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february | march 2017 • vol. 23 no. 1 |

Farm Bureau Member Tells Stories Through Wine Page 10

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contents vol. 23 no. 1

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Annual Convention

Highlights from this year’s AFBF Annual Convention in Phoenix.


Ripon-based winery tells stories through wine.

Ag Outlook

What to expect for this year’s agriculture economy.


Rural Mutual Insurance creates dividend program.

UW Discovery Farms

Learn more about the farmer-led research and outreach program.


Columns from Holte, Duvall and AgriVisor.

Farm Bureau Flavor

Try some of these favorite recipes from WFBF staff.

Roth Recognized

Katie Roth named a Face of Farming and Ranching.

Ag in the Classroom

Summer bus tour, national conference, essay contest and National Ag Day.

Rural Mutual

Review ATV and UTV safety.

Cover Photo by Amy Eckelberg

42 stay connected

Online Library

Read our previous issues at


February | March 2017


Rural Route wisconsin Farm bureau federation’s

Editor’s Note


his year I attended my first American Farm Bureau Annual Convention, and as I reflect on the experience, I can’t emphasize enough how unique and special our organization is. From all walks of agriculture, 5,000 members from across the country came together for this year’s event. It was inspiring to sit with thousands of farmers and ranchers. A reflection and a tribute to the flag kicked off each session. Countless times throughout speeches and videos Farm Bureau’s heritage was mentioned and the importance of moving forward was stressed. Much like at the state level, at the closing of the convention, the grassroots policy process shines as voting takes place to lock in the policy directives the organization will pursue. While the challenges may differ in each corner of the country, members work together to establish what is in the best interest for the agriculture community. Being a unified voice is important, especially in today’s political world. Through grassroots policy work, discussions and voting, Farm Bureau members have the duty and opportunity to decide what the organization’s stance will


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be. Working together to be a unified voice is what sets Farm Bureau apart from other groups. Not only did our Wisconsin members do a great job of representing Wisconsin Farm Bureau at the AFBF convention, but many Wisconsin leaders were appointed to national leadership roles. Read more about these members on pages 8 and 34. Our affiliate company, Rural Mutual Insurance, has some exciting news to share with their farm policyholders. Read about their newly-released dividend program on pages 20 and 21. We worked collaboratively with UW Discovery Farms to bring you an overview of their programs. On pages 24-27, they explain their offerings and introduce the WaterWay Network. Before we know it, it will be time for spring planting. On pages 10 and 11, you’ll read about a winery in Ripon that would make for a great day trip no matter the season. Everyone needs some time away when the chance presents itself, and what better way than to check out the venture of a fellow Farm Bureau member. On a traveling note, don’t forget about your money-saving travel member benefits listed on page 22. If staying inside is more your style, try some of the Farm Bureau staff ’s favorite recipes in Farm Bureau Flavor. I sampled a few of them and I can say that you won’t be disappointed. Whether it’s across the country, state or county, working together across generations and walks of agriculture is what I see reflected in this issue of Rural Route. What do you see? Thanks for reading, Amy Eckelberg Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Amy Eckelberg 608.828.5706

Designer Lynn Siekmann 608.828.5707

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

Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276)

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

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Farm Bureau Distinguished Service and Founders Awards: Bob Stallman and James Quinn Honored T

he American Farm Bureau Federation presented its by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations to serve highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award to on the advisory committee for the U.S. Trade Representative, Bob Stallman and the Farm Bureau Founders Award to and worked with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to address James Quinn, posthumously, during the 2017 AFBF Annual the issues facing rural America. The secretary called Stallman’s Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in leadership “critically important” in Phoenix, Arizona. the passage of the farm bill and in AFBF established the Distinguished helping advance trade opportunities Service Award in 1928 to honor for American agriculture. individuals who have devoted their “Every morning I would wake up careers to serving the national and think about the new challenges interest of American agriculture. The that the day was going to have, but Farm Bureau Founders Award is a also thankful for the fact that I had new award to recognize exemplary been given an opportunity to work leadership, service or contributions to with a lot of people in agriculture Farm Bureau by officers or employees to hopefully make things better,” of AFBF and state Farm Bureau Stallman said in reflection on his David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president, organizations. years of service. and Judi Whittaker, a New York Farm Bureau Stallman served as president of More than a century ago in 1911, member and dairy farmer, accepted the award the nation’s largest general farm James Quinn was elected as the first on behalf of James Quinn. organization for 16 years, stepping president of the first Farm Bureau in down in 2016. A rice and cattle farmer the country, Broome County, New from Columbus, Texas, Stallman York. A prominent local dairy farmer, sharpened his leadership skills as a Quinn set an important precedent for young farmer and rancher. He became the Farm Bureau being directed by president of the Texas Farm Bureau in farmers and for farmers. 1993, and AFBF president in 2000. “He got it started, and we have so “Yes, Bob was from Texas, but he much pride that it happened right did a great job for all of American here in Broome County,” said Broome agriculture,” Texas Farm Bureau County Farm Bureau President Dave President Russell Boening said. “You Johnson. “I think he must have been talk to the folks in Iowa, you talk to a really trusting, respected person Former American Farm Bureau Federation the folks in New York, you talk to the from the community because he was President Bob Stallman accepted the folks on the west coast, and they all willing to accept new ways of farming, Distinguished Service Award. thought a lot of Bob.” and with his farm was on a major Under Stallman’s leadership, the AFBF brand became thoroughfare, people could actually see how he was farming stronger, and the organization was retooled for the 21st everyday as they went by.” century. He moved AFBF headquarters from Chicago to Farmers in Broome County respected Quinn and looked Washington, D.C., to strengthen Farm Bureau’s voice and to him for leadership. He worked closely with one of the first policy influence for its members. As chief spokesperson for county Extension agents in the country, John Barron, who AFBF in Washington, Stallman was articulate and resolute, taught Quinn and his neighbors best farming practices for their sticking up for American agriculture and advocating for Farm challenging soil. Quinn led by example, holding the first farm Bureau policy. He led the charge in standing up to government experiments on his land. overreach and helped secure major gains for farmers and American agriculture has undergone major changes beyond ranchers. His leadership and expertise has garnered respect what Quinn saw in 1911, but the values Quinn and his fellow across the agriculture and food industry, and he used that Farm Bureau members held—faith, family and honest work— influence to foster dialogue with consumers and lawmakers have not changed. alike. The Texas Farm Bureau nominated Stallman to receive the Stallman has served on a number of national committees, Distinguished Service Award; the New York Farm Bureau boards and coalitions. This includes serving as the first chair nominated Quinn to receive the Founders Award. A national of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. He was appointed Farm Bureau committee named each as winners. February | March 2017



Farm Bureau Convention Concludes with 2017 Policy Roadmap Hunger and D Nutrition elegates to the 2017 American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention approved a host of public policy measures designed to help assure a prosperous future for farmers, ranchers and everyone who depends on them for food, fuel and fiber. Delegates covered the full range of agriculture policy over the day-long session. Resolutions passed included important measures covering regulatory reform, crop insurance, the inclusion of food assistance in the upcoming farm bill, school nutrition, biotechnology, energy and more. “The actions taken by our farmer and rancher delegates from across the nation represent the culmination of our yearlong grassroots policy process,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It also provides us a roadmap for actions AFBF will take to implement our policies throughout this year, and I am optimistic about those prospects.”

Regulatory Reform

Delegates approved policy supporting regulatory reform, including legislation to eliminate ‘judicial deference,’ which has essentially nullified the power of the courts to serve as a check on agency abuses. Also on the topic of regulations, delegates approved policy to oppose agency advocacy campaigns in support of their own proposed regulations. Delegates passed a sense-of-the-body resolution calling for comprehensive regulatory reform, driving home the importance of the issue for farmers and ranchers. New language was approved to require the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies to coordinate and cooperate in a meaningful way with state and local governments in making land management plans and decisions as required by Congress. They also supported mandatory recusal for federal officers who face conflicts of interest in their work.


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Delegates overwhelmingly approved language supporting efforts to fund nutrition programs including food assistance and school lunches through the same, unified farm bill that funds farm safety-net programs. Delegates also called on Congress to support incorporating all types of domestic fruits and vegetables into the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schools. Delegates supported the use of fresh and locally grown products when available.

Farm Support

Delegates reaffirmed strong support for risk-management and safety-net tools to defend against volatile commodity markets.


Delegates reaffirmed support for flexibility in the H-2A program that would allow workers to seek employment from more than one farmer.

Big Data

Delegates reaffirmed support for the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers, voting that farmers should be compensated when third parties use their data.

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Delegates Urge Congress to Support Regulatory Reform A merican Farm Bureau Federation delegates from all 50 states and Puerto Rico approved a special resolution urging Congress to enact swift, meaningful and strongly bipartisan regulatory reform. The resolution, adopted at 2017 AFBF Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, comes in the wake of the introduction of bills in Congress that would pare back the rapid growth of oppressive regulation and government overreach.

Delegates called on the federal government to adhere to a series of principles, including: • the use of sound science; • consideration of costs and benefits to stakeholders; • transparency in federal agencies and departments; • reduction of abuses of the court settlement process; • limiting deference granted by courts to agencies’ interpretation of law; • prohibiting agency misuse of social media to lobby the public in support of agency proposals; • greater congressional oversight of agencies; • congressional approval of major rules; • a minimum comment period for rules; and • reform of the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Congress Passes Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 A mericans, especially farmers, see the rising cost of regulations as having an adverse impact on the economy. According to Gallup, almost half the general population believes there are too many regulations on American businesses. Small business owners feel these burdens the most. As a result 90 percent of small business owners support reforming the regulatory process. The worries are well founded, as regulations and the costs to cover new regulations have risen. Since 2008, more than 3,300 new regulations have been finalized on average per year,

that collectively cost $981 billion. The total cost of all U.S. regulations amounts to roughly $1.885 trillion. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall issued a call-to-action during his opening address at the 2017 AFBF Annual Convention on January 8. The response from attendees included more than 1,500 contacts with members of Congress to support the regulatory reform bill. AFBF delegates also passed a resolution during the January 10 policy session, urging Congress to enact regulatory reform. On January 11, H.R. 5 the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 passed the House of Representatives. The Regulatory Accountability Act directly addresses the burden these regulations have on job creation and reverses the negative economic impact. It streamlines the writing of regulations to make rules easy to understand for small businesses and halts the implementation of high-cost regulations until courts and Congress have a say in the process. The bill puts elected officials back in the drivers seat while promoting transparency by requiring current and future costs for regulations be published for public information. The legislation goes to the Senate where bi-partisan support and 60 votes are needed to pass.

