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june | july 2018 • vol. 24 no. 3 |



WISCONSIN Page 9 Page 18: Knigge Family Fond of Innovation

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

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contents vol. 24 no. 3













25 28


18 stay connected

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22 WIFarmBureau


A breakdown of what is included in the farm bill.


Learn what farmers are doing to protect waterways.


Take a peek at four different Farm Bureau members' farms.


Learn how your life insurance needs change over time.


Read about the variety of programs offered through UW-Extension.


Winnebago County member uses robotic milkers.


See highlights from events at Madison, Platteville and River Falls campuses.


Read about this new conference for members held in April.


Get your 2018 wallet guide here.


Columns from Duvall, Holte, Brossard, Kavazanjian and Martin.


Learn about the advantages of an insurance career and Rural Mutual's new website.



Read our previous issues at





ife happens. At some point in your life you have probably heard or used this expression. For me, it's as though I use it almost too often to explain the miscellaneous curveballs that pop up. Things like getting stuck in traffic when you are already running late or going to the grocery store for a specific item that just so happens to be sold out. It seems there is always something causing life to be more chaotic than desired. My family has a dairy farm. On Memorial Day weekend I was home for a quick visit. The morning milking usually starts about 5:30 a.m. That Saturday though, the milk pump broke and the cows couldn’t get milked until five hours later. The cows were rather cranky since they had to hold their milk. The farmers weren’t very pleased either. What do you do? Life happens. We recently had some friends who were planning to visit. Plans changed when they had a family member pass away suddenly. You can’t plan for certain things and life happens. This issue of Rural Route has been one for the books as well. With the late

spring, planting for many farmers has been behind schedule. So, planning photo shoots with our featured members was a tricky endeavor because we understand that farming comes first, and modeling (HA!) comes second. Life happens. Rural Route is the perfect example of even though there are sometimes obstacles, what needs to get done, will. It just might not be how you expected. I feel confident that everyone who picks up this issue Rural Route will find something for them. The summer issue is always one I enjoy putting together. Some highlights include recipes from Farm Bureau member Julie Orth who has taken on a pretty hefty challenge of not repeating a recipe in 2018. Read about it on page 34. We have a great line up of opinion columns from many of our members and leaders starting on page 28. I enjoy featuring the diversity of our members. We put together a feature story for this issue highlighting four of our members. Learn more about these farmers who each have a passion for what they do on page 9. Technology has been advancing in the agricultural industry for awhile. I had a chance to visit with the farmers who installed the first robotic milking system in the U.S. Meet the Knigges and read about the other technology they use on page 18. Life happens but whatever twists and turns life takes you on be sure to take time this summer to enjoy good food provided by hard-working farmers and time with family and friends. Thanks for taking the time to read Rural Route. Amy Eckelberg Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Amy Eckelberg - 608.828.5706 Designer Lynn Siekmann - 608.828.5707 Contributors Sarah Marketon - 608.828.5711 Marian Viney - 608.828.5721 Address of Publication Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation PO Box 5550 1241 John Q. Hammons Dr. Madison, WI 53705-0550 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation PO Box 5550 Madison, WI 53705-0550 Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276) WFBF Board of Directors Jim Holte, Elk Mound, (President) Don Radtke, Merrill, (Vice President) Dave Daniels, Union Grove Arch Morton Jr., Janesville Richard Gorder, Mineral Point Joe Bragger, Independence Kevin Krentz, Berlin Rosie Lisowe, Chilton Adam Kuczer, Pulaski Andrea Brossard, Burnett (Promotion and Education Committee Chair) Brian Preder, Weyauwega (YFA Committee Chair) Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Rural Route (ISSN 1082-1368) (USPS 39940), the official publication of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, is published six times per year in February|March, April|May, June|July, August|September, October|November and December|January. Subscription of $5 is included in Farm Bureau dues. Periodical postage is paid at Madison, Wisconsin. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. For advertising rates and information: Wisconsin accounts contact Slack Attack at 608.222.7630 or National accounts contact Casey McNeal at 800.798.2691 ext. 334 or For general inquiries, contact Amy Eckelberg at 608.828.5706 or




What is Farm Bureau?

Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization of more than 46,000 farmers, agriculturists and others with an interest in keeping Wisconsin agriculture strong. Farm Bureau's purpose is to promote, protect and represent the business, economic and educational interests of Wisconsin farmers. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation consists of 61 county Farm Bureaus, each with a local board of directors. 'Grassroots' means that Farm Bureau policy decisions are made from the bottom up, based on resolutions that are proposed at the county level by voting members.



Why pay dues to be a Farm Bureau member?

Farm Bureau is a membership organization that relies on dues as a primary source of revenue. By joining Farm Bureau, you become part of an organization that provides numerous member benefits (for more details, see page 25) while helping to support Wisconsin's #1 industry. Members are classified at the county level as voting or associate, with voting members having the right to hold office and vote on the organization's policy.



I'm not a farmer, so why should I be a member of Farm Bureau?

Agriculture is a major driver of Wisconsin's economy. We all have a vested interest in helping maintain a safe, affordable and abundant food supply. As a member of Farm Bureau, you support programs and policies that ensure that farmers can continue to feed and clothe us, while keeping Wisconsin's economy strong.

Q: Can my spouse and I share a membership? Yes! A Farm Bureau membership is a family membership. It applies to the A: member, member's spouse and any children younger than 21. A family member 21 or older requires his or her own membership.



I have an insurance policy with Rural Mutual. Why is Farm Bureau membership required?

In 1934, Wisconsin Farm Bureau members created the Rural Mutual Insurance Company to service the insurance needs of its members. Rural Mutual is an affiliate of Farm Bureau, and access to insurance products sold through Rural Mutual is a benefit of membership. Therefore, a paid Farm Bureau membership is a prerequisite to purchase auto, homeowners, country estate, farm and crop/hail policies through Rural Mutual Insurance Company.



When does my membership renew? Your annual membership renewal date is the first day of whatever month you joined Farm Bureau. You will receive a renewal notice approximately 45 days prior to the due date.

Q: How much are my annual membership dues? Membership dues are established at the local level by your county Farm Bureau A: board of directors and vary from county to county. Annual dues range from $47 to $60 depending on where you live.

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How are my dues used? When you join Farm Bureau, you not only become a member of your county Farm Bureau, but also Wisconsin Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau. Your membership dues are allocated as follows:


Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation -

Used to support state activities, conduct programs and provide staffing for those efforts throughout the state. Consumer and youth education, issue advocacy, leadership development and member publications are services that also are funded with state dues.


American Farm Bureau Federation - Forwarded

to support Farm Bureau activities at a national level. These funds support agriculture's voice in our nation's capital as well as the many programs that AFBF has in place to educate consumers, share the message of agriculture and provide online resources to its members.


Accidental Death Policy

- Applied toward an accidental death insurance policy that is a benefit of membership and covers you as a member, your spouse and eligible children. Coverage begins at $500 and increases in value for the member and spouse with each consecutive year of membership up to $3,500.

$6$1 9

County Farm Bureau - The

remaining portion of your dues (depending on the county) is used to fund local events and activities. This may include county meetings, scholarships and other programs for youth, consumer education activities and member service programs in that county.


What is the


he farm bill is a complicated legislative package that is renewed every five years. It is a critical tool for farmers and ranchers throughout the country, but it includes so much more than just agricultural programs. Below is a breakdown of what is included in the farm bill and how it serves more than farmers.

Farm Bill Projected Outlays 2018-2028

Credit (-0.5%) Rural Development (0.0%) Forestry (0.0%) Research and Related Matters (0.1%) Horticulture (0.2%) Energy (0.1%) Crop Insurance (8.9%) Miscellaneous (0.3%) Commodity Programs (7.0%) Conservation (6.8%) Trade (0.4%) Nutrition (75.8%)


President Franklin Roosevelt started the farm bill within his New Deal legislation in 1933. While the purpose was to recover from the bad economic times, the primary goals have stayed the same: keep food prices fair, ensure a stable food supply and protect the country’s natural resources.


The farm bill is updated every five years. Prior to expiration it needs to be updated, evaluated, debated and passed by Congress. Members of Congress who sit on the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry hold the primary responsibility of drafting farm bills. Following passage, it is signed by the President. The current farm bill was signed into law February 7, 2014, and will be followed through 2018, and longer for some programs.


The farm bill has many programs within it. The programs cover anything from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families, implementation of sustainable farming practices and a variety of assistance programs for beginning farmers. The laws set within the farm bill guide the United States’ food system. Farmers face many challenges. The farm bill helps set them up for success to feed the communities around them while helping alleviate some of the risk they face in many aspects of their businesses. The current farm bill has 12 sections, called titles. In order, they are Commodities; Conservation; Trade; Nutrition; Credit; Rural Development; Research, Extension and Related Matters; Forestry; Energy; Specialty Crops and Horticulture; Crop Insurance and Miscellaneous.











Source: Congressional Budget Office April 2018 Baseline

Farm Bill Projected Outlays 2018-2028

Million Dollars

Nutrition $663,828 Other Titles

Source: Congressional Budget Office April 2018 Baseline


The funding cost for the farm bill is based on 10-year projections because of the ever-changing economy. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the 2014 Farm Bill is estimated to cost about $867 billion during a 10-year period. The highest costs come from the major programs that include commodity, crop insurance and SNAP (food stamps).


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For more information on the farm bill, visit farm-policy/farm-bureau-farm-bill-resources-in-depth or what-is-the-farm-bill. WISCONSIN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Farmers Find Ways to

Wisconsin’s Waters Protect


he soil is an intimate part of a farm. Whether it’s been passed down from a generation before, or it’s being prepared to be passed on to the future, the earth is the foundation every farm sits on. Another crucial aspect of a farm is water. Water provides for the farmer’s crops but also gives opportunities to neighbors and families for recreation. With waterway protection in mind, farmers have been leaders in establishing watershed protection groups since 2011, when the first farmerled program began.

Farmers are working together to find innovative solutions to address the water quality issues happening in their areas across the state. Started in 2016 and administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program provides funding to groups of farmers to test and promote conservation activities that improve soil and water quality in their local watersheds.


