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Rural Route wisconsin Farm bureau federation’s

february | march 2012 • vol. 18 no. 1 |

Another Strong Year Awaits

Wisconsin Agriculture

Aloha AFBF Annual Meeting UW’s 2012 Ag Outlook Meet Members: Radtke, Riley

Wisconsin Wolves


Page 12


Every acre tells a story.

Turn to us when it’s time to turn the page. When you’re ready to transition the family farm or business it’s taken a lifetime to build, we’re here to help. As part of your team of advisers, your Rural Mutual Insurance agent can work with you to create a succession plan that fits your unique needs. Call your Rural Mutual Insurance agent today and visit for ideas and information.

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Life insurance & annuity products offered through Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company/West Des Moines, IA. BT-002-WI (1-12)


vol. 18 no.1

14 5











member benefits







ag in the classroom

A new collegiate Farm Bureau chapter has been formed.




Rural Mutual

AFBF ANNUAL MEETING Highlights from Hawaii begin on page 5.


DON RADTKE We interviewed WFBF’s District 8 Director Don Radtke from Marathon County



The DNR can now manage our state’s growing wolf population.



We talked with an emerging ag leader from UW-Madison.


CARL CASPER Longtime FB member is a strong Foundation supporter.


INSTITUTE Another new crop of leaders has been selected.


AG LITERACY A Fennimore educator is at the head of the class.

Rural Route’s Digital Edition february | march 2012

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Rural Route wisconsin Farm bureau federation’s

Editor’s Note

{from Casey Langan}

Editor Casey Langan


et’s begin with a disclaimer: I am not one of those people who think the world is going to come to an end in December of 2012. Yet, I understand how it might seem feasible to some, given the franticallypaced society we live in. No matter where we turn, someone is trying to scare us into doing or thinking something. Consider that just before writing this editor’s note I glanced at a few online news headlines. One headline jumped out at me: “SOLAR RAGE.” The article was about massive solar flares that were sending a stream of charged particles toward Earth, which could result in rerouting some planes. Really? Then there were photos of the Italian cruise liner lying on its side. I have to admit, it made me second-guess taking a cruise to chase away the winter blues. Finally, I read the miracle for lowering cholesterol might be some berry I have never even heard of. This news makes me question why I take one of those gross fish pills every night before going to bed. Yes, 2012 is the year when opening a

magazine, email, website, newspaper or even your mail can be a scary proposition. This might partly explain the latest journalistic phenomenon of personalized news based on your interests and location. That’s where your Rural Route comes in. Call us trendy if you will, but this magazine is tailored to the people and issues of Farm Bureau and agriculture. These are people you know, issues you care about, an organization you belong to and an industry that you care passionately about. This issue features profiles on farm guys by the names of Radtke and Riley. Commentary on economics and politics is served up from the likes of Bruins, Jones and Zimmerman. And we could not resist throwing in a little spice from Texas for good measure (see page 23). Our pages also highlight the good works of longtime Farm Bureau members, like Carl Casper, as well as newcomers who are bursting onto the scene, like the new Institute leadership class and members of the fledgling UWPlatteville Collegiate Farm Bureau. See, nothing scary here. No disturbing photos or screaming headlines. Yet, the production of a magazine does not occur at the speed of light. So who knows what calamity may happen between when the final draft is sent to the printer and when it arrives in your mailbox!? Just in case that Mayan prophecy is right, you can rest assured that we will do our best to make sure 2012’s six issues are well worth your time.

Casey Langan Rural Route Editor Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation


Assistant Editor Sheri Sutton 608.828.5706

Address of Publication Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation 1241 John Q. Hammons Dr. PO Box 5550 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 Bill Bruins, Waupun, (President) Richard Gorder, Mineral Point, (Vice President) Dave Daniels, Union Grove Jerry Bradley, Sun Prairie Joe Bragger, Independence Rosie Lisowe, Chilton Wayne Staidl, Peshtigo Don Radtke, Merrill Jim Holte, Elk Mound

Women’s Committee Chair Kathleen Papcke, Elkhorn

Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee Chair Josh Calaway, Vesper 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. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route is produced for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation by Kennedy Communications, LTD., 9 Odana Court, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53711, 608.288.9000. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. For advertising rates and information, please contact Annie Mares at 608.443.0956 or The fact a product is advertised in the Rural Route should not be taken as an endorsement.


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Stallman Outlines Agriculture’s Successes, Challenges


merica’s farmers and ranchers are more productive than ever and are providing a solid economic foundation for our nation, according to Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We are the one percent that is producing food and fiber for the other 99 percent,” Stallman declared in his annual address to the approximately 7,000 Farm Bureau members gathered for AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting. Farm and ranch families are growing more food with fewer resources than ever before, Stallman said. “Over a 20-year period, corn yields are up 41 percent. Per bushel soil loss has fallen by 70 percent. Water use per bushel of corn is down 27 percent. All major crops show similar trends,” said Stallman.

Systemic Risk Reduction Program proposal, which he said would help protect farmers from catastrophic losses while recognizing today’s budget realities. He called on Farm Bureau delegates, who will debate farm policy and other issues Jan. 10, to put the organization on a solid footing. Stallman said the cost of federal regulations fall the hardest on small businesses, such as family-owned farms and ranches. He commended Farm Bureau members for their grassroots engagement to push back against government overreach. Just as important as these policy concerns is the conversation with consumers, he said. “We must engage directly with the consumer as an industry in ways we haven’t

“We sold $42.5 billion more in agricultural products than we imported in 2011.” - Bob Stallman, AFBF President He also extolled the record-breaking growth in U.S. agricultural exports over the past year. “We sold $42.5 billion more in agricultural products than we imported in 2011,” he added. “That number will stay strong into this year and, I am convinced, into the foreseeable future.” American agriculture’s successes have come in the face of challenges, Stallman said, including natural disasters, doubts about the future of agricultural policy and government regulatory actions, and an often tempestuous public conversation about the farmer’s role in feeding our nation. Stallman discussed Farm Bureau’s

Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle farmer from Texas, has served as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation since 2000.

before,” Stallman said. “And while we must fully engage in this ongoing national dialogue about food and the devoted care we take when we grow it, we must also never ever forget to listen.” He said the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, a group of 77 agricultural organizations and companies including Farm Bureau, is doing just that by listening to and answering Americans’ questions as well as giving farmers and ranchers an opportunity to raise their voices. “From the environment to the economy, trade and jobs, we have a great story to tell,” Stallman proclaimed.

february | march 2012



Wisconsin Awarded for Excellence at AFBF Annual Meeting


wo county Farm Bureaus from Wisconsin were among the 25 recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation for innovative, new program ideas in the County Activities of Excellence program. Local leaders from the Dane and Waupaca County Farm Bureaus exhibited their successful efforts at the AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting, January 8-9 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dane County was selected for the Family Farm Day it hosted at the Madison Children’s Museum. It connected an urban audience with local Farm Bureau members who manned stations dedicated to livestock, plants and their byproducts. Waupaca County Farm Bureau was recognized for its full day of hands-on training for emergency medical services and fire personnel, where first responders were shown how to handle tractor rollovers, silo and grain bin rescues, and other machine entanglement issues. “County Farm Bureaus from across the country compete for the best new program ideas and these winning entries are true trailblazers. They offer great ideas that other Farm Bureau leaders will find inspiring,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. In other news, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau received an Award of Excellence in each of the eligible program areas: Agriculture Education and Promotion, Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Implementation and Public Relations. It was one of just 17 states to win in each area. In addition, WFBF won its first President’s Award in the area of leadership development. These are the “best of the best” awards presented for excellence in each of the five program areas to states by membership category size. Finally, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau was one of 38 state Farm Bureaus to receive the Apex Award; this award goes to those that increased total investment in the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture by 10 percent or more over the previous year.


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Top: Dane County’s Alison Kepner and Rochelle Ripp. Middle: WFBF President Bill Bruins and AFBF President Bob Stallman. Bottom: Waupaca County’s Wayne Steingraber and Wayne Eisentraut.

wisconsin farm bureau federation

Annual Meeting Coverage 1 - State YFA committee chair Josh Calaway, his wife Ashleigh and YFA Achievement Award winner Cheri Klussendorf, along with 54 other Wisconsin Farm Bureau members, enjoyed their time in Hawaii at the AFBF Annual Meeting. The event attracted more than 6,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country, including a lot of Young Farmer and Agriculturist members.