February | March 2017



Geiger Joins AFBF’s Promotion and Education Committee R osalie Geiger was appointed by the American Farm Bureau Federation to its Promotion and Education Committee for the 2017-19 term beginning in March. Geiger serves as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee Chair. Geiger and her husband, Randy, have a 360-acre dairy farm near Reedsville. Along with milking 50-registered cows and raising heifers, they grow alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat. Rosalie is a director for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. She also is the promotion and education committee co-chair for Manitowoc County Farm Bureau, the secretary for Reedsville FFA Alumni Association, a Manitowoc County Dairy Ambassador, a member of the Maple-Rock Homemakers

club and serves on the Manitowoc and Calumet County Dairy Promotions Committees. She is a graduate of the WFBF Leadership Institute. The Promotion and Education Committee is comprised of 10 individuals representing qualifying Farm Bureau Promotion and Education states. It was launched in 2014 to develop and centralize resources that inspire and equip Farm Bureau members to convey the significance of agriculture. Committee members support and encourage state Farm Bureau volunteers to participate in projects and activities by providing resources for programs, communicating with state leaders and contributing collaborative ideas. Other new members of the committee include: Jennifer Bergin, Montana; Jamison McPherson, Utah; Renee McCauley, Michigan; Hilary Maricle, Nebraska; Val Wagner, North Dakota; and Chris Hoffman, Pennsylvania. National committee members are nominated by their respective state Farm Bureaus. They study farm and food policy issues, participate in leadership training exercises and hone other professional skills during their tenure as committee members.

Board Members to Serve on Issue Advisory Committees T hree members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Board have been named to American Farm Bureau’s Issue Advisory Committees. The 15 committees will meet in conjunction with the Advocacy Conference held in Washington, D.C., at the end of February. The AFBF’s Issue Advisory Daniels Committees provide an avenue for Farm Bureau’s grassroots leaders to contribute their issue expertise to the organization’s policy deliberations. Outcomes of the committees’ deliberations include advice and counsel to the AFBF Board of Directors on policy-related actions AFBF might be advised to take, recommendations for state Farm Bureau policy development and policy recommendations to the AFBF Resolutions Committee. Dave Daniels of Union Grove was selected to serve a two-year term on the farm policy committee. This committee discusses risk management, crop insurance, price and income support programs and conservation programs. Daniels is a dairy farmer and WFBF’s District 1 Director.


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Joe Bragger of Independence was selected to serve a two-year term on the water committee. This committee covers Clean Water Act issues, national and regional water storage programs, Army Corps of Engineers water related efforts and flood control. Bragger is a dairy and poultry farmer and WFBF’s District 4 Director. Dick Gorder was selected to serve a two-year term on the trade advisory committee in 2016 and selected chair of the committee in 2017. This committee discusses trade negotiations, enforcement of current agreements, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, trade promotion programs, non-tariff barriers to trade and works with AFBF’s trade team. Gorder is a dairy farmer and WFBF’s District 3 Director.

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Wisconsin Moments from AFBF Annual Convention

Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte carried the Wisconsin flag across the stage at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention.

Rock County Farm Bureau president Doug Rebout and his wife, Christine, attended the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

Andrea Brossard and Mason Rens (far right) recorded a radio interview with Brian Winnekins of WRDN.

Tim and Danielle Clark finished their term on the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers committee at the AFBF Annual Convention.

WFBF members and staff gathered to cheer on Kristi Fiedler in the first round of the national Discussion Meet.

Young Farmer and Agriculturist members who represented Wisconsin were Brian and Kristi Fiedler, Dustin and Teresa Marker, Derek Husmoen and Andrea Brossard and Mason Rens.

February | March 2017


Vines & Rushes


s you enter Vines & Rushes Winery you see a contrast of new and old. Accents from recycled barn wood and handmade furniture pop against the newly-finished walls, creating a perfect blend of modern and rustic. Just surpassing their fourth anniversary, the winery has already undergone an expansion due to its popularity and need to grow. Even though the building is new, the connection the winery has to agriculture and community is not. “My original intention was to grow grapes as a commodity, with wine making as a hobby,” said Ryan Prellwitz, Fond du Lac County Farm Bureau member and owner of Vines & Rushes. “I started making wine mostly out of curiosity.” Starting as a hobby winemaker he came to a fork in the road: expand his information technologies business or consider making his hobby, his career. He chose the latter. The winery sits on the multigenerational Prellwitz farm just outside of Ripon, which started as a dairy and crop farm in the

Story by: Amy Eckelberg

1940s. Ryan’s parents, Chuck and Diane, stopped dairy farming in the early 1990s and jumped into the produce business. The farm still has about 600 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat but also has 12 acres of strawberries, five acres of grapes and one acre of raspberries. Chuck takes care of the grains and strawberries with the help of Ryan’s brother, Andy. Ryan’s uncle, Jeff grows the raspberries and Ryan manages the grapes, wine production and winery. “We have 5,000 to 10,000 people come out during the strawberry season,” Prellwitz said. “This interaction with customers suits our family well between our personalities and capabilities. We like to have people on the farm so we can talk and interact with them.” That appreciation for customer interaction at the strawberry farm has spilled over to the winery. “Today’s customers are wondering how do I get closer to my product and how do I connect with the people who make it?” Prellwitz said.

Taking Local to a New Level

Submitted photo.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Currently, the winery has 15 part-time employees but it’s a tough crew to join. “We are picky with who we add to the family,” Prellwitz explained. “The relationship between the employee and the customer is crucial to their experience. That’s also why we are open seven days a week, because we need to be open for our customers. We are a destination.” Prellwitz says 100 percent of the wines and ciders they produce come from Wisconsin. Twenty percent of the grapes are grown on the farm while 80 percent come from other vineyards throughout the state. “We’ve found that customers are willing to spend a little more on a product they know is local,” he added. “When we have a chance to tell a story or explain the history, it makes their experience even better.” To say the business has seen growth in its four years is an understatement. The first year the winery bottled nearly 10,000 bottles with the first crop of grapes. This year they bottled about 40,000 bottles of wine. “Finding a good quality wine from Wisconsin grapes is something that surprises people,” Prellwitz said. “My goal is to make a wine that people wouldn’t expect to find here.” You can tell by the looks on the faces of those walking through the door that they are pleasantly surprised, which ultimately leads to the growth of the winery. Unexpected growth is a common issue for small business owners. Prellwitz says small businesses sometimes think they have to work alone, but working together is a much larger payoff. “It’s either survive together or die alone,” he said. Since the winery purchases grapes from around the state, having relationships with other wineries and grape growers is crucial. Prellwitz credits the relationships he has built to the associations he is a part of. As founding president of the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association, Prellwitz led the newly-formed group and chose what its educational focus would be. “In this industry, education is really the cheapest insurance you can buy,” Prellwitz said. “The association gives an opportunity to establish a grape curriculum and build relationships around the state.” After seven years as president, Prellwitz passed the baton and now serves as the vice president of the Wisconsin Winery Association. Being a father, winemaker and business owner, Prellwitz keeps busy but enjoys the diversity. “I grew up on a farm where every day was something different,” he said. “I don’t do well being stuck in an office doing the same thing. I get to work with wine, employees, the vineyard and the industry.” His off-farm experience of working in IT and marketing has come in handy for the growing business. Prellwitz smiled, “You just don’t know where life is going to lead you, so why try to orchestrate it?”

What’s in a Name?


omething Prellwitz takes great pride in is sharing the story of winemaking, his family and community. Ryan and his wife, Megan, have two daughters Nolia and Sadie. These three women in his life have been honored with wines of their own. Sweet Nolia is a uniquely-sweet white wine. Sadie’s Charm is a light-bodied white wine. The newlyreleased Frontenac Port wine, was given Megan’s nickname Megnolia, in honor of the couple’s 10year anniversary.

Each wine at Vines & Rushes has a story that’s tied to the family, community or commodity. For example, Little White Red is a tribute to Ripon’s place in history as the birthplace of the Republican Party. The most popular pick, Wiskonsan, represents the Prellwitz family’s heritage as farmers and Wiskonsanites. The alternate spelling of Wisconsin comes from first Governor James Doty who insisted on the alternative spelling. The blend of strawberries and grapes showcases the farm’s story. Even the name Vines & Rushes has a significant meaning. ‘Rushes’ comes from Rush Lake, a 2,729-acre prairie pot hole lake in Fond du Lac County but the idea for Vines & Rushes came from a book called “Roots and Rushes” put together by a woman in the Rush Lake community. “Roots and Rushes” is a collection of history, photos and memories that serves as the perfect backbone for the winery. “It inspired the name because this is literally and figuratively where our roots are,” Prellwitz said.

February | March 2017



New Legislative Session Brings New Agriculture Committees S ome familiar faces will be leading the agriculture committees in the Wisconsin Legislature’s new session. Senator Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, was reappointed chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism. He has held this post since 2013. Representative Lee Nerison, R-Westby, was reappointed chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. The new legislative session began January 3.