The program PHOTO COURTESY OF FARMERS OF MILL CREEK allows farmers to work together to identify best management practices that also improve their farm economics. Specifically, those practices that are effective in reducing nonpoint source contributions in their watersheds. These farmer groups partner with their county land conservation department, UW-Extension, Discovery Farms, nonprofits and/or state agencies to develop on-farm demonstration trials, innovative practices, provide outreach and education and evaluate PHOTO COURTESY OF DATCP project success. “The opportunity to get practical knowledge from farmers in our group and others is outstanding,” said Joe Bragger, Buffalo County farmer and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Board Director. “I know they have tried new and innovative practices on a real working farm like mine.” PHOTO COURTESY OF FARMERS OF MILL CREEK JUNE | JULY 2018

Some benefits of the program: • Producer-led groups create awareness of and increase participation in using conservation practices. • Farmers enjoy working with each other to learn, network and share ideas. • Farmers have the ability to share what role agriculture is playing in conservation and build diverse relationships with other groups and community members. For more information about the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program, visit datcp. ProducerLedProjects.aspx.



Rural Mutual: 50-Year-Sponsor of WIAA Award R ural Mutual Insurance Company believes there is something more important than just winning or losing a game. That's why we've proudly sponsored the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award for more than 50 years. Sportsmanship matters to the team, school and community. Below are some comments from this year's Sportsmanship Award winners:

Trevor Schwoerer: Valders Boys Basketball It has been a joy working with such great young adults and families throughout the years. I am glad that our kids' selflessness and high character can be recognized in such Mark Matzek: Ellsworth Team Wrestling high regard. This award serves as reassurance to my staff and me that we As a team it means a great deal to us because as a staff, we are having the kind of positive influence we intend to have on preach all year about controlling the things you can control. You the young men we coach. This award validates the team's hard can control being a good, respectful person. You can control your work and dedication to the sport of wrestling, win or lose. body language, your work ethic and being a great teammate. So Since the staff and team is an extension of the Ellsworth as a coach, I am extremely proud of our program on how we community, I hope this brings pride to everyone living in our present ourselves on and off the court.  community.  It means a lot to the community because they are a proud fan At Ellsworth, sportsmanship is ingrained within the true base. It is a tight knit community that supports all the sports spirit of wrestling. Athletes shake hands before and after the and activities at Valders. Most regular season games have a match. I cannot think of another sport where athletes shake tournament-like atmosphere. Our community travels very well hands as much as wrestling. Understanding how to win and and, at times, it appears that we have more fans at an away game lose with dignity and class is a vital skill for everyone to have than the host team. in life. I am not saying it is easy to accept defeat after the We teach our athletes about sportsmanship by holding each countless hours of training and sacrifice, but that happens in athlete accountable for things they can control, such as attitude every sport. If an athlete gave it all, he or she can walk off the and effort. We also talk about having a 'next play' mentality. If mat with pride, no matter the outcome. a call doesn't go your way, you must move on to the 'next play' I have been coaching since the fall of 2005. My favorite part because the outcome will never change. If you miss a shot or of coaching is the relationships I have created with my athletes. cause a turnover, you must move on to the 'next play' because The coach/athlete relationship is unique and special. You share you don't want one mistake to turn into multiple mistakes. If daily, weekly and season-long victories and adversity. you win a big game or lose a tough game, it is important to move on to the next game because that is the most important game. Congratulations to all winners. I believe having a 'next play' mentality keeps players humble and hungry.  Will your team be next? Sportsmanship is important because if you are a good, respectful person, you will get respect from everyone else. It prepares athletes for the real game of life because companies or businesses will hire and keep the people who work hard and have high character. It is also important because people will live a much more enjoyable life being a nice person, rather than being arrogant and selfish.  My favorite part about coaching is the development aspect of the players in the offseason. Another part of coaching I enjoy is bringing a team together to achieve a Since 1958 common goal, through team work and Suburban . Commercial . Agricultural . Horse Barns & Arenas sacrifice. Finally, I enjoy watching athletes Toll Free 800. 558. 7800 . grow from kids to respectful adults.

Quality Builders for Quality Buildings.


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WISCONSIN By Amy Eckelberg and Sarah Marketon


iversity is one of the greatest assets we enjoy within Wisconsin agriculture. While we may be known as America's Dairyland, Wisconsin is home to farmers involved in many industries of varying ages, niches and passions. As the state's largest general farm organization, Farm Bureau has the privilege of representing farms of all sizes, commodities and management styles. Made up of growers, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness professionals of all types, Wisconsin Farm Bureau's membership is diverse. Known for our grassroots approach to conducting business, our farmers on the local level are the organization's lifeblood. Some of our members have been part of the Farm Bureau family for generations. Others have joined recently and are learning more about opportunities available to them. Their reasons for joining vary from wanting representation on legislative issues to seeking personal and professional development opportunities to passion for sharing Ag in the Classroom materials with students. Whatever their niche or passion, Farm Bureau has a place for them. We visited four members who shared what they do on their farms and how they choose to be connected to Farm Bureau. Enjoy a 'tour' through Wisconsin agriculture as you meet these members and learn about the diversity they bring to the agriculture community and the Farm Bureau family.

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For Bringe, A Love for Beef is No Joke H

is sense of humor and passion for agriculture are two things you'll notice quickly when meeting Vernon County Farm Bureau member and beef farmer Alex Bringe. "I'm motivated to get out of bed each day by the fear of my cows being out," Alex said with a chuckle. While he isn't afraid to crack a joke, Alex is very serious about his love for life on the farm and raising beef cattle. His journey into beef farming took a few twists and turns. "Throughout most of the time that I was growing up, we had dairy cattle on the farm," Alex explained. "I started raising beef cattle as a 4-H project and it just kind of took off." The fifth-generation farmer says his 4-H project started with two beef cattle and today has grown into 120 cows and calves. He raises the calves to market weight that results in nearly 100 full-grown beef animals to sell each year. The cows and calves start on pasture until the calves reach about 800 pounds, when they are weaned and moved to a different barn where they are given a grain ration specially formulated to meet nutritional requirements. Farming runs deep in his family. Alex's ancestors settled on the farmstead in 1867 after emigrating from Norway. This year, the Bringes will be recognized at the Wisconsin State Fair during the Century and Sesquicentennial Farm and Home Award Program for being a family farm for 150 years. Alex is the oldest child in his family. He has two sisters: Kari who is a fourth-year resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of Washington-Seattle, and Katelyn who is a recent graduate of the UW-Madison. His parents, Armand and Mary Jo, are still active on the farm and in the local community.

Alex raises a variety of breeds of beef cattle. Pictured is a red Simmental.


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"Dad helps a lot with the crops," Alex explained. "He has always enjoyed the crop side of things and now he can really focus on that area of the farm. Mom is starting her third term on the county board of supervisors so we all stay busy." With little free time between balancing duties on the farm, Alex admits he always makes time to attend Farm Bureau events. "I joined Farm Bureau because I was looking to get more involved in the ag community and knew this organization mirrored some of my own personal ideas and values," said Alex. He hasn't shied away from getting involved on the local and state level. Alex has been on his county Farm Bureau board of directors since joining in 2007 and serves on the state Policy Development Committee. Alex credits his Vernon County Farm Bureau membership for connecting him with other farmers around the state. "Getting to know other people from around the state has been one of the biggest rewards of being a Farm Bureau member," said Alex. "Knowing there are other people out there doing the same thing you are and experiencing some of the same challenges helps you realize that you aren't out there alone." It's no joke that Alex enjoys the opportunities that being a Farm Bureau member gives him and is passionate about the lifestyle he has chosen. "As a farmer, I am always working to identify ways in which I can be a better steward to the environment," said Alex. "I want people to trust me. I want them to know that I'm raising a product that is healthy, good quality and something that I gladly eat myself." WISCONSIN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

A Family Behind Wisconsin's State Fruit B

eing a Jack of all trades, that is how Wood County Farm Bureau members and cranberry growers Warren and Jennifer Brockman describe their unique career in growing the state fruit. Together, the couple own Hemlock Trails Cranberry Company, Inc., the same marsh The couple has seven children. Emily that Warren grew and Nick are in college and Jennifer up on. homeschools the five youngest children. Cranberry From left: Peter, 6; Jennifer; Warren; Emily, growers, like other 20; Maria, 4 and Sam, 13. Not pictured: Amber, 16; Nick, 19 and Joseph, 9. farmers, must wear many hats. Warren is in charge of the day-to-day work on the marsh, which means being a meteorologist, mechanic, welder, agronomist, project planner, accountant, entomologist and much more. "The variety in the job keeps it interesting and there's always something new to learn," Warren said. While Warren has been around the marsh his entire life, Jennifer grew up a 'city girl' and moved to the marsh in 1997 after the couple was married. Growing cranberries in Wisconsin is truly a family affair, many of the more than 250 growers in the state are fourth and fifth generation growers whose families have been growing cranberries on the same land for generations. "My favorite part of being a cranberry grower is being able to raise my family in the country with fresh air and the ability to learn a strong work ethic," Jennifer said. The family is closely connected to the land they grow cranberries on and constantly work to be good environmental stewards. "We live where we work and want only the best for our family, so we are constant stewards of the land and water," Jennifer explained. While the family loves their rural lifestyle, they also face some challenges. "Low fruit prices with increasing expenses and burdensome regulations concern me," Warren said. "Cutting costs to stay JUNE | JULY 2018

profitable means doing all the hard labor myself and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to do the physical work." When he was 33 years old, Warren needed a spinal fusion, which changed his outlook on life and farming. "It made me realize that I needed to back off and that it is ok to take some time to rest and recover," Warren said. Being a perennial crop, cranberries require year-round care. Jennifer explained that all year they are busy caring for the plants, even in the middle of winter. When the temperatures get too cold, or fluctuate above and below freezing, cranberry growers must take special action to prevent damage to the plants. Contrary to popular belief, the red berries do not grow in water. Rather, the marshes are temporarily flooded in the fall to aid in harvesting. In Wisconsin, cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties. Through all the physically demanding work and challenges, Warren is optimistic about the future of agriculture simply because people need to eat. Jennifer adds that she is excited for the future because young people who pursue agricultural careers bring a fresh, new perspective. Jennifer is passionate about sharing her agriculture story via social media, specifically through videos on her YouTube channel. Last fall, she did an Instagram takeover on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau account to showcase a day in the life of a cranberry grower during harvest. The Brockmans joined Farm Bureau in 2001 to be part of an organization that served as a voice Since cranberries are a unique crop, for farmers. growers often need to modify or build equipment. Pictured is the third version of "We joined a harvesting attachment built by Warren. because Farm Bureau works hard to support farmers and advocate on their behalf," Jennifer said. "Plus, our Rural Mutual Insurance Company agents are knowledgeable, which is an added bonus." Each day may be different on the marsh, at home or within their local Farm Bureau, but every day the Brockmans are hard at work as one of the families behind our state fruit.


