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october | november 2016 • vol. 22 no. 5 |

Election Issue Inside:

What Do Presidential Candidates Know About Ag? The Rural Vote Can’t Be Overlooked in 2016 When Did Trade & TPP Become Four-Letter Words?

VFA Endorses Pro-Farm Candidates Page 6

contents vol. 22 no. 5



VFA Endorsements The Volunteers for Agriculture make picks for State Senate and Assembly.


Poinsettias Edgewood Greenhouses, Inc. provide Annual Meeting poinsettias.




Karst Karst in Wisconsin spreads far beyond Kewaunee.



YFA Awards Meet the finalists for the Excellence in Ag and Achievement awards.

Opinions Columns from Holte, Rodger, Duvall, Langan, Schimel, Nowak and Camp.







Leadership Institute Emerging ag leaders selected for the 2017 class.

Farm Bureau Flavor Recipes from the Wisconsin Beef Council.

Ag in the Classroom Book of the year and essay contest topic chosen.

Picture this A collection of fair memories from our members.


43 stay connected



Wisconsin Ag Open Highlights from this year’s Foundation golf outing.

Rural Mutual Fall harvest safety tips to keep your family safe.

Cover Photo by Lynn Siekmann

October | November 2016


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Editor’s Note


t’s almost here … thankfully. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about the election. It seems like the build-up to November 8 has been going on forever and yet I still find myself questioning if this craziness is truly happening at all. Regardless, this issue of Rural Route gives you what you need to know from the Farm Bureau perspective. Candidates receiving the endorsement from Farm Bureau’s political action committee and Board of Directors appear on pages 6-7. There also is election-inspired commentary from American Farm Bureau thoughtleaders Zippy Duvall and Stewart Truelsen. Trade is a hot election topic, but not in the way we might have hoped, as Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte explains on page 24. With all that’s been said about this election, and trust me (I know there’s plenty), it was political guru Charlie Cook’s comments to a room of Farm Bureau communicators in Utah last

summer that stuck with me. I share some of his insights on page 27. When the dust settles from the election, Farm Bureau’s collective sights turn to Wisconsin Dells and the first weekend of December. Plans are well underway to make the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference memorable. This issue features a profile on the business that provides the poinsettias that grace the stage. The young leaders who will compete in the YFA contests during the conference also are featured. There is a lot of work to do in the farm fields of Wisconsin between now and December. This fall’s wet spell has made this harvest season more hectic than usual. Everyone will be pressed for time, but let’s get through the harvest together by heeding the safety tips provided by the Rural Mutual Insurance Company on page 45. There are two other pages of this issue that I want you to check out. We asked Farm Bureau members to send us their favorite fair photos, and they responded. The faces of hard-working, young livestock exhibitors on pages 38-39, should brighten the day of even the most pessimistic voter this election season. Those two pages offer visual proof that the best things that farmers raise are not the critters or the crops. It’s the kids. Thanks for reading and be safe. Casey Langan Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Editor Casey Langan 608.828.5711

Designer Lynn Siekmann 608.828.5707

Contributor Amy Eckelberg 608.828.5706

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

Contact Information 608.836.5575 800.261.FARM (3276)

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


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What Do

Presidential Candidates

Know About


t’s been almost 150 years since two men who had farmed squared off against each other in a presidential election, and it may never happen again. But candidates don’t need firsthand experience to understand the needs of farmers and ranchers or to appreciate the work they do. As President Eisenhower said, “You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” What do the 2016 presidential candidates know about agriculture? Democrat Hillary Clinton attended school in Park Ridge, Illinois, where the general headquarters of the American Farm Bureau Federation once was located. Chances are she wasn’t aware of Farm Bureau or farm issues as a young person.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump feels at home in Manhattan where he negotiated real estate deals—that’s the borough of New York City, not Manhattan, Kansas. He was criticized by a primary opponent for having ‘New York values.’ New York State has thousands of farms producing a wide variety of agricultural products on about a quarter of the state’s land, so the value of agriculture must not be overlooked in the Empire State. In the nation’s history, some candidates arrived on the campaign scene with a good knowledge of agriculture and a strong desire to win the farm vote. President Truman not only tried his hand at farming but was a county Farm Bureau president as a young man. His rural background helped him defeat a more citified Thomas Dewey. President Carter’s family owned a peanut farm and warehouse at Plains, Georgia. In the election of 1868, both Republican and Democratic candidates had been farmers. Democrat Horatio Seymour preferred farming to holding political office and is said to be the only presidential candidate ever compelled to run against his will. Convention delegates drafted him over his strong objection. He lost to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant who farmed for several years near St. Louis before the Civil War. Presidential candidates run on party platforms that always include agriculture. Whoever is elected will be advised on agricultural matters by the secretary of


By Stewart Truelsen

agriculture they appoint to their cabinet. President Franklin Roosevelt had Henry A. Wallace to steer the farm economy through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Ezra Taft Benson was secretary during both of Eisenhower’s terms. President Reagan, who understood the importance of agriculture as former governor of California, relied on John Block and Richard Lyng. Congress drafts farm legislation, so it is a plus to have men and women in the House and Senate with farm backgrounds. Sen. Mike Johanns who received American Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award this year grew up on a farm, served as secretary of agriculture under George W. Bush, and senator from Nebraska before his retirement. But there are few like him in Congress anymore. Perhaps the most we can hope for is that presidential candidates are willing to listen to farmers and ranchers and realize that the federal government doesn’t have all the answers. Eisenhower again said it best, “The proper role of government, however, is that of partner with the farmer—never his master.” If this year’s candidates know little else about American agriculture they should learn that much. Truelsen, a food and agriculture freelance writer, is

a regular contributor to the American Farm Bureau’s Focus on Agriculture series.

October | November 2016


Volunteers for ® Agriculture Announce Legislative Endorsements T

he Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s political action arm, the Volunteers for Agriculture® Committee, has announced its endorsements of incumbents in key State Assembly and Senate races in the November 8 general election. “The farmers who make up the VFA take their role very seriously. They recognize that these incumbents are supportive of issues that are important to the farm families that make up Wisconsin’s agricultural community,” said Rob Richard, Senior Director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.

The VFA endorsed seven incumbents in the State Senate: • Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) 2nd District • Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) 10th District • Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) 12th District • Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) 14th District • Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) 20th District • Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) 24th District • Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) 32nd District

The VFA also endorsed these candidates in open seats:


• Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) 18th Senate District • David Vruwink (D-Milton) 43rd Assembly District • Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield) 85th Assembly District

Volunteers for Agriculture® (VFA) is Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Since 1990, the VFA has helped elect candidates who work for agriculture’s interests in Madison. The VFA builds strong relationships with legislators of both parties to help us achieve our legislative priorities.

Track Record


In the 2012 and 2014 fall primary and general elections, 90% and 95% of VFA endorsed candidates were elected, respectively.

• Promote the economic and social well-being of farmers, rural families and agricultural interests.

How VFA Helps

• Head off burdensome legislation and regulations.

• Contributes directly to the candidate’s campaign committee.

• Advocate for farmers’ and agriculturists’ interests amid a changing social, economic and political climate.

• Purchases advertising in support of candidates. • Motivates our members to vote for endorsed candidates.

“The VFA is one of the few political action committees that endorses candidates from both sides of the political aisle. Many of the key issues for farming are subject to an urban-suburban-rural divide rather than a partisan one.” – Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President 6

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The VFA endorsed 48 incumbents in the State Assembly: • Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) 1st District • Rep. André Jacque (R-Sister Bay) 2nd District • Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) 5th District • Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) 6th District • Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) 14th District • Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) 18th District • Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) 25th District • Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg) 26th District • Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth) 27th District • Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) 28th District • Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) 31st District • Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) 32nd District • Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago) 33rd District • Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Irma) 35th District • Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) 36th District • Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) 37th District • Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) 38th District • Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) 39th District • Rep. Kevin Petersen (R-Waupaca) 40th District • Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) 41st District • Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) 42nd District • Rep. Debra Kolste (D-Janesville) 44th District • Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) 45th District • Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) 49th District • Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) 50th District • Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) 51st District • Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) 52nd • Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) 53rd District • Rep. Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) 56th District • Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) 59th District • Rep. Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) 60th District • Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) 61st District • Rep. Thomas Weatherston (R-Caledonia) 62nd • Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) 63rd District • Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) 64th District • Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) 68th • Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) 69th District • Rep. Nancy Vander Meer (R-Tomah) 70th District • Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) 72nd District • Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) 75th District • Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) 81st District • Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) 86th District • Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) 87th District • Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) 89th District • Rep. Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) 92nd District • Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) 93rd District • Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) 94th District • Rep. Lee Nerison (R-Westby) 96th District The Volunteers for Agriculture® Committee is comprised of 18 farmers from across the state. It was formed to give farmers a more direct role in electing leaders who best represent agriculture’s interests.

‘Friend of Farm Bureau’ for Six Wisconsin Lawmakers S

ix of Wisconsin’s 10 federal lawmakers have been recognized with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s ‘Friend of Farm Bureau’ Award. Every two years, lawmakers who have advocated for agriculture during the previous congressional session are recognized with the award. The voting records of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, Reid Ribble and Jim Sensenbrenner met the requirements for the award. “These award recipients have supported policies that provide Wisconsin farm families with less regulatory interference, provide tax relief, clarify food labels for consumers, invest in infrastructural improvements and energy and conservation projects while opening the door to enhance trade opportunities,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. “Wisconsin farm families appreciate the work of these lawmakers who understand the importance of our state’s $88 billion agricultural economy,” Holte said. “We also appreciated their efforts to provide estate tax reform and tax relief for small businesses. Each also supported funding for energy and water programs, efforts to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species and other efforts that leveled the field that farmers face when it comes to trade and food labeling laws. Finally, the Farm Bureau applauds their efforts to rein in the proposed expansion of the Waters of the United States rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” As recipients of the ‘Friend of Farm Bureau’ Award, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors endorsed Johnson, Ryan, Duffy, Grothman and Sensenbrenner in their reelection bids this November 8. Congressman Ribble of Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District is not seeking reelection.