2 - Dane County Farm Bureau member Rochelle Ripp met Jack Hanna at the AFBF Annual Meeting trade show. Jack Hanna is the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and a well-known conservationist and television personality. He was with Nationwide Insurance and spoke at the trade show about wildlife conservation. 3 - Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Bill Bruins (left) and Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson joined other state Farm Bureau presidents in parading down the aisle with their state flags during the opening ceremonies of the American Farm Bureau Convention on January 8.


Wisconsin Farm Bureau Salutes 2011 American Farm Bureau President’s Award Recipients FOR OUTSTANDING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

Dane County

Farm Bureau

Waupaca County

Farm Bureau

(Left) Rochelle Ripp and Alison Kepner of Dane County with AFBF President Bob Stallman. (Right) Wayne Steingraber and Wayne Eisentraut of Waupaca County with AFBF President Bob Stallman.

february | march 2012



Beaty Makes Final Four in Hawaii


ock County Farm Bureau member Jillian Beaty was one of three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition at January’s American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young Farm Bureau members who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, their leadership ability, and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. Beaty, who lives in Milton and teaches agricultural education in Oregon, was selected as Wisconsin’s Excellence in Agriculture winner at December’s WFBF Annual Meeting. As a national runner-up, she received a Case IH Farmall 45A courtesy of Case IH, a $5,000 Savings Bond and a STIHL Farm Boss courtesy of STIHL. Andy and Ellie Holt of Tennessee won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. The other finalists were Jason and Paige Pratt of Virginia and Sharla Mortimer of Arizona.

Jillian Beaty of Rock County was one of three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition at the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii in January.

Now is the Time to Make Your Estate Plans


ttendees of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting picked up valuable advice from Christopher Hesse on how to protect their estates. Hesse is a CPA with Larson Allen Firm-Wide Tax Resource Group and a partner in a family farm. According to Hesse, proper planning is critical to ensure an estate will be passed down to future generations and not the government. The current death tax exemption for 2012 is $5 million. While Congress is expected to extend the current exemption to 2013, Hesse warns that if this is not the case, it will be reduced to $1 million. Any amount over the death tax exemption is subject to a taxable amount of 55 percent of the asset’s present value. “It’s important to start the estate planning process now, because no one has a crystal ball that can predict the future,” said Hesse. With the high price of farmland today, farmers and ranchers can easily find themselves with an estate worth more than $5 million.


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For these individuals, Hesse says there are several ways to transfer ownership of their estates. One option is to start reducing total net assets through annual gifting. The government currently allows gifts up to $13,000 to be given to one individual without being taxed. While Hesse encouraged members to begin setting up Christopher Hesse their estate plans, he offered some words of caution regarding estate trusts. “One of the things people sometimes don’t realize is that if you just change your will, if you have an estate trust, the changes you make in the will do not effectively change the estate trust.”

wisconsin farm bureau federation

Chrisler Talks His Way to Sweet 16


J Chrisler finished within the top 16 participants in the Discussion Meet competition at January’s American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic. Chrisler, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying community and environmental sociology, won the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Discussion Meet at the WFBF Annual Meeting in December. Last year, he was a national finalist in Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet. He is an active member of the UW-Madison collegiate Farm Bureau chapter.

Livestock Outlook Appears Tight for 2012


onsumers should expect little relief in the price of a T-bone steak as cattle producers continue to decrease their herds due to soaring feed prices and a weak economy. Dr. James Mintert, professor of Ag Economics and assistant director of Extension at Purdue University, told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting that the livestock outlook would be tight in 2012. High demand for ethanol has forced the price of corn to nearly double in the past few years, driving livestock production costs up and putting cattle producers in the red. They have responded by raising fewer cattle, according to Mintert. “Beef producers are recouping production costs by putting less meat on consumers’ plates,” Mintert said. “Fewer pounds of meat mean higher prices throughout the system.” From 1925 to 1975 the beef industry was relatively healthy, Mintert explained, as demand and production grew with the population and income growth. The span from 1975 to 2011 looks a lot different, as the number of cattle dropped from 132 million to 90 million in 2011.

“That’s the picture of an industry shrinking because of a lack of profitability,” Mintert said. “This is an industry that has struggled to make money for a long time.” A saving grace for the beef industry is the export market, which has rebounded from the lows in 2004 when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in a U.S. cow. The United States is now a net beef exporter. “That has really helped hold down the number of pounds we put in front of consumers,” Mintert said. The pork industry, on the other hand, is much healthier, as production has increased 30 percent during the last 20 years in the United States and Canada. Pork producers face the same challenges as beef concerning feed costs, and like beef producers, are putting fewer pounds of pork on consumer plates. The difference is pork exports. Today, almost one pound of pork in four goes to the export market. “Export growth has helped pork see steady increases over a long period of time,” Mintert said. “Pork exports were up 15 percent this year over last year. They are up 54 percent compared to 2007.”

february | march 2012


“The others are just jaw-jacking.” That was Don’s off-the-cuff remark that made for a memorable sound-byte during U.S. Senator Herb Kohl’s 2006 reelection bid. “It’s not something I say, I just made it up on the spot as the camera rolled,” he said. Don considers himself non-partisan. He said having a 25-30 person production crew at his farm was both interesting and time-consuming.


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wisconsin farm bureau federation

Meet Board Member:

Don Radtke

By Casey Langan


on Radtke has learned that you never stop learning. Whether in his professional career working with future farmers or as a board member for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and Rural Mutual Insurance Company, the Marathon County farmer says, “I keep learning things all the time.” He is also a firm believer that things happen for a reason, although he doesn’t always know why at the time. He counts his decision to switch professional gears and manage a farm operation in an educational setting as a positive move. “It’s been a good change,” he said. “Although if you told me 20 years ago what I would be doing today, I would have just laughed at you.” Don grew up outside of Merrill on a dairy farm that straddled the Marathon-Lincoln county line and eventually farmed with neighbors in a 500-cow partnership. Today, he manages the farm operation at the Northcentral Technical College Agricultural Center of Excellence (Dairyland State Academy). The neat and tidy operation set on 100 acres outside of Wausau officially opened last June. It exposes students enrolled in agribusiness, dairy science, agronomy and agricultural finance to different management styles (grazing and robotic milking machines) and gives them hands-on experience with a herd of 50 milking cows and technology like the state-of-the-art robotic calf feeder. “Personally, the biggest change is the technology,” Don admits. “I kind of bucked technology when I was farming on my own, but I look at things differently now.” “This is the type of equipment they want hands-on experience with,” he said of helping students utilize a computer to see which calf is eating or which cow is being milked by the robotic equipment. “We want them to be exposed to everything that is out there.” Don credits many in his community, including the college president and Marathon County Board of Supervisors, with having the foresight to revitalize the tech college’s ag program. “Here in Marathon County, we have the city of Wausau and the rural areas working together for the betterment of both,” he said. Cooperating for mutual benefit is also what first attracted Don to Farm Bureau in the 1980s. His neighbor, Clarence Utech, signed him

up as a member and he quickly became involved in young farmer activities. He served as president of the Marathon County Farm Bureau for a couple terms before being elected to represent District 8 (Clark, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Price, Taylor and Wood counties) on the WFBF Board of Directors in 2003. “There’s a lot more to agriculture than the physical aspect of farming,” Don says is another thing he has come to learn through Farm Bureau. “I’ve probably learned the most as a director for the Rural Mutual Insurance Company,” he said. “There’s so much more to an insurance company than I realized before. I now have a better understanding of why they do what they do.” He says he once believed the misconception that if an insurance company is making money then it should automatically lower premiums. “If the insurance company doesn’t make money then the assets won’t be there to pay for claims,” he said. “Rural Mutual has gotten itself in a better financial situation which allows it to do things they couldn’t have before. As the Rural Mutual Company does well, so does Farm Bureau.” Just as Rural Mutual was founded by Farm Bureau members who could not get other insurance providers to write policies for them, Don asked how many present-day companies would have defended agriculture’s interests when a Sawyer County cranberry grower was sued with a nuisance lawsuit. “How might the Right to Farm lawsuit have turned out had Rural not got involved?” he asked. “What I liked is that Farm Bureau is very family-oriented if you want it to be,” he said. Speaking of family, his wife of nearly 30 years, Jilayne, is a Merrill native who did not have a farm background as a child. “Jilayne learned a lot about agriculture from Farm Bureau,” he said. Jilayne served as the Marathon County Farm Bureau Secretary and on the WFBF Policy Development Committee. She also graduated from the Farm Bureau’s Institute leadership course. The Radtkes have three adult children (Barb, Gena and Matt) and five grandchildren. Don was actively involved in his church for many years as an elder.

february | march 2012



Wisconsin Wolves Removed From Protected Status


n December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its Number of Packs long-awaited decision to remove gray wolves 1200 in Wisconsin, Michigan 1000 and Minnesota from the 800 federal Threatened and Endangered Species list. 600 “The ruling will 400 finally provide relief 200 for Wisconsin farmers who have experienced 0 livestock losses from wolf attacks,” said Karen Gefvert, WFBF Director of Governmental Relations. “The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation wishes to thank Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation for their strong support to provide farmers with the tools to manage our growing wolf population,” Gefvert said. The Wisconsin DNR will now be allowed to manage a wolf population that has grown from the state’s established goal of 350 to over 800 wolves. There were believed to be only 25 wolves in Wisconsin in 1980.

