That’s why anyone who’s been farming or ranching -- or whose family has been farming or ranching -- for more than 30 years is a living, breathing testament to the power of perseverance,” Stallman told Farm Bureau members in attendance.

Wisconsin’s Support of AFB Foundation Earns Award


tate Farm Bureaus were recognized for outstanding financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention.

Wisconsin was one of 22 state Farm Bureaus that received Apex Awards, given to those that have increased total investment in the Foundation by 10 percent or more over the previous year.

February | March 2015



American Farm Bureau Honors Borgman and Grandin


he American Farm Bureau Federation presented its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to Don Borgman and Dr. Temple Grandin during the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show. AFBF established the Distinguished Service Award to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to serving agriculture. Both farmer and industry executive, Don Borgman has been a strong advocate for agriculture for more than 40 years. A third-generation corn and soybean farmer from Missouri, Borgman continued to manage his farm while working fulltime for John Deere. He retired last year as director of ag industry relations, where he played an integral role in the company’s efforts to support and promote renewable energy sources. Borgman believes that farmers should be in the spotlight sharing their stories, and this passion for farming brought him to serve on the board of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. He has also been actively involved in the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Foundation, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association. “Don Borgman is a committed friend and ally, and an enthusiastic spokesman for farmers and ranchers,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “His friendship, leadership and

thorough knowledge of the industry have been invaluable to agriculture and to sharing our story beyond the farm.” Dr. Temple Grandin has dedicated her life to improving animal welfare and handling. One of the most successful people in the world with autism, Grandin is the leading authority on farm animal behavior. Her unique ability to visualize from the animal’s perspective led her to design livestock processing systems which are more humane and efficient. Her systems for reducing animal stress in processing plants are being used throughout the country—and around the world. Grandin also developed an objective scoring system for assessing and handling cattle and pigs at meat plants. A number of major corporations now use this scorecard to help improve animal welfare. Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, also travels the country giving lectures and uses her status to bring awareness to autism. She is a prolific writer, with two books on the New York Times best-seller list, and has received scores of accolades for her work. “There’s no question that Dr. Grandin’s work has transformed the livestock industry,” Stallman said. “Her groundbreaking systems have become popular across the country for their capacity to reduce animal fear and stress while make handling and transport easier. It would have been a big loss for animal agriculture if Dr. Grandin had focused her brilliant mind on something else.”

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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Lisowe to Represent WFBF on Wisconsin Beef Council


osie Lisowe, a Calumet County dairy farmer, will represent the Wisconsin Farm Bureau on the Wisconsin Beef Council’s Board of Directors. Lisowe was appointed to serve a three-year term of the 24-member board. All Wisconsin Beef Council directors must raise cattle. Like Lisowe, many represent other organizations. The board’s primary role is the oversight of Beef Checkoff funds. Directors also conduct beef promotion activities. Every time a bovine is sold in Wisconsin, $1 from that transaction is collected. Half goes to the Wisconsin Beef Council and half goes to national promotions. Since 2011, Lisowe has served on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors where she represents District 6 (Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties). Lisowe is also a past chair of the WFBF’s state Women’s Committee. She and her husband, Joe, milk 700 dairy cows near Chilton. They have four children and one grandchild. Lisowe succeeds Lloyd DeRuyter of Cedar Grove as WFBF’s

representative on the board. DeRuyter served as the Wisconsin Beef Council President in 2012-13. For more information on the Wisconsin Beef Council or beef recipes, visit

YFA Members Participate at AFBF Convention

Above left: Dustin Williams finished in the top 10 of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Excellence in Agriculture competition in San Diego.

Annual Convention. Dairy farmer Mark Mayer of Ozaukee County was Wisconsin’s Achievement Award contestant. UW-Platteville student Ethan Giebel of Juneau County was Wisconsin’s Discussion Meet contestant.

Williams is an instructor for Blackhawk Technical College and the Green County Farm Bureau Vice President. He was among Wisconsin’s trio of Young Farmer and Agriculturist program members competing in contests at the AFBF

Above right: Wisconsin YFA members at the event congratulated Williams after his strong finish. From left: Rick Roden, Brianna Huebner, Ethan Giebel, Mark Mayer, Dustin Williams, Aimee Williams, Andrea Brossard and Mason Rens.

February | March 2015


Two County Events A

dairy showmanship contest for youngsters and a 5K run during a farm brunch organized by two Wisconsin county Farm Bureaus were highlighted at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s recent convention in San Diego. The Marathon and Shawano County Farm Bureaus were among 24 county Farm Bureaus (from 12 states) that were recognized for innovative program ideas through AFBF’s County Activities of Excellence Awards program.

“The successful programs and activities on display are a valuable resource for grassroots Farm Bureau members and help promote agriculture within farming communities,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. The CAE program acknowledges and shares successful county Farm Bureau programs and activities. The awards are based on county Farm Bureau membership. Marathon and Shawano counties both qualified under the Education and Ag Promotion category.

Marathon Sees Big Results from Little Britches Showmanship


new generation of dairy enthusiasts is being created in the show rings of two Marathon County fairs. Despite Marathon being Wisconsin’s second largest dairy county, a few years ago fairs in Athens and Wausau were both seeing declining numbers of dairy exhibitors. Surrounding counties were using showmanship events for kids too young for 4-H as recruitment and educational tool. Members of the Marathon County Farm Bureau took notice. “The members decided that both of the county fairs needed an entry level opportunity for children to experience showing an animal without having to commit to the entire project,” said Beth Schaefer, Marathon County Farm Bureau Treasurer. A committee for the so-called “little britches” (children aged five to eight) was formed in 2013. Farm Bureau members joined forces with the county’s Holstein breeders group for help with


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finances and a supply of halter-trained calves. Their goal was to increase the number of junior dairy exhibitors at both fairs over the next five years. Advertising for Little Britches Kiddie Dairy Showmanship at the Valley and Athens fairs included local television, radio, newspapers and newsletters. They hoped for 30 participants and 90 showed up. Two respected dairy cattle judges were recruited to emcee the events. Farm Bureau member volunteers registered participants, handed out t-shirts, and assigned participants to an adult and calf. Before leading a calf into the show ring, adults taught youth about animal care and the overall importance of production agriculture. “The majority of the participants came from an urban background and had never touched a calf before,” Schaefer said. Youth were spilt into age groups. They were asked a question from the cattle judge and received a picture of themselves with their calf for the day. Two television stations and two newspapers covered the event. “The event brought a new focus to our county’s work. We have developed partnerships with both of the fair boards in our county, UW-Extension, Dairy Herd Improvement and the county Holstein Breeder Association as well as recruited new members to our county Farm Bureau,” Schaefer said. “The events have also allowed our work in educating the public about the agriculture to reach a new audience, urban parents and their children.” “One little boy, Aiden, enjoyed the experience so much he is now helping out on his neighbor’s farm,” Schaefer said. “His mother was so thrilled with his enthusiasm for dairy farming that she has helped our Farm Bureau raise funds for other events by securing donations from the jewelry store that she works at.” “Upon conclusion of the event, committee members sent thank you notes and began planning for 2015,” she added.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Win National Awards Dairy Dash Makes a Run at New Audience


he Shawano County Farm Bureau’s Dairy Committee was seeking new attendees and a new attraction at the Brunch on the Farm it plans each year. Members of its Young Farmer and Agriculturist program suggested a 5K run/walk. Shawano County Farm Bureau members worked with local running clubs and sought sponsorships from healthcare providers. They promoted via social media, posters and flyers. They used, a physical fitness event website to facilitate pre-registration and payment. Ages ranged from 11 to 65, and everyone from serious runners to families pushing strollers were encouraged to participate, according to Deb Mielke, Shawano County Farm Bureau President. Another of the organizers’ goals was to promote dairy as part of good health. Chocolate Shawano County Farm Bureau members Scott and Ashley Schugel are pictured milk was promoted as a natural energy drink. with AFBF President Bob Stallman at their booth in San Diego. Runners were met with signs containing dairy contestants commented they liked the unique track. fact signs along the race route. The grassy hills, The race registration fee included the admission to the valleys, ditches, curves and alfalfa fields that made up the route Brunch on the Farm, which kept the runners and their families on the host farm made for a challenging run. Many of the 65 around. Mielke estimated that about 15 Farm Bureau members were needed to help with set up, serve refreshments and time the runners. Winners received fresh cheese curds and a cow bell with the Farm Bureau logo on it. The proceeds from the event (which qualified for matching funds from Monsanto) were donated to Feeding America’s ‘Invest an Acre’ program. The more than $500 benefitted a local food pantry Plans are underway to conduct another 5K at the 2015 Brunch on the Farm, June 28 at the Al and Vicky Beran farm near Birnamwood.