October | November 2016

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner


Edgewood Greenhouses


Provide Farm Bureau’s By Amy Eckelberg

Chris Peterson, president of Edgewood Greenhouses


hey are one of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Annual Meeting’s traditions. Strategically-placed red, pink and white poinsettias have been making the Annual Meeting’s stage resemble a Rose Bowl float for almost 30 years. Before their big splash in Wisconsin Dells, the festive florals are cared for by employees at Edgewood Greenhouses in Mukwonago. A Farm Bureau member since 1990, Edgewood Greenhouses enjoys playing a role in the Farm Bureau’s big event each December. “We always look forward to the Farm Bureau order,” said Chris Peterson, president of Edgewood Greenhouses. Farm Bureau’s annual order of 125 poinsettias is dwarfed by major clients like Steins and Costco. Each year the Waukesha


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County business sells about 32,000 poinsettias and 70,000 other flowers, plants and hanging baskets to buyers from northern Illinois to western Wisconsin. Depending on the season, the greenhouse employees between 17 and 24 people. Peterson said one of the best parts of his job is seeing the crew at Edgewood Greenhouses work together. “We have a great team. We are like family here and we know everyone’s family; right down to their pets,” said Peterson, who began working for the business’ previous owners at the age of 23. He and a business partner, Ken Fenske, bought the business in 1999. Peterson manages the employees, sales and other business tasks. Fenske oversees the flowers and plants. Peterson admits to learning a lot about plants and flowers over the years.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

“You start to pick up on things when you are surrounded by it and work with it on a daily basis. I know a lot more greenhouse lingo now than when I started,” he said. Originally a dairy farm, the previous owners transitioned from dairying to the greenhouse business in 1965. Since then, buildings have been added and remodeled at the location near Interstate Highway 43 and the Fox River. Eleven greenhouses are used for poinsettias. Among the newer of the houses is a Westbrook model that uses automation to help keep the plants on a strict schedule. “It helps us moderate the temperatures and keep an eye on the water level,” Peterson explained. “If it gets too hot or too cold the walls know to drop down or fold back up.” Water is a crucial resource for the business, which used three million gallons last year. Peterson said greenhouse technology and efficient staff ensure every drop is utilized. Like many crop farmers, fertilizer is injected as needed. The poinsettias arrive at Edgewood Greenhouses as cuttings from various growers across the U.S. From there they are placed in pots. Depending on the preference of the buyer, the pots contain three or four cuttings. As for the poinsettias that make their way from Mukwonago to Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting, it is Farm Bureau staff who unload the truck from Edgewood Greenhouses when it arrives at about noon on Friday. Staff members remove the paper wrapping around the poinsettias and arrange them near the stage. It’s ‘tradition’ that the newest employees are given the honorable task of watering them throughout the event. On Monday of the WFBF Annual Meeting the poinsettias are re-packaged and given to members who have excelled in membership to say thank you for their dedicated service. In addition to Farm Bureau, Edgewood Greenhouses is a member of the Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin. Visit Edgewood Greenhouses at

Finicky Flowers • Only water poinsettias when their soil starts to dry out because they don’t like too much water. • It also is advised to keep them away from drafty windows. They prefer a daytime temperature of 78 degrees and 62 degrees at night. • W hile many think the colorful leaves are the flower, the flower is actually the tiny yellow centers that only bloom when exposed to 12 to 14 hours of darkness. • If you can’t seem to get it to bloom, Peterson suggests putting it in the closet for added darkness. • Native to New Mexico the flower has become the most popular Christmas flower in the U.S.

“Poinsettias used to be considered a high-end flower,” Peterson said. “Now you can find them in grocery stores and many other places around the holidays. That’s because breeding over the years has made them easier to grow.”

October | November 2016



Finalists Named for Leopold Conservation Award® S and County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association are proud to announce the finalists for the prestigious Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors Wisconsin landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. The finalists are: • Dan Brick, owner and manager of Brickstead Dairy in Greenleaf. • Ronald Brooks, who owns and manages Brooks Farms, a crop and dairy farm in Waupaca. • Glen and Susan Wohlk, who own and manage Rainbow Valley Farm, a dairy farm based in Almena. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.” The 2016 Leopold Conservation Award, which consists of $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, will be presented at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in December. The Leopold Conservation Award in Wisconsin is made possible through the generous support of American Transmission Company, Badgerland Financial, WE Energies Foundation, Alliant Energy Foundation, USDA NRCS, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and Wisconsin Land & Water Conservation Association. Visit About the Leopold Conservation Award Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. About Sand County Foundation Sand County Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.


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Dan Brick Family

Ronald and Zoey Brooks

Glen and Susan Wohlk Family

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

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Karst is Not Just About Kewaunee K

arst is defined as a landscape underlain by limestone that has been eroded by dissolution, producing ridges, sinkholes and other landforms. It’s often cited in reports as a factor of groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County, an area with karst features and the heaviest cow concentration in Wisconsin with 80.2 cows per square mile, according to the county’s economic development corporation. Karst bedrock is not unique to Kewaunee. It is found in 46 counties that form a ‘U shape’ across Wisconsin. “The Department of Natural Resources is addressing Kewaunee County’s groundwater contamination by updating its rule known as NR 151, but these discussions probably have implications throughout the state,” said Paul Zimmerman, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations. “This is not just a Kewaunee County issue nor is it a confined animal feeding operation issue as some anti-CAFO activists have claimed. This is an issue that may impact many Wisconsin livestock and crop farmers.” Farm Bureau, along with the other agricultural organizations, will be working with the DNR to ensure the rule revisions include a definition of the targeted sensitive areas and establish nonpoint performance standards that may apply to these areas. Standards may include: • reduced manure spreading rates • incorporation and injection requirements • fertilizer and manure application timing requirements • emergency spreading restrictions • manure pathogen reduction requirements • soil map depth verification • manure and fertilizer setback requirements from public and private wells and from direct conduits to groundwater

“The goal of the update is to establish sufficient “This is not just a targeted performance Kewaunee County standards to improve issue nor is it a surface and groundwater quality in the targeted confined animal area,” Zimmerman said. feeding operation Zimmerman will issue as some antirepresent Farm Bureau on the DNR’s NR 151 CAFO activists advisory committee to have claimed. This define ‘sensitive areas’ and establish targeted is an issue that agricultural performance may impact many standards for these areas. Wisconsin livestock That committee will meet now through April with and crop farmers.” public hearings most -Paul Zimmerman likely in June, in order for the NR 151 update to be completed by early 2018. “Farm Bureau members from Kewaunee County and beyond will need to weigh in on the proposed changes next year,” Zimmerman said.


Wisconsin’s nonpoint program, NR 151 Runoff Management, directs the DNR to establish statewide agricultural performance standards and prohibitions to achieve water quality standards. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is then directed to establish technical standards for farmers to implement to meet the agricultural performance standards adopted by the DNR. In most cases these technical standards were developed by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. County land conservation departments are then directed to work with farmers to advance the nonpoint program.

Kewaunee’s Water Woes Last year, 320 wells were tested in Kewaunee County. According to the Wisconsin DNR, the results indicated that about 100 wells had more than the acceptable level of 10 milligrams of nitrates per liter. Another 11 wells were contaminated with E. coli from either a bovine or human source, or both. This prompted the DNR to commission a two-year study* to assess the extent and sources of the contamination. The study also will try to establish a link between soil depth, well-casing depth and other factors that may help determine how and when groundwater contamination may occur.


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As the study is conducted, the DNR has started updating its administrative rule known as NR 151. The DNR is proposing to establish agricultural nonpoint source performance standards to prevent water pollution in sensitive areas with shallow soils overlaying fractured bedrock. In August, Farm Bureau testified at the Natural Resources Board meeting in support of the update. *The DNR’s study is being conducted by the UW-Oshkosh’s Environmental Research and Innovation Center with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Geological Survey Center, Kewaunee County Land Conservation Department and UW-Stevens Point.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Karst and Shallow Carbonate Bedrock in Wisconsin

October | November 2016


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Annual Meeting & YFA Conference WFBF

December 2-5, 2016

Kalahari Resorts and Conference Center,Wisconsin Dells

Notice of Annual Meeting of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Cooperative

Notice of Annual Meeting of Rural Mutual Insurance Company

In accordance with the bylaws and pursuant to the direction of the Board of Directors, the undersigned Secretary hereby gives notice that the Annual Meeting of members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Cooperative, will convene on Monday, December 5, at 10:30 a.m. at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. - Dale Beaty, Secretary

In accordance with the bylaws and pursuant to the direction of the Board of Directors, the undersigned Secretary hereby gives notice that the Annual Meeting of members of the Rural Mutual Insurance Company will convene on Monday, December 5, at 10:30 a.m. at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. - Dale Beaty, Secretary

October | November 2016


YFA Achievement Award Final 4


our finalists will vie for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Achievement Award this December. “This year’s finalists are some of the best and brightest young farmers in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President, Jim Holte. The YFA program is open to Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35. The Achievement Award recognizes YFA members who excel in production farming, leadership ability and involvement in Farm Bureau and other organizations. Achievement Award applicants must have derived a majority of their income from on-farm production over the past three years. A three-judge panel will score their applications and conduct interviews with the four finalists at Farm Bureau’s 2016 Annual

Meeting/YFA Conference at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, December 2-5. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation co-sponsors this contest with GROWMARK, Inc. and Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Each finalist receives a $50 FAST STOP gift card from GROWMARK, Inc. This year’s state winner competes at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Annual Conference in Phoenix. In addition, Rural Mutual Insurance Company provides a free financial plan for the state winner and FABCO Equipment, Inc. provides the state winner with 40 hours use of a FABCO 226 skid-steer loader. Last year’s winners of the Achievement Award were Chris and Kelly Pollack, dairy farmers from Fond du Lac County.

