Agriculture Archives for 2018-05

Milk prices take a bump up as dairy farms dwindle

By Paul Schmitt    

Although the suppressed milk prices continue for area dairy farmers, they did get a little bit of good news this past week.  According to Hoard's Dairyman, the June Class I (fluid milk) price went up 81 cents in May to $15.25 per hundred weight.  Despite being six cents lower than a year ago, Jim Wautier of ChurchSite Farms in Brussels says he doesn't expect milk prices to change much this summer.


According to the USA Today, Wisconsin lost about 500 dairy farms last year with the milking herd of cows being down twenty percent from five years ago.  The retail price of a gallon of whole milk is $2.81, which is down from the high of $3.87 in 2007.

Late planted crops benefited by heatwave

By Paul Schmitt    

The recent hot weather spell has area farmers quickly moving on from the late planting season.  After one of the later spring crop plantings of corn and soybeans, Mother Nature has helped local agriculture make up for lost time.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms and a member of the Ag Board, says along with the heat, added moisture will help recently planted crops to really start growing.


According to farmer Greg Letter in Southern Door County the corn is already sprouting in the fields.  He says that the corn is well on its way to hitting the "knee high by the fourth of July" measuring stick typically used to gauge the crop progress.

Kewaunee County third-graders get tips during rural safety days

By Tim Kowols       

Over 280 third graders shuffled from station to station inside the barns at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds learning tips on how to protect themselves during the annual Rural Safety Day on Wednesday. Safety tips ranged from how to be cautious around animals and equipment on the farm to sun protection and staying home alone. Cindy Kinnard from the Kewaunee County Public Health Department says it is a great day of learning for everyone heading into the summer.



Algoma third-grade teacher Chuck Bretl has taken kids every year to Rural Safety Day and says it is a worthwhile experience for those students.



A joint venture of the Kewaunee County Public Health Department and UW-Extension office, the annual Rural Safety Day has been taking place since 1997.

Area Farmers hopeful Corn and Soybeans make up for low milk prices

By Paul Schmitt    

As area farmers are dealing with a suppressed milk market, global demand for corn has increased and offers optimism that corn prices will move upward.  According to the Des Moines Register, corn prices for this fall's harvest continue to trade at a near two-year high of $4.20 per bushel.  Jim Wautier of Church-Site Farm in Brussels says area farmers usually plant at least two different crops to increase the chances of a good return on their investment.


Wautier says despite the late spring he was able to get the last of his corn and soybeans planted in the last week.  Corn was up two to three and soybeans were up 15 to 20 on Monday, according to

Door County Fair entries go electronic

By Tim Kowols       


The Door County Fair is catching up with the times when it comes to how projects are entered. Community residents must now submit their entries for Junior Fair and Open Class divisions online. The move follows the changes Kewaunee County Fair and Brown County Fair officials made for some of their categories at their events. Dawn Vandevoort from the Door County UW-Extension says this process will hopefully make it easier for everyone.

The Door County Fair is offering two help sessions for entrants with issues with the online form on May 30 at the County Government Center from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and on June 2 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Jacksonport Town Hall.

Spring starting to blossom in Door County

By Tim Kowols       

The emerging colors on area apple and cherry trees show the official first signs of spring in Door County. A later than expected winter pushed back the flowering buds back a couple weeks, but a warm stretch has helped the trees pick up the pace. Steve Wood from Wood Orchard says things are getting back on track.



Wood says the late winter storm caused no damage to the trees and only delayed their spring maintenance. Cherries are usually ready to be picked by the middle of July, while apple fans have to wait until the middle of September to October.

Students get first hand look at conservation efforts in Kewaunee County

By Tim Kowols       

Over 250 Kewaunee County sixth-grade students were shuttled to six different locations Wednesday to learn more about the conservation practices happening in their own area. Kinnard Farms, Wagner Tree Farm, Rosiere Wind Farm, N.E.W. Plastics, a UW Discovery Farm, and the C.D. Buzz Besadny Fish Hatchery hosted the students as a part of the Kewaunee County UW-Extension Conservation Tour. Through demonstrations and tours, students were able to learn more about wildlife management, agricultural regulations, and renewable technology. Lee Kinnard from Kinnard Farms in Casco says it is important for people to see what others are doing for conservation first hand.


