Agriculture Archives for 2017-07

Door and Kewaunee County Farmers Forced To Adjust Cropping After Wet July


By Tim Kowols




Farmers in Kewaunee and Door County have had to make significant adjustments to their cropping schedule this year due to the weather. Sturgeon Bay received more than double its average rainfall total in the month of July at over seven inches while the sporadic nature of the storms has made it hard for farmers to get into the fields. Rich Olson from Olson Family Farms in Sturgeon Bay says his cows will get a sweeter surprise when they munch on their hay this fall as getting a dry crop in this year has been next to impossible.

 



 

 

Farmers are also dealing with a poor alfalfa crop after the region was declared a crop disaster area after extreme fluctuations this winter.

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Blue Ribbons Begin On Farms For Agropur's Luxemburg Plant


By Tim Kowols




The road to a pair of awards at the Wisconsin State Fair begins on the farms of northeast Wisconsin for the Agropur cheese plant in Luxemburg.  Over 120 farms in northeast Wisconsin send their milk to the Luxemburg plant, where it is produced mostly into the mozzarella Master Cheesemaker Roger Krohn captured 1st and 3rd place awards with at the Wisconsin State Fair Cheese and Butter Contest in June. With more than 100,000 pounds of the award-winning mozzarella being produced daily at the plant, Agropur Producer Services Manager Jeff Montsma says farmers and technology have kept up with the pace.

 



 

The mozzarella made in Luxemburg is not a stranger to awards this year, capturing a best of class and second award at the U.S.  Championship Cheese Contest held in Green Bay earlier this year.

 

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Kewaunee County Board Member Calls For Monitoring To Follow Stricter Manure Spreading Regulations


By Tim Kowols




Kewaunee County Board member Lee Luft is in favor of the Department of Natural Resources' proposed rules for manure spreading in northeast Wisconsin. If approved, farmers would be forbidden from spreading manure on land with less than two feet of soil to bedrock and on frozen or snow covered ground with five feet of soil to bedrock. Both restrictions would be stricter than what is already on the books in Kewaunee County, but in the wake of a Luxemburg farmer being fined $50,000 for improper manure spreading Luft says rules are only as good as the monitoring that goes with it.

 



 

The new proposed rules come after Dr. Mark Borchardt from the United States Department of Agriculture found a relationship between water recharge events, soil depth, and groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County. Don Niles from Peninsula Pride Farms said last week farmers will have to adjust and collaborate with other operators to properly spread their manure.

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4-H Members Showing Projects And Confidence At Kewaunee County Fair


By Tim Kowols




Kewaunee County 4-H members showed much more than just their animals Thursday as much of the judging schedule got underway. Whether it was Daria Ahrens showing in her third Kewaunee County Fair or Will Hewett showing his animals for a final time, 4-H members display their knowledge of their animals in the barns and their confidence in the ring.

 

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Becky Schleis has noticed the changes in her daughter, Morgan, since she joined 4-H and began participating in the group's horse project.

 



 

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After Friday's dairy and poultry shows and round robin showmanship competition, 4-H members will have other opportunities to have their animals judged on Saturday. You can see the projects ranging from baked goods and art projects to steers and pigs at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds through Sunday.

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Stricter Manure Spreading Rules Could Be Coming To Northeast Wisconsin


By Tim Kowols




Farmers may have to work together to properly spread their manure if new proposals from the Department of Natural Resources are approved. The new rules would apply specifically to northeast Wisconsin where the karst geology and fractured bedrock has led to tainted wells across the region, specifically in Kewaunee County. According to Wisconsin State Farmer, manure spreading on fields with less than two feet of soil, frozen or snow covered ground above less than five feet of soil, and areas within 250 feet of a drinking water well would be prohibited under the proposed rules. Don Niles from the farmer-formed Peninsula Pride Farms says the proposed rules are stricter than what is already in the area and operators will have to be creative and collaborative to properly spread their manure.

 



 

Niles says the new rules are reflective of a study presented by Dr. Mark Borchardt from the United States Department of Agriculture last month showing the relationship between water recharge events, soil depth to bedrock, and groundwater contamination. The DNR is currently collecting comments on the subject for review.