The number of verified wolf kills of livestock and pets has increased Number of Wolves by over 250 percent since 2003 and more than doubled between 2009 and 2011. Total incidents of depredation attacks of livestock and pets were 119 for Wisconsin in 2010. Total compensation for wolf confirmed injury or loss in Wisconsin totaled over $180,000. Removal of the gray wolf from the federal list of Endangered and Threatened Species allows the Wisconsin DNR to assume management of the growing wolf population. In addition to issuing permits to farmers that have historically had issues with wolf depredation, the DNR is evaluating several other management options. The WFBF supports the Wisconsin DNR’s wolf management plan. Providing that there are no court challenges or injunctions to the delisting, the DNR was to assume the ability to manage Wisconsin’s wolf population on January 27.

Wisconsin Wolf Population

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Listen to all podcasts at WFBF.COM

“Any sort of hunt would require legislation. With the delisting, obviously we’ve been hearing that there’s some interest in introducing legislation that would pave the way for a hunting season. However, any hunting season would require administrative rules, as well as with our other managed species. So legislation followed by a rule would be what’s required for a hunt to take place.”

Kurt Thiede, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Land Division Administrator, on hunting gray wolves in order to manage their population.


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wisconsin farm bureau federation

2012 Policy Book Available Online


ant to know where the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation stands on an issue? It is now available online at The document reflects the most recent policy directives established by voting delegates at Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 92nd Annual Meeting in December. “Delegates establish our organization’s legislative agenda from resolutions submitted by voting members,” said Bill Bruins, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. “These grassroots-generated policies address topics like taxes, energy, farmland preservation and wildlife management.” “We want this information easily accessible to all of our members and the decision-makers who have a role in agriculture’s future,” Bruins added. To view the policy book online, visit and search “policy.”

february | march 2012


JordanRiley Meet Collegiate Farm Bureau Member:

By Sheri Sutton

“I feel really fortunate to work with animals and to grow up in the agriculture world, not everyone gets to do that,” said Jordan Riley who grew up on Riley Brothers Beef and Grain Farms in Lafayette County where they farm 3,000 acres of corn and 900 head of Angus cattle near Darlington.


t was not until hearing a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison speak during his senior year of high school that he decided to pursue an agricultural career. “I was kind of mad at myself for not knowing this sooner,” said Jordan. “But after I got in to UW-Madison, there was no question about it: I was studying agriculture.”

Collegiate Farm Bureau Begins

As a UW-Madison freshman, Jordan helped form Wisconsin’s first collegiate Farm Bureau in 2010. “It was a great thing to bring Farm Bureau to campus, so we can be a voice for ag here,” said the student of agricultural economics and life sciences communication who serves as a director at large of the collegiate chapter. “It is not work to be in collegiate Farm Bureau, I see it as something I get to do for the ag industry.” Last school year, the collegiate Farm Bureau began with 16 members; this year they have grown to 28 active members. “Now that it has a year under its belt, a lot of people want to hear us and get involved with us,” Jordan mentioned. “It is comforting for all of us to have the huge state Farm Bureau to help and support us.”


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wisconsin farm bureau federation

Jordan Riley appreciates the scholarships he received from the Lafayette County Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau, FFA and Dodge in support of his college education.

february | march 2012


Voice of Ag on Campus Staying informed on current ag policy is one way members strive to be the voice of ag on campus. Monthly meetings feature policy discussions, guest speakers and event planning. Each of the five officers presents an ag issue that has been in the news. He notes that when new federal child farm labor laws were proposed last year, the student-run collegiate newspaper, Badger Herald, went straight to the collegiate Farm Bureau to hear what agriculture’s opinion was. Jordan says he is energized by the numerous other highquality agriculturists in the collegiate Farm Bureau. Having held multiple leadership positions in 4-H and FFA, he helped win a state forensics title all four years of high school, sang and acted in numerous high school musicals, played trombone in the school band, and took multiple projects to the fair, including photography, swine and beef. “I don’t ever want to miss anything,” says Jordan, who on top of all these activities and helping on his family farm has also worked for the local grain elevator. “I learned a lot about corn. I shoveled corn and shoveled more corn,” he said with a laugh. On campus, Jordan is also involved in Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, Badger Dairy Club, and Saddle and Sirloin. This summer he will be a sales intern with Helena Chemical in Minnesota.


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“I am excited for the future of the collegiate Farm Bureau. It is a promising organization and there is so much that we can do.” - Jordan Riley

The Future “As a new organization on campus, we are working out the kinks, but are also very optimistic of the years to come. We see ourselves as an organization that likes to collaborate with others instead of re-inventing the wheel and is constantly working to promote the ag industry. I am excited for the future of the collegiate Farm Bureau. It is a promising organization and there is so much that we can do,” Jordan said. The UW-Madison Collegiate Farm Bureau is also helping foster the next generation of Farm Bureau leaders. “I will be a Farm Bureau member forever,” he said.

wisconsin farm bureau federation

UW-Madison Farm Bureau’s Upcoming Events Food Check-Out Week (February 19-25) Teaming up with Dane County Farm Bureau to educate consumers in the grocery store. Family Farm Day (April 14) Helping Dane County Farm Bureau bring agriculture to urban families to see, taste and experience a range of what Wisconsin agriculture has to offer. CALS Day for Kids (April 17) Educating over 700 elementary school students in the UW Stock Pavilion. Ag Day on Campus (April 27) Talking with students, teachers and the general public on State Street about the importance of agriculture.

Jordan Riley, a charter member of our state’s first collegiate Farm Bureau, looks forward to a successful year as membership continues to grow. He says the chapter is quickly becoming the voice of agriculture on UW-Madison’s campus.

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february | march 2012



Names in the


Farm Bureau members making headlines around the state

Jim Jarvis of Wautoma was recently re-elected to a fouryear term on the United FCS Board of Directors by the association’s shareholders. The Board of Directors selected Jarvis to serve as board chairperson. Jarvis, vice president of the Waushara County Farm Bureau, was first elected to the United FCS Board of Directors in 2008. “Jim brings a broad background of agriculture and rural leadership experience to the board room which benefits our shareholders, our cooperative and the rural communities we serve,” said outgoing board chair, Greg Jans.

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Lloyd DeRuyter of Cedar Grove has been elected president of the Wisconsin Beef Council. In this role, he will also serve as one of three board members from Wisconsin on the Federation of State Beef Councils based in Denver, a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. DeRuyter, who raises over 200 Angus cows and steers in partnership with his son, represented District 6 on the WFBF Board of Directors from 2002 to 2011.

Ann Larson recently competed in the final four round of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Discussion Meet held in Chicago. The Shabbona, Illinois native represented the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. Larson is also a member of the new UWPlatteville collegiate Farm Bureau chapter and was a summer intern with the WFBF public relations division last summer.

View all issues at WFBF.COM

Did You Know?

RRuoruatel wisconsin Farm bureau Federati on’s

october | november

2011 • vol. 17 no. 5 |

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route can be viewed online. Not only can members view the current issue, but they will also have access to archieved issues.

Paperless Option Members also have the option to opt-out of receiving a printed copy of the Rural Route. Go to and sign up to receive the magazine via email. Once you sign up, you will receive a bi-monthly email with a link to the magazine as it is published.