February | March 2015



Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Manure is a Pollutant


n December 30, 2014, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Wilson Mutual Insurance v. Falk, 2014 WI 135 (Wis. 2017). The Court ruled that manure spread as a fertilizer was a pollutant. Therefore, damage caused by the manure was not covered under the farm’s general liability insurance policy. This ruling means that Wisconsin farmers cannot rely upon general liability insurance policies to provide coverage for property and personal damage claims arising from contamination caused by manure. The case arose out of a typical farm practice, the spreading of manure. The farmer used best management practices when spreading the manure including following his nutrient management plan. Nonetheless, the spreading allegedly contaminated neighbors’ drinking water wells and allegedly caused a young boy to become sick. The farmer looked to his insurance company to defend him from the allegations but the insurance company claimed that it had no responsibility because the liability policy included a “pollution exclusion clause.” The insurance policy defined pollutant to be: … any solid, liquid, gaseous, thermal, or radioactive irritant or contaminant, including acids, alkalis, chemicals, fumes, smoke, soot, vapor, and waste. ‘Waste’ includes materials to be recycled, reclaimed, or reconditioned, as well as disposed of. The Court concluded that manure was a pollutant even though it was properly applied and being used as a fertilizer. The Court reasoned that a reasonable insured (farmer) would consider manure in a drinking water well to be a pollutant. The Court also ruled that an additional part of the farmer’s insurance policy, “a Farm Chemicals Limited Liability Endorsement,” did not provide coverage. The Court concluded that, like the general liability policy, the endorsement excluded claims, suits or responses caused by pollutants. Finally, the Court did conclude that a part of the policy providing for incidental coverage entitled “Damage to Property of Others” provided coverage up to $500 per occurrence. The Court found that each of the six wells that were allegedly contaminated constituted a discrete occurrence. Accordingly, the insurance company would be required to pay $3,000. In light of the decision, Wisconsin farmers should look carefully at both their manure handling practices and insurance policies and determine if coverage for contamination caused by manure is warranted and whether it is covered by their current policies.

Here’s what Rural Mutual Insurance Company’s CEO and Executive Vice President, Peter Pelizza had to say about the ruling: “Rural’s position on this decision is consistent with how the insurance industry has treated manure with respect to it being a pollutant in the past. The industry has always seen manure as a pollutant, and has designed and priced their products with that in mind. Rural Mutual’s farm policy takes it one step further in its definition than most of the industry. We specifically name manure as a pollutant in our policy while others use the more broad term of ‘waste.’ Rural Mutual is unique to most other companies in that we do afford the ability of a policyholder to purchase a separate ‘pollution liability’ policy. Coverage is available up to $1 million, however is it subject to underwriting approval.” If anyone is unsure if they have the coverage, they should speak with their agent. If they find they do not have the coverage, and are interested they should ask their agent for a quote.”

Article by attorneys Timm Speerschneider and Jordan Lamb of DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C. in Madison.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau Seeks Legislative Fix to Ongoing Wolf Lawsuits


he Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation will work with federal lawmakers in 2015 to legislatively resolve a back-and-forth legal fight regarding the management of gray wolves. In December a lawsuit from an animal rights activist group brought against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reversed a 2012 decision that delisted the gray wolf as an endangered species in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. “This ruling immediately returned gray wolves to the endangered species list,” said Karen Gefvert, Director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “What this means for Wisconsin farmers, landowners and hunters is that any permit held by a landowner to deal with wolf conflicts through the Gefvert use of lethal force is now void. Wisconsin’s law allowing landowners or farmers to shoot wolves caught attacking domestic animals on private property is now invalid.” “Wisconsin will no longer be able to implement a wolf hunting season. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will no longer be able to use lethal measures to control conflict management. However, the DNR still has

the ability to use non-lethal tools and to provide compensation for depredation from wolves,” she added. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau continues to support both the delisting of the gray wolf from the endangered species list and allowing the Wisconsin DNR to continue implementing our state’s wolf management plan,” Gefvert said. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association are working to build a coalition of groups in support of legislation that would invalidate the most recent judge’s ruling. The legislation would also return the management of gray wolf populations back to states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would still be able to place gray wolves back on the endangered species list if their numbers fall below the number set by the Wisconsin DNR in its state wolf management plan, according to Gefvert.

2015 Policy Book Available Online


ant to know where the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation stands on an issue? The 2015 Policy Book is now available online at The document reflects the most recent policy directives established by voting delegates at Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 95th Annual Meeting in December. “As delegates, Farm Bureau members establish our organization’s legislative agenda from the resolutions submitted by our voting members,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. “These grassroots-generated policies address topics like transportation, taxes, energy, farmland preservation and wildlife management.” “We want this information easily accessible to all of our members and the decision-makers who have a role in agriculture’s future,” Holte added. To view the policy book online, visit

February | March 2015



Rural Mutual Wants to Keep Kids Safe on Farms


he Rural Mutual Insurance Company is rolling out a one-stop shop for all things pertaining to keeping youth safe on farms. Videos, blogs and a variety of youth safety and recovery resource information can be found at farmsafety. Rural Mutual credits Farm Bureau members with giving them the idea to pursue this project. John Quirk, Rural’s Director of Marketing, served as a judge at the state Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference in December of 2013. One of the discussion topics pertained to farm safety. The consensus of the Discussion Meet contestants was that some entity should develop a website with youth farm safety categorized as a reference guide. “It got us thinking,” Quirk said. Rural Mutual’s marketing team began collecting and developing a host of resources for a webpage dedicated to keeping kids safe on farms. “Insurance companies often focus on the safety of employees and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations,” Quirk said. “This was a different issue for us as an insurance company and we found that there was a need for youth farm safety information.” In 2014 Rural filmed a series of videos that stress safety. They consulted with safety experts at the Marshfield Clinic’s Farm Safety Center and emergency medical technicians. The videos that pack the biggest emotional punch are the interviews with families about fatalities, injuries and near-misses that occurred on farms and the impacts it left on their families.

“Rural Mutual knows that protecting the families and children in our farming communities needs to be a priority in order to keep Wisconsin strong and safe.” – Peter Pelizza


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“These parents said they relive these tragedies every day. If we can prevent another family from experiencing that, then that’s what this is all about,” Quirk said. “Rural Mutual knows that protecting the families and children in our farming communities needs to be a priority in order to keep Wisconsin strong and safe,” said Peter Pelizza, Rural Mutual’s Chief Executive Officer. “Farming and other agricultural professions consistently rank among the most dangerous, along with mining, transportation and construction,” Pelizza added. “The difference, however, between agricultural professions and the other dangerous industries is the presence of children in the worksite. Farming is typically a family business, where children are raised on the farm and participate in farming activities at young ages.” Nationally, 38 children are injured in a farm-related accident daily. “I knew farming was dangerous as there’s a lot of moving parts for a parent to be aware of when a child is present, but I didn’t realize the extent of the injuries,” Quirk admitted. While national statistics for injuries and fatalities are improving overall, that cannot be said for children in the 0-6 age group. “It’s estimated that more than 7,700 kids were hurt on a

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Rural Mutual Sponsors MERIT Center Grain Bin Safety and Training Prop

T farm in 2012 and 80 percent of them were not working when the injury occurred,” he noted. “Many accidents involve equipment like skid steers, where it’s hard to see what’s behind you when operating them,” Quirk said. “I also think maybe there’s a false sense of security with buddy seats in today’s tractors and combines. Those are for training someone to operate the equipment, not a place to strap a small child in for their safety.” The website provides blogs, articles and information on topics such as ATVs, animal handling, confined spaces, agri-tourism, farm buildings, tractors and safe play areas. Rural Mutual officials will be conducting a number of safety seminars in 2015. The company’s insurance agents will be promoting the free resource to farm families and anyone else who wants it. Going forward, Quirk and Pelizza said they hope the website attracts more families willing to share their stories online of lessons learned from near-misses. “That’s something everyone can relate to,” Quirk said.

on the web To find out more, or if you would like to request a safety seminar conducted, visit

he MERIT Center, an emergency response and industry safety training facility located in Monroe, is building a new grain bin this fall to train emergency services personnel and private industry employees for on-farm emergencies. “The grain bin safety and training prop is a vital asset to fire departments and emergency services in the region,” said Lane Heins, Deputy Fire Chief for the Monroe Fire Department. “There are many departments that have attended training and have equipment to perform grain bin rescues, but do not have a facility to practice in. Due to liability and other insurance reasons, departments cannot conduct training at grain facilities or on farms. We will provide a location to train under realistic circumstances.” The MERIT Center is structuring curriculum to meet the needs of farmers, grain elevator and handling employees, as well as youth programs. The grain bin will be one of many other training structures on their six-acre site. “It is important that we teach safe practices to those working or involved in grain operations. And it is critical that youth learn about the hazards associated with grain bins and how quickly someone can get into trouble,” Heins said. “As the leading insurer of farms in Wisconsin, being a sponsor of the MERIT Center aligns with our emphasis on farm safety and protecting the future of farm families” said Peter Pelizza, CEO of Rural Mutual Insurance Company.

For more information on the Grain Bin Rescue training prop at the MERIT Center, contact Lane Heins, Monroe Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief, at 608.329.2570 or You can also visit them online at or

February | March 2015


Matches Made in Farm Bureau


hile Chris Soules, a 33-year-old Iowa farmer, might still be looking for love as he takes on this season’s challenge of finding a wife on television’s “The Bachelor”, many Wisconsin Farm Bureau members have already found their match.