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Successful Farm Technology Days In Kewaunee County Gives Eberts Plenty Of Good Memories


By Tim Kowols




Clean-up has begun at Ebert Enterprises in Algoma after hosting the three-day Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. According to the event's executive committee, Kewaunee County was the first draw more than its own population to the event and expects to exceed its net profit, which will go towards local causes. It was especially memorable for Jordan and Whitney Ebert, who along with their parents Randy and Renee hosted people from across the country. As memorable as the opening ceremonies were with Gov. Scott Walker and remembering his late sister Britney, Jordan says one of his favorite parts of the show was throwing an appreciation party for the nearly 1,900 volunteers that helped put the event on.

 



 

Whitney says it was great to see the community come together for the last week.

 



 

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days will take place next year in  Wood County.

 

FUN 2017 FARM TECHNOLOGY DAYS NUMBERS COURTESY OF KRISTY PAGEL

-The first day of the show attracted over 10,000 visitors, the highest attendance on day one in several years. The official Opening Ceremony had a record-breaking 550 attendees, including Governor Scott Walker and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel.

 

-All 1,000 of the Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days commemorative toy, a Gehl 800 Forage Harvester, were sold out completely before the show opened. The last time the commemorative toy was sold out was 2012, when Outagamie County hosted the event.

 

-Tram rides to tour Ebert Enterprises farm were enjoyed by over 50 percent of attendees. Nearly 1,500 tram rides were provided for field demonstrations, which only ran for half of the show due to weather conditions.

 

-15,000 hamburgers and cheeseburgers were served over the three-day period, including 11,250 bowls of ice cream.

 

-Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days was supported by 67 Landmark Farms located in Kewaunee County and surrounding townships in Door, Brown and Manitowoc Counties. The Landmark Farms were not just dairy-related, but included beef, hog, crop and other kinds of farms.

 

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Farmers Have Options After Alfalfa Crop Declared A Disaster In Door, Kewaunee Counties


By Tim Kowols




Farmers in Door and Kewaunee County are trying to figure out what they can plant in their alfalfa fields after they were declared a crop disaster area earlier this month. Late January and early February played games with the alfalfa underground, being warm enough for the plant to push through the surface only to freeze a short time later. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator Aerica Bjurstrom says alfalfa is crucial to the diet of a cow and farmers will have to rely on last year's crop to make it through the year.

 



 

Bjurstom says there is still time to plant some kind of crop to go in those fields. Farmers wishing to make a claim on a lost alfalfa crop can contact the Farm Service Agency located in Luxemburg.

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Farm Technology Days Concludes Thursday


By Tim Kowols




Humid weather and early morning rains are proving not to be deterrent to the crowds attending this year's Wisconsin Farm Technology Days hosted by Kewaunee County. Attendees have been lining up daily to check out the different field demonstrations and for tram tours of the host farm Ebert Enterprises. Mark Dillenburg from Kewaunee last attended a Farm Technology Days 50 years when it went under a different name in Manitowoc County. He says it is amazing to see how far technology has come.

 



 

The horse arena has also been a popular spot during the first two days of the event with horsemen Chris Cox and Dan James showing off their skills in addition to helping local horse owners with their own riding issues. James, a native of Australia, says he has enjoyed interacting with the guests checking out his shows.



 

Nearly 10,000 people attended the first day of the three-day event Tuesday, marking one of the highest attended openings in several years. Farm Technology Days concludes Thursday afternoon.

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Door County Environmental Council Sponsoring Organic Farming Trolley Tour


By Marissa Hatlen




Local sustainable farming is on the menu next week as the Door County Environmental Council offers a trolley tour to Waseda Farm, Emerald Acres Farm, and the Peninsular Research Station on July 20th. Participants will see how local growers produce sustainable meat, fruits, and vegetables on the tour.

Visitors will see Waseda Farms' process for raising organic beef, pork, and chicken, and will tour Emerald Acres Farm to find out how they can support local producers while getting fresh organic produce through Community Supported Agriculture. Jeff Lutsey of Waseda Farms says he hopes to use the trolley tour talks to involve more of the community in sustainable agriculture methods.

 



 

David Boyarski of Emerald Acres Farm adds that while organic farming comes with challenges, making vegetables fun and delicious for the community is its own reward.