Leopold Award Show Private Landowners’ s

Land Ethic Talking Trade on the Hill Ten Vie for Achievement Award Kids and Cops, Fishing and Farming oct_nov_2011_RR.indd

Farm Bureau Member


Track grocery Prices Page 18


10/26/2011 9:24:33 AM


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UW-River Falls Secures Dairy Safety Grant


he University of Wisconsin-River Falls was recently awarded a federal grant designed to promote dairy farm safety. Its focus will be on developing the Center for Dairy Farm Safety (CDFS) which will target dairy farmers milking more than 200 cows. The grant of $134,000 has the potential to be renewed up to four years. The ultimate goal is to produce data and materials that a dairy operation could use to design and implement a safety program for the farm. This will include, but not be limited to, training modules on personal protective equipment, tractor and farm machinery safety, and hazards involving farm structures. Preventing and reducing the severity of injuries occurring on the farm for family members and employees will strengthen the farm community and increase the profitability for dairy operations. This grant is being administered by Connie Smith, MS at UW-River Falls, and will use educational, public, and private sector resources to develop and build the program. Cheryl Skjolaas from the UW Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, will partner with Connie to provide the technical expertise to build the specific learning modules and gather additional helpful resources. A full-time outreach specialist will be hired to coordinate the program. In the near future, a needs assessment will be released to the dairy community to secure feedback on the safety topics that require attention and the priority they should be given to promote safe and healthy dairy operations. It is important to secure the responses from who the program is intended to assist. Outreach activities will include a series of very low cost workshops offered in 16 locations throughout Wisconsin with an anticipated start date of late spring 2012. The workshops will provide the formalized training that dairy producers need to build an occupational safety and health program, assure worker safety, and reduce injuries and illnesses for their employees.

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february | march 2012

Your connection to a growing world



High Volatility, ‘Fierce’ Acreage War Ahead for Growers


olid risk management “has never been more important” for producers of the nation’s major commodities, given a range of volatility factors, North Carolina State University Extension specialist Nicholas Piggott told producers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting. During AFBF’s session on the outlook for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, the Australian-born ag economist said that he anticipates “another fierce acreage-bidding war” this season. “This is fantastic for you farmers out there,” Piggott argued, citing producer reaction to strong market signals. However, “acreage is not limited” and tight corn stocks and continued high prices should translate to a significant boost in nationwide corn acreage, likely at the expense of cotton and soybean production. Piggott noted 2011 was a “great year” for corn, cotton and wheat, but only a “moderate year” for soybeans. This season’s U.S. bean market outcome may depend largely on South American weather and its impact on foreign supply. “Unless the corn price comes down, which I doubt it will with the tight corn stocks, we’re going to need soybean prices to rally significantly to beat those (soybean-to-corn)

acres back,” Piggott advised. “I think the balance sheets will look stronger for corn.” Continued ethanol profitability also weighs in favor of increased corn plantings, he said, especially if the biofuels industry can overcome current regulatory and logistical obstacles and opposition from the small equipment sector to new 15 percent ethanol/ gasoline blends. Hearty retail “E15” adoption could mean a 50 percent boost in ethanol market growth, Piggott projected. Given a significant increase in cotton ending stocks for 2011 and concurrently healthy crops out of Australia, Pakistan and India, corn or wheat will likely grab more southern cotton acres in 2012. Piggott sees growers weathering 2012 in good stead if they can manage anticipated high price volatility, particularly if they can sell crops in the top third of the market. That suggests reliance on crop insurance to provide a “base,” informed use of options and aggressive forward contracting of “small parcels”—ideally, crop increments of no more than five percent. “Volatility can be their friend, as long as they’re not greedy,” Piggott maintained. He chided growers to “spend far more time on your marketing.”

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


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UW-Platteville Forms Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter


tudents at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville are establishing a new collegiate Farm Bureau chapter on their campus. “Our informational meeting during the fall semester drew a large amount of interested members,” said Kayla Greenwood of Mineral Point. Greenwood and an ambitious group of students have since pursued the proper channels of becoming officially recognized by the UW-Platteville’s School of Agriculture. Other members of the leadership team who are planning spring events and meetings are Ryan Ripp of Lodi, Taylor Schuetz of Evansville, Katie Demrow of Edgerton and Ann Larson of Shabbona, Illinois. “We have great leadership on our team and with our advisor Dr. James Hampton, so it should be a great spring semester,” predicts Larson. Schuetz said the collegiate Farm Bureau will be a common ground for other specialized clubs and organizations within the School of Agriculture. “It will allow students with different interests in the agriculture industry to become part of one organization,” Schuetz said. “This allows us to start networking with students here at UWPlatteville now and after we graduate.” wisconsin farm bureau federation

Best to Enact New Farm Bill This Year


armers are better off if members of Congress can agree on a new farm bill this year, according to American Farm Bureau Federation farm policy specialist, Mary Kay Thatcher, who spoke at the 2012 Farm Bill issue conference at AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting in January. With Congress unable to agree on much these days and with a shrinking budget to work with, passing a new farm bill could be an uphill climb and get pushed to next year. “There is no upside to that,” Thatcher said. “There will be even more budget cuts if that happens. There’s every reason to push it through this year if we can.” Thatcher outlined the political situation surrounding the farm bill, including growing support in Congress for limiting eligibility by capping farmers’ income and increasing use of food stamps and other nutrition programs as the U.S. economy remains sluggish. “The economy will be a tremendous

issue going forward,” said Thatcher, “and one of the reasons it will be difficult to finish a farm bill in 2012.” Nutrition programs already account for about $700 billion—76 percent—of the farm bill’s total $911 billion in spending over 10 years. In addition, the growing cost of crop insurance premium subsidies, which grew from $4.7 billion in 2010 to $7 billion in 2011, could make them more of a target for cuts. Thatcher also provided an analysis of how other farm groups’ “shallow-loss” proposals could leave a lot of farmers in dire straits in years of catastrophic farm revenue losses. Most of those proposals would provide support more often, but only cover five percent to ten percent of a farmer’s losses. AFBF economist John Anderson provided an explanation of Farm Bureau’s Systemic Risk Reduction Program farm bill proposal, which is designed to protect

farmers from catastrophic revenue losses. Proposed SRRP coverage levels would be in the 70 percent to 80 percent range. It would be administered by the Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency and operate as a core program with farmers buying crop insurance as “wraparound” revenue risk protection. One of the most attractive features of the SRRP proposal, according to Anderson, is the impact it would have on lowering farmers’ crop insurance premiums. “As a program that’s integrated with crop insurance, crop insurance premiums could be re-rated to account for the fact that much of the risk is covered elsewhere,” he explained. “That would lower premiums and make buy-up coverage more affordable.” Farm Bureau delegates will set AFBF policy on the farm bill and other issues when they meet December 10th. The policies they approve will form AFBF’s agenda for the year.

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Member Benefits Savings for your Family or Business The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation offers benefits and services to its members, covering a range of options that respond to the needs of farmers, families and businesses in Wisconsin. AAA Farm Bureau members save 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 on their next renewal. In both instances, call 877.731.3315 and be prepared to give them the group code “WI07.”

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.


AVIS Car Rental Discount Program You can save 5%-25% on Avis’ daily and weekly rates. To receive these discounted rates, all you need to do is use your Avis Worldwide Discount number: A298849. To rent a car and enjoy benefits visit or call Avis at 1.800.331.1212.

Choice Hotels Members save an average of 20% at participating Choice Brand Hotels. Call 800.258.2847 to make the required advance reservation. Request Wisconsin Farm Bureau member rate using ID#


Stroke Detection Plus

Grainger Industrial Supply is the nation’s leading maintenance, repair and operational supplies distributor. Receive a 10% discount on all Grainger catalog items. For a free catalog call 608.221.3861. When ordering use the Farm Bureau account #855922019.

Stroke Prevention Plus offers preventative medical screenings at a discounted price to Farm Bureau members. These ultrasound screenings help detect blockages that can lead to stroke, aortic aneurysms and other artery diseases. Are you at risk? For more information, simply call 1.877.732.8258.

GM Private Offer Eligible members may now receive a $500 discount on qualifying 2011 or 2012 model year Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicles they purchase or lease. Please see the “Benefits & Membership” tab at

AgriPlan Medical Reimbursement Program


Rural Mutual Insurance

Farm Bureau has teamed up with TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) to bring you the AgriPlanNOW! program which is based on Section 105 of the IRS code and can allow farmers and other self-employed individuals to deduct 100 percent of their family’s medical expenses through their farm or business. AgriPlan clients save an average of $3,000 in taxes annually. Deductible expenses include health, dental and vision insurance premiums, qualified long term care insurance premiums, as well as any non-insured medical expenses such as dental, vision, prescriptions, over the counter medications and more. In addition, TASC will now pay your Farm Bureau membership dues when you sign up for AgriPlanNOW! To learn more about AgriPlan and/or sign up, go to www. 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. To get started, call 800.492.FARM (3276), or look online at

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.