Andrea Brossard and Mason Rens, District 2, Dodge County

Chad and Katrina Gleason, District 3, Lafayette County

Andrea Brossard is a third generation dairy farmer at Brossard Dairy Farm, LLC, her family’s farm, in Beaver Dam. The farm milks 260 cows, raises 70-80 steers annually and grows 650 acres of crops. Andrea is the secretary/treasurer for Dodge County Farm Bureau and serves as the District 2 Representative on the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee. She is also a graduate of the Farm Bureau Institute leadership training course. Her husband, Mason Rens, originally from Waupun, is a water well driller for Municipal Well and Pump; an employee owned company. The business specializes in drilling new wells for cities and industries, and rehabilitation and maintenance on existing wells throughout the Midwest.

Chad and his wife, Katrina, are fourth generation farmers, north of Shullsburg, in Lafayette County. They have three children, Cassidy, Gage and Kinsey. On their farm they specialize in dairy beef, where they raise bottle fed calves to finished steers. The family raises about 400 calves per year from local dairy farms. The family grows and harvests their own feed on 80 acres of owned and 60 acres of rented land. Chad is a former director for the Lafayette County Farm Bureau. He enjoys farm-related activities and spending time with others who share his passion for agriculture. Katrina home schools the children and does the books for the farm. She enjoys spending time with family’s horses, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Alex Bringe, District 3, Vernon County

Ryan and Lindsey Prahl, District 8, Marathon County

Alex is a beef and grain farmer from Viroqua. He graduated UW-Platteville with an animal science degree. He continued his education at Western Technical College in its farm business management program. His lifelong interest in agriculture and politics led him to Farm Bureau. He is the YFA chair for Vernon County Farm Bureau and also serves as the pork chop fundraiser coordinator. He has attended the YFA leadership trip to Washington, D.C., and the WFBF Annual Meeting as a county delegate. He also is a graduate of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Institute leadership class.

Ryan and Lindsey Prahl farm in rural Wausau on a 150-cow dairy. Ryan is the fifth generation on their family farm, and together the couple juggle the dairy and an emerging custom business. They have three children; Lydia, Warren and Audrey. In their spare time, both Ryan and Lindsey enjoy volunteering for various agricultural organizations.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

YFA Excellence in Ag Final 4


our individuals have been selected as Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Ag finalists and will compete in December for the top honor. The Excellence in Ag award recognizes members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program who excel in their leadership abilities, and involvement in agriculture, Farm Bureau and other civic and service organizations. “Four outstanding agriculture advocates are finalists in this year’s state competition. This contest highlights how these fine individuals have positively impacted Wisconsin agriculture and inspire others to do the same,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau President. Excellence in Ag award applicants are agriculturists who have not derived a majority of their income from a farm (that

they own) for the past three years. Examples of occupations of past finalists include: agricultural education instructor, fertilizer salesperson, veterinarian, farm employee, agricultural writer and marketer. Each finalist must make a presentation and answer questions in front of a three-judge panel during the Farm Bureau’s 2016 Annual Meeting/YFA Conference at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, December 2-5. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation co-sponsors this contest with GROWMARK, Inc. and Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Information and applications for all YFA contests may be downloaded from Last year’s Excellence in Ag award recipient was Beth Schaefer from Marathon County.

Amber Radatz, District 4, Trempealeau County

Lynn Dickman, District 5, Waushara County

Amber Radatz lives with her husband, Tim, and two young sons, Wilson and Nolan, in Trempealeau County, in the same area where she was born and raised. She grew up as one-quarter of the labor force on her family’s 57-cow dairy farm. Amber attended the UW-Madison and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in soil science. She is the co-director for the UW Discovery Farms Program, which works statewide with farmers on water quality research and education. Amber and Tim enjoy spending time with family and friends and exploring the outdoors.

Lynn Dickman is the research agronomist at Heartland Farms, Inc., a nearly 8,000-acre farm growing potatoes specifically for potato chips near Hancock. She finished her master’s degree in horticulture from UW-Madison in June 2016. She also completed her bachelor’s degree in dairy science at UW-Madison. Lynn grew up on a dairy farm in Argyle and was active in 4-H and FFA. She is the Waushara County Farm Bureau YFA chair, president of the Tri-County FFA Alumni, a member of the Stevens Point Curling Club and City Band and a board member for Meals on Wheels. Lynn was a member of Farm Bureau Institute Class VIII. In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, trying new cuisine and beverage, traveling, learning, reading and crafting.

Teresa Marker, District 9, Barron County

Leslie Svacina, District 9, St. Croix County

Teresa Marker grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Elk Mound. After high school she pursued a degree in agricultural education with a minor in animal science from UW-River Falls. She works as a livestock nutritionist for Crystal Creek Natural, LLC, based out of Spooner and resides in Shell Lake with her husband and son. Teresa serves on the Barron County Farm Bureau board of directors and was recently elected the Ag in the Classroom chair. Teresa has also served on the state YFA committee and was the committee chair in 2013.

Leslie Svacina owns Cylon Rolling Acres, where she rotationally grazes meat goats. During the last five years she’s started her farm, almost from the ground up, while balancing an off-farm job in the agricultural education field. Most recently, Leslie served as the executive director for the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators. She also was an internship coordinator at the University of Minnesota working with students in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences. Leslie serves as the St. Croix County Farm Bureau vice president and is on the executive committee for the UW-River Falls Alumni Advisory Board. She lives in Deer Park with her husband Scott and son Cody.

October | November 2016



District Discussion Meet Qualifiers

YFA members will compete at state in December

The Discussion Meet contest gives YFA members a chance to demonstrate their speaking skills on agricultural-related topics. Contestants are judged on their problem-solving skills as they discuss timely topics with their colleagues. Each of WFBF’s nine districts held a competition where the following contestants were chosen to advance to the state competition held at the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference in December.

Jeff Debele, Waukesha County Kallie Jo Kastenson, Racine County Sean Beres, Waukesha County


Becky Wellnitz, Rock County Josh Schenk, Green County Julie Sweney, Dodge County


Andrew DalSanto, Grant County Becky Hasburgh, Iowa County Josh Bailie, Grant County


Kyle Danzinger, Buffalo County Brittany Herricks, Monroe County Emily Herness, Trempealeau County


Lauryn Krentz, Fond du Lac County Sally Turpin, Juneau County Jenny Leahy, Fond du Lac County


Mandi Ramsburg, Brown County John Lyons, Kewaunee County Sean VanderHeiden, Calumet County


Kristy Erickson, Outagamie County Kyle Much, Waupaca County Kristi Fiedler, Shawano County




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Josh Huber, Marathon County Ryan Klussendorf, Taylor County Lauren McCann, Wood County


Isaac Christenson, Polk County Kirsten Konder, St. Croix County Laura Benitz, Pierce County

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Fun’d the Foundation


Q1: W  hat is Wisconsin’s official state grain?

Contest Q2: W hat city is home to the world’s largest letter ‘M’?

Q3: Numerically, Wisconsin was admitted as the _____ state in the Union.

Gather up to six of your closest (or smartest) friends for a Farm Bureau trivia contest on Saturday, December 3, following the Farm Bureau Extravaganza during the WFBF Annual Meeting at the Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells. Categories will include current events, history, geography, music, movies, sports, Farm Bureau and more! Teams of up to six people $10 per person/$60 per team Three (15 minute) rounds of 25 questions Register at Register before November 25 or on Saturday, December 3, in the trade show area from 2 to 4 p.m.

Space is limited so register early!

A1: Corn; A2: Platteville; A3: 30

• • • • •

Ready! Set! Bid! J

oin us during the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Annual Meeting for the annual silent auction to benefit the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. The Foundation funds Ag in the Classroom, Young Farmer and Agriculturist, Promotion and Education Program, Farm Bureau Institute and the collegiate Farm Bureau chapters. From hotel stays to homemade goods, paintings and more, the silent auction will have what you are looking for! Bidding will begin on Saturday at 2 p.m. and will end on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. prior to the awards program. Donation forms are now being accepted and can be found at foundation/silentauction.

Phoenix to Host AFBF Annual Convention Y ou are invited to be one of the nearly 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation that will gather for the AFBF 98th Annual Convention, January 6-11, 2017 in Phoenix. The 2017 convention will feature a variety of issue conferences, concurrent workshops, the AFBF Young Farmer and Rancher competitions and the IDEAg Trade Show. During the convention, members also will set policy that will guide Farm Bureau in the coming year. Wisconsin Farm Bureau members will stay at the headquarters hotel for the AFBF Annual Convention, the Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel. Farm Bureau members

will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of optional pre- and postconvention tours that highlight the diversity of Arizona agriculture. Registration materials for the convention are available by contacting Bob Leege, WFBF Executive Director of Member Relations, at 608.828.5710 or

October | November 2016


Everything you need, when you need it. Get it. Got it. Good. Grainger has over 1 million products that benefit Farm Bureau members. We can save you time and money by offering everything you need in one place. Whether you use our site, our catalog, our app or a branch: get what you need, however you need it with Grainger.

© 2013 W.W. Grainger, Inc.




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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Compiled by county Farm Bureaus, use this book to find ideas for promotion and education activities to implement in your county.

Find it at: promotion-and-education/playbook

Includes Activities for: Ag in the Classroom Consumer Outreach Education and Ag Promotion Fundraising Member Development Policy and Development Implementation

Playbook Purpose The purpose of the Playbook is to provide counties with ideas and resources for planning county activities and events. Throughout the Playbook, you will find activities and events for all ages, time frames and budgets. October | November 2016


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

Supplies & Products


General Motors - Most 2016 and 2017 Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC (except Corvette) models are eligible for the $500 Bonus Cash program. To qualify for the offer, individuals must be a Wisconsin Farm Bureau member for at least 30 days prior to the date of delivery of the vehicle. Members must present their Farm Bureau Bonus Cash Certificate to the dealer to take advantage of the Bonus Cash program. Print your Bonus Cash certificate at www.fbadvantage. com/Deals/gm. Call 800.261.3276 for questions on eligibility guidelines. Contact dealership for full details.