Goat Farming a New Venture for Riley Family The goats are milked in a parlor at the Riley's farm in Amherst.


om and Kari Riley enjoy raising their children on the farm along with a variety of animals. Although goat farming wasn't something that the family ever planned to pursue. What started as a 4-H project for their daughter, Everlah, turned into a new niche that they have grown to love. "If you would have told me that I was going to be a goat farmer five years ago, I would have thought you were kidding," said Tom. While they didn't start milking goats until July 2017, they have always been in the dairy business. Tom grew up on the farm they live on in Amherst. He showed pigs through FFA but when he graduated high school in 1992, he remodeled the barn and bought his first cows. Kari grew up on a dairy farm in Waupaca. The couple has five children who have been, or currently are, active in 4-H and FFA. Their oldest, Ethan, carried his love for agriculture into his career at Agropur, a dairy processing company. Elisha, the second-oldest, is attending UW-River Falls. She served as a Wisconsin State FFA officer this past year and shows pigs, dairy heifers and rabbits at the Waupaca County Fair. Everlah is a member of 4-H and FFA and along with her younger brother, Elwood, enjoys showing pigs,


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dairy heifers and goats. The Rileys also have a four-yearold foster daughter named Auroara and her two-year old sister, Ember, who visits often. While the Riley children help around their school schedules and on the weekend, the day-to-day chores are mostly done by Tom and Kari. Tom takes care of the family's 28 organic dairy cattle while Kari mostly cares for the goats. This summer they will have about 120 milking goats and 70 doelings. They also have 20 wethers (meat goats). While most people think of cows when they hear American's Dairyland, goats serve an important role in Wisconsin's dairy industry. In fact, Wisconsin ranks first for the number of dairy goats in the country. Kari says that the biggest misconception about goats is that they eat everything. "They do not eat everything," said Kari. "But they do nibble on anything. They are foragers not grazers. They would rather eat your rose bush than grass." The Rileys have been Waupaca County Farm Bureau members since 1995. "My uncle Wayne encouraged us to join and participate in the Young Farmer program," said Kari. "We were finalists in the Young Farmer Achievement Award, participated in the Discussion Meet and traveled to Washington, D.C., on a Farm Bureau trip in 1999." Formerly, Tom served on the Waupaca County Farm Bureau board as the Young Farmer and Agriculturist chair and now serves as membership chair. Kari is the Ag in the Classroom coordinator for Waupaca County.



Produce is Sullivan Family's Pride and Joy

lanning, planting, pruning and picking produce keep Door County Farm Bureau members Steve and Char Sullivan busy year-round. The couple own and operate Sully's Produce LLC, in Sturgeon Bay. The business has been around for more than 30 years and specializes in fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies, plants, flowers and baked goods. The Sullivans sell their produce at five Door County farmers' markets in addition to doing some wholesale business with area stores, restaurants and other farmers' markets for resale. From apples to zucchini, the family has an impressive line up of produce to offer. "My favorite part of my job is seeing the entire process of planting, growing and selling our produce, it is very hands-on," Char said. "It is fun to see the flowers and crops change each day and the positive reactions from our customers when they come out to purchase our products." Steve and Char have two sons, Shawn, 38 and Michael, 32 and three grandchildren. Shawn is a software developer for Epic Systems in Verona while Michael works on the farm. "Family is very important to us," Char said. "As a family, we work to grow produce but we also get to interact with other families who come to the farm or area farmers' markets to purchase our products." Char says the family takes pride in the role they play in providing food to people in the local area. "Agriculture is involved in so many aspects of our lives," explained Char. "I believe we will always have a part to play in The Sullivan's recently built a 10,000-square foot greenhouse for flowers. They hope to host buildyour-own flower basket sessions and other events in this new space.

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feeding our community." The family is passionate about engaging their customers in conversations about how food is grown. Steve explained that one of his least favorite misconceptions about agriculture is that farmers don't care for the environment. "I like to talk with folks about the practices we implement to be good stewards of the land," said Steve. "I also remind our customers that this is not unique to us, as all farmers live off the land and must be good environmental

stewards." Being involved in discussions about the environment is one of the main reasons the Sullivans joined Farm Bureau. "We joined Farm Bureau to support agriculture and have a seat at the table with lawmakers to talk about implementing regulations that find a balance between allowing farmers to do their job while also ensuring our natural resources will be available for years to come," Steve explained. The couple has been very active in Door County Farm Bureau. Steve served as county president, fair food stand manager, a member of the state Policy Development Committee and a member of the state Non-point Pollution Committee. Char served as treasurer for the Door County Farm Bureau. She also works at the county fair food stand and has been active with Ag in the Classroom activities and farm tours. "Everyone has their own unique role in the agricultural community and we are proud to have found our niche in growing produce," Char said. Steve and Char's son Michael is pictured with two of their interns. The Sullivans work with the University of Minnesota's MAST International program to hire interns each season.


Cleaning Your Way to A Safer Home

As soon as the snow melts and the temperatures warm up, our attention turns to that extensive list of maintenance to-do items that we've been thinking about all winter long. We've put together a list of common maintenance and safety items to consider while working around the house.

Roof • Inspect shingles, flashing and gutters for damage from the winter. • Re-caulk dried up seals around roof penetrations to prevent leaks. • Ensure fireplace and wood-burning chimneys have a spark arrestor/drip cap. This ensures sparks are kept in and wildlife is kept out.

Basement • Inspect basement walls and floors for signs of leaks, cracks or bulging as a sign of water pressure in the surrounding soil. • How old is your sump pump? If it's 10 years or older and is regularly kicking on or is older than 20 years without much regular use, consider replacing it. Look for a sump pump with battery backup. • Do you have an area in the southwest corner of the home that could be used for protection in the event of a tornado warning?

Garage • Inspect extension cords for damage. If the cord is damaged, discard and replace. • Discard old containers of chemicals. Over time some chemicals will begin leaking from their container. Check with your local municipality on proper disposal methods. • Ensure the fire extinguisher in your garage is in working condition. The arrow on the gauge should point within the green.


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Living Area • Ensure the fire extinguisher in your kitchen is in working condition. The arrow on the gauge should point within the green.

Yard • Inspect sidewalks and patios for heaving that would present a trip hazard. • Trim trees and bushes close to the home to prevent damage to siding. As they grow, branches can end up working their way under siding and into soffits. Opening up the area around the home increases ventilation and reduces the occurrence of moss and mold on shaded parts of the home. • Trim back trees to ensure summer storms don't cause branches to come crashing down. Consider removing larger trees near the home that show signs of distress or illness. • Inspect furnace and dryer vents for blockages and accumulations. Vent pipes without louvers or screens are susceptible to birds and rodents building nests. • Ensure gutter downspouts are attached and directing water away from the foundation. • Inspect area next to the foundation for depressions in the soil. Fill the area with soil to provide a gentle pitch away from the house to aid in proper drainage.

Visit for more safety tips for your home, business and farm. Content provided by: Chris Schlechta, RMIC Safety and Loss Control Manager


Life Insurance Coverage by Decade Provided by Farm Bureau Financial Services


oung or old, how much life insurance do you need throughout life? The answer isn't always easy, and it changes along with you. Your life insurance policy(ies) should be re-examined periodically to make sure your coverage is continually meeting your insurance needs. Here's a look at how your life insurance needs can change over time.

In Your 20s You've entered the 'real world' You have your first job, your own place and are financially independent. In your 20s, life insurance may be the last thing on your mind. You probably know you'll need it — someday. But one of the biggest misconceptions about life insurance is that you don't need it when you're young and single. Not true. You may want to buy a policy now if you: • Have started a family. • Tied the knot. • Provide financial support to a parent and/or spouse. • Have private debt such as student loans, car loans or a mortgage. A life insurance policy can help cover debts so co-signers or joint account holders won't be responsible should the worst happen. Buying life insurance when you're young and healthy also can help ensure that you benefit from a lower premium.

In Your 30s Now that you're in your 30s, you've probably experienced one, two or five 'big' life changes. Whether you got married, started a family, landed a new job or bought a house, these are big changes and you'll want to make sure your life insurance is keeping up. • New job: Starting a new career may not seem like something you need to consider when you're evaluating your life insurance needs, but often new jobs come with a salary change that can change the amount of income replacement you'd need if something were to happen. • Children: The need for life insurance increases with children because you naturally want to ensure your family will be taken care of should the worst happen. Life insurance can cover funeral costs and provide income to pay expenses after you're gone. • Buying a home: According to a 2016 survey by the National Association of Realtors, the median age for first-time homebuyers is 32. Buying a home is exciting, but can be a big expense. If something should happen, you'll want to be sure your family can stay in their home.

In Your 40s As your career has become more established, your income has likely increased compared to what you were earning in your 20s and 30s. When your income grows, it's a good idea to

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look at your life insurance coverage to make sure it will provide protection that keeps pace with your lifestyle. However, not all life changes call for increasing your life insurance. If you've paid off debts — car loans, mortgage, private loans — or your children have moved out, your life insurance coverage can likely be adjusted. You may be ready to switch from a term to a permanent life insurance policy now. An agent can help you understand what might work best for you.

After 50 As you get closer to retirement, your life insurance needs continue to evolve. Now may be a good time to consider features like a Daily Living Rider available on Farm Bureau life policies. While it should not be viewed as a replacement for long-term care or disability insurance, a Daily Living Rider can allow you to receive a portion of your policy's death benefit as a way to provide some financial support if you become chronically ill or are unable to perform two of five essential tasks of daily living — eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing and/or continence. On the other hand, if you're debt-free, no longer working and your children are financially independent, you may be able to reduce your coverage.

We Can Help!