We have heard for years that Farm Bureau events are just as effective as dating services like In honor of Valentine’s Day, we share you the stories of couples who have found love through Farm Bureau.

Nick and Maria Woldt

Ryan Ripp and Brianna Ditzenberger

“I served on the state YFA Committee from 2010-2012. As part of this role, I planned a yearly Brewers trip. Nick saw my picture in the Rural Route for about two years before we ever met. When he got the invite to the Brewers game he jumped at the chance to meet me (Ha!). Although the first year, we never even spoke (he's shy). The second year we chatted briefly. That summer he kept showing up at all the events and I thought to myself, "this farmer is really committed to Farm Bureau!" He mustered up the courage to ask me out after I visited his farm one day and about a year and a half after our first date, we got married. I would have never met him if it were not for Farm Bureau.” – Maria Woldt

Brianna Ditzenberger and Ryan Ripp were introduced at the 2011 World Dairy Expo. The company Brianna and Ryan’s sister were working for had a suite at the Expo and Ryan popped in between internship interviews to say hello to his sister. While they didn't say more than "Hi, it's nice to meet you." to each other, there were butterflies. Two months later they met again at the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference. It was there that Ryan found the courage to say hello again. After the conference, sparks flew and Ryan finally asked Brianna out. Farm Bureau helped to plant the seed of love for these two farm kids who will get married this September in a barn.

Columbia County


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Dane County

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Brad and Christa Hoffmann Shawano County

Brad and Christa met at a YFA meeting and again at a YFA bowling outing in 2011. Even after the initial meetings and two introductory conversations, Christa couldn't remember Brad’s name when they found themselves at the wedding of mutual friends that summer. The following week they were reintroduced at the Shawano County Fair where sparks flew. The couple wed in August 2014 and lives on Brad’s family farm in Gresham.

Ryan and Lindsey Prahl Marathon County

After meeting briefly at UW-River Falls, Ryan and Lindsey met again at a YFA bowling party. “I was being introduced as the new district coordinator for District 8. Ryan called and asked me for a date a few weeks later, but I was on a date with my then-boyfriend. A few tries later though, I was single and the rest is history...” – Lindsey Prahl

Scott and Ashlee Uekert Marathon County

Scott was milking his herd of Holsteins one morning, when Ryan Prahl asked him about becoming a Farm Bureau member. Scott, who was 39 at the time said, "I will join only but only if you find me a wife. I'll even become a lifelong member!" Ryan accepted the challenge and suggested to his then-fiancé and District 8 Coordinator, Lindsey, that they introduce Scott to her friend, Ashlee Weiland. Lindsey was skeptical at first but invited each of them to meet at the Athens Fair. They clicked, and Ryan received their Farm Bureau membership as a married couple a year later. Now they have two children and manage Scott's family farm together.

Richard and June Johnson Grant County

Richard and June met at a Farm Bureau Rural Youth event just before Richard went into the service. June was interested in him but was convinced by a friend not to write him until after he was discharged. Once that happened in April, 1958 they dated and were married the following year in July. Former dairy farmers, Richard and June grow crops and beef cattle near Platteville. They have two children, Allen and Jolene. February | March 2015


Tim and Danielle Clark Dodge County

District 5’s first-ever Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist Ball was held in March, 2011. Tim organized the event for young farmers and agriculturists to network and foster relationships. It worked! It was there he met his future wife. The twosome married last year and are expecting their first child this year.

Steve and Annette Trescher Monroe County

“Steve and I met at the 1983 FFA Farm Forum which is sponsored by WFBF. At that time my dad was the Monroe County Farm Bureau President and the board agreed to send a representative from each of the four high schools in the county. Steve represented Cashton High School and I represented Sparta High School. My Dad was good friends with the Cashton ag teacher so he called him about carpooling to Tomah where we could meet up with the other two students and the Tomah ag teacher, who was driving the four of us to the FFA Farm Forum. It ended up that Steve drove himself and I to Tomah and as they say: the rest is history! We dated and were married in 1987. In 2006, we had the opportunity to go back to Farm Forum as chaperones for our son, Derek and his classmate, Ben. You can bet that we warned them as to what the outcome of attending could lead to!”

Joseph and Jean Kaczmarek Brown County

Joseph and Jean met through Farm Bureau’s Rural Youth program. They were married on October 25, 1958, and will celebrate 57 years this year.

John and Marilyn Piechowski Waushara County

John and Marilyn will celebrate their 50th anniversary this June. They met 53 years ago at the WFBF Annual Meeting in Green Lake. Both were serving on what was then-called the Young Farmers Committee. Love was certainly in the air for that committee. Jim and Blanche Blahnik from Kewaunee County also met while serving on the same committee and married.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Give Back. Give Dairy. When you “adopt” a dairy cow at you will be providing a rarely donated, nutrient-rich product to your neighbors who struggle with hunger. Giving is easy, just visit and donate a day’s ($36), week’s ($252) or month’s ($1,080) worth of milk production. And, to make it official, you’ll even receive an adoption certificate—a fun and perfect way to let everyone know about your new bovine addition!

Give the Gift of Dairy Today! Partners

February | March 2015



Salm, Viney Join Farm Bureau Team


n active Manitowoc County Farm Bureau member and a former editor of the Agri-View newspaper have joined the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s staff. Becky Salm

Salm will be responsible for working with county Farm Bureaus to develop and implement programs to serve Farm Bureau members and to coordinate membership recruitment and retention efforts. “I am thrilled to be part of the Farm Bureau staff and thankful for this opportunity to work with those so passionate about all facets of agriculture,” Salm said. Salm will serve Farm Bureau’s District 6, which includes Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties. Salm began her duties on December 19. “Becky’s combination of experience working with membership-based organizations, Farm Bureau involvement, and farm background will serve her well as she works with the county Farm Bureaus in east-central Wisconsin,” said Bob Leege, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Member Relations. Salm and her husband, Brian, have three children. They have a dairy and crop farm near Newton in Manitowoc County. A graduate of UW-Stevens Point, Salm has worked for several membership-based organizations including The Chamber of Manitowoc County in Manitowoc, and the YMCA at Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc. As a Manitowoc County Farm Bureau member, Salm has participated in Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Discussion Meet. As president of the Manitowoc County Dairy Promotion Committee she has planned the county’s Breakfast on the Farm event in partnership with the Manitowoc County Farm Bureau. Salm succeeds Kim Rusch of Mequon as WFBF’s District 6 Coordinator. Salm

is the new District 6 coordinator in east-central Wisconsin. Marian Viney is a new graphic designer for WFBF’s public relations division.

Part of Viney’s responsibilities will Viney be the editing, design and layout of county Farm Bureau newsletters and other member publications. She started her duties on January 5. “With a passion for agriculture, I look forward to learning from the staff, working with Farm Bureau district coordinators and establishing a rewarding long-term relationship with Farm Bureau members,” Viney said. “Her writing and editing experience, coupled with her eye for detail, farm background and passion for communicating with rural Wisconsin made her the ideal candidate for this position,” said Casey Langan, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Public Relations. “Marian brings a high level of professionalism to her work and she will be a great asset to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.” Viney grew up on a dairy farm near Oregon and was an active member of the Oregon Headliner’s 4-H Club and the Oregon FFA. She earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism with a minor in marketing from the UW-Madison. After earning her degree, she worked at the American Society of Agronomy as an assistant, associate and managing editor of various Society journals, books and other publications. She and her husband, Doug, have three sons and live in Belleville, where she serves as clerk on the local school board. Prior to working with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Viney served as managing editor for Agri-View, a Wisconsin agricultural newspaper and as a marketing specialist with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Promotions in Public Relations In early 2015, two promotions were made within the WFBF’s public relations team: • Amy (Manske) Eckelberg has been promoted to WFBF’s Director of Communications. • Lynn Siekmann has been promoted to Graphic Designer and is now the lead designer of the Rural Route magazine. Eckelberg


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation invites you to attend

Ag DAy At the CApitol March 11, 2015

Monona Terrace Convention Center • Madison, WI

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

Early Registration Deadline: March 5 Cost: $25 per person by registration deadline. $30 after deadline and at the door.

Presented by:

Detach and return to WFBF to register.

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

City: County: Zip Code: Telephone:

Thank You to Our Sponsors: Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Amount Enclosed: (# of people)

x ($25) =

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

Event #991022

Names & County of Attendees:


Join Farm Bureau Members on a Tropical January Cruise


he Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation has planned a seven-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Spirit to coincide with 97th Annual Convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Orlando, Florida. Sailing round-trip from Port Canaveral, a short commute from Orlando, the cruise will take place January 2-9, 2016, and will visit three ports of call: Nassau, St. Thomas, and Tortola. For those wishing to escape the Wisconsin winter and experience the crystal blue waters and white sand beaches of the Caribbean, this cruise will provide your “floating hotel room” as you travel from island to island and experience a taste of tropical paradise. Following the cruise, the AFBF Convention will be held January 9-13 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. WFBF has a limited number of cabins blocked for the cruise, and the deadline to register is October 19. To request a flyer with complete

details and current fares, contact Bob Leege, WFBF Executive Director of Member Relations at 608.828.5710 or To make your reservation, call WFBF’s contact at Norwegian Cruise Lines at the number listed in the flyer. By making a refundable $250 deposit, you can claim your spot before available space is gone.