Travel AAA - Members can save up to 20% on AAA membership and the enrollment fee to join AAA is waived. Farm Bureau members who already belong to AAA can receive the discount by calling before their next renewal. To enroll or to add the benefit to your existing account, call 877.731.3315 and give them the group code ‘WI07.’ AVIS Car Rental Discount Program - Members can save 5%-25% on Avis’ daily and weekly rates. To receive these discounted rates, all you need to do is use the Avis Worldwide Discount number: A298849. To rent a car and enjoy benefits visit or call Avis at 1.800.331.1212. Choice Hotels International, Inc. - Members save an average of 20% at participating Choice Brand Hotels. Call 800.258.2847 to make the required advance reservation or book online at Make sure to select ‘special rate/CORPID.’ Request WFBF member rate using ID# 00209870. Wyndham Hotel Group - Members save 20% off the best available rate at more than 5,000 participating locations throughout North America. Mention Farm Bureau ID# 8000004288 when making your reservations. Call 877.670.7088.

Financial AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program - The AgriPlanNOW! program is based on Section 105 of the IRS code and can allow farmers and other selfemployed individuals to deduct 100 percent of their family’s medical expenses through their farm or business. To learn more about AgriPlan and/or sign up, go to or call 888.595.2261. Farm Bureau Bank - Take advantage of Farm Bureau Bank’s FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards and vehicle and home loans. Call 800.492.FARM (3276), or check online at


Rural Mutual Insurance Company - Offering a full line of insurance and financial products for your personal, farm and business needs exclusively for Wisconsin Farm Bureau members. Our rural Wisconsin heritage assures that you’ll find in us the strong values you expect and deserve. Visit us on the web at to find your nearest Rural Mutual agent. Farm Bureau Financial Services is a dynamic multi-state insurance and investment organization serving individuals and families in rural, suburban and metropolitan areas. You can get more information about the financial services from your local Rural Insurance agent. Learn more about Farm Bureau Financial Services at

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

Case IH - Eligible Farm Bureau members will receive an incentive discount ($300 to $500) when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealers. The discount is stackable, meaning it can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership. A current Farm Bureau membership verification certificate must be presented to the Case IH dealer in advance of product delivery to receive the incentive discount. Go to to check out eligible models and print your certificate. Caterpillar - Members qualify for a variety of discounts on new purchases. Members must provide a valid Member Verification Certificate to the Cat dealer at the time of quote to receive the discount. Visit www.fbadvantage. com/cat to print your certificate and for details on models and discounts. The discount can be combined with any current retail discounts, promotions, rebates or offers available through Caterpillar or its dealers with the exception of other membership purchase incentives (such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association discount). FS-GROWMARK Patronage - Members who are patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage dividends when patronage is paid. Grainger Industrial Supply - Grainger Industrial Supply is the nation’s leading maintenance, repair and operational supplies distributor. Receive at least a 10% discount on all Grainger catalog items. For a free catalog call 608.221.3861. When ordering use the Farm Bureau account #855922019. Office Depot - Save up to 80% on Office Depot Preferred Products along with reduced prices on ink, paper, office supplies, toner, stamps/daters, pens, pads, furniture and much more. Members get free next day delivery with free shipping on orders over $50 and terrific copy and print pricing. Visit officedepot. Polaris - Farm Bureau members will receive a manufacturer’s incentive discount of $200-$300 depending on the vehicle acquired. Individuals must be members for at least 30 days to qualify. Visit to print your certificate.

Communication AgriVisor - Wisconsin Farm Bureau members can receive a 35% discount on daily grain, livestock and feed input marketing advice, as well as current market quotes and updates. Members go to and click on E-Visor to sign up or call 800.676.5799 to learn more. The Country Today - The Country Today will give a discounted rate and donate $5 to the Ag in the Classroom Program with every new subscription or renewal purchased by a Farm Bureau member. Write ‘Farm Bureau member’ on your renewal or mention it when calling 800.236.4004.

Health ScriptSave® - ScriptSave® is a prescription drug savings card available to you at NO COST as an added feature of your membership. Call 800.700.3957 or go to and login with group number 703A. Life Line Screening offers state-of-the-art vascular screenings to detect blockages to all members at a discounted price. Members also get a free osteoporosis risk assessment. For more information, call 844.591.7159 or go to

On the web

View additional WFBF member benefits and more details on our website at *WFBF member benefits may be changed or discontinued at anytime without notice.*


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation






Chevrolet is proud to present this exclusive $500 offer 1 toward the purchase or lease of most 2016 and 2017 Chevrolet vehicles.

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















When Did Trade & TPP Become Four-Letter Words? A Message from Jim Holte


’ve found plenty to shake my head at this election season. Among them is how free trade has unified opponents (and their vocal supporters) from both sides of the political aisle. It wasn’t always this way. Both political parties once agreed that eliminating tariffs led to affordable goods and new jobs for Americans in exporting industries. Along came 2016, when the likes of everyone from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders has made political hay with protectionist platforms that bash a proposed expansion of trade with 11 other Pacific Rim nations. That trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is high on the American Farm Bureau’s legislative priority list. Amid agriculture’s current downturn, TPP is estimated to generate $4.4 billion in profits. Lately, you would think that TPP were scarlet letters. Anti-TPP signs were commonplace at last summer’s national conventions. When talking with lawmakers in Washington (even those who claim to be pro-trade) don’t want to vocalize their support until after the dust of November’s election settles. The ‘lame duck’ period between the


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election and January appears to be the TPP’s last stand. Given their statements on the campaign stump, TPP’s window of opportunity appears to slam shut with the swearing in of Clinton or Trump. Are free trade’s prospects as bad as it seems? I’ve been left to wonder if TPP’s loud opponents who get the attention of television cameras are reflective of the average American who goes to work each day. The Washington Post recently reported that “there is little evidence of a broad reaction against free trade. Americans are deeply conflicted about the issue, as shown in two recent polls that came to opposite conclusions about public opinion on free trade.” Americans are resistant to foreign ownership of U.S. factories. One poll found that 68 percent said they’d prefer an American-owned factory in their town to a Chinese-owned one offering twice as many jobs. Another poll found that although 58 percent of Americans believed that free trade benefits the national economy, less than half of them thought it helped their own finances. There are many who think free trade leads to fewer (and lower paying) jobs. I think that in their quest to cling to jobs of the past, they are ignoring the ones of the future. The backlash against trade is knotted up in the hostile view that some Americans have toward corporations and their government leaders. I will admit the importance of trade to the U.S. economy might sometimes be oversold, but I’m not sure that can be said for agriculture. The historically high prices American farmers recently received for their crops, milk and livestock were largely due to trade. TPP will reduce trade barriers for American agriculture. Canada would open its market by reducing restrictions on U.S. dairy, poultry and eggs. Japan has

agreed to slash or eliminate tariffs on U.S. beef, cheese and ice cream. Malaysia’s tariffs on beef and dairy products would be eliminated immediately, so would Vietnam’s tariffs of 20 percent on cheese, milk powder and whey. Vietnam’s staggering 34 percent tariff on U.S. beef would be eliminated in 3-8 years. Whether or not the U.S. Congress ratifies the TPP, the other 11 TPP nations will continue negotiating and implementing bilateral agreements with each other. Doing nothing with the TPP will not result in the status quo. Instead, net exports and market share will decline in key markets. It’s not too late to contact your members of the U.S. House and Senate with a letter or email. Better yet, attend a town hall meeting or write your own op-ed. Tell them that without access to foreign markets, Wisconsin agriculture looks different. Eliminate one of every four rows of corn. Sell one out of every five cows. As for what everyone else thinks about trade, I have one last observation. A poll found that Americans’ views on imports differ depending on the industry. The same people who like the idea of imported electronics want to ‘protect’ American agriculture. Thanks folks, but it doesn’t work that way. They have it backwards. We don’t need the type of protection that leads to retaliatory tariffs against what we grow best. Given the chance, American farmers can compete with anyone. Instead of throwing up walls to the other 96 percent of the planet, the TPP opens up a big door for American agriculture. For more on this subject, visit President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

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

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Why We Talk to the Media A Message from Will Rodger


or as long as many farmers could remember, the story was the same: Don’t talk to the newspapers, TV or radio. The message was clear: You have nothing to gain. It’s hard to think of any attitude more outdated today. The sad truth is there’s an army of ill-informed activists who want to do away with what they call ‘factory farming.’ These anti-farmer voices are loud and ignorant, but also well-placed. Farmers and ranchers have to counter them. Here’s how. Open your Doors The media seldom get a look at real farmers. Meeting reporters on your own farm helps them understand what really goes on instead of being duped by the latest food or environmental fad. Some farms even have 24-hour webcams so the public can see what really goes on. Whether or not you want to go that far, the public needs to see farmers more. You can help. Have an Agenda Have three or maybe four main points you want to make. You should be able to state the basics on each in two or three sentences as well as in a longer format. Anecdotes are Good; Reliable Data is Much Better The best reporters aspire to know as much as the people they cover. In some cases they actually get there. I recently met with a Washington Post reporter who thought most of America’s farmland was owned by major corporations which, in turn, produced most of our food. My telling her otherwise was pointless, but

she was convinced when I produced a basic fact book from USDA. Having the right facts at your fingertips can be everything. Play to the Outlet’s Interests and Biases Ag media is seldom hostile, but mainstream reporters are, at best, a mixed bag. As before, you need to know the facts, but couching things in the right terms can mean the difference between good coverage and bad coverage, or nothing at all. Ask yourself what about your story will appeal to the reporter you are speaking with. Many journalists sympathize with government regulators, but very, very few will take the side of arbitrary and abusive treatment at their hands. Use what you know about the outlet to your advantage. Explain, then Explain Again Very few non-farmers know much about what farmers do, so avoid words you don’t read in the mainstream media. Remember issues such as erosion, runoff and the need for proper drainage are completely foreign to most reporters. Even basics like weed and insect control are poorly understood, if at all. If you have something to say, restate it, repeat the obvious, then ask the reporter in a friendly way why he thinks it matters to you. You’ll be surprised how many questions and answers it often takes to get the story right. Practice, Practice, Practice Unless you spend most of your day talking about policy, you will need to practice what you’re going to say with someone you trust. Family and friends at

your county Farm Bureau can be good sounding boards. Friends who don’t know farming can be better, still, since they will hear what you are saying as the average person would. Develop that Relationship We don’t all have a chance to talk to reporters on a regular basis, but it’s not inconceivable you could become that resident expert a reporter relies on in the future. So, stay friendly, be open, make time to talk to reporters who want to talk to you. They won’t always get everything right, but the better they get to know you, the more likely they will. The world badly needs people who can explain how farming and ranching really work. Rodger is director of policy communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

October | November 2016



The Rural Vote Can’t Be Overlooked in 2016 A Message from Zippy Duvall


ountry roads are an important part of the route to public office. There’s no such thing as ‘fly-over country’ in an election year—and some lawmakers have learned this the hard way. Farmers and ranchers are fully engaged in the political process. They know their businesses and families have too much at stake to take a back seat during any election. While rural areas have gotten smaller over recent decades, lawmakers can’t ignore that America’s farmland and the people who live there are at the heart of what built this country, and what nourishes it still today. Our nation is run by people who show up and make their voices heard.