2017 Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Chair: Senator Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls Vice-Chair: Senator Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst Senator Harsdorf, R-River Falls Senator Petrowski, R-Marathon Senator Testin, R-Stevens Point Senator L. Taylor, D-Milwaukee Senator Miller, D-Monona Senator C. Larson, D-Milwaukee Senator Vinehout, D-Alma

2017 Assembly Committee on Agriculture Chair: Representative Nerison, R-Westby Vice-Chair: Representative Novak, R-Dodgeville Representative Tauchen, R-Bonduel Representative Ripp, R-Lodi Representative Tranel, R-Platteville Representative E. Brooks, R-Reedsburg Representative Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay Representative VanderMeer, R-Tomah Representative Mursau, R-Crivitz Representative Edming, R-Glen Flora Representative Horlacher, R-Mukwonago Representative Considine, D-Baraboo Representative Kessler, D-Milwaukee Representative Spreitzer, D-Milwaukee Representative Fields, D-Milwaukee Representative Vruwink, D-Milton

2017 Policy Book Available Online W

ant to know where Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation stands on an issue? The 2017 policy book is available at The document reflects the most recent policy directives established by voting delegates at the 97th WFBF Annual Meeting in December. “Members and delegates establish Farm Bureau’s legislative agenda from resolutions submitted by our voting members,” said Jim Holte, WFBF President. “These grassrootsgenerated policies address agricultural topics like transportation, land and water stewardship, regulatory overreach and private property rights.” “We want this information easily accessible to all of our members and the decisionmakers who have a role in agriculture’s future,” Holte added. To view the policy book online, visit


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation invites you to attend


Monona Terrace Convention Center • Madison, WI

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

Early Registration Deadline: March 1 Cost: $25 per person by registration deadline $30 after deadline and at the door

Presented by:

Detach and return to WFBF to register.

Ag Day at the Capitol Registration Form Contact Name: Address:

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

Thank You to Our Sponsors: Rural Mutual Insurance Company

x ($25) =

Mail to: Wisconsin Farm Bureau, P.O. Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705 Questions? Call 800.261.FARM

Event #991022

Name & County of Attendees:

February | March 2017


March 10-11, 2017 Madison Marriott West, Middleton

Full Agenda Available on

Opening and Closing Keynote Speaker:

Jane Jenkins Herlong

“Bare Feet to High Heels and the Flip Flops in Between” “Don’t Throw Tomatoes at My Field of Dreams”

Breakout Sessions Kim Bremmer

Emily Schmidt Danae Bauer Panel Discussion Sara Brown Dirkes Panel Discussion Peter Fritsch Jane Hillstrom Panel Discussion Brian Perry Angela Flickinger & Jennifer Whitty Margaret Straub Panel Discussion

Celebrating Sustainability in American Agriculture - It’s Time to Speak Up Do You Have a Permit for That? Steps to Take to Expand Your Farm Capturing the Beauty of Farm Life Tight Margins, Tight Belts Getting a Seat at the Table with Food Companies, Restaurants and Retailers Employee Management: Hiring, Training, Retaining Go Fish! Farmer-Friendly Meals It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It - Sharing the Farm Story Turning Creative Ideas Into Profits Meditation & Mindfulness StrongWomen

Register by March 3rd Registration is easy. Register and pay online at

Registration Fee: $155 One-Day Only Registration: $115 Registration deadline: March 3, 2017

Book a Hotel Room Because a hotel room is not included with the registration fee, please make your reservations at:

Madison Marriott West

1313 John Q Hammons Drive Middleton, WI For reservations, call (888) 745-2032 or book online at

Invite Your Friends Grab your friends, family and neighbors, and bring them along. Let’s make this the best Summit yet!

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling Carving Out ‘You’ Time for Personal Strength

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


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Presented by:

University of Wisconsin–Extension Wisconsin farm bureau federation

©2017 Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit

February | March 2017


ggie nswers

Rosalie Geiger

We asked members of the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee: What is your favorite winter activity and why?

Darby Sampson George Mroch

District 6 and Chair

“Since I REALLY DO NOT LIKE WINTER, especially when it is zero in January, my favorite activity is staying inside and playing games with my grandchildren or friends.”

District 4

“Calving! Its such a rewarding time. We wait almost a year after choosing our matings. When the cows calve its always a fun surprise to see what is born. The miracle of birth never gets old!”

District 1

“My favorite winter activity is working in our fair greenhouse and watching the seeds develop into plants as we get ready for spring.”

Lynn Dickman

District 5

“My favorite winter activity is curling. Curling keeps me moving and active throughout the winter and is a skill I can keep improving on. I also have made many friends at the club who I get to see each week.”

Andrea Brossard Katie Roth

District 2

“As an avid runner, I strive to run year round, but winter running becomes more difficult. That’s why I turn to my favorite winter activity of snowshoeing. It allows for a great workout, time enjoying nature’s beauty and is a favorable alternative to logging miles on a treadmill.”

District 3

“Winter is gymnastics season! As a former gymnast in high school, it’s great to attend local meets and just be a spectator. I also celebrate my wedding anniversary with my #princefarming.”



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DATCP’s Farm Center Helps Grow Wisconsin Agriculture W

ith farm sector profit levels for the upcoming year projected to follow many of the same challenging trends established during the past couple of years, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Wisconsin Farm Center expects to see an increase in the number of farmers contacting the center for support or information. “It’s the boom and bust nature of farming,” said Kathy Schmitt, Farm Center director. “When the situation gets tougher on the farm, our call volume increases.” The Wisconsin Farm Center, which is part of DATCP’s Division of Agricultural Development, is dedicated to growing Wisconsin agriculture. Its mission, simply stated, is to help farmers. The center’s agricultural economic development consultants help farmers deal with the critical economic, business and social needs of farm families. Services include financial and business consultation, farm succession planning, conflict mediation, production challenges and other assistance. Many of the calls for advice or assistance come into the center’s telephone Helpline and are directed to staff agricultural consultants with expertise in a variety of areas. “Our financial counselors are in the field, sitting with people at the kitchen table, and helping them plan for profit. We also can be a major tool in the toolbox of beginning farmers, and for farm families who are transitioning from one generation to the next,” said Schmitt. With the 2012 Census reporting that the average age of a Wisconsin farmer is 57.1 years, the center is seeing an increase in its workload dedicated to succession planning. “We see an increasing trend of farmers seeking succession planning help and an increase in services through DATCP, UW-Extension and private consultants and attorneys addressing this need,” said Schmitt. “Last year, 55 percent of our cases were for succession planning assistance, up from 50 percent just a few years ago.” The center provides information and support to farmers, often by partnering with industry groups, the University of Wisconsin and other stakeholders in the agriculture business. Core programs are: • Agricultural Economic Development: Consultants help farmers deal with their critical economic, business and social needs. Some of the services the Wisconsin Farm Center provides are financial and business consultation, farm succession

planning, conflict mediation and production challenges. • Organics, Livestock Grazing and Specialty Crops: This program provides information and technical assistance to organic growers and processors. In addition, it works to strengthen support services and processing capacity, along with a host of other services. • Minority Farmers Outreach: This program provides outreach and risk management assistance to beginning and minority farmers to increase sustainability and profitability. The program emphasizes working with Hmong fresh market producers and Hmong ginseng growers, but assists all minority farmers facing production or marketing challenges and opportunities. Since December 2015, the program has hosted five, two-day training programs designed to help Hmong farmers understand the complexities of pesticide applications, including pesticide regulations, understanding labeling instructions, calibrating equipment and keeping pesticides on target. • Rural Electric Power Services: Through this program, administered in cooperation with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, consultants address stray voltage problems that can adversely affect cattle and milk production. Under the program, a stray voltage analysis team evaluates individual stray voltage problems and recommends possible solutions. As part of a whole farm evaluation, the program offers herd health diagnostic services. Veterinarians provide herd and livestock diagnostics, milking and dairy equipment diagnostics and feed and nutritional value diagnostics among other services. • Mediation and Arbitration: This program provides mediation services for farmer disputes ranging from credit issues to environmental concerns and farm family conflicts. Mediation involves a neutral individual who helps facilitate negotiation and understanding among conflicting parties. Confidentiality is upheld throughout the mediation process. Although well-prepared to help farmers in times of crisis, Schmitt emphasizes the center also is there to help farmers increase profitability when times are good. “I cannot stress that enough,” she said. “We will continue to provide help for farmers in crisis, but we believe that with strong front-end planning we can help farmers prevent financial losses.” For more information about the Wisconsin Farm Center, visit or call 800.942.2474.

February | March 2017



Looking Forward: The Ag Economy By Amy Eckelberg


he Ag Economic Outlook Forum held on January 19 at the UW College of Agriculture and Life Sciences delivered good news and bad news for Wisconsin farmers. This forum offered an analysis of the farm economy and forecasts for the future of agriculture during the next year. Wisconsin farm net incomes are down for the fourth consecutive year and Paul Mitchell, associate professor in ag and applied economics at UW-Madison, said most Wisconsin farmers should expect negative margins for 2017. Overall it will be another bad year for prices. The burning question that never got an answer was how many years can we continue to operate this way?

DAIRY It seemed the only good news delivered at the forum was that Wisconsin’s dairy outlook is improving. Director of dairy policy analysis at UW-Madison Mark Stephenson forecasts that Class III milk will increase $2.50 per 100 pounds and Class IV milk will increase $3.40 per 100 pounds. This should increase Wisconsin milk price to about $2.45 per 100 pounds. Milk production in Wisconsin is expected to exceed 30 billion pounds in 2017. A state initiative was established to produce 30 billion pounds by 2020 in order meet the needs of cheese producers and other dairy-related businesses. Several years ago, Wisconsin cheesemakers were importing milk from other states to meet the demand for their products. Stephenson predicts that we will reach this goal three years ahead of schedule. The average dairy cow produces, 8 gallons of milk per day. To meet the domestic demand, we need about 8 million cows. There are more than 9.3 million cows in the U.S., which means the milk production from 1.3 million cows must be exported. Even though liquid milk consumption is still on the decline, the consumption of cheese is increasing. In 2016, we crossed the threshold to consume 35 pounds of cheese per capita in the U.S. This is more than double the consumption from 40 years ago. This may seem like a lot of cheese but compared with France and Germany where they consume about 50 pounds per capita, we still have room to eat more cheese.


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CORN AND SOYBEANS Corn and soybean prices have weakened considerably since the record levels seen from 2010 to 2013. The outlook for corn and soybean farmers is not good for 2017 according to Todd Hubbs, clinical associate professor of agriculture commerce markets from the University of Illinois-Urbana. In 2016, corn production was at record levels. Hubbs said there has been four consecutive years of good corn yields and the carryover of corn is at the highest level since 1987 and 1988. Domestic corn demand growth is slow with some positive development occurring in ethanol production and potential higher feed use than in 2015 to 2016.

