Agriculture Archives for 2017-08

Apple crop in area looking good

By Paul Schmitt

The area apple orchards are readying for another successful harvest this fall, as national projections show a favorable forecast.  According to the U.S. Apple Association, the crop this year would be 8 percent smaller than last year but right about at the 5-year average.  Steve Wood from Wood Orchard in Egg Harbor says the area apple orchards survived the summer well and is optimistic about this year's apple crop.



Wood anticipates the harvesting to begin after Labor Day with the majority of the apple crop to be harvested in mid-September.  He says the SweeTango and Honeycrisp apples remain the most popular locally.

Computers aiding in rising production for farmers

By Baxter Colburn

Farming has been a necessity to human existence since the beginning of time. Over the past 20 years, the implementation of computers has significantly increased the production of farmers across the country. Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms, who is a member of the Ag advisory board, in Sturgeon Bay utilizes technology every day.



In a recent article from the Wisconsin Ag Connection, a reported 77% of all farmers in Wisconsin use a computer to aid in their daily work, a figure that is slightly higher than the national average of 73%. While technology is the way of the future, Olson advises skeptic farmers not to rush into it.



The agriculture industry continues to trend towards more tech involvement both locally and nationally, according to Olson.

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EL-NA Farms In Kewaunee County Participating in Pilot Program To Curb Erosion

By Paul Schmitt


El-Na Farms in Kewaunee County is starting a new pilot program with Land O'Lakes called SUSTAIN!.  The technology that is implemented helps farmers use conservation practices that improve environmental outcomes for air, soil, and water without losing profit potential.  Lonnie Fenendael, who operates the farm with his brothers Barry and Shane, says erosion and the depth of the soil in Kewaunee County is a major concern because of the limited top soil and limestone rock under their fields.  He says the program puts numbers to the proof that a lot of soil is moving around.



Fenendael estimates that nutrient loss in an average 40-acre field can amount to probably up to $2,000 in loss production each year. The precision conservation pilot was implemented starting back with meetings in February.   El-Na Farms is located west of Algoma on Pheasant Road and is a six-generation farm that milks 1,500 cows and manages 4,500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa.

Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Intern Reflects On Summer Experiences

By Carmen Haack

This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as the summer intern for UW Extension in Kewaunee County. I was very excited to learn of the opportunity because of the work I did with Extension in my 4-H career. I have experienced and learned many new things throughout the past 3 months. My favorite part of the summer was the behind the scenes look I got at Farm Technology Days, and watching the countless volunteers come together to pull off such a great event. Along with Farm Technology Days I have also worked on many other projects throughout the summer. I began my internship doing alfalfa scissor clippings throughout Kewaunee and Door counties. It was certainly interesting for me to see the positive effects the lake has on crop value in our area. I also got the opportunity to meet and chat with farmers around the area.


My favorite adventure of the summer was traveling around to area farms to complete a survey that analyzed the calves of dairy operations. The survey is technically known as an Intuitive Cost of Production Analysis (ICPA) and compared costs of automatic feeding operations to a similar sized standard individual feeding program. I have been a lover of calves since the day I set foot on a farm, so I knew this project would be extremely interesting to me.


As I close out my time at UW Extension in Kewaunee County, I look back and realize that the most valuable part of my time here has been the people I've met along the way. From local farmers, to farm tech days volunteers, we are each a small part of a pretty amazing little community. Connections like these will stick with me into my future endeavors, and hopefully someday into my dairy career!


As for my future, I will soon be entering my sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin Madison where I am pursuing a degree in dairy science with a certificate in agricultural business management. Attending my dream school and being able to learn about something I'm extremely passionate about are truly a blessing to me.


Having the opportunity to intern with UW Extension allowed me to learn a lot while staying close to home.  This situation was ideal for me, and I could not be more thankful for all I've learned throughout the course of this summer!

Van Donsel's Supreme Goat Exhibitor Title Leads Kewaunee County 4-H At State Fair

By Tim Kowols

It became clear at Wisconsin State Fair Park last week that Kimberly Van Donsel knows her goats. A member of the Pilsen Skylighters 4-H Club, Van Donsel beat out 49 other competitors from around the state to earn the title of Supreme Goat Exhibitor. Even though her goats did not do as well as she had hope, Van Donsel took the honors by showing her prowess in the showmanship, skillathon, quiz, and judging categories. It was all worth the extra effort for Van Donsel.