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Our friends in Kansas recently reminded us of this in the primary race for their first district. Many of the district’s farmers and ranchers felt that Congressman Huelskamp had forgotten his neighbors and the people who sent him to Washington, especially when it came to his lack of support for the farm bill that provides a safety net for farmers when prices plummet and ensures we can continue to feed ourselves. The Kansas Farm Bureau took a firm stance by calling out Huelskamp and endorsing his primary opponent Roger Marshall, to ensure agriculture in the first district would once again have a voice on Capitol Hill. Voters then stood up on primary day and called for a different approach to politics. Maintaining a healthy agriculture and strong food security requires a willingness to reach across party lines to find solutions that work. Huelskamp’s rural constituents are sending him home after his term ends this year. That’s what happens when a lawmaker becomes more beholden to groups in Washington than their own constituents. Whether it’s the presidential ticket or a vote for a county board member, every farmer and rancher needs to be informed on where candidates stand and hold them accountable for their campaign trail promises. Our voices only stop counting when we fail to make them heard.

At the American Farm Bureau, we’ve been studying the candidates’ platforms to see where they stand on the issues facing agriculture. One great resource our staff has been keeping up with since early in the primary season is our election blog ( We encourage you to check it out for updates at the national level, and reach out to your states and counties for more information on local elections. Our country needs leaders at every level of government who will listen to farmers and ranchers and work together to find practical solutions. We need to maintain a strong farm safety net. We need elected leaders who help expand markets for our agricultural exports through new free trade agreements that protect our interests abroad like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. From reforming our immigration and guest worker system to stamping out regulatory overreach, we need men and women in office who will roll up their sleeves and address these critical issues, even when the excitement of campaign season is long over. President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Duvall raises beef cattle, hay and poultry in Greshamville, Georgia.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Anything Could Happen. Anything Has Happened. A Message from Casey Langan


his is like the 2008 financial crisis. We are living through a sequence of events that has not happened before and nobody knows how it all turns out. Renowned political analyst Charlie Cook’s take on the 2016 election has stuck with me more than any of the verbal mud slung by the candidates. I hung on his every word at a conference last June as he threw out his script and dug deep into what the election of 2016 means. If it feels like politics have become polarized, Cook argues they have. He recalled the 1960s and 1970s when there were liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats and many moderates in both parties. He said Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are examples of how both political parties have become more ideological during their careers. In the 1990s, Clinton was seen as the far left branch of her husband’s administration. By 2016, she scrambled further to the left to secure her party’s nomination. Bush, once considered one of the nation’s most conservative governors, found himself in a similar position during his doomed campaign. Cook says the ideologies of Clinton and Bush have not changed…their parities did. They also faced a different media environment. Gone are the days where three television networks, three news magazines and a couple of local newspapers set the public dialogue. Instead, Americans now seek news from outlets they are predisposed to agree with. “We don’t start with the same set of facts anymore,” lamented Cook, who said that this leads people to become more conservative or liberal than they really are. Cook said today’s electorate, whether it be the left’s occupy movement or Donald Trump supporters on the right, is mired

in a sense of instability and unhappiness. Real median income has been flat since 2000. The economy has been slowed by millennials who are delaying marriage and home ownership, and by displaced blue collar workers whose skills served them better in the last century. Throw in immigration and culture wars at a time when change is too fast and too drastic for some Americans, and Cook said it seems we are reaching a boiling point. He predicted that this year’s GOP nomination wouldn’t go to an establishment candidate, but he admitted to not seeing the ‘Trump Train’ coming. Cook said that the GOP over-promised what Obama policies they could unravel in 2010. Six years later, a sense of betrayal by some Republican voters came back to bite establishment candidates like Bush, who Cook jokingly said, “was like a teenager whose older brother totaled the car a week before homecoming.” Failed by experienced politicians, he likened Trump’s appeal to voters declaring bankruptcy on politics. Win or lose in November, Cook said the Republican Party’s internal fight could have been settled had a true conservative been nominated in 2016. Instead, the selection of Trump kicks that can down the road. Cook didn’t have much good to say about the elusive independent voter that other pundits discuss and some candidates chase. “Pure independents don’t read newspapers, don’t care and don’t vote,” said Cook, who thinks independents feel societal pressure to tell pollsters they are going to vote, but don’t show up. “Which means victory comes down to getting your base out,” Cook said, before noting that in June, Clinton had more staff in Ohio than Trump had staff.

Cook declined to tell us his voting preference, but offered, “I’m for two healthy parties. I’m not happy with where things are at.” He said the trend towards voting against someone rather than for someone is troubling. “It’s not bringing out our best as a nation,” Cook said. When pressed for what he thinks will happen on election night, Cook said our nation’s changing demographics explain a lot of what’s going on, and that Democrats have won five of the last six popular votes. “There simply are more Democrats than Republicans,” he said before predicting that Clinton would win. Yet, he quickly pointed out that historical trends have meant little in 2016, by saying, “Anything could happen. Anything has happened.” Langan is the WFBF’s Executive Director of Public Relations.

October | November 2016



A Dose of Reality for Wisconsin Agriculture Guest Column by Attorney General Brad Schimel


arely does my job as Attorney General require me to make a public safety plea to the agriculture community. Usually if you hear from me it’s to discuss environmental regulations or consumer protection. But today, I am asking for your help in the fight against heroin and opioid addiction, because this epidemic is your problem too. You are leaders in your communities. As I meet with local officials statewide, farmers and other agribusiness owners are serving at all levels of local and county government. As leaders, you have a vested interested in seeing the health and prosperity of your rural communities, and no one is better suited to help take on this public health crisis. The Wisconsin Department of Justice has teamed up with law enforcement, the medical community and educators, but now we need the Wisconsin agriculture industry to help. The ‘dose of reality’ is: prescription opioid abuse is affecting your community. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this epidemic


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affects rural communities at a higher rate than it affects urban communities, and that’s why on the national level, the USDA is one of the lead agencies coordinating the fight against opioids and heroin. Drug overdoses kill more people than car accidents in Wisconsin, and the largest number of those deaths aren’t caused by ‘hard street drugs.’ In fact, prescription narcotic painkillers contribute to more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. With more than 163,000 Wisconsinites addicted to prescription opioids, we all have a role in preventing that number from increasing. This epidemic also affects you as an agribusiness owner. An Indiana study found that four out of five employers have dealt with opiate addiction and/or abuse in their workplace. Wisconsin and Indiana have an awful lot in common, and if we conducted the same survey here, we should expect similar results, especially considering 80 percent of Worker’s Compensation claims in Wisconsin involve narcotic pain medications like Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycontin and Hydrocodone. If your business or family doesn’t have someone directly struggling with prescription painkiller addiction themselves, opiate abuse could still be reaching into your life. Seventy percent of people who are addicted to prescription opioids got their first pills not from a street dealer, but improperly from a family member or friend. That’s why I’m asking you to be a resource to your employees and community. Become a safe and resourceful place for people to turn to for help or guidance, either for themselves or a family member. An employer who does so can provide an opportunity for early intervention.

To help stop this epidemic consider participating in this fall’s Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 22. At every Drug Take Back location, people can safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications. To learn more details or to find a nearby Drug Take Back location, go to www. If you are an employer, educate your employees about the dangers of prescription painkiller use through educational materials like posters, flyers and brochures found at www., available at no cost to employers. Train supervisors to recognize the potential signs of drug impairment and to know how to help. Consider implementing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can offer employees up to three confidential counseling sessions at no cost to the employee on a wide range of mental health issues. Finally, after first consulting your human resources professional and/ or legal counsel, evaluate your company’s drug policy and consider including prescription medications in the policy and in your drug testing regimen. Every citizen in this state has a role in solving this epidemic by using prescriptions only as prescribed to them, storing them securely, properly disposing of them when done, and by helping to spread the important message about safe use of prescriptions. Please go to www. to learn how we can make our state safer and healthier. Sshimel is Wisconsin’s Attorney General.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Broadband: Rural Expansion is a Priority Guest Column by Ellen Nowak


cross Wisconsin, and especially in its rural areas, broadband access is a priority need. The availability of highspeed, reliable internet service is critical to economic development, job growth, precision agriculture, education, health care and the vitality of rural communities. Rural broadband expansion is often challenging because high deployment costs and lower population densities make it more difficult for providers to realize a return on their investment. Fortunately, there are several initiatives with objectives to assist in rural broadband expansion: Broadband Forward Community Certification Program Legislation signed into law by Governor Scott Walker earlier this year encourages broadband development and deployment by certifying local communities as being Broadband Forward. A Broadband Forward Community Certification signals that a local unit of government has taken voluntarily steps to reduce obstacles to broadband infrastructure investment. For more information, please contact the Wisconsin Broadband Office at 608.267.9138. Broadband Demand Survey The 2016 Broadband Demand Survey measures consumer demand of highspeed internet access in Wisconsin. It gives residents and businesses the opportunity to voice their need for improved internet access or service. The responses to the survey will help state planners and policymakers better understand consumer demand for internet access in Wisconsin. You are encouraged to participate and make sure that your voice is heard. The broadband survey will remain open through November 23, 2016. To complete the survey, please visit:

Those unable to access the website may take the survey by calling toll-free 877.360.2973. Broadband Expansion Grant Program To assist in the expansion of broadband in Wisconsin, Governor Walker created the Broadband Expansion Grant Program. In 2015, Governor Walker and the Legislature tripled funding for broadband expansion grants in the 20152017 biennial budget to $1.5 million annually; with a total of $6 million to fund grants during a 4-year period. In its latest round of grants in August 2016, the Commission awarded $1.5 million to 17 projects. To date, the program has resulted in more than $10 million in broadband expansion in rural areas ($3.9 million in grants and $6.2 million in additional, private investment). These grants provide reimbursement for equipment and construction expenses incurred to extend or improve broadband telecommunications services in underserved regions of Wisconsin. The Public Service Commission (PSC) awards grants based on the following criteria: matching funds, public-private partnerships, existing broadband service, project impact, economic impact and scalability. An application for a grant may be submitted by any of the following entities: • An organization operated for profit or not for profit, including a cooperative. • A telecommunications utility. • A city, village, town or county that has established a legal partnership or joint venture arrangement with an otherwise qualified organization or telecommunications utility. More information for applicants can be found at Legislative Council Study Committee on Rural Broadband The Joint Legislative Council established the Study Committee on

Rural Broadband, under Chair Senator Howard Marklein and Vice Chair Representative Warren Petryk to review the Wisconsin Broadband Expansion Grant Program and the extent to which it has encouraged construction of broadband infrastructure in areas of the state with few broadband service providers. The Joint Legislative Council has directed the study committee to: • Discuss the criteria used to evaluate applications and award grants. • Consider alternatives for determining eligibility and prioritizing proposed projects. • Consider alternative methods for encouraging construction of broadband infrastructure. • Identify options to recommend. The study committee has scheduled monthly meetings from August to December 2016. For more information on committee meetings and upcoming meetings visit: study/2016/1496. Nowak is the chair of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

October | November 2016



Price Expectations Must Fit Marketing Alternatives Guest Column by AgriVisor’s Joe Camp


arvest is in full swing throughout the Midwest and farmers are presented with the perennial marketing question of sell or store. The best course of action this year may be to expand the sell or store options to include consideration of related marketing alternatives. Expanded knowledge of marketing alternatives turns the question of sell or store into options like sell and buy the board or sell the basis or store on delayed pricing terms or store and hedge to arrive. Being informed of contracting alternatives allows the grower more opportunities to achieve successful


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marketing outcomes. Many farm marketing advisors are advising their customers to sell grain at harvest while simultaneously buying futures or options contracts. The strategy passes on storage costs and quality risk but also re-establishes ownership of flat price opportunity. Buying futures entails the establishment of a brokerage account, involves associated fees and commissions, requires margining of the position and leaves downside price risk open. Buying options involves an outlay of premium and commission and fees, but limits downside price risk. Minimum price contracts may be used as an alternative to the above strategies. Farmers with on-farm storage may consider putting grain away and using Hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contracting options to lock in market carry and take advantage of potential basis gains. Basis contracts should be used when basis levels are firm and futures have room to improve while grain is being stored. Sometimes a market outlook calls for basis and futures to improve. The simple store-and-wait strategy is warranted in such a case, as is the use of Delayed Price (DP) contracts. Selection of one approach over the other brings into consideration cost of storage and quality risk versus contract service fees as well as

any time and title ownership restraints. Patience may be a virtue in times of tough markets, but growers are best advised not to pass up on opportunities that provide profitability. The biggest risk associated with the store-and-wait and DP strategies when prices are expected to rise is that the expectations are simply wrong. Still, the proper selection of contracting alternatives requires that the grower have an expectation for market direction. An outlook for market direction should be viewed in terms of four possible outcomes: futures up and basis up, futures up and basis down, futures down and basis down and futures down and basis up. To recap, store-and-wait and DP contracting are options to use when both futures and basis are expected to improve. An outlook for higher futures and weaker basis should bring to mind basis contracting, sell-cash/buy-paper and minimum price contracting strategies. Short hedging and put option purchases make sense if futures may fall but basis strengthen. Finally, spot and forward sales should be made if futures and basis are expected to head lower. Camp is the Risk Management Specialist for AgriVisor, one of WFBF’s member benefits.

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Up the Creek A column by Ken M. Blomberg


n September, I traveled upstream for the Great Lakes Wolf Summit. Organized by two Northwoods lawmakers, they called together agriculturists, game managers, sportsmen and wolf advocates. After the election, Congress will likely debate a bill introduced by Senator Ron Johnson to address the issue of delisting gray wolves in the Great Lakes states. According to Kurt Thiede, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary, there are an estimated 866 and 896 wolves in Wisconsin and about 3,700 animals in the Great Lakes region. Within the U.S., that’s second only to Alaska’s population. Based on those numbers, he felt there was no biological justification for federal wolf protection at this time. “Wisconsin was able to realize an 8.5 percent reduction in the wolf population during those years we were allowed state management (hunting and trapping). Our state is the birthplace of wildlife management. After the hunts

we experienced a 45 percent reduction in (wolf predation) complaints. Now, complaints are increasing,” Thiede said. Wolf attacks on farms also were discussed at the Summit. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte said the Farm Bureau continues to support a decision made in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region and allow the Wisconsin DNR to implement its Wolf Management Plan. “The latest population estimates of gray wolves in Wisconsin is the highest on record at almost 900 animals and far exceeds the targeted management goal of 350 wolves specified in the Wisconsin DNR’s Wolf Management Plan,” Holte said. Close encounters in rural communities also are becoming commonplace. Bruce Mahler, a police chief from Marenisco, in a small community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, read aloud from 43 police reports from 2016. “It’s out of control,” he said of wolves on back porches, driveways and near bus stops. “It’s a matter of the law of unintended consequences … and if a wolf is threatening a citizen or child, I will shoot that wolf.” There were a handful of wolf protectionists at the Summit, including Madison animal rights advocate Patricia Randolph who at times became disruptive. “Poor husbandry is a greater cause of cattle deaths than wolves,” she said. “Politics, not science, has turned the wolf issue in Wisconsin into a wildlife management disaster,” said keynote speaker Ted Lyon and author of Real Wolf. The former Democratic Texas state

legislator, lawyer and licensed fishing and hunting guide, spent years studying wolves in Montana. “One of several wolf myths is that wolves will not attack humans. In fact, since 2005, there has been three human deaths in North America,” he said. Aldo Leopold described the call of a wolf “an outburst of wild defiant sorrow, and of contempt for all the adversities of the world. Every living thing (and perhaps many a dead one as well) pays heed to that call.” In his classic essay, Thinking Like a Mountain, Leopold discovered profound meaning in their “deep, chesty bawls.” He asked us, like the mountain, to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf. As a young man, Leopold shot wolves on sight because fewer wolves meant more deer. Later in life, he described the role of predators like wolves as “the great invisible drama of tooth and claw in which the sportsman plays a lead, though he has neither seen nor read more than snatches of the other parts … There is only one completely futile attitude on predators: that the issue is merely one of courage to protect one’s own interests, and that all doubters and protestants are merely chicken-hearted … If sportsmen will ponder this well, he may get the point: to reserve his ‘courage’ until he has determined as closely as possible where his own interests lie.” Perhaps our interests, our role, as WFBF President Jim Holte so aptly stated, is to “allow the state to manage to minimize conflicts with Wisconsin farmers and others.” Blomberg is a freelance writer and a member of the Portage County Farm Bureau. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

October | November 2016



Emerging Ag Leaders Selected for 2017 Farm Bureau Institute


development of leadership and ifteen emerging agricultural speaking skills, interaction with leaders have been selected to “Today’s farmers and agriculturists Farm Bureau and governmental participate in the Farm Bureau must take the lead and be advocates leaders and staff at the state and Institute. The year-long leadership for their farms and agribusinesses. national levels and networking with training program’s mission is The Institute gives participants the to develop strong and effective other participants. The first session skills and confidence necessary to lead agricultural leaders. begins in January and focuses on the future of farming and agriculture public speaking, etiquette, emotional “Today’s farmers and agriculturists in their county Farm Bureau, local intelligence and personality types. must take the lead to be advocates Subsequent sessions focus on media for their farms and agribusinesses,” community and beyond.” and advocacy training, running said Wendy Kannel, Farm Bureau’s – Wendy Kannel effective meetings, the structure and Director of Training and Leadership function of Farm Bureau, being a Development. “The Institute gives creative leader, the workings of local and state government and participants the skills and confidence necessary to lead the future national and international ag issues. The class capstone future of farming and agriculture in their county Farm Bureau, event is a joint trip with the WFBF Board of Directors to local community and beyond.” Washington, D.C. in April, 2018. Members of the 2017 Farm Bureau Institute class include: Farm Bureau members interested in applying for 2018 Peter Badtke, Ripon; Sean Beres, Waukesha; Shane Goplin, Institute class may contact Wendy Kannel at 608.828.5719 or Osseo; Jack Herricks, Cashton; Tina Holst, Chilton; Reuben Hopp, Waupun; Paul Jarvis, Wautoma; Adam Jones, Wautoma; James Juedes, Ringle; Hallie Metcalf, Janesville; Carmen Montgomery, Argyle; Cassie Olson, Black River Falls; Julie Orth, Lancaster; Heidi Pettis, Clintonville; Becky Wellnitz, The Farm Bureau Institute Brodhead. is sponsored by The Institute consists of five multi-day sessions that (WFB Foundation) provide hands-on learning on issues important to agriculture,


for Farming’s Future

Left: 2016 Institute Class X at the State Capitol. Right: Institute member Ryan Klussendorf fine tunes his speaking skills.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Farm Bureau Recipes and photos courtesy of The Wisconsin Beef Council