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Farm Bureau Financial Services A dynamic multi-state insurance and investment organization serving individuals and families in not only rural areas, but also suburban and metropolitan. You can get more information about the financial services from your local Rural Insurance agent. Learn more about Farm Bureau Financial Services at

FS-GROWMARK Patronage Farm Bureau members who are patrons of their local FS cooperative are eligible to receive patronage dividends when patronage is paid.

ScriptSave Prescription Drug Savings Card ScriptSave is a prescription drug savings card available to all Wisconsin Farm Bureau members. The card is available to you at NO COST as an added feature of your membership. Your entire household can use the card for instant savings that average over 32% with potential savings up to 50% on brand name and generic medications (based on national program savings data). Call 1.800.700.3957 and reference Group #703A.

The Country Today Newspaper Here’s a way to save money, get informed on ag issues, AND help support a popular Farm Bureau program. Members now receive $7.50 off yearly subscriptions (and $15 off two-year subscriptions) and The Country Today then donates $5 to the Ag in the Classroom program.

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

on the web View additional WFBF Member Benefits and more details on our website at

wisconsin farm bureau federation


The 2012 Ag Outlook A guest column by Bruce Jones

F “The coming year looks to be another good one for Wisconsin farmers, but it is not expected to be as good as 2011.”


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or the most part, 2011 was an extremely good year for Wisconsin farmers. Prices were at or near record levels and farm profits were the highest they have ever been in the state. Cash grain farmers had good crop yields to go along with the high crop prices. So, their incomes were quite high. Dairy farmers also saw their incomes boosted by strong milk prices. But these income gains were partially offset by higher feed costs. Overall, the income gains of dairy farmers generally exceeded hikes in feed costs. So, the net incomes of dairy producers were also up in 2011. The coming year looks to be another good one for Wisconsin farmers, but it is not expected to be as good as 2011. Corn and soybean prices will most likely remain relatively high. However, they could be lower than what they were in 2011, largely because supplies of corn, soybeans and other feed grains could be up in 2012. Dairy farmers are likely to see the same price conditions as grain farmers. Milk prices in 2012 are expected to be $1.50 to $2.00 per hundredweight lower than they were in 2011. This means dairy producers could

be getting something close to $18.00 per hundredweight for milk in the coming year. This price of milk will probably turn a profit for most dairy producers in the coming year. Cattlemen and pork producers are expected to see higher prices in the coming year. This is the good news. The bad news is that they will continue to face high feed costs. The net result may lead to modest increases in the net profits of livestock producers. The costs of key inputs like fertilizer, seed and fuel are expected to continue to rise in the coming year. High demands will continue to put upward pressures on fertilizer prices and uncertainties in the Middle East will keep energy prices up. Rising input prices will create a challenge for farmers, but they are unlikely to prevent farmers from turning profits. Land rents have been steadily climbing the last few years primarily because high grain prices have elevated cropping returns. This uptrend in land rents is likely to continue so long as crop prices remain high. These higher rents will erode farmers’ profits, but increase the returns of landlords.

Credit is not likely to be a problem for most Wisconsin farmers in 2012. According to lenders responding to the Chicago Federal Reserve agricultural survey, credit should be readily available to credit-worthy farmers. Plenty of loanable funds are available primarily because farmers’ repayments have been up and loan demands have been down. Credit is most likely affordable because interest rates throughout the economy are quite low. This low interest rate environment will progress as long as the Federal Reserve continues its easy money policies that are intended to stimulate the US economy. Agriculture has been the one bright spot in an otherwise gloomy US economy. Hopefully this will continue in 2012. Bruce Jones is an agricultural economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He was a featured speaker at the Ag Outlook Forum held on the UW-Madison campus on January 25.

wisconsin farm bureau federation


The Consequence of Nonsense Guest Column by Texas Farm Bureau’s Mike Barnett


nce upon a time there was a little red hen. She lived with a food activist pig, a tree-hugging duck and a bureaucratic fat cat. They all lived in a pretty farm house, which the little red hen kept tidy. She worked hard every day, but the others never helped. The pig liked to complain, the duck liked to protest and the cat liked to raise unreasonable expectations. One day, the little red hen was working in the garden when she found a grain of corn. “Who will help me plant this grain of corn?” she asked. “Not I,” grunted the food activist pig. “It might be genetically modified.” “Not I,” quacked the tree-hugging duck. “It might leave a carbon footprint.” “Not I,” purred the bureaucratic fat cat. “We might raise some dust.” So the little red hen picked out a spot and planted the seed. During the summer the grain ripened in the sun until it turned a golden brown. The little red hen saw the corn was ready to harvest. “Who will help me cut the corn?” asked the little red hen. “Not I,” grunted the food activist pig. “You sprayed it with pesticides.” “Not I,” quacked the tree-hugging duck. “Global warming has made it too hot to work.” “Not I,” purred the bureaucratic fat cat. “You hired the kid next door and that’s against the law.” “Okay, I’ll do it myself,” said the little red hen. And she did, working hard in the hot sun to harvest the crop. “Who will take the grain to the mill, so that it can be ground into cornmeal?”

asked the little red hen. “Not I,” grunted the food activist pig. “The cornmeal won’t be local because the mill’s too far away.” “Not I,” quacked the tree-hugging duck. “The mill uses coal-generated electricity.” “Not I,” purred the bureaucratic fat cat. “The mill can’t meet proposed emission standards.” So the little red hen asked the miller to grind it. He sent the bag of cornmeal back to the farm house. “Who will help me make the cornmeal into bread?” asked the little red hen. “Not I,” grunted the food activist pig. “That’s processed cornmeal.” “Not I,” quacked the tree-hugging duck. “Trees died so that cornmeal could be packaged.” “Not I,” purred the bureaucratic fat cat. “The stove is old and doesn’t meet Section 4, Paragraph 6, Item 8 of the Oven Reform Act of 2002.” “Very well,” said the little red hen. “I’ll make the bread myself.” And it smelled good. The aroma filled the house and the pig, duck and cat came running. “Who is going to eat this bread?” asked the little red hen. “I will,” grunted the food activist pig. “I will,” quacked the tree-hugging duck. “I will,” purred the bureaucratic fat cat. “Oh no, you won’t,” said the little red hen. “You are shallow, unreasonable and tied up in bureaucratic red tape. I’ll eat it myself.” And she did. And the pig, duck and cat starved to death.

on the web Visit the Texas Farm Bureau website at

february | march 2012



A Blessing in Disguise

A Message from WFBF President Bill Bruins

T “The state’s budget deficit has been erased. That alone ought to be what people are talking about.”


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here is no doubt in my mind that our nation’s recession is the root cause for the political firestorm that has engulfed Wisconsin. Some would point to the controversial collective bargaining reform implemented last year, but that is just part of the story. The weak economy is what set the stage for the high-stakes political drama that has played out since Governor Walker took office. That drama included 14 state senators fleeing to Illinois to stall the vote, chants of “shame” by protestors and many elected officials, a union-organized protest that became state and national media’s lead story for weeks, and the recall of two state senators. The open hatred displayed in Madison ripped through every Wisconsin community and family. Ironically, at a time in our state’s history when we all swell with pride to be called fans of the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers and Milwaukee Brewers, we are also bitterly divided behind the battle lines drawn between taxpayers and public employee unions over how to right-size government and improve public education. It was not always this way.