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

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

Maximizing Your Profit Potential

Inquire today!

Call (800) 213-0567

or visit 22

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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

2015 WI Women’s Ag Summit Wisconsin

Ag SWomen’s U M M I T

FEATURED SPEAKERS March 13-14 • Madison Marriott West, Middleton

Scott Zimmer

Laura Daniels

Generation Xer & Professional Speaker, Bridgeworks

Farmer & Professional Speaker

“When Generations Connect”

“Using Baler Twine & Barn Lime to Live a Life with Purpose”

For the first time in history, four generations are working shoulder to shoulder–Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials. And each generation works differently, thinks differently and communicates differently! This can have a dramatic effect on your working relationships. In this presentation, Scott Zimmer will help us explore generational differences as they play out in our work, and he’ll give us techniques for blasting through generational barriers.

You are an amazing woman, you work harder and longer than most, it’s the life you choose and you love it...most of the time. In this presentation, Laura Daniels will show you how common items on the farm can help you get the most out of your crazy busy days. Her refreshing honesty about life’s ups and downs will help you see that you need tools to cope, because life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Sometimes it’s thistles, deep fertilizer and the cows are out!

A seasoned public speaker, writer and market researcher, Scott is dedicated to speaking and consulting on generational issues. As one of Bridgeworks’ generational experts and resident Gen Xer, Scott uses insight, humor and data to foster an environment where every generation feels valued and understood.

Laura is a mother, wife, farmer, dairy consultant and agriculture advocate. At Heartwood Farm, Cobb, Wis., Laura and her husband, Jarred Searls, take great joy in teaching their children, Nathan and Julia, their values as they work together on the farm.

To RegisTeR: Complete the mail-in form below -oR- register and pay online at Name(s): Address: City: Phone:





My check is enclosed for: _____ $115 Early Bird Registration (before February 13th) _____ $100 One-Day Only (please circle one: Friday or Saturday) _____ $140 Registration Fee (after February 13th) Please select your Friday evening meal (which will be during Lent): _____ Deep Fried Cod _____ Chicken

Are you a WI Farm Bureau member? Yes No Are you a Badgerland Financial customer? Yes No Note: You do not have to be a member or customer to attend. All are welcome!

Do you have special dietary needs? Yes No If yes, please indicate:

Please mail form and payment to: WI Farm Bureau/Women’s Summit, P.O. Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705 Please make checks payable to: WI Farm Bureau Foundation

February | March 2015


Retired Farmer Helps Bring Ag to the Classroom in Sauk County Meet Don Meyer


he Wisconsin Farm Bureau asked Don Meyer to discuss his work with Ag in the Classroom. This is what he had to say.

Q. Tell us about yourself. A. I grew up on the farm we still live on. We were involved in dairy until 1995. Today we rent the land out. My wife, Bev, and I have five children, four of them are involved in agriculture. I attended the Farm and Industry Short Course at UW-Madison and am a graduate of the Farm Bureau’s Institute. One of the greatest things that I have done was serve as a state FFA officer. It opened a lot of doors and gave me the chance to get up in front of people. I have also served on the Sauk County Farm Bureau Board since 2002.


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Q. How long have you been involved with Ag in the Classroom? I A. decided to get a committee together to represent each school district in Sauk County five years ago. I give a lot of credit to Sheri Hicken who encouraged us to go into the classrooms and develop programs.

Q. Why get involved? A. I have a tremendous passion for agriculture and love

to keep up with what is happening in the industry. When I first saw the Ag in the Classroom logo with the barn and pencil, I knew that if I could share my story and agriculture’s story to people, I would love to do that.

Q. How is your county program organized? A. We present five topics roughly every other month to 43 different second grade classrooms in five school districts and seven parochial schools in Sauk County. Last year 15 people served on our team of Ag Ambassador volunteers.

Q. Who are your volunteers and how do you get them

involved? A. It is sometimes hard to find volunteers because many people are working during the day. I have been fortunate to be able to find retired agribusiness people and teachers to help out. It all started with a recruitment meeting at the county fair with 16 to 18 people and eight of those have been continuous volunteers. Some people hear about our program and contact me to volunteer.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Q. What has been your greatest success? A. The relationships we have built with schools. It is

Q. Any final thoughts? A. Sauk County has seen its

always fun when you get a new teacher who is very cautious but then after the first presentation, they want to know when we will be back. Another success is the number of kids we have been able to reach. Each year we are in front of 700 to 750 students in second grade. Over five years that’s 3,500 to 4,000 kids.

participation in the Ag in the Classroom’s annual essay contest really grow. Five years ago when I first started we only had one essay submission. Last year we had 261.

Excellence in Ag Promotion and Education mean to you? A. It was very rewarding to show other Farm Bureau members what we have been doing in Sauk County. I was able to talk to a lot of Farm Bureau members and share our ideas with them and encourage them to build their county programs. We will also be able to use the award’s financial prize within our Ag in the Classroom program.

Also, we have to go out and tell our story and contact the teachers. You don’t just knock on the door and expect to give a presentation. When we started, we had developed our program and invited teachers to come to a meeting after school to see our presentation. Building relationships is the biggest part of this program. It’s the relationship of talking with the teachers and working together.

Q. How do you see AITC changing in the future? A. I see the trend of online learning expanding. It’s

Above: Don and Beverly Meyer. Below: Don showed Sauk County’s Ag in the Classroom display at the WFBF Annual Meeting.

Q. What did winning WFBF’s County Awards of

something I have worked to improve my skills in. I tell teachers about the online resources and their connection to math, science and social studies. However, the face-to-face connection will remain really important. Below: A fourth grade student from Reedsburg showed Don the school garden that was started by students.

Be social with Ag in the Classroom

February | March 2015



Farm Bureau Recipes and photos courtesy

Healthy Hashbrown Casserole • 1 (2-pound) bag Southern-style frozen hashbrown potatoes • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated • ¾ teaspoon salt • 1 can 98% fat-free cream of celery soup • ¼ teaspoon black pepper • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped • ¼ stick margarine, melted 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Mix potatoes with remaining ingredients. 3. Spread in casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. 4. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup With Herbs • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter • 1 cup onion, chopped • 4 garlic cloves, minced (bottled minced garlic is OK) • 3 (14.5-oz.) cans chicken broth

• 8 cups peeled butternut squash, cut in 1-inch pieces • 1 teaspoon dried thyme • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage • 2 teaspoons sugar • 1 teaspoon kosher salt • ½ cup heavy cream

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in butter until soft. 2. Add chicken broth and squash, and simmer until squash is very tender. A fork should go through easily. 3. Let cool slightly. Use immersion blender and puree soup in the pot. Alternatively, puree soup in blender and return to pot. If soup seems too thick, add a little more chicken broth. Add herbs, sugar, salt and cream, and stir well. Serve warm. 4. To make one day ahead, chill the soup and rewarm over medium heat before serving.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Linda’s Slow Cooker Beef Stew • 2 pounds beef stew meat • 2 cups diced potatoes • 1 Vidalia onion • 2 cans diced tomatoes • 1 pack sliced carrots • 1 cup peas

• 1 cup corn • 1 can V8 juice • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 teaspoon pepper • 2 tablespoons ketchup • 2 sticks margarine

1. Mix ingredients in a 7-quart pot or slow cooker. 2. Bring stew to a boil, then reduce heat and cook at medium for 2 hours. If using a slow cooker, cook on high for 2 hours. 3. Finally, turn to low heat and simmer for 3 hours.

Bacon and Egg Casserole 2 cups unseasoned croutons 2 cups onion and garlic croutons ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated 2 cups milk

8 eggs, beaten 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 15 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 2. Coat a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray. 3. Place croutons in casserole dish, and pour butter over croutons. Sprinkle with grated cheese. 4. Mix milk, eggs and mustard in a bowl, and pour over cheese mixture. Sprinkle bacon crumbs on top. 5. Bake for about 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

From the farm gate to your dinner plate, find ag-related content and recipes at Visit to view the online version of Growing Wisconsin. Growing Wisconsin is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, with support from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

February | March 2015


Photo by John Meyers, Barneveld

Photo by Ashleigh Calaway, Vesper

Photo by Christina Winch, Fennimore

Photo by Amy Bechel, Elmwood

Send us YOUR Photos 28

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

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

County Kernels Marinette and Oconto Counties

The Oconto and Marinette county Farm Bureaus joined forces with Rural Mutual Insurance and UW-Extension to host an estate and succession planning workshop January 14, in Kelly Lake. Attorney Rick Bollenbeck discussed legal issues to consider in the estate planning process. Jared Nelson from Farm Bureau Financial Services highlighted the many insurance products and options available to use in planning. Oconto UW-Extension agent Sarah Mills-Lloyd dealt with the family and emotional aspects of the planning equation.