Beef and Zucchini “Noodle” Lasagna


1 lb. ground beef (93% lean or leaner) 1 jar (24 to 26 oz.) pasta sauce 1 /4 tsp. ground red pepper 1 container (15 ounces) reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1 c. shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese 3 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese 2 egg whites or 1 large egg, beaten 2 medium zucchini, cut diagonally crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into small crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat; stir in pasta sauce and red pepper. 2. Meanwhile, combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg whites in medium bowl. 3. Spread one third of beef mixture in bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half of zucchini slices in single layer. Spread half of ricotta mixture over zucchini. Repeat layers with another third of beef mixture, remaining zucchini slices and remaining ricotta mixture. Top with remaining beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. 4. Bake, uncovered, in 375°F oven 45 to 50 minutes or until zucchini is tender and cheese is golden brown. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Slow-Cooked Whiskey-Molasses Shredded Beef


1b  eef bottom round roast or beef chuck center roast (21/2 to 3 lbs.), cut into 1-inch pieces 1 /2 c. whiskey 1 /4 c. plus 2 tbsp. cider vinegar 1 (6 oz. can) tomato paste 4 tbsp. packed brown sugar, divided

/4 c. molasses 11/2 tsp. salt 1 /2 teaspoon ground red pepper 1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard 2 c. each shredded carrots and diced granny smith apple 1


1. Place roast in 41/2 to 51/2 quart slow cooker. Combine whiskey, 1/4 c. vinegar, tomato paste, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, molasses, salt and pepper; pour over roast. Cover and cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours, or until beef is forktender. 2. Remove roast from slow cooker; shred with two forks. Skim fat from sauce as needed. Return beef to slow cooker. 3. To make the slaw: Combine remaining 2 tbsp. cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. brown sugar and mustard in large bowl. Add carrots and apples; mix well. Season with salt and black pepper as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve beef with slaw.

October | November 2016


for Farming’s Future (WFB Foundation)

Thank you

A voluntary $5 contribution now appears on your dues notice. These funds support education and leadership development programs.

Thank You to the Following WFB Foundation Donors: (Donations were made between July 16 and September 15, 2016.)

• Carl Casper in memory of Fritz Anding • David Kruschke in memory of Fritz Anding • St. Croix County Farm Bureau in memory of Fritz Anding • Consolidated Lumber Company in memory of Michael Biadasz • Clark County Farm Bureau in memory of Erlin Dahl • Dan Poulson in memory of Floyd Helling • Richard Gorder in memory of Gloria Holte


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• David Kruschke in memory of Eleanor Johnson • Richard Gorder in memory of Audry Larson • Dave Daniels in memory of Betty Muhlenbeck • David Kruschke in memory of Lana Timm • Paul Peterson in memory of Joe Wantoch • Richard Gorder in memory of Gary Weisenberger •R  ichard Gorder in memory of Doug Wolf •W  illiam Bruins (general contribution)

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Ag in the classroom

Book of the Year and Essay Contest Topic Announced T

he 2017 Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Book of the Year and annual essay contest comes from the heart and soul of cranberry country. Written by Wisconsin native Lisl H. Detlefsen, Time for Cranberries educates students about the state’s cranberry industry by highlighting the process, technology and traditions involved. “It is quite an honor to have Time for Cranberries chosen to be Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom’s Book of the Year,” said Detlefsen. “Ag in the Classroom does an excellent job educating students about agriculture, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the story of cranberry farming with students in my home state.” This year’s essay contest topic, “Tell us about cranberry production in Wisconsin during one of the four seasons” is linked with the book. Accompanying lessons aligned to state standards and various Wisconsin educational resources are available within an Educator’s Guide for teachers, students and volunteers to use in promoting and preparing essays. Essay submissions must be 100 to 300 words in length and will be judged on content, grammar, spelling and neatness. Participating students and schools need to submit essays by April 1 to their county Farm Bureau essay coordinator. A list of county essay coordinators, all contest rules, lesson plans and sample classroom activities are located at A state winner will be selected from nine district winners in May by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Promotion and Education Committee. Each district winner will receive a classroom presentation in May for their homeroom or class. This year, Lisl H. Detlefsen, author of Time for Cranberries will present to the winning essay writer’s classroom. “This book is a real passion project for me because it was inspired by my family’s life on our cranberry marsh,” Detlefsen said. “Cranberry harvest is such an interesting and beautiful process, and the book is a virtual field trip for readers who might not have the chance to see it in person.”

Lisl H. Detlefsen

The essay contest is sponsored by Insight FS, We Energies and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. Last year, more than 3,000 students participated in the contest. The hardcover books come with an activity and lesson plan packet that teachers, students and home school parents can use to enhance the reading experience. Book order forms are found at under ‘Order Forms’. Questions can be directed to

Ag in the Classroom is social. Are you?



October | November 2016




Food Prices Slide Downward in Wisconsin


trong production of eggs, pork, beef and dairy have resulted in lower retail prices in grocery stores. That’s the finding of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Marketbasket survey that tracks the average cost of $49 for 16 food items used to prepare one or more meals. The survey items cost 8.2 percent less than one year ago and 1.4 percent less since March. “Strong global supplies have depressed the prices that Wisconsin farmers receive for the crops and livestock they raise,” said Casey Langan, spokesman of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “Coupled with steady energy prices and softening demand from foreign countries, this means lower costs for grocery shoppers.” Prices of 13 of the survey’s 16 items declined compared with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s survey conducted last fall. The decreasing price of eggs was the single largest factor in lowering the survey’s average price. One year ago, one dozen Grade A eggs averaged $2.94. That historically-high price was a result of a tight egg market after Avian influenza led to the death of millions of laying hens. Since then, egg producers have repopulated their flocks and increased egg production. “The 98 cents per dozen that Wisconsin shoppers paid (on average) in September marks a return to normalcy for the egg market,” Langan said. “The growing inventory of beef cattle has resulted in lower prices for consumers,” Langan said. “The survey’s average price for a pound of ground chuck dropped from $4.74 to $3.99 (15.8 percent) during the past year.” “The same situation exists for pork prices. Since last fall, one pound of bacon dropped more than 6 percent (from $4.51 to $4.22 per pound) while one pound of sliced deli ham decreased more than 4 percent (from $5.36 to $5.11) in price. An over-supply of milk globally had a dampening effect on the price Wisconsin dairy farmers received for their milk (the lowest since 2009). The reduced price has been passed on to the consumer. Shredded mild cheddar cheese decreased by 5.3 percent (from $4.30 to $4.07 per pound) during the past year. Likewise, a gallon of whole milk dropped by 15 cents (from $3.47 to $3.32) or 4.3 percent during that time period. Bagged salad was the only item on the survey that has consistently increased in price during the past year. The average for a one-pound bag was $2.46 last fall, $2.55 last spring and $2.78 in the most recent survey. Dry conditions in lettucegrowing regions have resulted in reduced crops, which impacts price.


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Similar production shortfalls of apples and potatoes caused prices to increase on the state and national level. Wisconsin’s $49 Marketbasket average price is 70 cents less than the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey of the same 16 food items. AFBF’s survey averaged $49.70, a 1.4 percent difference. Farmer’s Share is Just $7.84 During the last three decades, retail grocery prices have gradually increased while the share of the average dollar spent on food that farm families receive has decreased. In the mid1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures in grocery stores and restaurants. Since then that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using that percentage across the board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $49 grocery bill is $7.84. The USDA says Americans will spend approximately 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average in the world. The Marketbasket survey is a quarterly look at the trends in food pricing in Wisconsin in relation to changing farm prices, weather and wholesale and retail food marketing. Members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau collected price samples of 16 basic food items in communities across Wisconsin during September. Prices were collected for this survey in the communities of Appleton, Ashland, Belleville, Beloit, Black River Falls, Chilton, De Pere, Dodgeville, Edgerton, Ellsworth, Elroy, Hartland, Lodi, Manawa, Marshfield, Medford, New Glarus, New London, Paddock Lake, Platteville, Plover, Sparta, Waterford, Watertown, West Bend and West Salem.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

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Build this winter and receive HUGE Savings! Call for further information. 800-558-7800 Now accepting 2017 AgVocate of the Year Nominations! For more details: October | November 2016


Summer Fair Edition Becky Hibicki, Ripon

Ryan Klussendorf, Medford Kathy Wileman, Edgerton

Alissa Grenawalt, Beloit Corey Kuchta, Coleman

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


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

Janet Clark, Rosendale

Elizabeth Wells, Cashton Becky Wellnitz, Brodhead

Leslie Strey, Osseo Terri Hamm, Waupaca

These FFA members bought calves with grants received through the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. Both animals won their class at the Rock County Fair.

Liz Gartman, Sheboygan

October | November 2016


Rural Route wisconsin Farm bureau federation’s

Statement of Ownership


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation

County Kernels Cheese Days – Green County

Butter Making – Outagamie County

The Green County Farm Bureau used rain gutters for duck races in the Family Farm Adventure Tent during Green County Cheese Days.

In June, Outagamie County Farm Bureau members taught breakfast on the farm attendees how to make butter with heavy whipping cream. Kids and adults alike were surprised at how easy it was to make their own butter. Thank you to the 4-H and FFA volunteers who helped with the activity.

Pizza Plunge – Barron County

Focus on Ag – Rock County

Pizza Plunge, an Ag in the Classroom program, taught middle school students about the farming behind pizza ingredients: crust is made of wheat, sauce includes tomatoes and cheese is made from milk. The event also focused on agricultural careers. The Farm Bureau Pizza Ag Mag was used to teach the students all the way from field to fork.

The Rock County Farm Bureau sponsored Rock County Focus on Ag at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. The event shared the importance of agriculture in Rock County with elected officials and candidates. This year’s attendees included town board supervisors and congressional candidates.