Luxemburg-Casco Middle School science teacher Ben Alexander-Wolf says the conservation tour gave his students a chance to apply what they are learning in class to the real world.



The Kewaunee County UW-Extension will give local students another learning experience next Wednesday when it hosts its annual Rural Safety Day at the fairgrounds in Luxemburg.

Kewaunee County farmers slowly getting out to their fields

By Tim Kowols       

Farmers in Kewaunee County are planting where they can after melting snow and recent rains turned their fields into puddles in some spots. According to the Mankato Free Press, only about 30 percent of Wisconsin's corn and eight percent of its soybeans are in the ground, which is well behind the pace of last year. Kewaunee County UW-Extension agriculture agent  Aerica Bjurstrom says the heavy clay soils in some areas of county are not doing anything to help the patience of farmers but believes there is some good news waiting for them in the fields.



Bjurstrom says area farmers are used to having to wait until June some years to finish planting their crops.

Isabella Haen keynote speaker at June Dairy Breakfast

By Paul Schmitt    

The Kewaunee County annual June Dairy Kickoff Breakfast next month with be having this year's ambassador to Wisconsin county fairs as their keynote speaker.    Isabella Haen, who was the 2017 Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair and was selected as the 2018 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair back in January, will have the honors at the Rendezvous of Luxemburg on June 7 when the program is held.  In an interview earlier this year, Haen, a Luxemburg native,  says she is looking forward to her busy schedule this summer.


Haen says her mission is to inspire youth and promote agriculture throughout the state.  The kickoff breakfast event in June will announce the Knorn family of Junion Homestead Farm as the 2018 Breakfast on the Farm hosts.

Kewaunee County students get up-close look at environmental practices during conservation tour

By Tim Kowols       

Over 270 sixth grade students will travel to six different stops next week as a part of Kewaunee County's annual Conservation Tour on May 16. NEW Plastics, Kinnard Farms, Rosiere Wind Farm, an UW Discovery Farm project operation, Wagner Tree Farm, and the C.D. Buzz Besadny Fish Hatchery are all stops during the annual event, which has focused on the need to protect and preserve the environment for over 20 years. Kewaunee County UW-Extension agriculture educator Aerica Bjurstrom hopes kids learn how prevalent conservation practices are everywhere in the area.



Students will specifically learn about monitoring the fish population, wildlife habitats, wind energy, plastics recycling, and tree and soil management practices during the six-hour tour.

Area farmers looking to plant crops by end of the week

By Paul Schmitt    

Recent above normal temperatures and sunnier skies have area farmer more optimistic about finally getting their tractors in the fields and their crops planted sooner than later.  Door and Kewaunee County received over 20 inches of snow just three weeks ago that set planting schedules behind this spring.   Jim Wautier of Church-Site Farm in Brussels says farmers are finally prepping their fields.


Wautier says normally the last week of April is when area farmers begin planting corn for the season with 50-degree soil temperatures.  He estimates that area farmers are roughly two weeks behind in their planting schedule.

Randy and Renee Ebert named "Persons of the Year" by Kewaunee County Rotary Club

By Eric Fischer

Saturday night the Kewaunee Rotary Club named Randy and Renee Ebert as its "Persons of the Year" for their contributions to the community.  The Eberts hosted the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days on their farm last June, an event that drew more people to the farm than the population of Kewaunee County over the 3-day span.  In an interview when he learned they would be recognized, Randy said he and Renee are humbled to receive the award.

Randy also wanted to thank the nearly 2,000 other volunteers who helped make the Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days possible.  This year's Farm Technology Days will be held in Wood County.

Kinnard recognized by Nature Conservancy for innovative farm practices

By Tim Kowols       

Recognizing his use of no-tillage farming and cover crop planting, The Nature Conservancy has named Lee Kinnard of Kinnard Farms in Casco as one of five agricultural innovators in the country. According to its magazine's spring issue, The Nature Conservancy, an Arlington, Va.-based conservation non-profit organization, is working with farmers, ranchers, and fishers who want to reduce their impact on the environment while still doing what they love. KInnard says working with The Nature Conservancy has brought scientists and quantifiable metrics concerning soil health to the farm to learn what the best practices are moving forward.



The Nature Conservancy was a part of a judge's panel that awarded Kinnard Farms last year with a national award for outstanding dairy farm sustainability from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Kinnard and his family's operation is one of four Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms focusing on practices to reduce erosion and runoff while improving soil health.

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