Ethanol production is running 2 to 3 percent above last year as gasoline demand maintains strength. It is anticipated that some acres of corn will be converted to soybeans in 2017 since there is less anticipated loss with soybeans; however, Hubbs said, “The world is awash in soybeans.” The U.S. soybean production set a record in 2016. Brazil also had a strong soybean production year and the U.S. carryover of soybeans is at a record level.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

The average break-even cost for corn in Wisconsin for many farmers is $4.20 to $4.60 per bushel. The price projection for corn for the 2017 crop is $3.65 per bushel. The average Wisconsin break-even costs for many farmers for soybeans is $9.20 to $9.60 per bushel. Hubbs projects that the market price of soybeans for the 2017 crop will be $8.90 per bushel. You can find a weekly analysis of commodity markets at

OTHER TIDBITS • Fertilizer prices are dropping because of the low prices farmers are experiencing; however, pest control products will not decrease in price since Wisconsin crops need weed control so the demand will stay the same. • Wisconsin’s workforce is dwindling in rural areas and it’s affecting Wisconsin’s economic capacity and ability to attract and retain young people. • With an increase in the U.S. beef herd and prices decreasing, we see customers being pickier with beef choices. • Despite what marketers tell you, the demand is the same for high fructose corn syrup. • Farmers will plant more forage and soybeans to manage low prices. February | March 2017



Rural Mutual Creates Dividend Program for Farm Policyholders “What’s the right thing to do at this time? The right thing to do is to give back to our founders.”


hat was a quote from Rural Mutual Insurance Company Executive Vice President and CEO Peter Pelizza talking to Pam Jahnke on her morning radio show about the company’s new farm dividend program, the first of its kind in the area. Rural Mutual added the dividend program to its farm product on January 1. It may pay up to 5 percent of farm policyholder’s annual earned premium in future years. Policyholders qualify for the dividend program if their farm policy has been in-force with Rural Mutual for more than a year and is in effect at the end of the year when the dividend is declared. “This program helps us stay true to our company mission to keep Wisconsin strong,” said Pelizza. “It’s why premiums paid here, stay here. And, why we’re eager to reward our loyal customers.” The dividend percentage calculation is completed during the first 90 days after a calendar year and is based on the financial results of Rural Mutual and its farm product during a threeyear period. If a dividend is declared and earned, a check will be mailed or delivered by a Rural Mutual agent shortly after the


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farm policy renews. Dividends are not guaranteed and are authorized solely at the discretion of the Board of Directors. “Being a mutual company allows us to give back to those who founded us 82 years ago,” said Pelizza. “We haven’t forgotten our roots.” Pelizza elaborated on this unique relationship with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “Let’s go back 85 years ago, when a group of Farm Bureau members who couldn’t get insurance, got together and decided to put some money on the table and said, ‘If we have any losses, we’ll pay the money out of that pot.’ Well a year went by, and the pot was still there, so more Farm Bureau members came in. After three or four years of building that pot, they got an idea: let’s start an insurance company.” Wisconsin Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, eventually renamed Rural Mutual Insurance Company, was born in 1934.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

The farm dividend program is the company’s way of saying thank you to the thousands of loyal Farm Bureau members who have proven to be the bedrock of the company and their way of giving back some of the money from that ‘pot’ 85 years ago. As for the farm dividend program, Pelizza said the plan is to continue offering the dividends, provided the company can meet the dividend criteria set forth in the program. “Our farm policy is one of the best farm policies in the market right now. It offers broader coverages than most companies and it’s priced very competitively. You add in Rural Mutual’s knowledgeable agents and employees and you have the making of a very successful product,” says Todd Argall, Vice President of Customer Acquisition and Service. “Then to top it

The farm dividend program is the company’s way of saying thank you to the thousands of loyal Farm Bureau members who have proven to be the bedrock of the company.

off, you offer a dividend program to reward our loyal customers. Now you have a differentiator that positions Rural Mutual Insurance Company to continue to be the number one insurer of farms in Wisconsin.” For more information about Rural Mutual’s Farm Dividend Program, contact your local agent or visit farm-dividend.

Rewards Come Early to Farm Policyholders


t pays to be a farm policyholder with Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Rural Mutual is pleased to reveal that farm policyholders will receive an early 5 percent dividend payment, a testament to Rural Mutual’s financial success in 2016. An estimated $2.5 million dollars will be given back to qualifying farm policyholders. On December 31, 2016, the Board of Directors at Rural Mutual declared a 5 percent dividend to qualifying Rural Mutual farm policyholders for 2017. “We’re excited to be able to reward our farm policyholders with these early dividends,” says Mike Lubahn, Director of Marketing. “This aligns with Rural Mutual’s promise to protect Wisconsin farmers.” February | March 2017


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation






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1 Offer available through 5/31/17. Available on most 2016 and 2017 Chevrolet vehicles. Excludes 2016 Equinox L, Colorado 2SA and Spark EV; 2016 Malibu and Traverse L models, Cruze Limited L, Spark, SS and City Express, and 2016 Chevrolet Cruze L model. This offer is not available with some other offers. Only customers who have been active members of an eligible Farm Bureau for a minimum of 30 days will be eligible to receive a certificate. Customers can obtain certificates at Farm Bureau and the FB logo are registered service marks of the American Farm Bureau Federation and are used herein under license by General Motors.










UW Discovery Farms

Wisconsin’s Own Water Quality Resource for Farmers

“Today, we are besieged by a plethora of rules and regulations that restrict the way we farm. Strategies to regulate non-point pollution became reality in the late 1990s when the Department of Natural Resources proposed and adopted the NR 151 Performance Standards followed by ATCP 50, NR 243, NRCS 590, Phosphorus Index and more. Today the list seems endless and at times burdensome.

UW Discovery Farms works with a collection of farmer-partners around Wisconsin.


e are a UW-Extension farmer-led research and outreach program. Our research happens on private farms just like yours around Wisconsin. We work directly with farmers to identify farm-specific solutions and research needs related to water quality. Our 16-member steering committee, made up of farmers and advisors representing major ag and environmental organizations in the state, meets several times a year to identify priorities and research areas.

Some rules and the models used to support them lack data from on-farm scientific research. Over the years, we’ve needed to quantify what really takes place on our farms and give farmers confidence that suggested practices will actually accomplish what they are meant to achieve. The concept of Discovery Farms came about because of that disconnect between perceptions and on-farm realities. They have held fast to their mission and have conducted quality research on farms across the state for more than a decade. I value Discovery Farms because they are ensuring Wisconsin agriculture and the environment are both sustainable for future generations.”

Current project sites Past project sites

- Dick Gorder, WFBF District 3 Board Director, UW Discovery Farms Steering Committee Chair


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

We monitor edge-of-field surface and agricultural tile drainage water quality.

Specifically, we measure how much water, soil, phosphorus and nitrogen leaves farm fields through runoff and tile flow to understand the relationship between land management and water quality. We relay the data back to our farmer-partners through one-on-one meetings, group meetings and field days. Farmers and staff collaborate to identify how to tweak systems for continual improvement. Water quality is complex, and has many intricate details, which is why other partners in the state conduct research on groundwater quality and quantity. We work with partners to connect all the pieces of the water cycle into usable solutions for Wisconsin’s farmers.

We are your Wisconsin-based resource for surface water quality information.

Our number one priority is being a resource to Wisconsin farmers. Our materials are peer-reviewed by farmers and aim to provide applicable information that can be put to work on your farm immediately. Topics covered include conservation practices, tile drainage, manure management, controlling nutrient loss and much more. Connect with us at Discovery Farms field days, our annual conference held in December or a number of other events we host throughout the year. Give us a call or shoot us an email. Check our website (, Facebook, Twitter and sign up for our quarterly newsletter for more information.

“People often ask me if I was ever worried about the data or what we found on our farm or someone else getting their hands on it and what they would do with it. The thing that was most important to me above anything else is that I had the data in the first place. At the point when Discovery Farms was looking for their first farm to work with, people were making suggestions that we farm 1/3 to 1/2 T within 300 feet of a stream, which would have taken 200 acres of farmland and put it into almost permanent sod. At that point, I knew it was important to know where I was sitting. If the data showed that we needed to fix something, we would. If it showed we were doing a good job, it would give me a story to tell.” - Joe Bragger, WFBF District 4 Board Director, UW Discovery Farms Steering Committee and first UW Discovery Farms participant

We are always looking for more farmer-partners.

The magic really happens when farmers can connect with other farmers and our two newest projects aim to facilitate just that. They build on our water quality monitoring foundation because not every farm can host monitoring (not affordable) but every farm is unique. In 2016, 43 farmers in 11 counties participated in our Nitrogen Use Efficiency Project, which aims to create the tools necessary to form a roadmap that supports how and why nitrogen is supplied. Learn more at We also have a newly launched online discussion forum. The WaterWay Network is a space for Wisconsin and Minnesota farmers to learn from each other about conservation and water quality topics. The network includes access to monthly experts, featured topics, and opportunities for smaller groups to discuss specific topics, like activities in farmer-led watersheds. Learn more about how to get involved in the network on page 27. February | March 2017


So what have we learned?

Discovery Farms programs Data is organized by site of Wisconsin and Minnesota have collected water quality years which are 12-month information from a wide periods extending from variety of farming systems. October 1 to September There are many management 30. Each year on each field styles and landscapes represented in the monitored counts as a site year. fields. Edge-of-field runoff information, through the use of monitoring stations that stay in place for five to seven years, has been collected from 17 farms and 21 fields. In total, Discovery Farms has been monitoring since 2002 and has over 85 surface site years of data. This surface runoff data is valuable in making conclusions and recommendations about farming systems and their impacts on water quality.

2. Carefully time manure applications. Can you avoid late winter?

Late winter manure application can increase phosphorus loss in snowmelt by two to four times (dots in blue circle on graph). Winter manure application can increase the risk for phosphorus and nitrogen loss, but application in early winter is much lower risk than late winter application. Most snowmelt runoff occurs later in the winter (February and March) and applications made shortly before snowmelt have a high risk for nutrient loss. If you have storage, make sure that it is empty enough earlier in the winter to avoid spreading in February and March. If you don’t have storage or must spread to avoid overflow, work with your advisors to identify low risk fields and watch the weather for a rain or melt event in the forecast. If possible, find areas with little snow cover or plow an area to try and spread manure so that it immediately makes contact with the soil.