 



 

The trolley will also make stops featuring invasive species research at Peninsular Research Station and a locally-grown organic lunch. You can get tickets to the trolley tour for $12 at the link below.

www.dcec-wi.org

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Britney Ebert's Spirit Lives On As Farm Technology Days Sets To Open In Kewaunee County Tuesday


By Tim Kowols




While the 1,000-plus days leading up to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Kewaunee County have given the Ebert family plenty of smiles, along the way they lost their rock. Last May, Britney Ebert died suddenly, leaving a void in the lives of her parents Randy and Renee and her siblings Jordan and Whitney. The memories are still fresh in their minds, right down to Britney not always remembering to shut the refrigerator door. It is why Whitney says she and other family members are not afraid to tell a story about her twin sister.

 



 

In the year since, Renee says she has noticed the community rally around the family, and not just because of all of the work that needed to be done to make the three-day show a reality.

 



 

Britney will be remembered throughout the show, including a street in Tent City, her favorite toy Play Doh being hidden throughout the grounds, and a butterfly release during Tuesday's opening ceremony, which takes place at the Family Living Tent at 9:30 a.m.

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Cherries Survive Severe Weather Ahead Of Harvest Season


By Paul Schmitt




Door County's cherry crop is getting close to market.  Despite some severe weather recently the cherries look to be red and ready to harvesting later this week, according to Steve Wood from Wood Orchards in Egg Harbor and Sturgeon Bay.

 



 

Wood predicts that cherries will be at the farm markets by this coming weekend.   Door County is home to more than 2,500 acres of cherry orchards, according to the Wisconsin Cherry Growers Association.

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Education To Take Center Stage At Farm Technology Days In Kewaunee County


By Tim Kowols




There will not be a shortage of educational opportunities for attendees to this year's Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Kewaunee County. Farmers will be able to check out the newest innovations in the demonstration areas while children will be able to follow the path their food takes from farm to table. The UW-Extension office will also have a large presence at the three-day event inside their own tent with a number of specialists lined up to cover a variety of topics including dairy, farm business and marketing, and water quality. Door County Extension Agriculture Educator Annie Deutsch says attendees will have a chance to interact and learn a lot about the industry.

 



 

The UW-Extension Education Station and Soil Pit will be located on Britty's Memory Lane inside the Farm Technology Days Tent City all three days of the event, which begins on Tuesday.

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Youth Getting Ready For Door County Fair Auction


By Mark Kanz




The Door County Fair is still a few weeks away, but many preparations are already underway. Krissy Phillips is a board member for the Quality Market Animal Sale.  Her involvement began when she was in school and continues now with her children.

 



 

Phillips says they get some interesting looks from passers-by while walking the lambs along the road.  4-H and FFA members from 3rd grade through a year out of high school will be participating in the auction on Saturday, August 5 at 7 p.m. Youngsters are expected to sell about a dozen steers, about 20 lambs, 40 pigs and several rabbits, turkeys, and chickens.  Many families put the proceeds into a college fund for their kids.

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Peninsular Research Station Helping Orchard With Door County Cherry Pests


By Tim Kowols




As cherry orchard owners are preparing for harvest in the next few weeks, the staff at the University of Wisconsin Peninsular Research Center in Sturgeon Bay is working hard to identify the pests and diseases potentially harming it. Researchers have been keeping a close eye on the spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest from the coasts since 2013, as they to find treatment and preventative methods to limit their damage. Peninsular Research Station Superintendent Matt Stasiak says he has members trying to identify natural predators of the spotted wing drosophila as an alternative to pesticides.



 

The Peninsular Research Center works with orchard owners throughout the year on other studies to help them produce their crops more efficiently.

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Bjurstrom Reflects On Bringing Farm Technology Days To Kewaunee County


By Tim Kowols




As the tents continue to go up in Algoma, what started five years ago is now down to less than 5 days for Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator and Farm Technology Days Executive Committee member Aerica Bjurstrom. It was Bjurstrom's idea to bring the largest farm show in the state to Kewaunee County when she started the bidding process five years ago and helped earn it a year and a half later. After dozens and dozens of meetings over the last 1,000-plus days, Bjurstrom says it has been a lot more than she expected, but also a great experience.

 



 

Over 40,000 people including 600 exhibitors and 1,700 volunteers are expected to attend the 2017 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days at Ebert Enterprises, which begins on Tuesday.