When revenue collections from a growing tax base were increasing, our state could keep up with a growing demand for goods and services. Demands from public employee unions for richer benefit packages were granted. Then the economy soured. It was private sector workers who initially lost their jobs or were forced to pay all or part of their health insurance and retirement plans. It was only a matter of time before tough decisions would need to be made. Until funds became short, our state government had committed to funding two-thirds of the cost for public education. In January of 2011, Scott Walker inherited a $3.5 billion deficit, an electorate calling for no tax hikes and public employee unions demanding more. In lieu of massive state layoffs, he chose collective bargaining reform that asked for greater contributions from public employees. You might be asking what good has come from Gov. Walker’s fateful decision. Thousands of public employees (including teachers) have kept their jobs. Property taxes (another major component of funding our schools) have increased very little. In fact,

many of us saw smaller tax bills in December. Much of the government’s downsizing is being accomplished though attrition. A large majority of school administrators feel they are in a better position to improve education, remove ineffective teachers and provide greater compensation based on performance. Finally, the state’s budget deficit has been erased. That alone ought to be what people are talking about. I have often wondered if our state would ever have the intestinal fortitude to deal with its looming deficit. I never imagined the person that washed away the state’s ocean of red ink might be recalled for doing so. That is because I think Governor Walker has thrown the door of opportunity wide open. Now is the time for public employees to shed the union’s security blanket, join hands with their fellow taxpayers and walk through that doorway of opportunity. Doing so will lead to a brighter tomorrow for our schools, communities and state. If that happens as a result of the tough decisions we have made in Wisconsin, then I believe that this painful recession that led us down this road has been a blessing in disguise.

wisconsin farm bureau federation


Farmers Pay Their Fair Share of Property Taxes Guest Column by Paul Zimmerman


have recently received several inquiries about property taxes, classifications and the use value assessment of agricultural land. It is not surprising, considering 2011 property taxes were just paid, that 2012 property tax assessments are on their way. Currently, farm commodity prices are strong. I have also heard comments from local government officials who say that farmers are not paying their fair share of property taxes. Given the difficult fiscal situation that most local units of government are trying to work through, I am not surprised by this. It is always easy to blame someone else. However, we need to address this misconception directly because their claim is not true. In 2005, Wisconsin farmers paid $261 million in property taxes on their cropland, homes, farm buildings and forest land. In 2010, farmers paid $318 million in property taxes for the land and buildings they owned. That is a 22 percent increase. It is virtually the same percentage increase experienced by home owners across the state. Further, given the recent high corn prices and input costs, farmers have asked what the impacts to the use value assessment formula will be. Let me share how the use value assessment formula works.

The current use value assessment formula was adopted in 2005 by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) with former Governor Doyle’s approval. A new formula was needed at that time because use value assessments would have gone negative under the initial use value formula. Use value assessment is now calculated based upon a shared rent approach which is based on the production of corn. In a shared rent agreement between a land owner and a farmer who rents the land, the risk of raising the crop and the income from selling the crop are split between the two parties. Typically, income and direct operational costs are equally distributed between the land owner and the farmer, with the land owner responsible for property taxes and the farmer responsible for labor and machinery costs. The income generated from this calculation is then divided by a capitalization rate. Under the use value assessment formula, the capitalization rate is 11 percent or the sum of the interest rate for a one-year adjustable rate mortgage and the municipal tax rate, whichever is greater. Please note that the higher the capitalization rate, the lower the assessed value. To ensure the capitalization rate does not drop below 11 percent, it is necessary to limit valuation swings due to quickly

declining interest rates, which we experienced just a couple of years ago. Further, in order to prevent a drastic increase in agricultural property taxes, DOR included a mechanism to limit the change from one year to the next. This is also done in other states to help alleviate the impact of commodity price swings from year to year. The capping mechanism prevents use value assessments from increasing or decreasing by more than the change in other property values throughout the state or as determined by the formula, whichever is less. To illustrate, in 2005 the average statewide use value assessment was $200 per acre under the old use value assessment formula. If DOR had not included a capping mechanism, assessments would have risen over 250% to $515 per acre in 2006. Under the current formula, assessments have changed from year to year as follows: Percent change in assessed value of ag land under the use value assessment: • 2006 - 6% increase • 2007 - 6% increase • 2008 - 4% increase • 2009 - 2% increase • 2010 - 2% decrease Finally, there are about 11 million acres of crop and pasture land in Wisconsin. For the 2010 property tax year, the taxes paid on this land

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“In 2010, farmers paid $318 million in property taxes for the land and buildings they owned. ”

were $44.5 million (or about $4.05 per acre as a statewide average). Property taxes vary from farm to farm depending upon soil productivity and the local tax rate. The use value assessment formula is sound for years to come and attempts to open up the law or change the formula should be viewed as messing up a good thing. The bottom line is that Wisconsin farmers are paying their fair share of property taxes.



Farm Bureau’s Institute Grows a New Crop of Leaders

Members of the 2012 Farm Bureau Institute class include: 1. Katelin Haglund, Elk Mound 2. Eugene Hansen, Chilton 3. Kathleen Papcke, Elkhorn 4. Luke Lisowe, Chilton 5. Melissa Eron, Junction City

6. Michael Salter, Black Creek 7. Bill Barlass, Janesville 8. Raymond Liska, Cochrane 9. Kelly Sime, Stoughton 10. Ryan Staidl, Peshtigo


ifteen emerging agricultural leaders make up 2012’s Farm Bureau Institute. The year-long leadership training program aims to develop strong and effective county Farm Bureau leaders. “Now in its sixth year, the Farm Bureau Institute offers personal growth and leadership training to members with the potential to make a positive impact on Farm Bureau and agriculture,” said Dale Beaty, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Director of Training and Leadership Development. In January, the Institute met to identify personality and leadership skills, and receive public speaking and etiquette tips. Subsequent sessions will focus on media and advocacy training, local and state government, Farm Bureau structure and function, and agricultural issues. Institute members will also participate in the Farm Bureau Leader Fly-in to Washington, D.C. in 2013. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Rural Mutual Insurance Company and GROWMARK, Inc. co-sponsor the Institute with WFBF.

interested in joining? Farm Bureau members interested in applying for the 2013 Institute can contact Dale Beaty at 608.828.5714, email him at or go to


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wisconsin farm bureau federation

11. Kimberly Forrester, Brodhead 12. Sally Turpin, Darlington 13. Peter Muth, Fredonia 14. Alex Bringe, Viroqua 15. Jim Hodge, Janesville

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Day 1 - FRIDAY, APRIL 27 9:00-10:00 a.m. 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Registration Welcome, Keynote Presentation

Paul Wesselmann

GREAT Expectations: Five Awesome Actions for Success in Work & Life

11:15-12:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions #1 (choose one)

Kevin Bernhardt Sabrina Matteson George Chavez Paul Wesselmann

Financial Statements - WHY? Building Social Capital Forever Fitness Too Many To-Dos: Practical Time Management Tips

Ag SWomen’s U M M I T

12:30-1:30 p.m. 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Lunch Breakout Sessions #2 (choose one)

Kevin Bernhardt Phil Harris Cheryl Skjolaas Paul Wesselmann

Financial Statements - WHY? (repeat) Selecting the Farm Business Arrangement that Works for You Keeping Young Hearts Safe on the Farm Too Many To-Dos: Practical Time Management Tips (repeat)

April 27-28, 2012

3:00-4:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions #3 (choose one)

Sabrina Matteson Phil Harris Cheryl Skjolaas George Chavez

Building Social Capital (repeat) Selecting the Farm Business Arrangement that Works for You (repeat) Keeping Young Hearts Safe on the Farm (repeat) Forever Fitness (repeat)

5:00-6:00 p.m. 6:00-7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.-?

Social Banquet & Program Entertainment by Piano Fondue (back by popular demand!)


Kalahari Resort,Wisconsin Dells SAVE $25 BY REGISTERING EARLY Early Registration Fee: $115/person (received on or before February 27th) After February 27th: $140/person


Registration Deadline: April 23 SAVE $ ON HOTEL RESERVATIONS You are responsible for your own room reservations at the Kalahari Resort. Request the WI Ag Women’s Summit room block on or before March 27th, to receive the REDUCED standard room rate (up to 4/ room): $139/night + tax. Regular rates will apply for reservations made after March 27th. (877-525-2427,

6:30-7:30 a.m.

Workout w/ George Chavez (optional)

7:30-10:30 a.m.


8:00-9:00 a.m.


9:15-10:15 a.m.

Breakout Sessions #1 (choose one)

Sabrina Matteson Unlimited Community Development Kay Wiemer & What to Keep, What to Throw Away: Organizing & Janine Lovekamp Retaining Your Tax & Farm Records Information Rochelle Ripp, Social Media Frenzy - Likes, Tweets & Blogs Katie Davis & Ann Larson Paul Wesselmann Less Stress, More Sanity: Managing Burnout & Compassion Fatigue

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions #2 (choose one)

Repeat Sessions #1 except Sabrina Matteson to present Building HomeTown Prosperity

11:45-12:30 p.m.


12:45-3:45 p.m.

Keynote Presentation

Kevin Hall

Transform Your Life Through the Power of Words

4:00 p.m.


Get all the latest updates!