As your world changes, your life insurance should change with it. Contact the following people for help ensuring you have the right coverage no matter your stage of life: • Your Rural Mutual Insurance agent • David McNurlen, ChFC, CASL, CLU, RICP, LTCP Regional Financial Consultant 920.301.0109 | Sources:

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7 JUNE | JULY 2018


Knigge Family Proves Farmers Are Fond of By Amy Eckelberg


harlie Knigge was a high school sophomore in 1992 when the unknowns. Charlie estimates it took three to four years to he bought his first cows. The Knigge family had Guernsey get things running well. It's now been 17 years since the first cows prior to that but Charlie knew that for the production system was installed and Charlie has no doubts in the system changes he wanted, Holsteins would be a better buy. they chose. "I always knew I wanted to farm," said Charlie from his "We are a great example of using technology to farm smarter," farm office in Omro. Behind him sits computer screens full of Charlie said. "No, I'm not milking cows every day, twice a day. blinking lights. "My family was considering a milking parlor My dad is pretty crippled up from milking cows. It takes a toll and expanding our herd. At the same time my dad had learned on your body and I don't want to be that way. Robots have let us about a robotic milking system farm differently." PHOTO CREDIT: NICOLE FREEMAN while overseas on a farm tour." While his parents are Pete, Charlie's dad, brought still very active on the back information and later farm, Charlie runs the that year the family met with day-to-day operations representatives from Lely, a and his sisters, Mary and company that is a world leader Krista, come home to get in designing robotic milkers. "their feet dirty" when The representatives answered they can. the Knigges' questions about the "The nice thing about technology. the robotics is I don't have "We knew we were better cow to be here at exactly 5 a.m. managers than people managers," every morning," he said. Charlie said. "It's really cool that cows The Knigges were the first farm can go and get milked in the U.S. to install a robotic when they want." The Knigge family (from left) Charlie, parents Pete and Theo and milking system. Since then, they His day still typically Charlie's son Jacob. have been open about the good, starts around 5:30 or 6 a.m. and the challenges, that come with this technology. with a herd walk-through, report reading and field work when "The first couple of years weren't great," Charlie admitted. it's time. "There was a lot to learn since U.S. farms are set up differently "We rely on the data the computer shares with us, which was than those overseas. It took us time and research to make this a big change initially," Charlie said. "Every time a cow comes in system work. It was a learning process and we worked with to be milked it shares 150 points of data with us. That's a lot of quite a few people from UW-Madison and Lely to get things information at your fingertips. We can detect cows that may not figured out." be feeling well or ones that need to be bred. It's amazing what Like most adaption, it takes time to work out the kinks and we have access to."


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Above: Knigge Farms has two robotic milkers for their cows to use. When the cow wants to be milked, it enters the milking unit. The system then reads the collar and it automatically puts on the milker. Right: As the cow stops giving milk the unit automatically comes off.

Family Fun and Unique Experiences

Charlie credits Krista for getting the farm listed on various agri-tourism sites. "My dad enjoys giving tours," explained Charlie. "We do a lot of farm tours because we want to do our part in educating people about modern agriculture. We get a lot of people who just want to see a farm. The robotics aren't necessarily the draw." The family helps host tours for a world-wide gathering from a nearby church in Oshkosh. "We reach between 5,000 and 7,000 people that week," Charlie said. "They'll come out on a bus and then they bring friends back the next day, so they can show them what they learned. There's a lot of misconceptions about what happens on a farm and I'm glad we can clear those up. It's when you see something you can believe it." Through these experiences, Charlie has heard his fair share of unique questions. "A very educated woman asked me once if you fed chocolate to cows to get chocolate milk. I was really floored that such a smart person could have that kind of question, but it just proves we can't let people think any question is silly. They need answers." Krista and Mary help with the farm's social media presence while Charlie, who knows the stress of change and the ins and outs of the Lely robotic milking system, helps other farmers get up and running with new equipment. "Robotics are helping small dairies stay in business," he said. "I've seen families still farming because of it. Young people are taking an interest because it's high tech. It's makes them excited about farming again." While Charlie has a son in high school, you won't hear any pressure toward following in his dad's footsteps. "He helps out on the farm and likes cows, but school, sports and 4-H keep him busy like most kids his age," Charlie said. "If he is interested, it will be here, but I won't be pressuring him. You need to find a job that doesn't feel like a job and he needs to figure it out for himself." JUNE | JULY 2018

As far as his career choice, Charlie knows he chose the right path. "I couldn't ask for anything better," he said. "Seeing something through is fulfilling. You must be an optimist but that's part of it."

A Fan of Farm Bureau

"I joined Farm Bureau kind of late," Charlie said. "I was 34 when I joined, which meant I was about to age out of the Young Farmer and Agriculturist program." Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmer and Agriculturist program offers opportunities for leadership and skills development for members between 18 and 35 years old, along with the chance to meet and network with peers. "A neighbor asked me to join and get involved," shared Charlie. "Ultimately, I got the Young Farmer program back up and running in our county." The Knigges have an automatic calf feeder. Each calf wears a collar with a chip that works similar to a fitbit. The device tracks the calf's movement and milk intake.


Charlie booted up the computer system in his tractor. This technology allows for accuracy in the field and includes GPS capability.

Charlie serves as Winnebago County Farm Bureau president. "I have a lot of fun in the role of president," Charlie said. "We have a young board that is great. It's not the 'old guys club.' It's neat to see the new ideas that flow in with a young board." Recently, the Winnebago County Farm Bureau handed out chocolate milk after a marathon. "We don't always get to interact with groups like that," explained Charlie. "We do well at talking to each other in agriculture, not as well outside of our circle. We are working on that as a local Farm Bureau." Charlie also served on the state Dairy Committee and Policy Development Committee. "Serving on the Policy Development Committee was an amazing experience," Charlie said. "It was great to have discussions and see the policy suggestions come in from the local level." Wisconsin Farm Bureau's policy is established by farmers through a structured policy development process. Suggestions and policy ideas come directly from members who propose and vote on them at county Farm Bureau annual meetings in the fall. While Charlie has been involved in many aspects of Farm Bureau, he credits the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Leadership Institute for being the best experience. "Going through that training is the highlight of my Farm Bureau career," Charlie stated. Overall, Charlie sees his Farm Bureau involvement invaluable. "I give Farm Bureau so much credit," he said. "It's a great social organization and they give you opportunities to travel, but they really spend the time needed to help their members grow. As a farmer, to know we aren't fighting things alone ‌ you can't put a value on that."


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Charlie checked over a piece of equipment before heading to the field to plant.

Submitted photo

In 2016, Knigge Farms hosted "The Bachelor" production crew and contestants. In three days, the event was set up and the production crew was there. The whole family including Mary and Krista were there for the experience. Charlie admitted that it's not his choice of TV show and he would have liked to see more modern agriculture shown in the episode, but overall it was a good experience and got agriculture on main-stream TV. A few weeks later the family hosted the NFL Network for a special campaign that talked about farming and football.


Ag Day

on Campus

Members of Wisconsin Farm Bureau's three collegiate chapters held Ag Day on Campus events this spring to inform their fellow classmates about modern agriculture. Students at University of Wisconsin campuses in Madison, Platteville and River

Falls join collegiate Farm Bureaus to build their social network, develop leadership skills and increase knowledge of agricultural issues and policies. The collegiate chapters are one way Farm Bureau is cultivating a new generation of rural and agricultural leaders.

April 18

April 24

April 24

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Conference SPARKS Local Leaders W

isconsin Farm Bureau hosted its first IGNITE Conference at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point in April. Co-sponsored by Rural Mutual Insurance Company, IGNITE stands for Innovate, Grow, Network, Inform, Train and Engage. With about 175 members in attendance, the conference gave attendees the opportunity to build leadership skills to strengthen county Farm Bureaus. The conference began on April 5 with New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau’s Executive Vice President Matt Rush. Rush talked about the 'snake in your bumper,' which explained the challenges people face but may keep hidden. The evening banquet’s speaker was Indiana farmer Damian Mason who entertained the audience with his humorous views on farming and food. The conference offered four tracks: policy, issues and advocacy; governance and organization, building Farm Bureau and communicating for agriculture and Farm Bureau. Attendees could follow a certain track or divide their time between multiple tracks. More than 20 breakout sessions were offered. Sessions included updates on the 2018 Farm Bill and trade, consumer outreach tactics, member recruitment and many more. "The breakout sessions at the IGNITE Conference were great," said Jackson County Farm Bureau member Darby Sampson. "Along with bringing back a new idea for our Ag in the Classroom program, I also learned that our county Farm Bureau needs to be more involved with local issues and work closer with county and town boards." During the morning general session on April 6, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Sheila Harsdorf shared her insight on the state of Wisconsin's agricultural economy. The conference ended with Virginia farmer and motivational speaker Matt Lohr who inspired attendees to 'lift the limits.' The next IGNITE Conference will be held March 26-27, 2020, at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton.

WFBF's Director of Training and Leadership Development Wendy Kannel led the 'turn your volun'tears' into volun'cheers' session at the IGNITE Conference.

(From left) Young Farmers and Agriculturist members Alison Kepner, Kelly Oudenhoven and Rick Roden took part in a panel. They discussed ways to get young members involved.

(From left) Tracey Tumaniec, Heather Gayton, Kay Olson-Martz and Livia Doyle were part of an Ag in the Classroom panel where they shared tips and tricks on getting more agriculture curriculum and ag-based projects into schools.

Greg Zwald (right) was one of the members who shared insights on hosting farm tours during a breakout session.


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Rural Mutual Insurance's digital marketing specialist Heather Conroy discussed social media strategy and tactics in a workshop at the IGNITE Conference.

Farm Bureau members from District 8 (north central Wisconsin) posed for a photo at the IGNITE Conference. WISCONSIN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

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ggie nswers


Beef Farmer, Merrill

We asked county Farm Bureau leaders: What is one way you use technology on your farm?

We use smartphones on our farm for almost everything. When we get new cattle we take photos, record vaccinations and note other health assessments. We use the app Weather Bug. We often know about severe weather before they announce it on TV. Where we live we don't have access to many choices for internet, except through a cellular plan and we really don't have time to sit at a computer, so a smartphone is a must on our farm.


Dairy Farmer, Darlington The biggest way technology is used on our farm, is with our field mapping and data management. We need to have records of what varieties are planted where on each field, so come harvest time, we can compare those varieties with the yield data we receive. This type of data collecting allows us to make better decisions with what our future crop inputs will be.

We use technology for communication to our customers. Thanks to our children, they have pushed us to market through social media. In 2012, we mainly used a website and local newspapers for outreach.  Now, we use Facebook and Instagram some and will be using Snapchat this year. We post videos on Facebook. Some are educational, but others are just fun.


Berry and Crop Farmer, River Falls


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We started genetically testing our heifers a couple of years ago and it's been a great benefit. Using DNA testing technology helps us make better management decisions within our herd and become increasingly more efficient. We can pair our better testing females with the best sires available to achieve the highest genetic potential with our future young stock.


Crop Farmer, Menomonie


These member benefits are as as on a hot summer day. For complete details, visit membership/member-benefits.

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

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

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

Deep discounts and free shipping.