1. Control soil loss. Is your tillage landscape-appropriate?

Tillage must be well matched to the landscape to keep soil loss at a minimum. High annual soil losses, like the highest values (more than 1,000 pounds per acre) on the tillage boxplot, suggest a need to re-evaluate tillage practices to match the landscape conditions (slope, soil type, slope length). In addition to gully erosion, soil movement in a field is also indicated by sedimentation in lower areas of the field, rills running down hillsides and soil covered emerging crops. Using less tillage (or no tillage) to prepare the field for the growing season clearly has less risk for sediment loss. In the Discovery Farms research database, there is rarely an occurrence where soil loss was more than 1,000 pounds per acre when farmers used one or fewer tillage pass per year. Regardless of the tillage type, it is still critical to layer conservation practices like waterways on upland practices to prevent soil losses.

Visit Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast to Assess Your Risk

The RRAF shows daily runoff risk across Wisconsin using National Weather Service information about precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and landscape characteristics.

Contact UW Discovery Farms Callie Herron

Communications Manager w: 715.983.5668 c: 715.530.1153 26

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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Introducing The WaterWay Network “Working with farmers is the best way to make great gains in meeting water quality and environmental goals.” - Joe Bragger


W Discovery Farms and other researchers can provide the science, but it is other farmers who can provide handson experiences needed to get practices implemented in a way that works in Wisconsin. For instance, are you interested in cover crops but aren’t sure of the best approach to getting them established in time? Or maybe you are part of a farmer-led watershed with questions about the best way to structure your group? These are perfect questions for The WaterWay Network, an online discussion forum that connects you to other farmers across Wisconsin and Minnesota. The forum is focused on conservation topics like soil health, cover crops and nutrient management. In addition to connecting with farmers, it provides unmatched access to researchers that infuse their data and results into the conversation. Hop on the network, ask a question and leave with answers that are based on first-hand experiences and applicable research results. This website is a password protected forum for farmers, crop consultants and hand-picked experts only.

Join The WaterWay Network today!

Step 1: Visit

Step 2: Click the Register Here! button in the sidebar. You will be prompted to fill out your information. Click Send.

Step 3: Check your email and click on the link provided to type in your new password. Step 4: Now you’re all set to participate in the discussion forum. Read what other Wisconsin and Minnesota farmers are talking about, ask your questions and share your expertise! February | March 2017



The Time is Now to Speak Up for Wisconsin Ag A Message from Jim Holte


n recent years, Wisconsin has become the center of political attention. That statement is even more true as the 115th Congress begins its work. With Congressman Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House, Wisconsin Farm Bureau has become an intricate part of the agricultural conversations happening in Washington, D.C. This doesn’t mean our job of advocating for agriculture has become any easier, if anything has becoming even more important to speak up and use this opportunity. Both at the federal and state level we have challenges like never before but we can find some comfort knowing that we have ears that are listening to Wisconsin farmers. When it comes to federal issues, farmers should be talking about with their U.S. Senators and Congressperson, the list is not short but some key issues should be the 2018 Farm Bill, trade and immigration reform.


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While it seems we have just turned the page to 2017, conversations have already started on the 2018 Farm Bill. As America’s Dairyland we are being looked at for advice on how to proceed with the Dairy Margin Protection Program. This program has been criticized for not being enough of a safety net, especially with the recent low milk prices. I think it’s worth mentioning that this program was never designed to buffer low prices. You should know the Wisconsin Farm Bureau will be working hard on dairy policy in 2017. The talk of trade was ever present in this year’s election and you can bet that that conversation has only just begun. It seems as though more and more people are questioning the benefit of multi-lateral trade and that’s just plain disappointing. Selling more of our goods around the world is a great way to help farms, benefit rural communities and keep the U.S. ahead of its global competitors. We will continue to share why trade is needed for our economy. When trade wasn’t hogging the campaign spotlight, immigration was. Wisconsin needs to have a year-round, reliable workforce. As the need for reform becomes more and more prevalent to farmers around the state, Farm Bureau will be advocating for a long-term visa program because as we all know, cows don’t get milked by season. High capacity wells and the state budget, especially transportation funding, will be among the most prevalent Wisconsin issues in 2017 and should be discussed with your legislators. Farm Bureau and other Wisconsin ag groups continue to express the need for legislation to repair, reconstruct and

transfer ownership of existing high capacity wells without having to obtain a permit. One thing farmers can agree on is that roads are necessary to get our products to market. Transportation funding is going to be an interesting debate because while some leaders are wanting to increase funds, others oppose any increases. Rural roads and bridges are of the most concern and we will continue to stress the importance of having roadways that can support today’s cars, trucks and equipment. As farmers, we need to talk about the importance of the UW Discovery Farms program, farmer-led watershed projects, food safety and animal health programs to our lawmakers. We can’t fail to mention the need for a CAFO program and wildlife damage program that works efficiently. It’s issues like these that need to be talked about, but better yet, shown. You’ve heard it time and time again… the need to share your story. Lawmakers are influenced when you share how these issues are impacting you, your family and your livelihood. If there was ever a year that you should attend Ag Day at the Capitol, it’s this year. It will be held on March 8. You can find out how to register on page 13. This event gives you the perfect opportunity to share your story. The time has come. We have listening ears. I hope you take time to speak up. President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

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

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farmers and Ranchers Unite on Regulatory Reform A Message from Zippy Duvall


armers and ranchers are ready for a common-sense, bipartisan approach when it comes to federal regulations and rulemaking. It’s time for agencies to work with farmers and ranchers and to consider how their regulations impact businesses and communities every day. And it’s time for Congress to hold those agencies accountable. We know that regulatory reform can’t be achieved with just the stroke of a pen, which is why your Farm Bureau delegates passed several resolutions to place reason and impartiality back into the federal rulemaking process. Federal agencies were created to serve the people. It’s shameful when agencies try to manipulate and intimidate through social media and other marketing tactics, like we saw with EPA’s Waters of the U.S. campaign. These underhanded tactics need to stop. That’s the message Farm Bureau members sent straight to Washington from our 98th Annual Convention this year, as our delegates approved a special resolution urging Congress and the Trump administration to work in a bipartisan fashion to pass meaningful regulatory reform. Our members also sent messages asking lawmakers to pass H.R. 5, a comprehensive regulatory reform package, including the Peterson amendment. On a bipartisan vote of 260-161, the House of Representatives approved Rep. Peterson’s (D-Minn.) amendment to H.R. 5. That amendment would prohibit agencies from lobbying in favor of their own rulemaking proposals. We were pleased to see the House choose that amendment as one of the first acts of 2017. Our government was built on checks

and balances. Our founders knew lawmakers and public servants would be tempted to place politics above the public good. Well, it’s time for a check on the federal overreach that has gotten out of hand. Agencies are not above the law nor should they be free to create their own laws as they see fit. That’s why our delegates also approved new Farm Bureau policy to eliminate judicial deference, which currently requires judges to defer to an agency’s interpretation of laws and regulations. From mismanagement of public lands to crippling fines for plowing private farmland—federal agencies have demonstrated what happens when you try to give bureaucrats an easy way out rather than working on the ground with the people who know the land best. I’ve visited with many of you face-toface, in your states and on your farms. You’ve shared with me your stories of how regulatory overreach is hurting your businesses and families. I urge you to keep sharing your stories, and to share those stories with your representatives in Washington. We talked a lot during election season about the need for rural Americans to get out the vote and make their voices heard. That’s just what happened, but we need to remember that our job didn’t end on Election Day. Lawmakers pay attention when droves of their constituents contact them about issues that matter in their communities. That’s just what we did at AFBF’s Annual Convention, when nearly 2,000 of our members sent messages to their elected representatives, right from the convention floor. Just a couple of days later, the House passed H.R.5. I want to thank everyone

who took action. You made a real difference! We need to keep on speaking up and holding our elected leaders accountable. It’s the start of a new year in Washington, and a new year at the American Farm Bureau. We’re beginning 2017 with the same resolve that’s driven our work for nearly a century now: to strengthen rural America and build strong, prosperous agricultural communities across this great nation. But we can’t do that work alone. We need to work together across Farm Bureau and across the agricultural community to ensure that the important work of feeding, clothing and fueling our nation and the world continues well beyond the next 100 years. President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Duvall raises beef cattle, hay and poultry in Greshamville, Georgia.

February | March 2017



Spotlight on China Intensifies in 2017 Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


hina is the hot topic of discussion for agriculture market participants – and for good reason. China is the world’s most populous country and therefore has many mouths to feed. Plan to hear about China even more in 2017 as a new U.S. government forges a fresh relationship with the behemoth grain buyer. Coming into 2017, China holds most of the world’s corn and wheat stocks. Of all the world’s soybeans produced this year, China is expected to consume almost a third. What country maintains more than half of the world’s hog herd? You guessed it. Grain bears like to point to a high global stocks-to-use ratio when calling for lower prices; however, China’s holding of a substantial portion of the world’s


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grains inventory is actually viewed by many as a market positive. Burgeoning supplies of corn and wheat in China may not support demand for such exports from the U.S., but those stockpiles are not supplies that will make their way into the world trade market to compete with U.S. demand from other buyers. Bulls say to look at supplies outside of the U.S. and China to find a much tighter balance sheet. Corn and wheat held in China is priced at elevated levels because of domestic subsidies and is rationed by the state to protect the population from food scarcity. By many accounts, quality is such that Chinese traders would have difficulty making grade for export inspection. A substantial Chinese impact on corn market will probably come in the form of influence through the country’s demand for substitutes. Distillers dried grains (DDGs) had been an attractive buy in the past for feeders facing high domestic corn prices, but Chinese officials have announced new taxes to combat against alleged U.S. dumping of low-cost DDGs into the market. While tariffs on DDGs may be a negative for the U.S. corn market, they could help to support Chinese demand for soybeans and meal. But, will tariffs be slapped on U.S. soy imports, too? This is where a look at the influence of a new administration comes in. The start of President Trump’s term in office is marked with some

contentiousness over relations with China. The new president has promised to label China a ‘currency manipulator’ because of alleged interference with the value of the Chinese yuan. The worry is that China will respond in retaliation by enforcing new tariffs on U.S. imports. The fresh U.S. government is already influencing trade matters by its rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. A loss for TPP proponents may spell a win for China, as China will have a better short at acceptance into a new trade pact with Pacific Rim countries that does not include the U.S. The U.S. and China have mutuallyassured benefits from their relationship that neither would like to lose. U.S. agriculture enjoys a steady, substantial buyer of its soybean crop because China has a growing population with a nearlyinsatiable appetite for the protein. Policy action regarding China from the new executive administration and congress in the U.S. will be bound to throw a shock or two into the mix for agriculture markets in 2017. Rest assured, both sides will probably do their part to make the negative shocks blunt and short-lived.