Farm Bureau 


University of Wisconsin–Extension

TO REGISTER: Complete the mail-in form below -OR- register and pay online at (link under Customer Corner) Name(s): Address: City:


Phone: E-Mail: Are you a WI Farm Bureau member? Yes_____ No_____



Are you a Badgerland Financial customer? Yes_____ No_____

Note: You do not have to be a member or customer to attend. All are invited and welcome!

Do you have special dietary needs? Yes_____ No_____

If yes, please indicate:

Please mail form and payment to: WI Ag Women’s Summit, Attn: Dale Beaty, WFBF, P.O. Box 5550, Madison, WI 53705 Please make checks payable to: WFBF

ag in the classroom

My American Farm Offers Resources for Sharing Agriculture’s Story


he American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture invited Farm Bureau members to join the conversation at the American Farm Bureau Federation 93rd Annual Meeting. “We need farmers and ranchers of all types, all ages, all sizes to share their personal stories of agriculture with the consumers we serve,” said Dan Durheim, director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. To support members in sharing their story, the foundation featured a number of new resources related to the My American Farm project at the annual meeting. My American Farm was developed to engage millions of young people, teachers and parents through unique educational experiences, educator resources and fun family activities in an online environment. My American Farm would not be possible without sponsorship from the title sponsor Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, which pledged more than $535,000 over three years to the project. “Modern agriculture allows farmers and ranchers to grow more food using fewer resources and offers Americans an array of food choices,” said Steve Brody, director of Global Biotechnology Affairs and Industry Relations for Pioneer. “We are proud to support innovative programs like My American Farm because we believe resources like this can help farmers engage in conversations locally to share this important message with consumers and most importantly with our youth, who represent our nation’s future decision makers.” As adoption of the site grows, curators of this resource recognize that it has the potential to be so much more. “My American Farm is more than the games and resources, it’s a fun and

engaging way to share positive messages about agriculture with the public,” says Curtis Miller, director of education for the AFB Foundation. Over the last year, the foundation has expanded the resource. The site now offers 15 interactive and educational games. New educator resources, such as videos, e-comics, lessons and fun family activities, expand the site’s reach to include students and parents. In addition, an interactive toolkit was added to offer educators and volunteers a one-stop resource to get the most out of My American Farm. Members can go online to for more information. In addition to showcasing the resource in its booth, the foundation also hosted a My American Farmthemed luau at the annual meeting. On the way to the luau, members and guests saw a brand new video challenging them to join the conversation by sharing agriculture’s story in their local schools and communities. Pioneer made a

special donation specifically for the My American Farm luau and related events at the annual meeting. According to Durheim, this donation is above and beyond Pioneer’s ongoing support for the project and demonstrates Pioneer’s full commitment to the aims and purposes of the My American Farm program. The Join the Conversation video is now available to states as a resource to encourage members to engage in building awareness and increasing understanding using resources such as My American Farm. At the conclusion of the luau, the foundation gave away a My American Farm kiosk to the state that purchased the most tickets to the event. The kiosk will be available for use as an agricultural literacy exhibit at venues throughout the state. The free games, activities and educator resources for My American Farm are available to everyone at www.

february | march 2012



news resources for teachers

Ag in the Classroom NEWS educational resources to explore Wisconsin Career and Technical Education allows students to explore the world of work as they discover their interests, talents and abilities. This site also equips students with research skills to enable them to form a realistic picture of job opportunities. Whether moving on to further education, training or employment, every Wisconsin student moves through curriculum-based career awareness, exploration, planning and preparation that leads to a realistic individualized career plan compatible with the student’s abilities, aptitudes and interests. National FFA Week- February 18-25, 2012 – FFA Week gives members a chance to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters host teacher appreciation breakfasts, conduct “Ag Olympics” competitions, speak to the public about agriculture and volunteer for community service projects. The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947. National Ag Day- March 8, 2012 – National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 4-10, 2012. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year farmers, ag associations, universities, government agencies and businesses across America join together to recognize ag’s contributions. For more on Ag in the Classroom, visit


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Essay Contest Entries Due April 1 This year’s essay contest topic is “Why crops and plants are important to Wisconsin agriculture.” Entries are due postmarked by April 1st to county essay coordinators. The contest is open to Wisconsin 4th and 5th graders. The essays are judged on content, grammar, spelling and neatness, and must be between 100 to 300 words in length. Sponsors of the contest are We Energies, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Frontier FS and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation. For more information call 608.828.5719 or email Plans for this Summer? Attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference The 2012 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference will be held June 19-22 in Loveland, Colorado. Engaging, interactive workshops will share methods for incorporating real-life agricultural applications into language arts, nutrition, science, social studies and math classroom lessons. Attending benefits educators of all grade levels, administrators, curriculum developers, career guidance counselors, extension educators, and Ag in the Classroom volunteers. Learn more at Summer Teacher Training Plans are being finalized for two summer teacher training opportunities. Training on classroom presentations and soybean science kits will be offered in June in the Green Bay area. A two-day traveling bus tour to farms, agribusinesses and educational facilities will be offered in July in southcentral Wisconsin. As details are finalized, information will be posted at Both teachers and volunteers are encouraged to participate.

wisconsin farm bureau federation

ag in the classroom

Food and Farm Facts: A Versatile Resource


he “Food and Farm Facts” book, grade-specific educators’ guides and related materials, is a versatile resource for anyone interested in agricultural advocacy and literacy. Attendees of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting were provided a copy of the 32-page book that features color photographs, charts and graphs illustrating interesting facts about agriculture. The book is the centerpiece of the “Food and Farm Facts” series produced by AFBF. “‘Food and Farm Facts’ was developed with farmers and ranchers in mind,” said Cyndie Sirekis, director of news services at AFBF. “Farmers advocating about agriculture will find the ‘Food and Farm Facts’ book to be a helpful resource when starting conversations with consumers, many of whom have questions about how the food they eat is grown and where it originates.” Book sections highlight how various foods are produced, agriculture’s shrinking environmental footprint, food consumption and safety, and historical highlights. A map is included in each book showing where major crops and commodities are grown. “‘Food and Farm Facts’ should be in every classroom, boardroom and newsroom,” said Curtis Miller, director of education for the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. “For the first time, we’re pleased to offer for sale bundles of various Farm Facts materials put together to help tell the story of agriculture to diverse audiences.” 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 1000W Washington, DC 20024

Phone: 202-406-3600


11-001-001 ORDER ING INFORM ATION: Interested in ordering more copies Go to: http://foodandfa of this publication or or http://w related products?

Farm Bureau®

Food And


Order items from the “Food and Farm Facts” series online at or Credit card payments are accepted.

Save the date! We hope you can join us for the... Save the date! We hope you can join us for the

14 Annual Golf Outing Fundraiser 14th Annual Golf Outing Fundraiser Monday, September 12, 2011 – New location!! Monday, September 10, 2012 th

at Darlene Arneson, Foundation Director 608-828-5719

4740 Pierceville Rd, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin 53527

For registration and Rd, sponsorship information, please visit: 4740 Pierceville Cottage Grove, Wisconsin 53527 Darlene Arneson, Director 608-828-5719

Watch for registration and sponsorship information!

february | march 2012


ag in the classroom

Fennimore Educator Recognized for Agricultural Literacy Work “Regardless of age, all students learn better when they are given hands-on opportunities. Students also learn in a variety of ways, so teachers can meet all students’ needs if they teach to all learning styles. I have learned that this is especially true of kindergarteners. In my classroom, children are moving around, playing with materials and sharing their personal knowledge,” said Brenda Bunn, a kindergarten teacher at Fennimore Elementary School and recipient of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom’s Outstanding Teacher Award. 34

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ach year, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau recognizes a teacher for their efforts in educating students on the importance of agriculture. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, with the exclusion of certified agriculture education instructors, are eligible to apply for the award. “Brenda and fellow staff members, Rebecca Timmerman and Pamela Waltz, have developed an outstanding series of units that cover safety, sunflowers, pumpkins, plants, food, bees and other agricultural topics,” said Darlene Arneson, Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator. In these agriculture units, the teachers wisconsin farm bureau federation

It was an exciting day for the kindergarten students at Fennimore Elementary School when Wisconsin Farm Bureau honored their teacher, Brenda Bunn, with the Outstanding Teacher Award. Bunn and other staff members have developed a number of units that help the students learn about agriculture, farming and safety.