Winnebago County

Rock County

Rock County Farm Bureau held its first-ever Ag Showcase on Thursday, January 29 at Johnson Tractor in Janesville. More than 100 area farmers and agricultural enthusiasts came together to share ideas, engage members and network. Rob Richard of WFBF presented on implements of husbandry and Rick Stahl from Rural Mutual Insurance Company talked about farm succession planning. Several Rock County organizations and Farm Bureau partners had booths on display, showcasing Rock County’s agriculture in the community.

Adams and Juneau Counties

The Stompin’ at the Shed event was held January 31 at Brighton Acres in Oshkosh. More than 200 people attended. Spitfire Rodeo, a local country band was the entertainment. This is the third year the Winnebago YFA has organized the gathering.

Adams and Juneau County YFA members hosted a bowling and pizza social on January 9 at the Mauston Bowl. This was the first time the two counties conducted a joint activity. It was a huge success with 22 members in attendance.

Richland County Do brown cows really give chocolate milk? Which of these chickens lay eggs? Does sweetener for soda really come from corn? These were just a few questions inquisitive minds posed to the ag experts at the Ag Discovery Tent at the Richland County Fair, September 4-7. When families arrive at the tent they first get to be a “Farmer for a Day”, gathering eggs, picking apples and digging potatoes. Then they can play a commodity game learning what it really takes to raise a pig from start to finish. The tent also includes a map of Wisconsin counties showing the variety of agriculture products produced here. New this year was a chicks hatching display on Saturday and Sunday. February | March 2015


on the web

Member Benefits

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

Savings for your Family or Business

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

Supplies & Products Case IH - Eligible Farm Bureau members will receive an incentive discount ($300 to $500) when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealers. The discount can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership. Go to www.fbverify. com/case to see the eligible models and print your certificate. FS-Growmark Patronage - Members who are patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage dividends when patronage is paid. Grainger Industrial Supply - Grainger Industrial Supply is the nation’s leading maintenance, repair and operational supplies distributor. Receive at least a 10% discount on all Grainger catalog items. For a free catalog call 608.221.3861. When ordering use the Farm Bureau account #855922019.

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

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

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

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


Office Depot - Save up to 80% on Office Depot Preferred Products along with reduced prices on ink, paper, office supplies, toner, stamps/daters, pens, pads, furniture and much more. Members get free next day delivery with free shipping on orders over $50 and terrific copy and print pricing. Visit Polaris - Farm Bureau members will receive a manufacturer’s incentive discount of $200-$300 depending on the vehicle acquired. There is no limit to the number of incentive discounts that a Farm Bureau member may use so long as it’s no more than one per unit acquired and the acquisition(s) is/are made for their personal and/or business use.

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

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

AgriVisor - WFBF members can receive a 35% discount on daily grain, livestock and feed input marketing advice, as well as current market quotes and updates. Call 800.676.5799.

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

The Country Today - With every new subscription or renewal, The Country Today will give a discounted rate and donate $5 to the Ag in the Classroom program. Write “Farm Bureau member” on your renewal or mention it when calling 1.800.236.4004.

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


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation


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Our Volunteerism Roots Will Keep Us Relevant

A Message from WFBF President Jim Holte


he life blood of any organization is the passion of its volunteers. I’ve always felt this, but lately it has become crystal clear. Every couple of weeks I meet with a group of organizational leaders. Our missions and members are all different, but our biggest threat is the same: apathy. The type of apathy where members pay their dues and then expect paid staff to do everything for them. Efficient and hard-working staff (which we have) can give members the illusion that everything is getting done. Something critical gets lost when everyone gets paid to do everything. Without volunteers who are committed to the cause, organizations lose their focus and any divide between staff and members deepens. All organizations


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(from churches to labor unions) face this danger, especially those with the financial resources to pay people to do things. While politically diverse, the group of organizational leaders I meet feels that building relationships with each other can lead to great things. One of the participants represents our state’s teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, (better known by its initials, WEAC). Each of us has something to teach each other about better serving our respective members for the long haul. It’s no secret that both WEAC and Farm Bureau aim to represent their members in the political arena. The approach of Farm Bureau’s political action committee (the Volunteers for Agriculture) has been to endorse candidates from both sides of the aisle in a positive fashion. This is harder than it sounds. It’s also not very common. Standing by some ag-friendly incumbents has caused more hard feelings with some politicians and members than you might imagine. To do anything different would be politically unwise. There are many other examples of why Farm Bureau stands apart from other groups. Our members volunteer to become teachers for a day through the Ag in the Classroom program. Members conduct a variety of fundraisers for efforts that keep local agriculture viable. Members discuss farm policy issues and plan events at informal meetings

held in banquet halls, bars, barns, churches, diners, from Ashland to Beloit. Members pay visits to other farmers and agriculturists to personally ask them to join. Members take time away from their farms and jobs to meet with lawmakers in Madison and Washington. May we never view Farm Bureau as something that we pay dues to and expect everything will be fine. If we stop asking people to volunteer it will be the beginning of the end of being effective. One way Farm Bureau has changed to empower its volunteers is the County Services Program. Prior WFBF leadership saw the value in providing county Farm Bureaus with an avenue to have staff perform administrative tasks like taking meeting minutes, designing newsletters and balancing the checkbook. This has freed-up volunteers to do what they do best: be the face of agriculture on the local, state and national levels. Like any other organization, Farm Bureau must evolve to remain relevant in today’s fast-changing society. While it might be fun to grab onto to latest trend or gadget, we should never forsake our roots and forget what has always made us special and powerful: the passion of our volunteers. WFBF President since 2012, Holte is a grain and beef farmer from Elk Mound in Dunn County.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Is the Tide Turning on GMOs?

Guest Column from AFBF President Bob Stallman


onsumers are tiring of anti-GMO rhetoric: They want facts. You don’t have to put those claims under the microscope to see how shaky the anti-GMO platform is. That’s no surprise to those of us who know the benefits of GM products firsthand, of course. Now, more than ever, is a prime time for us to be sharing our stories about the environmental benefits of biotechnology and the safety of GM foods we feed to our own families without hesitation. Research and common sense back up what farmers and ranchers have long known about GMOs, and others are taking notice. Last October, the Journal of Animal Science released the findings of a new trillion-meal study, the most comprehensive GMO study yet. Animal geneticist Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam analyzed about three decades of livestock data to compare the health of nearly 1 billion animals. Her goal: to see what effect feeding livestock GMOs for over a decade now has had. The answer? None. No difference in the health of the animals, and no effect on the humans who eat those animals. Although this isn’t news to agriculture, the size of the study makes it a game-changer. GMO opponents have used misinformation for too long to muddle the conversation. And the push for mandatory labeling has only confused things more. The call for GMO labels sure isn’t coming from the Food and Drug Administration, the nation’s top authority on food safety. FDA officials have

declared GMOs safe and are standing their ground. In fact, GM crops have long withstood intense scrutiny, with not one documented food-safety case. Fortunately, this charged rhetoric isn’t enough to convince most voters. Ballot initiatives to require labeling in Colorado and Oregon both failed last fall. Policymakers on Capitol Hill are taking notice and starting to question the “need” for labels also. Former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) noted at a House hearing this fall that labeling would mislead the public and send the message that GMOs are dangerous. Mr. Waxman made a good point. We should allow the FDA to continue doing its job setting standards for food safety and labeling. Consumers are more and more interested in the story of their food. This is good news for farmers and ranchers. We’re proud of the work we do and are eager to share how food gets from the farm to the table. Feeding a growing population is a popular topic now, and “sustainability” is the buzzword. GM crops will play a big role here. Farmers and ranchers have their work cut out for them, but they are ready for the challenge and to lead this conversation. The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance brought farmers and ranchers to the table for this discussion recently at the New York Times’ “Food for Tomorrow” event. While most of the conference pushed for administrative action, a few farmers and ranchers broadened the conversation to help

attendees see what sustainability in action looks like. Julie Maschhoff, Bruce Rominger and Joan Ruskamp closed the event by explaining the hard work and careful planning that go into providing healthy food for our families, and for the generations to come. Panels like this are just a slice of the conversation that thousands of farmers and ranchers around the country are ready for. Consumers want to know the truth about what’s in their food—and who better to inform them than the very people who grow it?

American Farm Bureau Federation President since 2000, Stallman is a cattle and rice farmer from Columbus,Texas.