To find a Rural Mutual Insurance Company agent, visit or call 877.219.9550.

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

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

Wyndham Hotel Group

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

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members save up to 20% off published rates at participating Wyndham Hotels.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau members save up to 20% off published rates at participating Choice Hotels.

Travel safely. Save money on a your AAA membership. Code WI07

Members will save nearly 40 percent off a regular admission ticket during the 2018 regular season. Visit greatamerica.

Accidental Death Policy • AgriVisor • Life Line Screening • Office Depot® • Avis • Budget • The Country Today • ScriptSave • $500 Reward Protection Program • AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program • John Deere Visit to find out more about your membership benefits! AAA

Save up to 20% on AAA membership and the AAA enrollment fee is waived. 877.731.3315; Group code: WI07

Wyndham Hotel Group

S ave 20% off the best available rate at more than 5,000 participating locations. Ramada® Days Inn® Super 8® Baymont Inn & Suites® Microtel® Wingate® Hawthorn® Howard Johnson® Travelodge® Knights Inn® Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® Wyndham Grand® Wyndham Garden® Farm Bureau ID#: 8000004288 For reservations: 877.670.7088. JUNE | JULY 2018

Budget Rental Discount Program

Save up to 25% Budget Customer Discount number: Y775749. To Rent: or 800.527.0700

Life Line Screening

Vascular screening 877.591.7159

The Country Today

$5 donation to the Ag in the Classroom program per subscription 715.830.5885

AVIS Car Rental Discount Program

Save 5-25% Avis Worldwide Discount number: A298849. To Rent: or 800.331.1212

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


Prescription savings card 8 00.700.3957; Group number: 703A

Choice Hotels International, Inc. S ave an average of 20% at participating Choice Brand Hotels. A  scend Hotel Collection® Cambria® Comfort Inn® Comfort Suites® Sleep Inn® Quality® Clarion® MainStay Suites® Suburban® EconoLodge® Rodeway Inn® W  FBF member ID#: 00209870 Advance reservations required 8 00.258.2847 or; select 'special rate/CORPID

Wisconsin Farm Bureau®

Member Benefits

2018 Wallet Guide Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

PO Box 5550 Madison, WI 53705 800.261.FARM


Wisconsin Farm Bureau Announces Benefit with Six Flags® W isconsin Farm Bureau members can now take advantage of discounted tickets at Six Flags ® Great America, an amusement park in Gurnee, Illinois. Members will save nearly 40 percent off a regular admission ticket during the 2018 regular season. The discounted tickets are an added value of a Farm Bureau membership. "We are excited to add this family-fun benefit to the lineup of discounts and offers already available to our members," Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte said. To learn more about purchasing tickets, visit

Members can get more information about the new benefit or learn more about other discounts and incentives by visiting

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Offering a full-line of insurance and financial products for your personal, farm and business needs.

AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program

Farmers and other self-employed individuals deduct 100% of their family's medical expenses through their farm or business. or 888.595.2261

Reward Protection Program

Post a reward sign or sticker to earn a $500 reward for providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals for arson, theft or criminal damage to a member's property.

Accidental Death Policy

Receive $1,500 to $3,500 in accidental death insurance for themselves and his or her spouse, and $500 for minors.


Save up to $2,000 on CAT agricultural construction equipment. Provide a valid Member Verification Certificate to the CAT dealer at the time of quote to receive the discount.

Case IH

Incentive discount ($300 to $500) on qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealers. View models and print your certificate.

Insight FS Patronage

Patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage dividends when patronage is paid.

Grainger Industrial Supply

Save up to 30% at Grainger and get free shipping. Free catalog: 608.221.3861 Farm Bureau account: #855922019

Farm Bureau Bank

F DIC insured checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards and vehicle and home loans.

My Farm Bureau member number:

Farm Bureau Financial Services

M  ulti-state insurance and investment organization serving individuals and families. Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent. •

Office Depot

S ave up to 80% on Office Depot Preferred Products. Members get free next-day delivery with free shipping on orders more than $50 and terrific copy and print pricing.


3 5% discount on marketing advice 800.676.5799.

My county's contact information:


• • • • • • • •

20-year warranty Clear-span space Hot-dipped galvanized steel Local knowledge and support Quick installations Service or re-cover any brand building Natural light Made in U.S.A.

Brent Strahm, Project Manager Elgin, IA 563-380-4787




As agriculture has evolved, the nature of the industry has become more complex and regulated. At Ruder Ware our attorneys act as legal counsel for producers and businesses providing products and services for the agriculture industry, and partner with a client’s current trusted advisors, such as accountants and lenders. Contact us today to see how our team approach yields the best results for your farm or business.

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wausau | eau claire visit our blogs at



Farmers and Ranchers Have 'No Taste for Waste' A Message from AFBF President Zippy Duvall


e are blessed to live in a nation with a bountiful food supply. Thanks to the hard work of America's farmers and ranchers, most of us enjoy access to affordable, nutritious food. But it's also become too easy for us to take this abundance for granted and become wasteful, even though that's not our intention. Whether it's the bag of apples forgotten on the kitchen counter or the peaches not "pretty enough" for the store shelves, food waste may only seem like a few scraps here or there, but altogether it's really adding up. Every year billions


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of pounds of food are left uneaten in our they're planting to match demand. The country. Farmers and consumers alike range of stories shows that there is not a can do our part to reduce waste, however. one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, We must all be careful stewards of the but that we can each do our part. Most bounty we've been blessed with. importantly, we know that working With that goal in mind, the American together can make a big difference. Farm Bureau Federation joined the 'No The 'No Taste for Waste' campaign Taste for Waste' campaign this spring. introduces consumers to innovative We're proud of the collaboration behind techniques for not only reducing waste, the campaign and our shared goal to but finding new uses for it on the take a bite out of food waste. AFBF farm, like digesters on dairy farms. The joined with partners, including Land Reinford family of central Pennsylvania, O'Lakes SUSTAIN, Valent BioSciences for example, feed their digester with Corporation and FLM Harvest, thousands of gallons of manure and and collaborated with the CropLife food waste from local grocery stores. The Foundation digester converts and Meredith the waste into "The 'No Taste for Waste' Agrimedia clean power for the to launch the Reinfords' farm campaign introduces consumers campaign. We're and about 100 to innovative techniques for not excited about nearby homes. only reducing waste, but finding the online and For fresh fruit print resources and produce new uses for it on the farm, like that not only give farmers like digesters on dairy farms." consumers practical the Claytons tips to cut down on of Washington waste but also shine the spotlight on what and the Boelts of Arizona, donating to farmers and ranchers are doing. schools and area food banks is the best America's farmers and ranchers have way to reduce waste and get their crops made great strides in reducing our straight to people who need them while environmental impact and are always the fruit and leafy greens are still fresh. looking for new, innovative ways to Of course, each of these stories represents grow our food, fuel thousands more, and this campaign gives and fiber in the us a great opportunity to share with most efficient way consumers what farmers all over the possible. The 'No country are doing each day to be more Taste for Waste' efficient, reduce waste, and produce a bookazine—on sustainable food supply. newsstands now— Our nation's agricultural bounty is is full of stories a great blessing, and it's also a great about how farmers responsibility. I'm proud to be working and ranchers alongside America's hardworking farmers across regions and and ranchers who take that responsibility commodities are seriously. using technology to conserve resources, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, donating crops to Duvall raises beef cattle, hay and poultry in local food banks Greshamville, Georgia. and adjusting what WISCONSIN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Farm Bureau Is What You Make It A Message from WFBF President Jim Holte


ike many, I evaluate the organizations I give my time and money to. When people join Farm Bureau, we often say, "You'll get from it as much as you put into it." Whether you are actively involved with farming, want to support an agricultural organization or use one of the many member benefits, there is something for everyone. Admittedly, some people join Farm Bureau because of the benefits and sometimes specifically for insurance. We offer member benefits like discounts on hotels, car rentals equipment, office supplies and most recently, Six FlagsÂŽ Great America tickets. We are proud of the lineup of money-saving member benefits we offer. Many of you are probably familiar with Rural Mutual Insurance Company, but did you know it is an affiliate of Wisconsin Farm Bureau? Doing business with a local insurance company means the premiums you pay stay within our state. Wisconsin Farm Bureau members have exclusive access to a fullline of insurance services. From farmers, to business owners and Wisconsin families, anyone is sure to find insurance that will benefit his or her situation. We are also proud to have a business partnership with GROWMARK, Inc. FS cooperatives in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin make up GROWMARK's core membership. They provide goods and services for agricultural and residential patrons. Farm Bureau is more than benefits JUNE | JULY 2018

though, we offer programs and activities for our members. When I was a young farmer, I was invited to participate in the county's Young Farmer Program, now called the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program. This was a good way for me to 'dip my toe in the water,' so to speak, and start to learn what Farm Bureau was about. From there, I participated in other aspects of Farm Bureau including sitting on the state Board of Directors and now, serving as president. The programs we offer to our members are outstanding. Many of them provide networking and leadership development opportunities. This spring we hosted the first-ever IGNITE Conference. This was a two-day program designed to engage county Farm Bureau members in discussions and workshops that strengthened them as local leaders. Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks because I returned from the conference with a few new ideas. While involvement and leadership development opportunities are something that some members pursue, others are proud to be part of an organization that represents farmers and works to promote Wisconsin agriculture. As a farmer, I know first-hand the daily challenges farmers face. To have an organization working on your behalf while you are manning your business is something I am beyond grateful for. Our organization works hard for Wisconsin farm families while they're busy working whether that's via education or at

the Capitol. I challenge you to get the most from your Farm Bureau membership. If you are passionate about connecting students with agriculture, get involved with our Ag in the Classroom program. If you care about Farm Bureau policy and where our organization stands on issues, get involved with policy development. If you aren't a farmer and want to learn more about the people who grow and raise our food, follow us on social media to meet farmers. And lastly, if you want to save money on goods and services you are already using, take advantage of the benefits you are eligible for as a Farm Bureau member. Thank you for choosing to be a Farm Bureau member. Don't ever doubt that you, as one person can make a difference. A few years ago, a member called me up and asked me to get involved with the Young Farmer Program and Farm Bureau has changed my life. President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