AgAdventureland – Washington County

AgAdventureland and the Washington County Fair completed it’s 17th successful year with more than 17,000 participants in the Farmer for a Day activity. The project is staffed by volunteers and funded by donations from Badgerland Financial, Washington County Farm Bureau, Prairie Farms, Washington County Dairy Promotion, Tri County Pork Producers, Rytec Doors and Dairyland Seed.

October | November 2016



GROWMARK Invests in Young Ag Leaders W

GROWMARK is a inners of WFBF’s sponsor of many Young 2015 Young Farmer “The GROWMARK System is proud to and Agriculturist contests and Farmer and Agriculturist support programs like 4-H, FFA and state FFA officers were special programs including the guests at GROWMARK’s annual YFA Conference. The Farm Bureau, because we know these are Annual Meeting in Chicago GROWMARK system began the premier organizations for young people as a merger of farm supply in August. companies controlled by the “The GROWMARK interested in agriculture.” Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin System is proud to support - Karen Jones Farm Bureaus to secure a programs like 4-H, FFA and reliable, affordable supply of Farm Bureau, because we fuel for their tractors. Today, know these are the premier GROWMARK does business in more than 40 states and organizations for young people interested in agriculture. We’ve Ontario. also increased our investment in the next generation of farmers Joining some WFBF board directors and staff at the through our Young Producer programs in conjunction with FS GROWMARK Annual Meeting were: Derek and Charisse cooperatives, to offer information and opportunities specifically Orth, state YFA chair and Beth (and Matt) Schaefer, 2015 for those joining the family farm or beginning their own Excellence in Ag winner. operations” said Karen Jones, Youth and Cooperative Education Specialist at GROWMARK.

Above: Matt and Beth Schaefer (2015 Excellence in Ag winner), WFBF President Jim Holte and Charisse and Derek Orth (state YFA chair). Left: Young agricultural leaders were invited to participate in a session where they learned about crucial conversations and heard an update on the ag economy from Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech.


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Wisconsin farm bureau federation


wenty-four foursomes took to the course at Christmas Mountain Village in Wisconsin Dells on September 12 for the 19th Annual Wisconsin Ag Open. The event raises money for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, which funds: Ag in the Classroom, Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program, Promotion and Education Program, Farm Bureau’s leadership Institute and collegiate Farm Bureau chapters at UWMadison, UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls. Mastering the course with the low score of the scramble was the Rural Mutual team made up of Leroy Haeuser, Jerry Ring, Mike Immel and Wayne Wolff. The event also featured hole contests, a marshmallow pitch, bucket raffle and mulligan sales. To see pictures from the event, visit the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Flickr page and look for the 2016 Wisconsin Ag Open album. If you are interested in supporting the Foundation at next year’s event, mark your calendar for September 11, 2017. We will once again be at Christmas Mountain Village in Wisconsin Dells.

Box Lunch Sponsor • Aon Benfield Club House Sponsors • Rural Mutual Insurance Company • Stroud, Willink & Howard, LLC • M3 Insurance • BMO Harris Bank • American Agricultural Insurance Company Hole Sponsors • Strohm Ballweg, LLP • Farm Bureau Financial Services • Insight FS/GROWMARK, Inc. • Investors Community Bank • Mighty Grand Dairy

Tee Box Sponsors • Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association • Kennedy Communications Door Prize, Raffle and Registration Donors • Wisconsin Beef Council • Rural Mutual Insurance Company • Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation • Homeland Dairy, LLP • Jim’s Cheese, LLC • Capital Planning, Inc. • Dairy Business Association • I-39 Supply

October | November 2016


Rural Mutual

Rural Mutual Sponsors WIAA Sportsmanship Award T he Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, in partnership with Rural Mutual Insurance Company, has selected the team Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2016 spring and summer state team tournaments. The signs of sportsmanship are showing up everywhere. In helping hands and hard work, whether you are the star or on the sidelines, if you live in the city or country crossroad, sportsmanship is always in season in Wisconsin. The winners of the prestigious award are Waupaca in spring baseball, Delavan-Darien in softball, Neenah in boys tennis, Belleville-New Glarus in girls soccer and Menomonee Falls in summer baseball.

The WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award is presented to one school and community in each of the State team tournaments. The award winners are determined by the conduct and sportsmanship displayed by athletes, coaches, cheer and support groups, mascots, bands and spectators. Additional consideration is given for the effort of school administrators and chaperones to insure support for their teams are positive and that the highest ideals of sportsmanship are upheld. Award winners receive a plaque and banner in recognition of the honor. Rural Mutual Insurance has sponsored the Sportsmanship Award program for more than 50 years. The selection process includes evaluations from contest officials, tournament management, as well as, security personnel, crowd control and ushers and WIAA staff members.

Farm Bureau Financial Services and Rural Mutual Insurance Make Life Insurance Simple Y ou have the best interests of your family in mind; a life insurance policy is an investment in those interests. No one likes to think about life insurance, but it is essential to ensuring that your family is taken care of should the worst happen. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 65.4 percent of households 55 and older had debt in 2013, up from 53.8 percent 20 years ago. Because of this, a surviving spouse could be left with substantial debt. Beyond covering your final expenses, here are some additional benefits of life insurance to consider: • Daily Living - A daily living rider can be a huge advantage when dealing with a scenario such as a chronic illness. If you become unable to perform necessary daily activities such as dressing or bathing, you can have accelerated access to your policy’s death benefit, with the remainder going to your beneficiary when you die. • Keeping the Business in the Family - Certain taxes may apply when passing a family business to the next generation. Life insurance can help cover those costs, easing the tax burden on the future business owner and other family members. • Retirement - Certain types of life insurance policies build cash value over time that can be a form of income in retirement.


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• Charity - Life insurance can be a great tool for increasing charitable giving in your community. Policy holders can have the opportunity to make a larger gift than would otherwise be possible by designating a favorite charity as a beneficiary on their life insurance policies. • Elder Care - If you are able to tap into the cash value of your life insurance policy, you could use that money to enable you to take the time off of work to care for an elderly relative. While no one can predict when a family emergency will arise, ensuring that you are financially prepared will take some of the stress out of a fraught situation. • Mortgage/College - Life insurance can protect your family from the obligations of making mortgage or college payments if your salary is no longer available to them. To that point, if the unexpected happens to you, the proceeds of your policy can be used for a variety of scenarios. Keep in mind that all of these scenarios could have an impact on your death benefit. By understanding the options that come with your life insurance policy, you are empowering yourself to take control not only of your future, but the needs of the present. For ways your life insurance policy can work for you, please contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance Company agent or Jared Nelson, senior regional financial consultant for Farm Bureau Financial Services at or 608.250.0404.

Wisconsin farm bureau federation

9 Fall Harvest Safety Tips W

hen it comes to fall harvest, there is a lot to be done in a short amount of time. Add shorter days and colder weather and you get a developed sense of urgency among farmers, which can lead to injury or death. Use these harvest safety tips to prepare accordingly for the season and keep friends and family safe on the farm. Rural Mutual Insurance spoke with Cheryl Skjolaas, an agricultural safety specialist at the UW Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, to find out what you can do to prevent lifealtering incidents. 1. Come up with a family checklist. The better you maintain the equipment the less likely things are to break down. “It’s when things break down and we lose time that we take unsafe shortcuts, which can lead to accidents,” Skjolaas said. To prevent your tractor and other important farm equipment from breaking down, make a list of what needs to be done to maintain them. Then assign workers and family members to complete those tasks. This way nothing will be overlooked or forgotten, and you will prevent safety and technical hiccups. You also will increase productivity. 2. Read up and refresh yourself on manuals. Now also is a great time to review how to use machinery that you haven’t used in a while. To be extra safe, run these manuals by your workers and family too, especially if they are new to the job. 3. Have an emergency plan. Developing an emergency communication plan is essential. Most likely, you won’t need it – but if you do, you will be glad to have it. These plans ensure that when there is an emergency situation, everyone knows how to respond right away. You will save time and potentially a life. “If someone isn’t back by 9 p.m., do you know what field they are in, which route they are on?” Skjolaas asked. Once you develop your plan, make sure everyone is familiar with it. 4. Train anyone who is about to use equipment. It’s easy to invite your neighbor to hop on a tractor and help with the farm chores, especially when time is tight. But you shouldn’t let anyone on a tractor or use any farm equipment without at least some training.

A lack of training is dangerous not only for the inexperienced person – if you are new to a job, you have a greater risk of injuring yourself – but for everyone else working, too. “Whoever is driving the tractor or using equipment needs to know basic procedures and safety precautions,” Skjolaas said. 5. Know where your young children are. Keep children off of tractors and farm equipment, and enforce a rule to make sure that they don’t run recklessly outside while you are working. That being said, know where your children are before moving machinery. Designate a safe play area, and make sure they aren’t hiding under the tractor. 6. If you feel fatigued, stop. It’s easy to want to push on, even when you are tired. But, if you are fatigued, you are more likely to take shortcuts and risk injuring yourself or others. Don’t turn to extra cups of coffee or sugary, caffeinated drinks either. It’s best to stick to a healthy diet and give your body the rest it needs when it needs it. 7. Meet new lighting and marking requirements. Lighting and marking requirements changed in November 2015, so now is the time to make sure that your harvesting equipment meets the requirements. Read more about changes to lighting and marking requirements at 8. Practice grain bin safety. Harvesting, transportation and storing grain and silage can be hazardous. Freshen up on and share these grain bin safety tips found at 9. Beware of machinery entanglements. Machinery entanglements are the leading cause of injury and death on the farm. Do everything you can do prevent it, including guarding or shielding moving parts on machinery, and keeping bystanders and children away. You can help prevent accidents by staying organized and preparing ahead of time. For more information on how to remain safe during harvest season, visit our Farm Safety page at or contact your Rural Mutual Insurance agent.

October | November 2016




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Wisconsin Farm Bureau October | November Volume 22 Issue 5

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Wisconsin Farm Bureau October | November Volume 22 Issue 5