February | March 2015



Young People Should Fear Debt As Much As Climate Change (If Not More) Guest Column from Kurt R. Bauer


oung people have been indoctrinated to believe manmade global warming/climate change is the number one threat to their future. I disagree and not because I am a climate change denier (although I must confess to being skeptical considering that even the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits global temperatures have not risen for 18 years). I disagree because the now $18 trillion national debt compounded by trillions more in unfunded entitlement obligations, like Social Security and ObamaCare, are chains around the necks of the Millennials (1980-2000) and Generation Z (2001-Present) that will hold back their upward mobility and quality of life. Debt is a major reason why a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 76 percent of Americans fear their children will be worse off economically than they are. Unlike manmade climate change, a theory which relies on computer modeling that have thus far proved largely inaccurate, the threat posed by America’s massive debt is indisputable


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to all but the most stubborn of math deniers. If you can count the shrinking number of taxpayers versus the exploding number of people who will be drawing benefits then you can see the problem, if you are willing to look. So why are young people obsessed with being “green” and seemingly unconcerned about the debt they will be inheriting from their free-spending elders? Well, climate change certainly gets more attention (some might say hysteria) from politicians, the media and even Hollywood elites, like Leonardo DiCaprio. It has become a cause célèbre. Some have even likened it to a religion where heresy is not tolerated. If you don’t believe, you are mocked as a science denier or, as President Obama said, a member of the “flat earth society.” By contrast, if someone suggests the need to address the national debt or the coming insolvency of entitlement programs, they are accused of fear mongering and wanting to impose austerity measures on the American public. Case in point, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) was depicted in a political advertisement tossing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff after offering an entitlement reform plan to avoid what he calls the “most predictable crisis in American history.” Even small changes to government entitlement programs are met with heavy criticism. The AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, opposes common sense reforms like raising the age when people can begin drawing Social Security benefits from 64 to reflect the fact that people are living longer today than when Social Security was enacted in 1935 (life expectancy in 1935 was 61; today it is nearly 80). Unfortunately, there is no AARP-like group representing Millennials and Gen

Z and, ironically, idealistic young people tend to support candidates like Barack Obama who embrace climate change but deny debt is a serious problem. Climate change is also considered a crisis when the national debt isn’t because the solution to the former is more government, while the solution to the latter is less government. To combat climate change you need to regulate and restrain the free market economy, which seems to be popular among young people who have been taught to distrust, if not despise, capitalism and industrialization. To combat debt, you need to shrink government spending to sustainable levels, which ultimately means taking something away from someone, which is never easy to do. There is also big money behind the global warming movement. Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer alone spent $73 million during the most recent midterm elections in support of candidates who adopted the climate change orthodoxy, i.e., support the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on fossil fuels and oppose construction of the XL Keystone pipeline. To be clear, I am not saying young people shouldn’t strive to be good stewards of the planet. But I think it is illogical for Millennials and Gen Z to fear climate change, while ignoring how the nation’s massive debt and entitlement obligations will adversely impact their economic future. Bauer is the President/CEO of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. This column originally appeared in the January, 2015 edition of WMC’s Wisconsin Business Voice magazine.

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Wisconsin, Not Federal Judges, Should Manage Wolf Population Guest Column by WPRI’s Eric Searing


ike many families from the city, every summer while I was growing up, my family would pack up the car and take a trip to the hinterlands of Wisconsin. One place that we visited often and that is special to me is Hayward. Going to Hayward meant I could fish almost every day with my grandpa, swim, eat junk and experience wildlife such as bald eagles, ospreys, white-tailed deer and black bears in their natural habitats. When we first started going up there, locals did not talk much about wolves. That changed as I grew older. In fact, I can remember nights when I would be up late reading and I would hear howling in the distance. I knew what coyotes sounded like, and these were not coyotes. My only other interaction with wolves was visiting the wolf enclosure at the Milwaukee County Zoo, which I thought was awesome. The gray wolf was never reintroduced into Wisconsin by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wolves migrated here on their own. According to a report by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Wildlife Management, there were an estimated 779 to 804 gray wolves in Wisconsin during the winter of 2012-13. That’s well above the state’s management goal of 350. Most people in rural Wisconsin affected by wolves just want the ability to protect their livestock or pets. Hunters have concerns about the high volume of predators such as black bears, bobcats, coyotes and wolves in northern Wisconsin and the impact they have on the state’s whitetail herd and elk repopulation efforts. In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves in Wisconsin,

Minnesota and Michigan from the endangered species list. That year, Wisconsin created a hunting and trapping season for gray wolves, and the political tensions surrounding wolf management eased a bit. The state’s third wolf hunting and trapping season ended on December 5. Now, thanks to a December 19 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, gray wolves are back on the endangered species list and Wisconsin finds itself stuck in the middle of a spat between a federal agency and a federal judge. An appeal of the decision is possible. The Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t delist the gray wolf on a lark. In fact, the gray wolf’s comeback is a rare example of the federal government doing something well. Since the 1970s, the Fish and Wildlife Service has done a remarkable job of repopulating gray wolves. It has done such a good job that the service first removed the Western Great Lakes’ gray wolf population from the endangered list in 2007. But thanks to legal battles, gray wolves have been restored to the list four times. It isn’t every day that a federal agency tries to return control of something to the states. For years, the Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with state agencies to create viable wolf management programs so that state natural resource agencies eventually could take over the management of the respective state’s gray wolf populations entirely. According to Howell, even though there may be “practical policy reasons” for delisting gray wolves, federal law “offers the broadest possible protections for endangered species by design.” As Wisconsin outdoor columnist Patrick Durkin put it, even though wolves aren’t “biologically endangered,” they are

deemed “legally endangered” by Howell. The judge “found reality illegal,” Durkin wrote. He is right. For years, lawmakers in Wisconsin have been calling on the federal government to turn over timber harvesting responsibilities for federal forestlands to the state. You have to wonder if that were to happen, would a “save the trees” group find a federal judge to intervene on that as well? In a sad twist of irony, Howell’s decision could have unintended consequences and, through poaching, poisoning and illegal hunting, Wisconsin’s gray wolf population could suffer. Wisconsin and its neighboring states should be in control of managing their wildlife populations, not federal judges.

Searing is director of outreach and development for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. This column expresses his personal opinion.

February | March 2015



As the Global Economy Goes, So Go Grains in 2015 Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


ow that the important January USDA reports are behind us, expect to see grain futures revert back to trading on the same sort of influences that guided prices into the end of the last calendar year. December was a month dominated by news from outside markets. Look for action in the other various investment spaces to help set the tone for the grain trade in 2015. Commodity prices have become increasingly correlated with economic growth over the past 20 years and the world’s various financial markets have forged stronger links with one another as a result. The grains are influenced greatly by factors related to the equities,


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currencies, bonds, metals and more. As for equities, the S&P 500 will attempt to achieve a record seventh straight yearly gain in 2015. Traders are optimistic as a result of robust corporate balance sheets in the U.S., but they have recently been put on edge because of worries about the rest of the word. Commodities do not traditionally have strong correlation with stocks, but the two markets can influence one another in times of extreme volatility. If an extensive stock sell off were to ensue, commodities may benefit from outflows of money looking for a home or they could sink under the weight of broad market pessimism. Currencies will certainly have much to say about grain prices in the year ahead. The dollar has begun what could prove to be a secular move higher and is being watched closely for its influence on the terms of trade for our grain exports. If the dollar continues its ascent, U.S. exports will become less competitively priced in the world trade market. Shifts between “risk-on” and “risk-off” mentalities in the equities and currency spaces have the potential to spark broad market movements that can affect the grains. Shifts between bull and bear markets also occur within the other commodity classes outside of grains. Oil is currently a much talked-about topic. Commodities tend to move together, so lower energy prices could

begin to pressure the grains if the oil slump persists. Livestock prices certainly share influence with the grains, as do prices of the metals and soft commodity classes. Markets move as part of a larger macro-economic engine. That engine has sputtered at times during the postrecession recovery, but the U.S. economy has mostly fared better than its global counterparts. The World Bank has recently cut its world growth forecasts on worries over the Russian, Japanese, and European economies. Even so, there is not yet any reason to be overly bearish in our outlook for U.S. financial markets. Demand for commodities, including that for U.S. grains, will track closely with the performance of the global economy. The health of the global economy will be monitored using all of the many markets as diagnostic indicators. As the year rolls forward, traders will continually reassess their outlook on global economic conditions and their findings will help shape attitudes about our farm commodities. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on more than just the fundamentals that are internal to the grains in 2015. Camp is the risk management specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.

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House Puts Regulators on Notice Guest Column by AFBF’s Erin Anthony


ith the launch of a new oversight subcommittee focusing on the administration’s energy and environmental policies and House passage of the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 185), House lawmakers are putting the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies on notice: Business as usual is over. In both the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, Congress set out policies that regulators are supposed to follow. Yes, EPA and other regulatory bodies do have some leeway in writing and implementing the regulations for these laws and many others. Over the years, however, where Congress gave EPA an inch, the agency has taken a mile. Both the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and the proposed regulations related to new and existing coal-fired power plants overstep the regulatory authority Congress granted the agency in the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, respectively. With House action to tighten the reins on the regulators less than a month into the new Congress, lawmakers are setting a clear agenda, and close to the top of that agenda is holding regulators’ feet to the fire. In late December, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), newly appointed chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced he would form a new panel, the Interior Subcommittee, to watch over the EPA,

as well as the Agriculture, Energy and Interior departments. Responsibility for those agencies previously fell to two subcommittees, one that focused on energy and the other on regulatory affairs. Chaffetz’s concerns aren’t exclusively with regulatory policy. General mismanagement and personnel problems are also very much on his radar. In addition, he has been vocal about what he sees as unlawful limits on the ability of Utahans to access federal lands, which comprise two-thirds of his state. Chaffetz has appointed Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) to lead the subcommittee. The Regulatory Accountability Act, which passed with bipartisan support in the House last month, would give all stakeholders a greater voice in a federal regulatory process that is too often onesided. The legislation provides a muchneeded update to the nearly sevendecades-old Administrative Procedures Act, which needs to be amended to ensure that the public and the regulated community, in particular, are afforded a transparent, fair and open regulatory process. The bill would require agencies to be more open and transparent on data justifying a rule. The most costly rules would be subject to on-the-record hearings. Agencies would be required to consider such rules’ impact on jobs and

the economy. Moreover, agencies’ ability to use guidance and interim final rules would be constrained. Farmers and ranchers are optimistic lawmakers’ efforts will bring EPA and other regulatory agencies’ real mission back into focus: to execute the laws passed by Congress in the least costly way and, with strong public input, to find the most efficient regulatory solutions that benefit all Americans.