Camp is the Risk Management Specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg

and is voluntary and non-regulatory. that was alive and well. Recent mild Its goals are: Further educate local winters have been a blessing to crops farmers and neighbors on phosphorus under these conditions and programs. best management practices, to improve Farmers are learning to adapt to changing water quality of Mill Creek in Portage weather patterns. and Wood Counties; Adopt more The ultimate goals, according to host environmentally friendly farming John and the Farmers of Mill Creek, practices to ensure clean water and is to show by example and give a new healthy soils for future generations, generation of farmers more options while maintaining or improving to work with–and in the process, profitability; Demonstrate that farmers demonstrate an agricultural land ethic. are conservation leaders—they care about Installing buffer strips along waterways, land and water and are doing all possible planting no-till and broadcasting cover to be good stewards of land and water in crops in the fall, raising and lowering Mill Creek watershed.” water tables in their fields by blocking off No. 2 son and I attended a Farmers of drain tiles and irrigating crops during dry Mill Creek field day earlier this winter. periods using surface and drain tile runoff Snow blanketed the countryside, but in storage ponds–just to name a few that didn’t prevent our tour bus from methods going on in our back yard–the ill Creek is a stream of minor Mill Creek watershed. fame. But, let it be known, the first departing the Town of Carson Eron Family Farm and us viewing portions In 2016, the list of accomplishments saw-mill in Portage County was erected of this unique watershed in Portage and of local farmers and supporting state on this creek by Abraham Brawley back and federal agencies included 300 acres in 1839. Perry and Veeder occupied a site Wood counties. John Eron is not only spearheading the Farmers of Mill Creek of no-till cost-sharing, 300 acres of on the same stream soon after. single species Thus, the creek was forever after known group, he is the president cover crops, as Mill Creek. of the Portage 120 acres of Today, its headwaters can be traced County Farm multi-species back to a storm water and wastewater Bureau. cover crops, a drainage ditch coming out of Marshfield. We visited 7-acre cover From there, the creek slips quietly south a half-dozen crop variety of the villages of Auburndale, Blenker, demonstration demonstration Sherry, Milladore and Junction City, sites that cold, plot, 13 acres then turns south in the Town of Carson windswept day. of waterway and finally empties into the Wisconsin With support buffer strips, River at Biron Flowage. Mill Creek is a two on-farm 47-mile tributary of the Wisconsin River from UWresearch that drains 195 square miles of farmland, Extension and county land plots and marshland and woodland. Our family conservation hosts of thee lives in the Mill Creek watershed. The author and No. 2 son attended a Farmers of departments, educational There is an organized group called Mill Creek Watershed Council field day to observe the Farmers field days. Friends of Mill Creek Watershed, Inc., agricultural practices that prevent runoff in the of Mill Creek I for one that partners with the Wood and Portage spring. secured am glad that County Land Conservation Departments substantial grant money to plant test there are folks like John and the Farmers “to educate the public about natural plots. No-till cover crops were planted of Mill Creek who live on the land and resources and programs that can help in the fall to store nutrients and prevent care enough to be good stewards of our improve the environment and increase spring run-off. We saw one test plot that natural resources year-round. the overall value of Mill Creek.” continually measured soil temperatures Then there is the Farmers of Mill and moisture–even during winter months Creek Watershed Council, organized when you would think everything would because they care about the soil, water Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the freeze and go dormant. In fact, under the and farmers. According to their website, Portage County Farm Bureau. insulated snow blanket we saw vegetation “The Council is directed by farmers,


February | March 2017


Farm Bureau


Recipes and photos courtesy of Wisconsin Farm Bureau staff

Chicken Lombardy from Marian Viney Ingredients

• 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced • 2 tbsp. butter, melted • 6 skinless and boneless chicken breasts • ½ c. all-purpose flour • ⅓ c. butter • ½ c. chicken broth • ½ tsp. salt • ⅛ tsp. pepper • ½ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded • ½ c. parmesan cheese • 2 green onions, chopped


1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. 2. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and place them between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap and flatten to ⅛ inch thickness. 3. Coat the chicken in flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side in 1 or 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Remove the chicken from the skillet and leave the drippings in the skillet. Sprinkle the mushrooms over the chicken. 4. In the same skillet, add the broth and boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and pour the sauce over the chicken. 5. In a bowl, mix together the cheeses and onions and sprinkle over the chicken. 6. Preheat oven to 450°F, bake the chicken for 12 to 14 minutes.

Cheddar Cheese Potato Soup from Patti Roden Ingredients


• 1 large onion, chopped 1. In a large Dutch oven, saute onion and • 3/4 c. celery, chopped celery in butter for 5 minutes. Add • ¼ c. butter potatoes and water. Bring to a boil. • 5 c. potatoes, cubed and peeled Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 • 3 c. water minutes or until potatoes are tender. • 3 c. 2% milk, divided 2. Stir in 2 c. milk, bouillon, salt and • 4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules pepper. Combine flour and remaining • ½ tsp. salt milk until smooth; gradually stir into • ½ tsp. pepper soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 • ¼ c. all-purpose flour minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. • 4 c. (16 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese Add cheese and bacon; stir until cheese • ½ lb. bacon, sliced, cooked and is melted. Yield: 10-12 servings (about crumbled 2½ quarts).

Toffee Chocolate Bars from Wendy Kannel Ingredients


Topping: • 2 – 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk • 4 tbsp. butter • 3 c. milk chocolate chips • 2 c. toffee bits

For Filling: 1. H  eat sweetened condensed milk and margarine in heavy pan,stirring constantly over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until thickened. Spread over cooled base. 2. B  ake at 350°F for 12-15 min or until golden. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Bake for 2 minutes longer or until chocolate is shiny and soft. 3. R  emove from oven. Spread chocolate evenly. Sprinkle toffee bits on top,pressing lightly into chocolate. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Base: To Make Base: • 1½ c. butter, softened 1. C  ream together butter,brown sugar and flour until well blended and • 1½ c. packed brown mixture sticks together. Press into 9x13 pan. sugar 2. B  ake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until light golden. Cool while 3 c. flour preparing filling.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Million Dollar Spaghetti from Wendy Kannel Ingredients

• 1 lb. ground beef • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce • 8 oz. cream cheese • ¼ c. sour cream • ½ lb. cottage cheese (equals 1 c.) • ½ c. butter (1 stick) • 1 16 oz. pkg spaghetti • Grated cheddar cheese


1. P  reheat oven to 350°F. Boil your spaghetti noodles until al dente (firm). Drain and set aside until ready to assemble. 2. C  ombine the cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese until well blended. 3. B  rown your hamburger and when done, drain well. Combine the hamburger with your spaghetti sauce. 4. P  ut a few slices of butter into a 9x13 pan then pour half of your spaghetti noodles on top. 5. P  our cream cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Spread well over noodles. 6. P  our the rest of the noodles on top of the cream cheese mixture. Put a few more slices of butter on top of the noodles. 7. P  our your spaghetti and meat sauce on top of your noodles. 8. N  ow it is ready to put into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the desired amount of grated cheese on top and return to the oven for 15 minutes to allow cheese to melt.

‘Annual Meeting’Chocolate Chip Cookies from Bob Leege Ingredients

• 1 c. butter • ½ c. shortening • 2 c. brown sugar • ½ c. sugar • 3 large eggs (or 2 jumbos) • 3 t. vanilla • 4 c. flour • 2 t. baking soda • 1 t. salt • 1 package chocolate chips • ½ c. nuts


1. C  ombine ingredients in large mixing bowl. 2. M  easure spoonfuls and drop on baking sheet. 3. B  ake at 325-350°F until light brown on edges.

Bob’s wife, Lisa, brings these to the WFBF Annual Meeting each year. Stop by registration for one.

Chicken and Dumplings from Ashleigh Calaway Ingredients Instructions

• 64 oz. chicken broth 1. Mix ingredients together • 2 lb. chicken, cooked in a large pot. Stirring and shredded occasionally until stew is 3-4 cans mixed brought to a boil. vegetables (do not 2. Once stew is at a rolling boil, drain) tear biscuits into bite-size 1½ lb. potatoes, cubed pieces and add to the stew. 2 cans butter Pillsbury 3. Allow biscuit pieces biscuits in a can (dumplings) to sit on top of the stew for a couple minutes before stirring them in. Stir until all of the pieces are in the mixture.

February | March 2017



Orths Join AFBF’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee D erek and Charisse Orth have been appointed by the American Farm Bureau Federation to its Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for the 2017-19 term beginning in March. The national committee is comprised of 16 positions representing all regions of the U.S. An individual or a couple may hold each committee position. The Orths completed a three-year term on the WFBF Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee and in 2016, they served as chairs. Derek and Charisse milk 250 cows with his parents at Orthridge Jerseys near Lancaster. Derek is a board director and Charisse is women’s chair for the Grant County Farm Bureau. He is also a treasurer of the Wisconsin Jersey Breeders Association. The couple have one daughter, Zeeva. Committee members are responsible for YF&R Program planning, which includes the coordination of YF&R

competitive events during AFBF’s Annual Convention each January. They also provide support in planning and implementing AFBF’s biennial FUSION Conference for Farm Bureau volunteer leaders involved in YF&R, Women’s Leadership and Promotion and Education programs. “Farm Bureau’s YF&R Committee members play a vital role in advocating for agriculture while further building their leadership abilities,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “I am thoroughly impressed by the dedication these committee members have shown to Farm Bureau and their community.” Other appointees to the YF&R Committee are: Matthew and Kimberly London, Georgia; Mark and Sarah Mathe, Michigan; Craig and Kelly Vaughn, North Dakota; Bradley Heimerl, Ohio; Jimmy and Lydia McAlister, Tennessee; Grant Coffee, Virginia; and Russell and Heather Kohler, Utah. National committee members are nominated by their respective state Farm Bureaus. They study farm and food policy issues, participate in leadership training exercises and hone other professional skills during their tenure as committee members. The AFBF YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18-35. The objective of the program is to provide leadership in building a more effective Farm Bureau to preserve our individual freedoms and expand our opportunities in agriculture.