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



5 Things This Farmer Wants You to Know A Message from Andrea Brossard


s a third-generation dairy farmer who enjoys opening her farm gates to the public, I often get asked a variety of intriguing questions. Each year, we share our dairy story with neighbors, chefs, grocers, children, parents, politicians and many others. The pride and passion that we put into caring for our herd of dairy cows is what our farm was founded on close to 100 years ago. Our drive to be more efficient; to be better care takers of our animals, land and natural resources is what keeps farm families like mine providing highquality, sustainable food for consumers not only locally, but around the world. While I can't share all these aspects with our tour goers, there are several messages I hope they leave my farm with. Let me share with you five things farmers wish you knew about them and farming. 1. Behind the farm gates and farm fields are real people. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 97 percent of farms are family owned and operated. Regardless of farm or herd size, organic or conventional; animals and land are a farmer's livelihood. Farmers strive to protect our natural resources and our goal is to preserve our land for


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future generations, so it is in as good or better condition than when we received it from previous generations. Bottom line is farmers are people who enjoy what they do and want to do the right thing for their families, land and animals. 2. Farmers are doing more with less. Livestock have better care than ever before thanks to modern research and technology. Farmers today are able to produce more with fewer resources, using less space and water while feeding more people than ever before. Through soil management practices, erosion has been reduced by more than 50 percent since the 1980s. Plus, farmers are using less protectants on crops and medication for animals. According to the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, during the last 70 years dairy farmers have reduced their carbon footprint by 63 percent and water use has been reduced by 65 percent. 3. Farms today are specialized. When my grandparents were my age, farms looked a lot like those in children's books. They raised a variety of crops and animals. They made a good living off 160 acres of crops, a few cows, laying hens and some pigs. In my grandma's large garden, the farm produced nearly everything their family needed. Through the years, farms have changed. Farmers have found their niches and made the proper investments in equipment and building to support them. As a dairy farmer, we specialize in raising Holstein dairy cattle for milk production. This enables us to build the facilities, acquire the technology, knowledge and skills needed to produce it and produce it well. 4. Farming is high-tech. Farmers use iPads, laptops, drones, robots and more.

We have cameras monitoring our cattle, automated feed and climate control systems and software that can tell us how active our cows are. We can even monitor a cow in labor or adjust the temperature in a barn from our smartphones. In the fields, technology exists today that allows us to apply only the specific amount of fertilizer needed for that crop to grow; saving farmers money and being more environmentally sustainable. These types of technology enable farmers to be efficient and provide precise care for our animals and to our land. 5. Farmers are smart. Farmers are problem solvers, tech-savvy and have a good business sense, otherwise they wouldn't be successful. According to Students Scholarships, 70 percent of farmers have higher education including a college degree or trade/vocational certification. Many, like myself, chose an agriculture major like dairy science or agronomy. Still others incorporate business, mechanics or other areas to hone skills that will benefit their family's farming business. Behind the farm gates and fields, there are real people who farm the land and produce the food that we consume daily. Whether it's dinner at a local restaurant or walking the aisles of the grocery store, I can't help but look around and think of the farmers that it took to make the food possible. Every French fry, slice of cheese or burger started with a farmer. They each have their own story; but as farmers, we collectively unite together to feed our family and yours. Brossard is a dairy farmer from Burnett and a member of the WFBF Board of Directors, as the chair of the Promotion and Education Committee.


Ignore Sustainability, Risk Losing Market Access A Message from Nancy Kavazanjian


ustainability may mean different things to different people but that's no excuse for anyone to ignore the trend. Sustainably sourced food is going main stream and if Wisconsin farmers and rural landowners don't get on board, we could lose major markets for our products. From the ground up, processes and procedures designed to measure and advance sustainability throughout the food system are being forged. Companies with large buying clout such as Walmart, Costco and Kroger have turned to suppliers such as Tyson, Dannon, General Mills and Perdue who in turn look to farmers for assurances that their products are being raised and produced sustainably. When food companies measure sustainability they most often look at the soil, water, energy and air quality impacts of growing the food. Often this definition also includes the treatment of farm workers and animals. While fair labor practices are not typically an item of concern in the U.S., where minimum wage is mandated, labor issues are important in developing countries where multi-national food companies

source coffee, cocoa, palm oil and other commodities. And, few companies are even adding assessment for biodiversity and habitat loss. What this means for farmers and ranchers is we must start now to prove our sustainability in terms of animal welfare, manure management, land use practices, fuel use and carbon output. We also must find ways to show continued improvements to our farm practices that JUNE | JULY 2018

improve our sustainability. Thankfully, major farm organizations recognize the demand for food sustainability and have been working to help farmers measure and tell their sustainability stories both individually and cooperatively across the food chain. The lifecycle analyses, roundtable discussions and metric benchmarking our major commodity organizations are engaged with are good starting points. Initiatives of the Midwest Row-Crop Initiative, Soil Health Partnership and Field-to-Market activities add more depth to farming's involvement. None of these initiatives go far enough. In the very near future, farmers will need to provide documented proof, in terms of real measurements, of their sustainability improvements. Several well-financed companies already are testing computer programs that gather sustainability data from farmers and establish performance benchmarks for food companies to use in sourcing their meat, dairy, cotton, eggs and poultry. Next will come benchmarks for feed and manure management. Once metrics are established, lines will be drawn, standards will be set and farms will be judged accordingly. Certainly economics and financial well-being are part of the sustainability equation. Food companies understand, as do consumers, that farmers must make a livelihood to stay in business. Still, the burden will fall on individual farmers to demonstrate how they are using proper farming methods, technologies and management practices to protect the environment, their animals and their workers. Anecdotal stories about earthworms, happy cows and pollinator habitats aren't enough. We must use all the best science and advanced technologies available to show continual, real progress. We must share and compare our practices while recording and reporting our data to prove we are continually improving. Wisconsin's farmer-led watershed

programs offer a great opportunity to demonstrate farm and community sustainability. By sharing, comparing and continually discovering best farming practices for specific localized areas, farmers can make real, measurable progress in managing manure while reducing soil and nutrient loss, which improves our lakes, streams and air quality. Rural landowners and waterfront property owners can get involved in these watershed groups too. Everyone must play a part in keeping Wisconsin waterways clean with proper land management efforts, erosion control and judicious fertilizer use. If farmers want to maintain their reputation as America's original environmentalists then we will embrace the food sustainability movement with open arms. Join, or start, a farmer-led watershed group. Track and analyze data. Try a new practice. Share and compare ideas and learn from others. Together we can make Wisconsin agriculture the showcase for farm sustainability. Kavazanjian is a crop farmer from Beaver Dam.



Moving Forward, While Continuing to Serve A Message from Cooperative Extension's Karl Martin transition to UW-Madison. The nEXT Generation re-organization provided us with an opportunity to assess how Cooperative Extension can envision a structure for our work that is efficient, modern and flexible for the needs of individuals and local communities. During this time, some challenges arose. We continue to work on, and refine the model, to ensure that our educators deliver the same highquality programming that families and communities have come to expect from Cooperative Extension. In Fall 2017, UW System President Ray Cross announced that Cooperative Extension would transition to UWMadison; or more accurately, Cooperative Extension would transition back to UWMadison. Cooperative Extension's roots are with UW-Madison. Wisconsin was the first state to fund extension education


ooperative Extension has a long history - more than 100 years - of connecting university resources and unbiased research to individuals, families, businesses and communities throughout the state. While our agents once relied primarily on face-to face contact, we now deliver educational content via phone, social media and webinars, in addition to face-to face meetings. No matter the delivery system, our commitment to providing relevant programming that addresses ongoing and PHOTO CREDIT: BEN VINCENT/UW-MADISON CALS emerging issues has not changed. and the leadership of UW-Madison In the past several years, Cooperative was committed to the idea of bringing Extension has been faced with education and services to rural areas of two significant organizational the state. opportunities. The first, referred to as Even though Cooperative Extension nEXT Generation, was an internal and UW-Madison have been separate re-organization in response to state institutions for 50 years, the connection budget cuts and the second is the current remained and partnerships between


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campus specialists and county agents continued. These partnerships provide an important link between the education and research that is done on campuses across the UW System and the lives of Wisconsin residents, no matter how far away they live from a campus. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank recently shared an early instance of this partnership with the example of Professor Stephen Babcock and his applied research with the butterfat test he invented. When Professor Babcock sent his invention out to farmers most of them didn't use it right away, so Babcock sent people out to talk with the farmers and see why they weren't using it. When researchers from UW-Madison worked directly with farmers, they were able to perfect the Babcock Butterfat Test. It became widely used across the U.S. and transformed the dairy industry. This showed just how important it is to have good people on the ground connecting the work in the lab to communities in Wisconsin. It's a story repeated often in Cooperative Extension's and UW-Madison's shared history. Throughout Cooperative Extension's recent reorganization and now with the transition to the UW-Madison, our vision and purpose remains the same – deliver the unbiased research of the university to people where they work, live and learn. Martin is the Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, a division of UW-Extension.


Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg


remember walking into his office and taking a seat, all the while gazing at maps on the walls and books on the shelves. County Sanitarian Bob knew the township well and wondered out-loud, "Ken, why in the world would you want to buy a house in that area? It's plagued with high groundwater and bedrock and most of the septic systems are failing." "That's exactly why I want to live there." I replied. "Less chance of other houses being built close by and that is the way I'd like it to stay." Thirty-nine years later, guess what? I was right. Four decades ago, within one square mile of our home, only five other occupied dwellings existed. Today, that number remains the same. According to county records, the population of our township peaked in 1920 at 1,126, then dipped to a low of 784 in 1970 and has slowly grown over the years to its current level of about 960. In 1928, a home and cheese factory were built on the land we now occupy. It was a focal point for the immediate area and neighbor Cliff fondly remembered stopping occasionally for cheese or ice cream while in route to the one-room school house on Maple Road. Both buildings still stand today. We reside in the house the cheesemaker built and later we remodeled and store our 'stuff ' in the retired brick factory JUNE | JULY 2018

across the street. A gravel road runs between the two structures, neither one meeting modern road setbacks, but the distance makes for some cozy 'howdy-dos' to neighbors and passers-by while we sit on the front deck. Our community has seen a rather controlled growth rate as of late. We have watched as family dairy farms dwindled, old timers passed on and youngsters moved to town, at the same time as available land along the waterways was split and settled by newcomers. Even as river and lake frontage became sliced up and developed, farmland, for the most part, remains intact. The town planning committee has turned back attempts to subdivide farmland, instead leaning towards future small cluster development, with most forties remaining untouched. Not long ago, however, something of note fell below my radar screen. Perhaps it happened at a past annual town meeting, or at a regularly scheduled board meeting. I'm not sure when, but an announcement in the local newspaper declared that a section of road not far from our place was to be surfaced with blacktop. This was big news - since most of our town roads have always been maintained in a crushed granite state. To some, the report was a sign of welcome progress. The boss, my wife, couldn't be happier. I, on the other hand, found the thought downright depressing. You see, to me, a part of the rural character of our township has always been gravel roads. The idea of living where the blacktop ends carried with it a certain amount of romance, heck, they even wrote a song about it. I like the feel of crushed gravel under