Anthony is editor of FBNews, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s official e-newsletter.

February | March 2015



Support All Farmers Guest Column by Hope Pjesky


ince 2007 I have been blessed and honored to have the opportunity to travel to several other countries and visit agricultural operations. I have also had the opportunity to host farmers from many other countries on my farm in northern Oklahoma. During this time, one thing has become obvious to me and that is farmers everywhere have a lot in common. Farmers all have similar challenges and opportunities. I support all farmers, no matter what country they are from. I know farmers from every continent and I have lost count of how many different countries and I support them all. I support all farmers, no matter what size their farm is. My farm is middle sized by American standards. I know some very large farmers from developed nations and some smallholder farmers from developing nations and I support them all. I support all farmers, no matter what they produce. I produce beef cattle and wheat on my farm. I know farmers who produce virtually every kind of crop and food animal on earth and I support them all. I support all farmers, no matter what


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production practices they use. I use conventional production practices on our farm. I know farmers that use organic, biodynamic, natural, free range, grass fed, no-till, confinement and high tech production practices using all the latest technology including biotechnology, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones and other animal health products and I support them all. I want all farmers to be productive and have a good life. I am careful to not be selfish in the policies that I advocate. Because I have a much larger world view now, I only speak out on issues that I believe would benefit all farmers. I encourage all farmers to look beyond their individual farm and think about the larger agriculture and food industry around the world. When I was in Southeast Asia I saw some farmers that had a much better quality of life than other farmers in the same countries. The difference was they had been given the tools to access world markets for their products. I support free trade because it benefits both small farmers in developing nations and larger farmers in developed countries. I know farmers from many countries that cannot access technologies that they want to use that have been proven safe and effective because their government has banned the use of them. I also know consumers that would like to be able to purchase products that they do not have access to because their government will not allow the products to enter their country even though they are perfectly safe. These people should have the right to choose. There are also many farmers in this world that would be much more

productive if they had at least the same level of private property rights that farmers have in the United States. These are the issues that I advocate for and I try to be as ideologically pure on these issues as I can. I strive to never to be a hypocrite. I have also learned that there is no universally good or bad agricultural practice and no perfect size for a farm. A practice that you believe to be the best in your area could be completely wrong in another part of the country or world. Something that you think would be a horrible practice in your area can be absolutely correct in another place. With nine billion people to feed by 2050 and a quickly increasing middle class around the world, farmers around the world should not be competing with each other. Farmers should be supporting each other so that all farmers can be productive and have good lives. If that happens consumers will also benefit. There will be markets for all of our products. One of the biggest challenges that farmers all have is activist groups that attack agriculture from every possible direction. How can farmers ever expect to be successful in combating those attacks if farmers are saying negative things about each other? In fact some of those activist groups get their negative ideas about agriculture from other farmers. I support all farmers. Wouldn’t everyone be better off if all farmers felt that way? Pjesky is a rancher from Goltry, Oklahoma. This column originally appeared in Farm Journal.

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Once Again, Picking on Tobacco Seems Like Low-Hanging Fruit Message from Casey Langan


come from a town where tobacco was once king. That leafy crop made its way from farm fields and sheds to the downtown’s dozens of brick warehouses where it was processed and sold for chew or cigar wrap. Our neighborhoods still have the stately homes that were built by bankers and tobacco barons during tobacco’s golden era in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It wasn’t uncommon for students to be excused from class to harvest when a killing frost approached. Our annual festival is called Tobacco Heritage Days and even our school’s fight song references “Tobacco City.” Along with my friends and family, we value the work ethic that we learned from tobacco. So it’s with interest that I’ve followed an effort by Human Rights Watch to ban all youth from working in tobacco fields. The recommendation comes from interviews with 140 children, most who work alongside their migrant farmworker parents during the summer and weekends on tobacco farms in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. The report says three-fourths of the interviewed youth suffer from the symptoms of “acute nicotine poisoning” from handling tobacco plants. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, irritation and difficulty breathing. I never knew such thing existed. Nausea and headaches? Sure, but I always blamed it on the heat. Loss of appetite has never been a problem for me, especially when my grandma was cooking dinner.

One 13-year-old in North Carolina, Elena, told Human Rights Watch: “I felt like I was going to faint. I would stop and just hold myself up with the tobacco plant.” Nonsense Elena. Tobacco plants are too brittle to use as a crutch. But wait, nicotine is not the only danger. The report also cites accidents with sharp tools as common. The axes and spears used to harvest were sharp, but it taught me responsibility. I was more scared of the power-take-off than anything used for tobacco. Human Rights Watch wants all minors banned from lifting a finger in a tobacco field. The lazy teenager in me wonders where these do-gooders were back in the 1980s when it might have meant more time at the city pool. The skeptical adult in me realizes there’s more at play here than tobacco. Farm Bureau led an effort in 2012 to beat back a federal effort from OSHA to ban all types of youth farm labor. The Obama Administration vowed to shelve those plans after a flood of public outcry; Back to the drawing board for the nanny state. Chipping away at youth labor in one segment of agriculture appears to be gaining steam. The Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina has advised growers to not employ youth under 16 and should “be cautious” about those 16 and 17. Philip Morris International says it’s working to eliminate child labor for hazardous tasks on the thousands of farms it buys tobacco from.

I’ve never said that tobacco harvesting is not backbreaking and sometimes dangerous work, but our society seems to have lost its appetite for teaching kids about hard work and personal responsibility. I have no doubt that Congress will chew on this issue again. Leave it to some little-known advocacy group to target a controversial segment of agriculture that lacks a vocal constituency and is accustom to regulation. Once one crop is arbitrarily banned what’s to stop the domino effect? Recent history should tell us that tobacco is the proverbial low-hanging fruit where societal engineering begins. As a kid I remember hearing my elders say that after the federal government had decimated the tobacco industry, it would move on to alcohol and then on to food. Cheeseburgers, ice cream or whatever someone else thinks you shouldn’t be eating, all in the name of saving us from ourselves. It all sounded sort of strange and scary to my young ears back then. It doesn’t sound so far-fetched today.

Langan is the WFBF’s Executive Director of Public Relations and a native of Edgerton.

February | March 2015


The challenge is on for you to sign up at least five new Farm Bureau members by September 30.

Farm Bureau volunteers are eligible to receive a $20 cash award for every new member signed. Volunteers signing five or more new members by September 30 receive special recognition as members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Producer Club at an exclusive luncheon during the WFBF Annual Meeting on December 5. 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 the “membership worker” and submit all memberships prior to September 30.

Do your part to strenghten 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.


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Opportunity Knocked, We Answered the Door

Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program asked to be a part of Discovery World’s Food Generation Series in Milwaukee


early 150 Milwaukee Vincent High School students flooded Discovery World in Milwaukee for the first session of Food Generation, a three-part series that offers an exploration of food, what food is, where food comes from and what food could be. The three sessions entitled “Grow It”, “Make It” and “Eat It” exposes students to career opportunities in the food and beverage industry, while providing access to professionals in food science and technology. Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program was proud to be a part of “Grow It” where students were challenged to understand where their food comes from and rethink what it means to grow food. Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator, Wendy Kannel, served as a keynote speaker for the event and highlighted what has changed in the agriculture industry and provided a view of what farmers and farming looks like today. “I was excited when we were asked to be a part of this,” Kannel said. “This is an audience that we don’t always get a chance to visit with so it was intriguing to hear what they had to say about food, farming and ag careers.” You can see a video of Kannel’s keynote by visiting the WFBF YouTube page at The Food Generation Series is sponsored by Discovery World and FaB Wisconsin.