Roth Chosen for USFRA’s Faces of Farming and Ranching A Wisconsin woman was chosen for the third class of Faces of Farming and Ranching by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). The Faces of Farming and Ranching is a national initiative to help put real faces on agriculture. Wisconsin Farm Bureau member Katie Roth grew up in Darlington on her family’s 330-head dairy farm. Married in early 2016, Katie works as a herdsman on Banner Ridge Farms, LLC, in addition to serving as a program technician for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Grant County. They farm in partnership with John and Luann Shea. Katie has served a variety of roles in her


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county Farm Bureau including Young Farmer and Agriculturist chair, secretary and Ag in the Classroom co-chair. She also graduated from the WFBF Leadership Institute and the AFBF Women’s Communications Boot Camp. “I speak from the heart. I know consumers want transparency and I’m willing to give that to them,” Roth said. “I trust in agriculture and the United States food system. My goal is to help consumers build that trust as well.” This year’s class was announced on November 9 during a USFRA press conference at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Other members of the third class of Faces of Farming and Ranching include: Lauren Arbogast from Virginia; Emily Buck from Ohio; Jeremy Brown from Texas; and Lauren Schwab from Ohio.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Applicants Sought for State

Farm Service Agency Committee

State committees are responsible for administering various programs, including state agricultural conservation programs, production adjustment and price support programs, livestock programs and other programs assigned by the Secretary or Congress. State committees also conduct reviews, hear appeals, and may take corrective actions if certain criteria are met. State committees, in conjunction with the State Executive Director, also determine certain local program and administrative policies.

Deadline for Applications is March 1, 2017 Candidates may submit a resume and cover letter to Tony Kurtz in Senator Johnson’s office at tony_kurtz@ronjohnson. For more information call 920.230.7250.


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February | March 2017


Visit to read more blogs! What is Farm Bureau?

By Ashleigh Calaway, WFBF District 8 Coordinator


s a District Coordinator, I get asked a lot of questions about Farm Bureau. The most common one being “What is Farm Bureau?”

This is always a tough one for me, although I’m sure you’re confused by that. You would think that this would be the easiest question an employee or member could be asked. The easy answer is reciting the generic “the largest general farm organization in the state of Wisconsin” which tends to flow out as smooth as melted butter. But for many of us Farm Bureau is so much more than that. It’s the organization that has the backs of farmers across the state and the nation. It’s the organization that fights to keep our right to farm and provides tools, tours, leadership development, personal and professional development. To those that are really involved, it’s also our second family. It’s where we feel at home. It’s the group that our neighbor, friend or family member sucked us into getting involved with but after while it became something we couldn’t go without. Farm Bureau takes us out of our comfort zone and gives us the confidence to speak up. It provides us a voice when we can’t find our own. For some it gives a place to share our deepest worries about the future of agriculture, our families and what’s happening on Capitol Hill. With close to 50,000 members across the state we come from all different walks of life and agricultural connections but Farm Bureau provides the rope that keeps all tied together. As a staff member, it’s even more than just being a member. You get to help cultivate farmers and agriculturists of all ages. You get to help county Farm Bureau boards set goals, face challenges and watch them work together to overcome obstacles. You get to be a cheerleader in a world full of downers. Your extended family grows exponentially and before you know it you are celebrating engagements, weddings, births and graduations. You become the shoulder to lean on during tough times and the one to help them dust themselves off when they fall. So, next time you hear a member or Farm Bureau staff stumble answering “What is Farm Bureau?” remember it’s not that we don’t know what it is. It’s just hard to simplify it to a few words because until you become a member and join the Farm Bureau family it’s hard to understand.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau needs members like you to step up for a special challenge: to sign up at least five new Farm Bureau members by September 30.

Farm Bureau volunteers who invite their friends and neighbors to join the organization are eligible to receive a $20 cash award for every new member they sign up. Volunteers signing five or more new members by September 30 qualify as members of the Farm Bureau Proud Club and will receive special recognition at the Farm Bureau Proud Banquet during the WFBF Annual Meeting on December 2. Membership applications are available online, from your county Farm Bureau office or by contacting the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation at 800.261.FARM. To receive proper credit for new members signed, be sure to fill in your name as ‘membership worker’ and submit all memberships prior to September 30.

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

February | March 2017


Shurecrest Farms, Markesan

Becky Salm, Newton

Kristin Pronschinske, Mondovi

Dins Family Farm, Campbellsport

Dawn Mroczenski, Athens

Send us YOUR Photos Wisconsin Farm Bureau members live and work with beautiful landscapes and livestock. On this page we highlight those sights and special moments. Please email your best photos (high resolution jpgs, 4x6 inches at 300 dpi) to Due to the high volume of photos we receive, we are unable to publish every photo.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

February | March 2017


County Kernels Milk and Cookies with Santa – Outagamie County

Book Donation – Pierce County

In December, Outagamie County Farm Bureau, Outagamie County Dairy Promotion and Milk Source hosted Milk and Cookies with Santa at the Milk Source Genetics Barn. Families saw Santa and cows. A special appearance by Alice in Dairyland and Santa’s reindeer were big hits. More than 450 people attended and each child received a cookie, milk and a goody bag filled with ag promotional items. For every child who sat on Santa’s lap, a $10 donation was made to the Freedom Food Pantry for a total of $1,750!

Pierce County Farm Bureau donated a set of the Ag in the Classroom Books of Year from the past eight years to the Elmwood Public Library. The books donated include: “Time for Cranberries,” “Sugarbush Spring,” “The Beeman,” “First Peas to the Table,” “Fantastic Farm Machines,” “Farmer George Plants a Nation,” “How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?” and “Seed Soil Sun.”

Donation to Homeless Shelter – Shawano County

Christmas Party – Fond du Lac County

The Shawano County Farm Bureau women’s committee collected winter clothing to donate to a local homeless shelter instead of having a gift exchange during the annual Christmas party in conjunction with their December committee meeting.

More than 50 people attended the Fond du Lac County Farm Bureau Christmas party on December 20 at Pizza Ranch. Rural Mutual Insurance agency manager Tom Gustafson gave an update on the new Rural Mutual Insurance dividend program that will be offered in 2017 and an upcoming farm safety workshop for members.

Winter Farmer Forum – Buffalo County


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Jared Nelson from Farm Bureau Financial Services and Steve Berger from Rural Mutual Insurance gave tips on financial planning. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and WFBF’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations Paul Zimmerman were on hand to inform and answer questions on farmland preservation, which is affecting Buffalo County.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Caring for Calves – Washington County

In December, Nancy Dornacker presented ‘Caring for Calves on our Farm’ to the first grade students at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Slinger. The students had a lot of questions. The students were shown a one-gallon bottle and a baby bottle so they could see the difference in calf versus human. Students also got to see hay, straw, starter grain, buckets, calf pill, syringes, an IV lactated ringer bag with venoset and catheter, hypertonic saline, a syringe, an empty penicillin bottle, a tube feeder and a calf coat. Everyone loved touching and examining the items.

Holiday Wreath Making – Adams County

Children’s Hospital Donations – Washington County

Ag in the Classroom volunteers taught the Grand Marsh, Westfield and Oxford Girl Scouts about conifers at the Westfield Community Center. They made wreaths to hang at the nursing home and door swags to take home.

During the Washington County Farm Bureau annual meeting there was a donation bowl for the Ronald McDonald House wish list. Farm Bureau matched the money collected to help purchase items for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Sveda Dairy Farm Visit – Langlade County

This fall, students from the Antigo Independently Motivated Students (AIMS) class toured Sveda Dairy Farm. The students, ranging from kindergarten to 12thgrade, toured the barn and leaned how the cows are milked, fed and cared for.

YFA Harvest Dust Off – District 6

More than 100 YFA members attended the second annual Harvest Dust Off at Twin Fountains in Manitowoc on November 12. Spitfire Rodeo provided the music. Thank you to sponsors Badgerland Financial and GreenStone Farm Credit Services.

February | March 2017


Ag in the classroom

Ag in the Classroom Hosts Educational Bus Tour Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom is offering a two-day opportunity for teachers, homeschool parents, 4-H leaders and agricultural literacy volunteers to ‘board the bus’ and learn more about Wisconsin agriculture. The bus tour will visit farms, agri-businesses, processors and green industry venues so attendees will learn about the variety of agricultural production and resources that our state offers. The tour is July 18-19 in Jefferson County. Registration forms and details will be posted at

Ag in the Classroom bus tour participants are offered a variety of fun, educational and social opportunities during the two-day tour.

Register Now for National Ag in the Classroom Conference D uring the National Ag in the Classroom Conference, volunteers, teachers and staff involved in agricultural literacy will learn about new resources, share ideas and experiences and network with others involved in agricultural education. The 2017 ‘Show Me Agriculture’ National Conference is hosted by the Central Region and is June 20-23 at the Sheraton Kansas City Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

The conference offers a variety of workshops and tours. Topics vary from commodity education to teaching techniques and subject oriented options. Workshops are offered several times during the conference along with teacher recognition, conference speakers and a trade show. The tours offer attendees an opportunity to learn about production agriculture, agribusinesses, food systems, the green industry and other aspects of agriculture of that region. For more information and registration materials, visit

Essay Contest Entries are Due April 1 T he essay contest topic, ‘Tell us about cranberry production in Wisconsin during one of the four seasons’ is linked with the book, “Time for Cranberries.” Accompanying lessons aligned to state standards and various Wisconsin educational resources are available in the educator’s guide for teachers, home school parents, students and volunteers to use in promoting and preparing essays. Essay submissions must be 100 to 300 words and will be judged on content, grammar, spelling and neatness.