my feet and the sound vehicles and their tires create as they rumble past our place. "The dust and the noise, you can have it," the boss exclaimed. "And the way they drive so fast past our house up to the corner, they can't pave it soon enough for me." "Over my dead body," I retorted. "Our road will be the last one paved if I have anything to say in the matter." "That might just work out fine," she giggled. "A speed bump right in front of our house - that will slow traffic down!" When we first took possession of our place in the country, we acquired a rural route number, a party-line telephone and a working outhouse. Years before cell phones and computers, our only connection to the outside world was controlled by the neighbor lady's gift of gab, a pair of rabbit ears on the TV and the postman. Over time, communication technology has grown leaps and bounds, yet the mailbox has remained relatively the same. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," reads the adopted motto of the U.S. Postal Service. For nearly 40 years, our mailbox has stood tall and allowed the motto to ring true - until one fateful day. "Did you hear that noise?" the boss questioned. Out front, in the predawn darkness, an inattentive driver had run the corner stop sign, skidded across our front lawn and driveway, barely missing the 100-year old locust tree, but did manage to take out the mailbox. When the sun rose, I found our faithful mailbox, crippled and in pieces, strewn across the lawn. I temporarily propped it up in hopes the mailman would honor his motto and deliver that day. Later, the ill-fated driver apologized and offered to pay for a new post and box. By week's end, a new replacement was installed. Perhaps someday I'll upgrade and discover a new-fangled model that plugs in and glows in the dark. Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the

Portage County Farm Bureau. His book, "Up the Creek" is available at


Farm Bureau

Meet Julie Orth

Julie Orth is a Grant County Farm Bureau member and WFBF Leadership Institute graduate. You can follow her journey on Instagram as she challenges herself to not repeat a recipe during 2018.

Zucchini Cheddar Scones Ingredients

• 2½ c. + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided • 1 Tbsp. baking powder • ½ tsp. baking soda • 1/4 c. granulated sugar • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, VERY cold and cut into tiny pieces


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat; set aside. In a large bowl mix together 2½ c. flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. 2. Quickly work butter into the mixture (using your fingers) until it resembles a coarse meal. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and sour cream, then add to flour and butter mixture. In a small bowl combine 1 Tbsp. flour, grated zucchini and ½ c. cheese; toss to coat, then add

Recipe from

• 1 large egg, beaten • ½ c. (full-fat) sour cream • 2/3 c. zucchini, grated and drained • 3/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided

to scone mixture; gently fold them into dough with a spatula until combined. 4. P  our dough onto clean, floured work surface and shape (you will have to work/knead it quite a bit to get it together) into an 8-inch circle. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer to prepared sheet. Sprinkle top of each scone with remaining cheese. 5. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until cooked through and the tops are golden brown. 6. S  erve warm (or as a sandwich as pictured).

Willie Wonkas Ingredients

• 2 c. peanut butter • ½ c. butter (softened) • 1 lb. powdered sugar

• 3½ c. Rice Krispies • Chocolate almond bark or other chocolate coating


1. Mix together butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar. 2. Fold in Rice Krispies. 3. Roll into bite-sized balls. 4. Coat with melted chocolate. 5. Let set up and enjoy!


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Learning Doesn't Stop in the Summer W

hether you are a farmer or volunteer wanting to learn more about teaching others about agriculture or a consumer wanting to know more about food and farming, there are plenty of opportunities available this summer. Summer Bus Tour – This tour is open to teachers, volunteers and anyone who is looking to learn more about agriculture. It will be held July 24-25 in the Arcadia area. Registration closes on July 1. Space is limited! More information available at Soybean Science Kit Training – This workshop will take place on July 16 in Portage. More information available at My American Farm – Learn anytime with this online resource. This is a great tool for students in grades PreK-fifth grade. The online platform has educational games, lesson plans and activity sheets. Find out more at Wisconsin State Fair and Camps – The Wisconsin State Fair

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will take place August 2-12 in West Allis. When visiting the Wisconsin State Fair make stops at the Discovery Barnyard, Farm and Family Building, Wisconsin Products Pavilion, Energy Park, Exploratory Park and the 4-H and FFA exhibits as they share good information about agriculture. Camps for students of all ages are available at the fair too. Visit Local Fairs – Visit a fair near you. There are community, county, regional and state fairs that take place through the summer with educational exhibits. Find a list of fairs at Farm Technology Days – This event will take place July 10-12 in Wood County. Visitors should be sure to stop by the youth tent, Innovation Square, exhibits and presentations. For more information visit, Agricultural-focused events and destinations – All ages like learning about agriculture. For agricultural-focused destinations, ag-ventures, tasting, tours, festivals and events throughout Wisconsin visit, Summer can be fun and full of learning. You can get more information about Wisconsin's Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom program at



Ag in the Classroom Ag Day Contest Winner Selected T

he Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program is pleased to announce the three winners of the National Ag Day contest. There were nearly 276 entries received between the three age categories. Entries were judged by members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee. One winner was selected in each of the age categories: age 6 and younger, age 7 to 9 and age 10 to 12. The winners were Calvin Larsen of Brooklyn; Laila Wise of Caledonia; and June Rihn of Cameron. The winners received an Ag in the Classroom book and participants will also received an Ag in the Classroom resource along with other classroom materials.

Laila Wise, age 7-9

Calvin Larsen, 6 and younger

June Rihn, age 10-12

Runners-up included: age 6 and under: Zach Schmitzer of Evansville and Lucy Parker of Evansville; age 7-9- Madeline Conklin of Wausau and Lauren Nickerson of Franksville; and age 10-12- Morgan Henke of Hillpoint and Colton Melton of Cameron. National Ag Day was celebrated on March 20. Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom conducted the Ag Day contest along with a reading event that encouraged farmers and volunteers to visit a classroom and read a book to the students. Volunteers reported reading to ore than 1,463 students in 86 classrooms plus another 554 students reached through the "COOLBEAN the Soybean" book program sponsored by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board. Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom is a program to help students K-12 understand the importance of agriculture. The program is coordinated by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation in cooperation with the U.S.


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Department of Agriculture, with funding from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, other agricultural groups and a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Learn more at


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Denmark Student Wins Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest I saiah Claussen, a fourthgrade student from Denmark, is the state winner of the Ag in the Classroom essay contest. Wisconsin fourth and fifth grade students were asked to write a 100-to-300-word essay with the theme, 'Inventions that made agriculture great.' Isaiah is the son of Josh and Ashley Claussen and Erica Haffner. Meagan Towle is his teacher at Denmark Elementary School in Brown County. Each year the Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom program hosts an essay contest revolving around food and agriculture. This contest is open to all fourth and fifth grade students across the state.

A total of 2,564 students wrote essays for the competition, which is sponsored by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation and We Energies. The finalist from each of Wisconsin Farm Bureau's nine districts received a certificate, educational resources for their teacher and presentation about Wisconsin agriculture for their class. This year's finalists in district order include:

• Kyla Weber, Allenton Elementary, Washington County • Andrew Harms, Watertown Catholic School-St. Henry, Dodge County • Roen Carey, Mineral Point Elementary, Iowa County • Brinna Goplin, W hitehall Elementary, Trempealeau County • Dylan Thomas, Omro Elementary, Winnebago County • Isaiah Claussen, Denmark Elementary, Brown County *State Winner* • Olivia Bowers, St. Martin Lutheran School, Waupaca County • Logan Welsh, Multum Non Multa Academy, Taylor County • Ellie Schiszik, Elk Mound Elementary, Dunn County

Inventions That Have Made Agriculture Great By Isaiah Claussen, Denmark Elementary

Holy smokes, did you see that tractor? It has no cab and no one driving it! I'm a dairy farmer and I know a lot about tractors, but this is new to me. I would like to tell you a little about how tractors have advanced. Back in my great-great grandma's time, all chores and field work was done with horses and tillage equipment. Horses were great companions and did lots of hard work, even the best took a lot of time and weren't very efficient. Farmers thought there must be a better way. In 1892, a man named John Froelich created the first gasoline tractor in Clayton County, Iowa, that moved forward and backward. This gas powered machine was one big advancement in agriculture, saving farmers working hours. This resulted in faster and easier harvest time, leaving farmers more time with their families! The inventors didn't stop there! They continued to advance the now more commonly known tractors with amenities such as: enclosed cabs, heat, air conditioning and even radios. Now, horses didn't have such advancements and they were being phased out of the farm. I know my great-great grandma was sad when the horses were sold to buy a tractor, but I think she was very thankful for all the time that this new machine saved on her farm! As tractors continued to unfold, we've rapidly progressed in technology! Today we have tractors that are driven by the push of a button. GPS-driven tractors look like something straight out of StarTrek, they're programmed to follow specific coordinates for the most accurate planting and harvesting known to farming. Now we don't have any self-driving tractors on our farm and I really like horses, but we are thankful for our tractors that make our chores a whole lot easier.


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County Kernels National Ag Week Photo Contest – Green County

Farm Strong Event – Shawano County

Tasha Zimmerman's winning photo.

Green County Farm Bureau sponsored a photo contest to celebrate National Ag Week. Participants submitted ag-related photos on the Green County Farm Bureau Facebook page. Each day the photo with the most 'likes' was given a $20 gift card to Culver's donated by the Culver's in Monroe. During the contest, 82 photos were submitted and 9,548 people were reached on Green County's Facebook page.

Shawano County Farm Bureau board member Kellie Zahn organized a #FarmStrong event to make meals for farmers whose barns had been damaged from the heavy April snow storm. This community-based event brought meals to 30 farmers. In less than one week more than $2,500 was raised to cover the cost of meals and make donations to local fire departments that responded to farmers in need.

National Grilled Cheese Day – Marquette County

Lunch with a Farmer – Dunn County

Dunn County Farm Bureau celebrated National Ag Day on March 20 at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Menomonie. Kay Gilbertson and Carl Casper joined students for lunch to talk about where their food comes from. Kay shared Ag in the Classroom resources with the students. Carl showed the students shelled corn, soybeans and oats and shared how the crops are grown.

To celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12, Marquette County Farm Bureau teamed up with Oyster Crackers Restaurant in Montello. MCFB provided FREE grilled cheese sandwiches to customers who ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Oyster Crackers also delivered lunch to the Marquette County Court House, Wright Law Office, Rusty Start and other businesses throughout the town.

Farm Safety Day – Dane County The Dane County Farm Bureau safety committee held their annual safety day on March 24 at Doerfer Brothers Farm's shop in Verona. There were 58 people in attendance who listened to presentations from: Belleville FD/FDMH, Cross Plains FD, Dane FD, Deerfield FD, Fitchburg FD, Fitchrona FD and EMS, Verona FD, Rural Mutual Insurance Company and Dane County Farm Bureau members. Groups toured the farm and saw presentations on silage harvesting, proper handling of cattle during an emergency and grain bin entrapment and the proper extraction procedures. Following lunch was a session on how a Physical Farm Safety check is conducted. JUNE | JULY 2018


Cassie Olson, Black River Falls

Dawn Hopf, Sheboygan

Leslie Svacina, Deer Park

Rebecca Hilby, Hazel Green

Derek Orth, Fennimore

Lisa Leege, Watertown

Gloria Kesler, Hilbert

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 or fill out an online submission form at: http://bit. ly/WFBFPictureThis. Due to the high volume of photos we receive, we are unable to publish every photo. Photos sent in may be used in other WFBF publications.


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Help Second Harvest Foodbank by giving dairy—a rarely donated and nutrient-rich product—in an easy way. Here’s how it works: Choose a cow from to “adopt,” then decide if you’d like to donate a day’s ($36), week’s ($252) or month’s ($1,080) worth of milk production. So far, up to $10,000 in “adoptions” made in June will be matched by Emmi Roth, Clack Corporation, and Compeer Financial. Plus, you can meet the cows at an Adoption Ice Cream Social on July 14 from 1-3 p.m. at Sassy Cow Creamery (for more info visit Learn more about Ruby, Tia, and all the cows, as well as how to donate, at


Give the Gift of Dairy Today!

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EXTRA SKID AND TRACK LOADER COVERAGE COMES STANDARD D Since 1973, Gehl has pushed skid loader innovation forward. Today, Gehl continues the tradition with a complete line of skid loaders and track loaders GHVLJQHGZLWKSURGXFWLYLW\DQGHI¿FLHQF\LQPLQG3XUFKDVHDQHZ*HKO6NLGRU RU 7UDFN/RDGHUDQGUHFHLYHDQLQFOXGHG\HDUKU;357WRWDO IXOOPDFKLQH  H  extended coverage plan. Offer subject to change, inquire for details.




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BIG BEND ROAD TRACK & TRAIL LLC 262-662-1500 - 10 min from Milwaukee



Golfers Wanted for 2018 Wisconsin Ag Open G olfers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate in the 21st annual Wisconsin Ag Open on Monday, September 10, hosted by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. The event will be held at Christmas Mountain Village in Wisconsin Dells. All proceeds from the golf outing support the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. The Foundation funds education and leadership programs such as Ag in the Classroom, Young Farmer and Agriculturist, Promotion and Education and WFBF's Leadership Institute. Open to the public, the Wisconsin Ag Open is for farmers, agribusiness professionals and others who wish to support these programs. The Wisconsin Ag Open begins with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. An awards program, appetizers and prizes will follow

golfing. Registration is $125 and includes 18 holes of golf with cart, box lunch, appetizers, contests and door prizes. The field is limited to 144 golfers to assure a pleasant golfing experience and pace on the course. Sponsorships ranging from $50 to $1,500 are available. For sponsorship and registration details, contact Darlene Arneson at, 608.828.5644 or download a form from The registration deadline is August 10. Not a golfer? The Wisconsin Ag Open always welcomes sponsorship, door prizes and gift cards that can be used at the event. Donations and sponsorships help reduce the event expenses, which increases the funds that can be used for Foundation supported activities.

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

"The Wisconsin Ag Open is a great opportunity to relax and spend time with friends from across the state before the busy harvest season." - Doug Rebout, Rock County Farm Bureau member

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between March 22 and May 25, 2018

•• Dan Poulson in memory of Gene Telfer •• Dick Gorder in memory of James Bradley •• Dick Gorder in memory of Ron Johnsrud •• Dick Gorder in memory of Lyle Marfilius •• John and Darlene Arneson in memory of Olga Pelizza •• John and Darlene Arneson in memory of Fred Fuller •• Dave Kruschke in memory of Mary Clark •• Carl Casper in memory of Mary Clark •• Fond du Lac County Farm Bureau in memory of Jim Schneider •• Dave Kruschke in memory of Lee Becker •• Fond du Lac County Farm Bureau in memory of Rick Gudex •• Marian Viney in memory of Fred Fuller JUNE | JULY 2018

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 tax deductible entity to support Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's agricultural education and leadership programs. Established in 1988, the foundation continues to invest in the next generation of agriculturists. The WFB Foundation funds a variety of agricultural education and leadership programs including the Agriculture in the Classroom program, Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program, Promotion and Education Program, Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, WFBF Leadership Institute, 4-H Key Awards, FFA Food for America Awards, FFA Farm Forum and more.

Interested in Supporting the Foundation? Visit to make a donation.


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Is Working in Insurance Sales a Good Career? A re you thinking about starting a career in sales, or specifically insurance sales, and don't know what to expect? Additionally, you aren't even sure what an insurance agent salary is or how to learn the business?

Here's why having a career in insurance sales is rewarding: Unlimited Income Potential. Most people aren't satisfied with their current income, think they deserve more or are tired of not getting a raise/promotion. Working harder doesn't always contribute to a larger paycheck, which is frustrating. As an insurance agent, you can earn unlimited commission and residual income. Commission comes from a percentage of what you sell, and your residual income comes from sales that renew. You can earn money 24/7, instead of just from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. At Rural Mutual Insurance, we also provide a base salary. We know you must spend time learning the business and finding leads, so we are here to support you as you learn the industry. Be Your Own Boss. At the end of the day, we all wish we

could be our own bosses. As an insurance agent, you own your own business, make your own hours and work as much or as little as you want. Don't know how to run a business? We provide a mentorship program and training to help you be successful. We have marketing, information systems, claims and customer service teams that are here to support you and your business. Make a Difference. It's one thing to make a lot of money, but it's a whole different feeling to make a difference in someone's life. At Rural Mutual Insurance, we exist to deliver on our promise to protect Wisconsin farms, families and businesses and to help them rebuild following times of unintended financial loss. Take control of your life, escape the run-around and get the flexibility that you want all while earning the income you deserve. With the tools and expertise to succeed, Rural Mutual Insurance continues to be One of the Nation's Best Insurance Companies. Our Agents take pride in servicing and protecting Wisconsin and only Wisconsin. Contact us at for more information. Contact for specific salary and job expectation questions for careers at Rural Mutual Insurance Company.

Rural Mutual Insurance Unveils New Website I f you haven't already heard the exciting news, Rural Mutual Insurance unveiled a newly-designed website with a modern look and updated features. "Beside the fresh new look, I think my favorite feature of our new website is how easy it is to find things, like insurance information or your agent's phone number, right from your phone," said Heather Conroy, digital marketing specialist. "Our new website is easy to use on any device."

Updated features on to be excited about: • Learning Center: Stay up to date on insurance trends and safety information in our new learning center. Articles are added weekly that range from money-saving tips to helping you stay safe. Find information by searching by product or category. Visit • Find an agent: Locate your agent with a simple search option or find a local agent near you. This new feature allows you to contact your agent in just a few clicks or submit a request for a quote online. • My account: We are excited to announce our new customer service site where you can access your account to locate your auto ID cards, pay your bill or even report a claim. • Farm Safety: As the number one farm insurer, Rural Mutual JUNE | JULY 2018

takes pride in our farm safety initiative. Find valuable safety articles, videos and information with our safety partners at • Careers: Find valuable information about the careers available at Rural Mutual Insurance Company. We have positions all around Wisconsin as well as positions at our home office in Madison. Apply online at careers.

This new website provides users with the right amount of information to be prepared while giving them the ease and convenience to accomplish what they need. This is another way that Rural Mutual is living one of its values: being customer centered. "We listened to our clients and designed something that will provide our users with a positive customer experience," said Michael Lubahn, director of marketing. Find these features and more on the new



4 Reasons Working with an Insurance Agent Is Better Than Buying Insurance Online T

he ease and convenience of purchasing insurance online seems too good to be true ‌ and it is. You might have a hard time getting ahold of someone who can understand your situation or worse, find yourself underinsured after you are in an accident. Learning the hard way is never a good idea. Like anything you buy, price is a reflection of value. Realizing the value of working with an insurance agent might make you reconsider that cheap online insurance quote.

attorneys and accountants on things that we aren't experts in. Just like these professionals, insurance agents have dedicated themselves to being experts in their field and can help you decide what is best for your situation. 4. They are like family. From buying your first car to enjoying retirement, insurance agents are there for you every step of the way. As your needs change, agents provide you with options and advice to make sure you are properly covered. Your online insurance company will send you a bill at renewal, but they won't take the time to review and adjust your coverages based on your needs.

Here are four reasons why it's valuable to work with an insurance agent: 1. They are real people. Online service is not customer service. When was the last time you spoke to the same person? How Having a claim is scary. Finding out that you are underinsured many times did you have to repeat your story? When you is a nightmare. Don't let this important decision be made work with a local insurance agent, you will always have a without someone helping you through the process. local person to call. Insurance agents can advocate for you when you have a claim or advise you on coverage changes. They are always a short visit What happens when you exclusively do business in Wisconsin for more than away. 80 years? You start to protect your clients like they're neighbors. That's why 2. They are your neighbors. Local we take the extra effort to ensure you're well protected. We even help prepare insurance agents live and work in for situations before they become situations. We use our local knowledge to your community and care about the help customize a plan that works best for you. It's time to start a relationship same things you do. Most agents built on trust. Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance expert or visit us at are involved in your community and to learn how you can keep Wisconsin strong. sponsor local events, businesses and sports teams. They understand and can relate to the same challenges as you. 3. They are insurance experts. All insurance agents are licensed and required to participate in continuing education courses, including three hours of ethics. You can trust that they are up-todate with current insurance trends. They can explain insurance questions in terms that you will understand while relating them directly to your policy. As consumers, we seek professional opinions from doctors,

There's another word for trust. It's called neighbor.Â


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