The Food Generation Series: Through the Eyes of a Presenter By Jacki Roden

As a farmer and ag-educator, no two teaching opportunities are ever the same. As I prepared to take my ag-education off the farm for one of the first times, I found the same passion and enthusiasm guided me to teaching the students at Discovery World’s Food Generation session. Going into the event, I knew there would be possible struggles with the fact that I would be teaching high-schoolers who are only a few years younger than me and possibly students who may not be interested in what I have to say. However, as with any group I have taught, I can always find at least a handful of students curious, excited and full of questions. I was of course inspired by the students who had an interest in agriculture and but even more so by those who weren’t “interested” but still admitted that they learned something new that day! I knew participating in this event was important for two reasons. One, I wanted to show the young adults that it is never too early to start chasing your dreams and for some, to start a business. Two, I wanted to show them how important agriculture is to them not only today, but tomorrow as they become the future leaders. Agriculture is all around us and we need a diverse group of hard-working and motivated individuals to keep the industry moving forward. Showing these inner-city students my rural way of living is important for them as they start making their own decisions, become independent and gain respect for the industry that provides them food, shelter and clothing each day.

February | March 2015


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Learn Online with My American Farm


ooking for something fun and educational to include at your next Farm Bureau event? Try the My American Farm tablet kiosks. My American Farm, the educational game platform was launched in 2011 to engage pre-K through fifth grade learners in agriculture. Today the free site offers 20 agriculturally themed games and more than 100 free educator resources such as lesson plans, activity sheets and comics. The tablet kiosks feature 6 games for event attendees to try out. The My American Farm educational resource is a special project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and made possible through the support of title sponsor, DuPont Pioneer. Pioneer has contributed more than $1.4 million to advancing the programs in U.S. classrooms in the last five years. “Over the past four years, we have reached more than a million school-aged youth through the My American Farm platform – from kiosks


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at agriculture conferences to desktops in the classroom,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “With support from DuPont Pioneer, we are increasing youth engagement in agriculture in classrooms coastto-coast to improve overall literacy of production agriculture and inspire future food Tablets and stands are available for your next leaders.” ag promotion event. This year, My American Farm will launch two new STEM-related games, pilot food science day camps and increase outreach to elementary school teachers. A new beef heritage game, entitled “The Steaks Are High,” was recently launched on the website as well. In this game, users pick an avatar character from the beef industry and explore the beef production process from cow-calf operation, to livestock auction, to stocker ranch, and finally to the feed yard. It introduces users and their families to how farmers and ranchers care for their animals and the environment. Users also can now search educational resources and sort games by grade level and subject area. In addition to being more mobile friendly, the site will provide new resources, like downloadable recipe cards, free marketing resources and ideas for setting up a learning experience at a fair or event. To take advantage of the free My American Farm resources, games and activities, visit Interested in having My American Farm as a part of your next event? Tablet kiosks are available to check out through Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom. For more information, contact Wendy Kannel at or 608.828.5719.

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

We asked Ag in the Classroom volunteers to answer the question, “What is the best Ag in the Classroom resource or activity you offer to teachers?”

Jim Renn Waukesha County “In Waukesha County, our best resource is our Ag in the Classroom committee members. We present a farmer in the classroom program with a PowerPoint showing our area of agriculture. The farmer presenters work with the fourth grade teachers on a time to go into the classroom. After and during the PowerPoint, the students ask questions and get answers from real farmers. We feel the importance of telling the story of agriculture is better told in person. Without a dedicated Ag in the Classroom committee, this program wouldn’t be so successful.”

Got Email? A

re your membership records current? If you’ve moved acquired a new telephone number, or changed your name or email address, it’s important that your new information is reflected in your membership records. Email addresses and cell phone numbers help Farm Bureau reach you in instances where prompt communication is important. If you need to update your records, email your current contact information to, and our staff will handle the update.

Michelle Backhaus Outagamie County “Working together with our dairy promotions committee has reaped benefits by educating our county about agriculture. One of our major activities is bringing the My American Farm kiosk to our annual breakfast on the farm held every June in Outagamie County. We assemble more than 2,000 fun agricultural activity bags and present them to children who visit our area at the breakfast on the farm. The distribution of these bags provided us with the opportunity to touch the hands of children and to enhance the vision of their future in agriculture.”

Tonra Degner Juneau County “Our essay contest program is our best resource and way into the classrooms in our county. We were able to obtain funds through a grant a number of years ago to develop resource tubs which circulate among our county schools. By working closely with the fourth and fifth grade teachers on the essay contest we have gained a lot of other inroads into the classrooms. We donate the Book of the Year to each elementary school annually and arrange for readers to go in and read it to kids before we present it to their libraries. Our teachers have become very willing to have us send volunteers into their classrooms.”

Fresh Strawberries from Florida! Visit for county Farm Bureaus who are hosting spring sales.

February | March 2015


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Kick up your heels to support agriculture education!

Saturday, March 28 7 - 11 p.m. The Barn at Harvest Moon Pond in Poynette Featuring: The Soggy Prairie Boys 50-50 Raffle Silent Auction

Tickets: $25 *Available on a first-come, first-served basis

To purchase tickets, visit Proceeds benefit Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom and Wisconsin FFA Foundation


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The Apple Orchard Riddle Named Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year


he American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture presented its eighth annual Book of the Year award to Margaret McNamara for The Apple Orchard Riddle. In this playful and humorous story, the students learn a lot about apples and apple orchards — including how apples are harvested, how cider is made, and what the different varieties of apples are — while trying to solve a riddle. New York City-based Margaret McNamara is a former children’s book editor who now works as a literary agent, when she’s not writing. She has written some 40 books for children, and will publish her first novel for adults, “Enchanted August,” this summer. “I could not be more thrilled that The Apple Orchard Riddle was chosen as the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year,” said McNamara. “When I was growing up, there was a very crooked, very old apple tree in our backyard. It produced the most delicious green cooking apples. I baked many a pie and cake and crumble with those apples.” She continued, “When I got older, my stepdaughter was diagnosed with dyslexia. Her struggle with reading has always been coupled with an uncanny ability to see things differently and to solve problems in a very visual way. I wrote ‘The Apple Orchard Riddle’ in memory of that old apple tree, and to celebrate my stepdaughter, Emma.” The Book of the Year award springs from the Foundation’s efforts to identify “accurate ag books,” a collection of more

than 400 books for children, teenagers and adults that accurately cover agricultural topics. Book of the Year selections are educational, help to create positive public perceptions about agriculture, inspire readers to learn more and touch their readers’ lives as well as tell the farmer’s story. The Accurate Ag Books database is available at: The Foundation has created an educator’s guide and has revised its Apple Ag Mag publication as companion pieces to The Apple Orchard Riddle. Again this year, the Foundation is offering a Spanish text version of the Apple Ag Mag. In honor of McNamara’s recognition and the host city of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2015 Annual Convention, the Foundation donated 100 copies of The Apple Orchard Riddle to the San Diego Public Library, along with $1,000. For more information, contact the Amercian Farm Bureau Foundation at or 800.443.8456.

Join us for the 18 Annual th

Monday, September 14, 2015

Benefiting the

S944 Christmas Mountain Road Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Registration and Sponsorship Deadline: August 10, 2015

February | March 2015


rural mutual

Time to Purchase 2015 Crop Hail Coverage


arch 2015 soybean futures price was $10.47 per bushel on January 12. July 2015 corn was listed as $ 4.09 on futures quotes and wheat was listed at $ 5.60. Crop input costs will probably remain at high levels with fertilizer, seed, herbicides, insecticides, fuel, land, rent and labor leading the way. You may have already contracted the sale of some of your 2015 crops. This means that when contracts come due you must either deliver the commodity or the money to buy out your contract. If you plan to feed your crops and they are lost, you will need to purchase quality replacement feed. If you have never considered Crop Hail insurance as a risk management tool in the past, consider purchasing it in 2015. Crop Hail insurance has been proven useful to many Wisconsin Farm Bureau members over many years. Their loss experience proved that Crop Hail insurance was the best insurance product to indemnify them for their loss when a hailstorm damaged all or a portion of their crops. Crop Hail insurance allows flexibility in your risk management insurance program. You can insure both profit and the cost of production in the event that you lose your crop. Whether you have insured your crops in previous years or are considering purchasing Crop Hail insurance for the first time, you need to determine what level of coverage will fit your farm’s situation.


Rural Route

Rural Mutual Crop Hail insurance covers your crops in units of one acre so that when a hailstorm crosses your property and damages a portion of your crops you have coverage. Crop Hail insurance covers your growing crops for direct loss of yield due to: hail, fire, lightning, vandalism, malicious mischief, vehicle damage, fodder for silage corn, replanting allowance for covered perils, transportation coverage and fire department service charges. Rural Mutual offers no deductible and deductible policies that allow you to select what amount of your risk you wish to transfer and how much you will self-insure. Rural Mutual also has a wide array of discounts available. Producers are in business today simply because they made the good business decision to purchase Crop Hail insurance from Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Rural Mutual’s Crop Hail insurance has protected Wisconsin farmers for more than 68 years.

Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent today to get more information before purchasing your 2015 Crop Hail insurance. Premiums paid here stay here to keep Wisconsin strong!

Rural Mutual Insurance Company | 877.219.9550

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

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


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Rural Mutual Insurance Company


Coverage for your most preCious asset. you!



Our already low premiums are even lower when you bundle your auto and home or farm or country estate and life. Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance Company Agent to see how you can save up to 25%. Or visit us on Facebook or on our website at to find an agent near you.

Rural Route  

February | March 2015 Volume 21 Issue 1

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