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Participating students and schools need to submit essays by April 1 to their county Farm Bureau essay coordinator. Classroom groups, home school, 4-H club and individual entries may be submitted. A list of county essay coordinators, contest rules, lesson plans and sample classroom activities can be found at In May, a state winner Detlefsen will be selected from nine district winners by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Promotion and Education Committee. Each district winner will receive a classroom or home school association presentation in May for their homeroom or class. This year, the author of “Time for Cranberries” Lisl H. Detlefsen will present at the winning essay writer’s classroom. The essay contest is sponsored by Insight FS, We Energies and the WFB Foundation. Last year, more than 3,000 students participated in the essay contest.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

How to Participate in National Ag Day J oin farmers, volunteers, teachers, FFA and 4-H members, college students, agri-business employees and others as we celebrate National Ag Day on Tuesday, March 21. What is National Ag Day? A day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Each year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and others across America join to recognize the contributions of agriculture. National Ag Day is during National Ag Week, which is March 19-25. Who Can Participate? Anyone who has an interest in agriculture. How to Get Involved • Youth Coloring Contest: Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom is asking children ages 12 and under to participate in the Ag Day Coloring Contest. The coloring page and contest rules are located on the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom website,, under the ‘What’s New’ section. There are three divisions, Name ___________________ Age ____ ages 6 and younger, 7-9 and 10-12. Be sure to include on the back of the coloring page or in the email the child’s name and age, along with a parent or guardian’s street address, phone number and email address so that winners can be notified. All entries must be received by March 1. Entries can be sent via email or hard copies can be sent to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom, PO Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705. One entry is allowed per child and winners will be notified by email, phone or postal mail and announced on National Ag Day, March 21. The winner of each age group will receive a package of Ag in the Classroom goodies. • Ag Day Reading Event: Celebrate Ag Day on Tuesday, March 21, by joining farmers, volunteers, teachers, FFA and 4-H members, college students, agribusiness employees and others by reading books about agriculture to students, home school families, nursing home residents, day cares and others. Participants are

encouraged to identify a group that you want to read to. It can be in a classroom at a local school, a daycare, 4-H club, nursing home, home school group, a civic club meeting or anywhere that people are interested in learning about agriculture. The recommended book is the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom’s Book of the Year: “Time for Cranberries” by Lisl Detlefsen. The book is available from the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program. There are activities, background information and talking points available. After the visit, send the report form to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom so that we can tabulate the outreach of this activity. Please use #WIReadsAg2017 on social media to talk about National Ag Day and your reading activity. • #WIAgProud Campaign: Wisconsin Farm Bureau will again host the #WIAgProud campaign to encourage all farmers and agriculturists to share what they do and why they do it on social media. On March 21 share what makes you proud of Wisconsin agriculture by using #WIAgProud on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. By tagging your social media posts with the hashtag #WIAgProud, the Farm Bureau will be able to find and repost them. To download resources for National Ag Day, visit and For More Information Please contact Darlene Arneson at or 608.828.5644, Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom, PO Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705;

Build this winter and receive HUGE Savings! Call for further information. 800-558-7800 Build this winter and receive HUGE Savings!

Call for further information. February | March 2017



Resources Available for School Outreach W isconsin Ag in the Classroom offers many free resources for county programs, members, teachers and other volunteers to use when teaching about agriculture or hosting farm tours. With the support of sponsors, educational publications such as This Business Called Agriculture (fourth– sixth-grade), An Agricultural Career for You (sixth–12th-grade) and World of Corn 2016 (kindergarten–fourth-grade) are The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) offers AgMag for elementary students. Wisconsin has added energy, poultry and school gardens to the list we sell. Large orders can be requested directly from AFBFA by county Farm Bureaus.

available. This Business Called Agriculture and An Agricultural Career for You have updated educator’s guides. Resources such as children’s books, AgMag (Wisconsin has 14 available), American Farm Bureau’s Farm Facts brochures and tattoos are available for purchase. You can order online or download and print order forms at These eighth-grade students from St. Francis School visited Badger High School to tour the building, learn about exciting career programs and opportunities. They received An Agricultural Career for You courtesy of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom. Candance Frank, a teacher at Badger High School says that the An Agricultural Career for You resource is perfect for students trying to decide the best career for their future.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between December 1, 2016 and January 13, 2017)

• Joe Bragger • A.V. Roth • Sally Schoenike • Dan and Jean Poulson in memory of Marjorie Ainsworth • Bradley Farms in memory of Diane Gorder • John and Darlene Arneson in memory of Diane Gorder • Tom and Jill Bennwitz in memory of Diane Gorder • Bob and Lisa Leege in memory of Diane Gorder • Rich and Darci Meili in memory of Diane Gorder

• Dan and Jean Poulson in memory of Diane Gorder • Dan and Deb Raemisch in memory of Diane Gorder • Grant County Farm Bureau in memory of Diane Gorder • Iowa County Farm Bureau in memory of Diane Gorder • Bradley Farms in memory of Gloria Holte • Sheboygan County Farm Bureau in memory of Julie Salm • John and Darlene Arneson in memory of Lester Schwartz • John and Darlene Arneson in memory of Alann Skemp • Washington County Farm Bureau in memory of Tom Strachota

Join us for the 20th Annual Monday, September 11, 2017

Benefiting the

S944 Christmas Mountain Road Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Registration and Sponsorship Deadline: August 11 44

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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

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Ride Safe R

iding ATVs (all-terrain vehicle) and UTVs (utility terrain vehicle) can be a fun way to experience the great outdoors, and they can also be a useful tool for work. When used properly, they can provide hours of enjoyment, and save hours of work. Every year, there are hundreds of injuries and deaths resulting from the improper and unsafe use of ATVs or UTVs. Some examples of incidents involving children include: • A 10-year-old boy died when his ATV rolled over in a stream. • A 12-year-old boy died when he lost control of a UTV and rolled over after driving across some deep dips. • A 12-year-old boy died when he lost control of a ATV and rolled it in an unfamiliar farm field. • A 10-month-old child died when the UTV she was riding rolled over while turning right into a driveway. Are these isolated incidents, or is this a big problem? It’s a big problem. Nationally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 3,023 ATV- and UTV-related deaths of children younger than 16 years from 1982 through 2013, representing 23 percent of ATV- and UTV-related deaths. Nearly 50 percent of these child deaths were children younger than 12. In 2013 (most recent year that data was available), there were nearly 100,000 ATV- or UTV-related emergency department treated injuries, with 25 percent involving children younger than 16. Why is operating ATVs and UTVs more dangerous for children? Children are not small adults. They cannot reach as far as adults and are not as strong as adults. They do not have the same balance and coordination as adults. Children cannot accurately estimate their ability, cannot accurately judge speed, have difficulty judging distances of objects, struggle to accurately judge the angle of incline or decline, have difficulty recognizing hazards in the environment and do not have the advanced thinking skills to process information quickly and logically. Safely operating an ATV or UTV is more challenging than driving an automobile, because the design of ATVs and UTVs make them more prone to loss of control under conditions where cars are stable.

In addition to the lack of physical strength and the shorter arm lengths that might not allow the appropriate turning radius, children do not have the cognitive and perceptual maturity needed to consistently make the complex calculations required to safely turn. Children do not understand risk and boys, in particular, are prone to risk-taking behavior. How can we prevent injuries while riding ATVs and UTVs? If you want to be safe while riding an ATV or UTV, and keep your children safe, you need to do the following: • Always wear a helmet and protective gear. • Select the right size of ATV or UTV for children. Children should never operate or ride a full-size ATV or UTV. • Never have extra riders on ATVs or UTVs. • Keep ATVs and UTVs for off-road use only. • Make sure that drivers know how to operate an ATV or UTV safely. Take a safety course. Other factors when using an ATV or UTV. • Safety guidelines should be set between parents and children regarding the use of an ATV or UTV. • Parents should monitor and make sure safety rules are being adhered to. • No extra riders even if the ATV or UTV is operated by an adult unless the ATV or UTV is designed for more than one rider. More safety resources are available at

February | March 2017


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How to Ease the Cost of Long-Term Care I t’s a fact of life that the subjects we often wish to avoid the most are the very ones that we should be discussing. One of these is long-term care. Our population is continuing to grow and live longer, creating an increased demand for caretakers, nursing homes and medical care for the elderly. Unsurprisingly, this raises questions about how to pay for quality care for those who need it the most. Currently, 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lifetime. When planning for your future, there are many points to consider.

Plan Ahead One of the main benefits of starting the discussion early is that not only are you still living independently, but probably at a time where you can allocate more funds towards your postretirement life. Some things to consider when weighing your long-term care options are: •N  ursing homes, assisted living or senior living. If you are unable to stay in your home, what are your preferences? •H  ealth. Talk to your family or friends about your wishes, and what will happen if you become seriously ill or disabled. • Legal decisions. Discuss advance directives that state your wishes for medical care. •F  inancial. What are your resources? How will you allocate them? Making these decisions beforehand can benefit you in many ways, including: • Th  e time is now. In practical terms, you must purchase long-term care insurance before you need it. •A  ge is a factor. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be in better health, which can lower your premium. •Y  ou are better together. If you and your spouse are purchasing a long-term care policy, you have the option of sharing it for additional coverage. Supplementing Your Benefit with Life Insurance When considering the costs of long-term care, you also


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may consider your life insurance policy or a rider on your life insurance policy to supplement your income later in life. For example, with the Daily Living Benefit Rider, you can choose to receive a portion of your policy’s death benefit to help cover expenses if you become chronically ill or are unable to care for yourself. If you find yourself unable to perform two of five essential tasks of daily living including: eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing or continence, you can choose to activate the benefits of this rider. The resulting benefit can help supplement your increased living costs. If you want to learn more about the advantages of the Daily Living Benefit Rider, ask your Rural Mutual Insurance agent. Start the Conversation Discussing your long-term care needs isn’t an easy conversation, but it’s one that you need to have. By planning ahead, you provide you and your family with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your wishes and priorities will be taken care of. Once you have tackled the issue of the future, you can get back to the present, and taking care of the things that matter most. To start your plan or review the planning that is done, please contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent or Farm Bureau Life’s senior regional consultant, Jared Nelson at 608.250.0404 or

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For more information about the farm dividend program and how you may qualify, call 877-219-9550 or contact your local Rural Mutual agent.

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

February March 2017 Rural Route  

Wisconsin Farm Bureau February | March Volume 23 Issue 1

February March 2017 Rural Route  

Wisconsin Farm Bureau February | March Volume 23 Issue 1