Van Donsel was not alone in the winner's circle as fellow Kewaunee County 4-H member Stashia Jensen took 2nd place in the Supreme Goat Exhibitor contest. You can see the other achievements of the Kewaunee County 4-H at this year's Wisconsin State Fair by following this story online.


Cherry Tree "Shakers" Finishing The Harvest This Week In Door County

By Paul Schmitt

The days of mass harvesting cherries with a ladder and pail in hand are long gone as hydraulic tree shakers make their way through Door County orchards to harvest the last of the cherry crop this week.  Steve Wood from Wood Orchard explains the hi-tech way cherries are taken off the trees.



Wood says the only cherries now being picked by hand are those being sold at farm markets around Door County.  He added that the tree shaking technology accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of the total cherry crop harvested every year.  You can see a video of the cherry tree shaking process with this story online.

Wautier Family, Church-Site Farm Celebrates Centennial In Door County

By Tim Kowols Ag Advisory Board members the Wautier Family took time out of their busy schedule at the Door County Fair last week to celebrate a major milestone. Church-Site Farm in Brussels is celebrating 100 years of operating as a family farm. Five generations strong, it was Jim Wautier's grandfather that bought the land back in 1917 and his son Matt says he is thankful for the support before he takes over someday after four years of teaching in Luxemburg.



In addition to his brother Joe and sister-in-law Beverly, Jim's wife Penny, son Brandon, daughter Courtney, and grandson Kaiden are among the family members helping out on the farm.

Door County Fair Expects To See High Attendance When Final Numbers Come In

By Tim Kowols

The changes made to the Door County Fair over the last year have seemed to pay huge dividends. Following the county's decision to pay for the event's expenses in full during last fall's 2017 budget talks after years of failing to turn a profit, fair officials retooled the event by lowering the ticket costs, adding new entertainment, and making most of the activities such as rides and grandstand shows inclusive with admission. Door County Fair Board Member Tim Ash says although official counts are not in, he expects a huge improvement.




It was also a successful weekend for area youth as many will now take their projects to the Wisconsin State Fair currently being held in West Allis.

Dairy Business Association Sues DNR Over Method Of Regulation Institution

By Tim Kowols

The rule-making process for proposed manure spreading limitations in northeastern Wisconsin is an example of how the Dairy Business Association would like to see the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources make changes regarding farming. The DBA is suing the DNR for going around Wisconsin law and issuing "guidance documents" to change and enforce certain regulations such as the pollutant discharge permit process and vegetative treatment areas near calf hutches and feed lots. DBA Director of Government Affairs John Holevoet says they would rather see a process similar to what was used to develop the new manure spreading limits for northeast Wisconsin, which included a committee involving UW-Oshhosh professor and Kewaunee County water quality presenter Dr. Maureen Muldoon and local government officials.



The lawsuit is still upsetting for those that were involved in the multi-year DNR/Kewaunee County workgroups regarding water quality. Kewaunee County Board member Lee Luft said in an email the lawsuit puts the debate of the DBA's "intent to fight and avoid even current regulations aimed at trying to protect our ground and surface waters" to rest.

Permit Reissuance For Kewaunee County Farm Renews Call For CAFO Moratorium

By Tim Kowols

Environmental advocates are renewing their call for a moratorium of large scale farm expansion after a Kewaunee County farm had their permit request approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. El-Na Farms located in the town of Lincoln will be allowed under the permit to potentially add close to 3,300 cows to their operation just months after UW-Oshkosh professor Maureen Muldoon called the region a hydro-geologically bad place to put a lot of cows. Nancy Utesch and her organization Kewaunee C.A.R.E.S. is part of the Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network that is calling for a moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations for the short term. She says officials need to step back and pause before reissuing permits.



In May when the DNR first announced the hearing, El-Na Farms owner Lonnie Ferendael told the biggest misconception on the permit is when the expansion would take place and how many cows compared to animal units would be involved. The reissued permit is good for five years.

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