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utilize Grant County Farm Bureau resource kits including activities, books and lesson plans. Bunn received her B.A. in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa, reading teacher certification from University of Wisconsin–Platteville and early childhood certification from Cardinal Stritch University. She has taught in Florissant, Missouri and Boscobel before coming to Fennimore in 2007. Bunn will be Wisconsin’s nominee for the National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award and will receive a cash award. A presentation was made to Fennimore’s three kindergarten classes acknowledging the teachers’ team effort and Bunn’s recognition. “I think it is important for children to understand the incredible impact farming has on our daily lives,” Bunn said. “Along with the respect they gain for this profession comes the understanding of dangers that are also present (chemicals, large machinery, etc.). Children are very inquisitive and many accidents can be prevented with education. I feel that this is one of the most important things I teach.” Kid’s group picture caption: It was an exciting day for the kindergarten students at Fennimore Elementary School when Wisconsin Farm Bureau honored their teacher, Brenda Bunn, with the Outstanding Teacher Award. Bunn and other staff members have developed a number of units that help the students learn about agriculture, farming and safety.

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february | march 2012



Shining our Spotlight on…

Carl Casper, Dunn County Farm Bureau Board Member


nvesting in the next generation of agriculturists – that is what Carl Casper, a Farm Bureau member for over 50 years, holds near and dear to his heart. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation does just that, and Carl makes the Foundation one of his priorities. “It is my way of giving back to Farm Bureau in appreciation of what Farm Bureau has done for me,” he said. Carl supports the WFB Foundation through his commitment to the Learn and Lead Program, donations and support of the Foundation Silent Auction, and by encouraging others to give financially to the Foundation. Carl says one way he has seen the positive benefits of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation is by supporting the development of young leaders in our organization. Over the years, Carl has mentored Kevin Gilbertson, Jim Holte, Geri Wolfe, Jesse Singerhouse and many others. By encouraging them to participate in many activities the Foundation supports—such as YFA activities, Farm Bureau Institute, FFA, 4-H and other programs—they have all become very active leaders. When Carl was selected for the Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau Award, Jim Holte, WFBF District 9 Board Directo,

said, “The thing about Carl is not just that he’s been so active; it’s the way he has supported, encouraged and lifted up so many other people to be better Farm Bureau members.” Carl says moving the WFBF Annual Meeting and combining the event with the YFA conference was a great decision. Including the YFA members in the Foundation’s Silent Auction allows them to have fun supporting the Foundation while also gaining support from it. Farm Bureau leadership activities have molded Carl in many ways. He has been very active in his church, town board and other community activities by utilizing the leadership, speaking and other skills that Farm Bureau has helped him develop. Carl has been both president and vice president of the Dunn County Farm Bureau. He helped with the creation of the Farm Bureau’s FFA Farm Forum and has served on several state committees, including the state Young Farmer’s Committee from 1965 to 1970. Carl encourages you and your county to strongly consider supporting the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation and invest in the next generation of agriculturists. To learn more, visit

Shining our spotlight on… will feature individuals, groups and businesses that support the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation and its efforts to provide support for agricultural education and leadership development. To learn more about the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, visit and click on “FB Foundation.”


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Dunn Donates Dunn County Farm Bureau participates in the Learn and Lead Program and supports the Foundation through its purchases of children’s books and various Ag in the Classroom supplies and kits. Individual members and the Dunn County Farm Bureau donate unique and quality items for the silent auction, give memorials in the name of past members to the Foundation, and purchase Farm Bureau member signs to present as thank you’s and awards to members who have gone above and beyond in volunteering to support Dunn County Farm Bureau programs. Other members also individually donate to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation.

wisconsin farm bureau federation

nda tion Dear Wisconsin Farm Bureau Fou tributi on to the Wisconsin Thank you for your generous con n. Your investment tio Environmental Education Founda effective environmental t por all ows us to continue to sup d communities. Whether education for Wisconsin kids an school children to get you help fund grants tha t enable ir school, all ow for the the a closer look at energy use in gardens, make teacher al ion cat creati on of community edu rs during and after the training possible, get kids outdooneed, you contributi on will school day, or meet some other t promote ecolog ically tha support education opportuni ties sustainable communities. Sincerely, Jesse Haney Program Director Dear Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundati on ks you The 2012 Wisconsin FFA Alumni Conventi on than enti on. for your contribution for the support of the conv The conventi on is the main fundraiser for the FFA Wisconsin FFA Alumni to be used to support the chapters throughout Wisconsin. Sincerely yours, Robert Keough Conventi on Treasurer

University of Wisconsin

School of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dear Friends, Your gift to the Wisconsin Rur al Youth Scholarship Fund show s your commitment to a future that will benefit the planet and everyone on it. Your investm ent in CALS is an affirmation of the work we do to ensure adequate supplies of good food and clea n energy, as well as an exceptio nal education for students. William F. Tracy Interim Dean and Director UW-Madison College of Agr iculture

and Life Sciences

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Thank you so much for sponsoring the 4-H Key Award! I am so excited to receive it! 4-H has such a big impact on my life and has made me a better d person! I am so honored to have gotten this awar and appreciate your sponsorship.

Sincerely, Chantal Voss Nashotah, WI

‘Seed Money’ Support for Ag Literacy


he sale of some corn, soybean and alfalfa seeds are also helping plant the seeds of agricultural literacy. Through the sale of FS Brand Seed Corn, FS HiSoy® soybean seed and FS WL alfalfa seed in Wiscocnsin, GROWMARK, Inc. cooperatives, Frontier FS of Jefferson, Conserv FS of Woodstock, Illinois, and Servco FS of Antigo recently presented the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation with $3,216 for the Ag in the Classroom program. Of that, $1,529 was distributed to 22 county Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom programs that met the minimum sales and activity requirements. Those counties included: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Langlade, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Fou


On behalf of the Cranberry Mus eum Inc. Board of Directors and the Wisconsin Cranberry Disc overy staff, I thank you for you r support of the Wisconsin Cra nberry Discovery Center. You r generous donation is greatly appreciated and will assist us in our continued efforts to educate the public about Wisconsin’s No. 1 fruit crop.

Barbara Hendricks, Director Wisconsin Cranberry Discove ry Cen

february | march 2012



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Workers’ Compensation Helps Cover Farm Risks


ou may think that workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t apply to you. But, most insurance policies exclude the “treatment, services and supplies for any injuries and illnesses covered by workers’ compensation.” The law mandates this coverage only for farmers who employ six or more persons on any 20 consecutive or non-consecutive days during a calendar year. Whether optional or required by law, Wisconsin farmers, especially those who rely on family members, should consider Workers’ Compensation Insurance protection to keep the farm running smoothly.

Benefits to Employees Workers’ Compensation provides distinct benefits for employees who have sustained injuries or illnesses related to employment including: • Coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical costs • Payments for temporary loss of wages • Payments for permanent loss of earning capacity

Benefits to Employers Workers’ Compensation restricts injured employees or their family members from suing the employer due to injuries sustained at work. To get more information, contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent or visit us on the web at


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WIAA Sportsmanship Award Winners Announced


he WIAA announced the winners of the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Company Sportsmanship Award for the 2011 Fall State Championships. The winners of this prestigious award are Eau Claire Memorial for Girl’s Team Tennis, Catholic Memorial for Boy’s Volleyball, Oostburg for Girl’s Volleyball, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln for Football and Elkhorn Area H.S. for Boy’s Soccer. Rural Mutual has sponsored the WIAA Sportsmanship Award since 1964. 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 ensure support for their teams is positive and that the highest ideals of sportsmanship are upheld. Award winners receive a plaque and banner in recognition of the honor. The selection process includes contributions and evaluations from contest officials, tournament management, police and security personnel, crowd control and ushers, WIAA staff members, area hotels, and restaurants.

wisconsin farm bureau federation

“WHY DO I USE FS?” “What really sets FS apart

is what they know about farming, and our farm in particular. They really know our land and our operation, and we can trust that the recommendations they make are going to work for us.”


Stan & Willis Kelsey

Corn and soybean growers

february | march 2012 39 ©2011 GROWMARK, Inc. A12296E

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We value what’s important in life. That’s why we have been protecting families, businesses and farms exclusively in Wisconsin for over 75 years. In fact, we are the number one insurer of farms in the state offering the best coverage for Wisconsin’s $60 billion agriculture industry. Premiums paid here, stay here to keep Wisconsin strong. Locate one of our 150 agents today at

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February | March, 2012 Volume 18 Issue 1

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