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Pictures Courtesy of Renee Ebert

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Area Dairy Farmers Dealing With Lower Milk Prices Again


By Paul Schmitt




Milk prices for area dairy farmers continue to be a challenge.   A weaker demand for cheese and lower prices for Class III Milk since December has caused a depressed market.  Rich Olson from Olson Family Farms in southern Door County says dairy farmers can only play the waiting game.

 



 

As of July 3, milk prices were at $15.68 per hundredweight, according to Nasdaq.com.  The price of Class III Milk did rebound to $17.25 in late May before the recent drop again in June.

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Horsemen Generate Excitement For Farm Technology Days in Kewaunee County


By Tim Kowols




An underappreciated attraction of past Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, the horse area at this year's edition in Algoma is bringing a lot of buzz to Kewaunee County. Two of the country's leading horsemen, Chris Cox and Dan James, are bringing their lifetime's worth of experience as clinicians and demonstrators to Kewaunee County for a unique opportunity to show off their skills and help others with their horses. The prospect of Cox and James doing multiple shows a day at the three-day event and working one on one with other enthusiasts have generated a lot of buzz for their area according to Horse Committee Co-Chairperson Laura Siegmund.

 



 

Performers Mounted Justice and the Wisconsin Draft Horse Breeders Association round out the activities going on at the Farm Technology Days Horse Area. Demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. on July 11 and 9 a.m. on July 12 and 13.

 

equinetent

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Kewaunee County Kids Return To Farm Roots


By Mark Kanz




Brain drain has been something businesses in our area have been battling for years.  It happens when kids are born and raised here and then leave for college.  Many never come back.  Lee Kinnard of Kinnard Farms in Casco says the growth of dairy businesses like his have been bringing local kids back to the farm.

 



 

Kinnard employs 86 people and says some of the young talent on his staff have done well in other industries, but jumped at the chance to return home and get back into agriculture.  He says the scholarship program the farm sponsors has helped him communicate with students before they leave for college.  The Kinnards recently won a national award for sustainability and Lee says sustainability can include people too.

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Kewaunee County Declared Natural Disaster Area, Door County Seeking Aid As Well


By Mark Kanz




Kewaunee County has been declared a primary natural disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  It's due to damage caused by winterkill and frost damage to crops during the first five months of the year.  Farmers in neighboring counties, including Door County, are also eligible for low- interest loans if they can prove their crops saw a qualifying production drop or sustained physical losses.  Crop loss is calculated using data from the three previous years.  Loan awards will be based on the allowable cost associated with repairing or replacing the property destroyed or damaged.  Interested farmers need to contact their local Farm Service Agency office for more information.

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Huge Turnout For Sevastopol FFA Alumni Door County Dairy Breakfast Sunday


By Paul Schmitt




An early Sunday morning downpour did not seem to hinder the turnout at the Sevastopol FFA Alumni 36th Annual Door County Dairy Breakfast.  An estimated over 5,000 people attended the event at the Wilke R Organic Farm located on Highway 42 about four miles north of Sturgeon Bay.  Kevin Wilke, who bought the farm in 2004 that became organically certified in 2012, said prior to the breakfast that it was exciting to the first organic operation to host the breakfast.

 



 

Besides the breakfast families were able to take hay rides, enjoy a petting zoo and hand-milking a cow.  The proceeds from the breakfast go to scholarships for Sevastopol FFA students.  You can watch a video and see pictures from Sunday's Door County Dairy Breakfast with this story online.

 

https://youtu.be/cXqLU1WsmAU

 

https://youtu.be/oUy1ZhLxYAQ

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UW Discovery Farms Project Look At Soil Health In Door And Kewaunee Counties


By Tim Kowols




Approximately 14 farms in Door and Kewaunee County are a part of two different studies as a part of the UW Discovery Farms program. One project will look at tile drainage, which removes excess water from the ground below the surface and its soil health while a different study will study nitrogen use efficiency so farmers know how much is needed for its crop production. UW Discovery Farms Co-Director Eric Cooley says the farmers are hungry for the information they will be acquiring through the multi-year studies.

 



 

Cooley says they are in the process of installing the tile drainage study equipment while the nitrogen efficiency project is in year two of its study. Field days are also being planned for Peninsula Pride Farms and National Resources Conservation Service Demonstration Farms for further explanation of their work.

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