Tech Tilling: Streamlining career pathways in ag

By Nick Schneider
Fox Valley Technical College
Welding and health care now use robotics, diesel training uses virtual reality and the aviation industry looks to simulation technology to attract a new generation of pilots. Yes, innovation today applies to agriculture as well with the use of drones and GPS-programmed technologies. Farming, however, is also returning to its simple roots to make the sector more appealing.
Enter Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) — one of the state’s originators of agriculture training, spanning more than 70 years. It’s no stranger to technology, thanks to two newer innovations in bovine birth and combine simulation as well as a longstanding partnership with Case IH/Service Motor Company. That said, for the fall 2018-19 academic year, FVTC has its sights set on simpler and clearer pathways for students in the form of a little restructuring.

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Feast & Famine in the ag industry

Feast: Anti-agriculture activists — folks who love to tell other people how to live their lives — have a problem. Now the people who claim to be protecting the planet are beating up on people who claim to be protecting animals.
Go figure.
The so-called “Friends of the Earth” recently issued a report slamming the environmental benefits of meat substitutes and lab-grown animal products.

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Kelly Wilfert: A seat at the table for young agriculturists

By Kelly Wilfert
Our youth are our future.
Few understand this better than the American farmer. From little ones on, agriculturists train our youth for the future. We plan to preserve the land, pass on the farm and share stories of our own lessons learned. From farm chores and tractor rides to 4-H and FFA, we teach agricultural youth to be future workers, professionals and leaders.
Yet, as USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture shows, the average age of U.S. farmers is 58.3 years old and steadily rising, and farms and companies face difficulty recruiting and retaining young talent. The companies that “win” in the race for employees will be those who allow our future, our youth, to step up.

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Tram allows all to enjoy ag tours

By University of  Wisconsin-Madison
MADISON, Wis. — At first glance, it’s a simple snapshot: A few dozen attendees of the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days trade show have settled into their seats on a tractor-hitched wagon, ready to be tugged around the trade show’s sprawling Wood County grounds.
But among them is a man in a wheelchair with a gleaming smile. When Nancy Esser saw the photograph, she became emotional. It’s evidence of an opportunity that wouldn’t have been possible – even a few years ago – without the concerted efforts of her staff at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station (MARS) and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

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Iowa entrepreneur launches ‘Amazon’ for ag

By Leah Call
Entrepreneur Brad McDonald — recently named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 visionaries under 30 years old — thought it was odd that he could purchase just about anything online, except the things he needed for his farming operation. He then jumped at the opportunity to launch Agroy Inc., an online marketplace for agricultural products such as seed, fertilizers and chemicals.
McDonald started the business 2 ½ years ago after seeing a LinkedIn post about European-based Agroy, which was selling ag products online.
“I took an interest in it, and found out they were actually looking to branch out beyond Europe,” McDonald said. “They had proven the model was working, and they were looking for someone to implement it in the U.S.”

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Study: Labels decrease GMO opposition

Jane Kolodinsky

By The University of Vermont
As the U.S. Department of Agriculture prepares guidelines for labeling products that contain genetically modified ingredients, a new study from the University of Vermont reveals that a simple disclosure can improve consumer attitudes toward GMO food.
Led by Jane Kolodinsky, an applied economist in UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the study compared levels of consumer opposition to GMO foods in Vermont – the only U.S. state to have implemented a mandatory labeling policy – with consumer attitudes in the rest of the U.S.
The analysis showed opposition to GMO food fell by 19 percent in Vermont after the implementation of mandatory labels.

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MilkSource Genetics develops 3 ‘perfect’ cows in 3 different breeds

KAUKAUNA, Wis. — Northeast Wisconsin’s MilkSource Genetics has achieved an unprecedented Triple Crown.
With the upgrading of Weeks Dundee Anika to the rare EX-97 classification, the family-owned show barn has reached the pinnacle score with cows from three major show breeds.
In 2014, the farm’s Blondin Redman Seisme became the first Red & White Holstein cow to achieve the milestone rating. In February, another MSG cow, Musqie Iatola Martha, became the youngest Jersey in history to achieve the 97 score. Now, Holstein Association USA has bestowed the landmark classification to Weeks Dundee Anika — a black-and-white Holstein.

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What can be labeled milk? FDA to decide

By Jessie Cameron
What’s milk? The Food and Drug Administration will soon decide – an option that dairy groups are excited about.
In July, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency will look at how the current “standard of identity” for milk is being interpreted. The FDA has hundreds of standards in place, which define what a product must contain to carry a specific label. The goal, the FDA said, is to define how products have to be made.
For example, the FDA may rule that for a beverage to call itself “milk,” it must conform to certain requirements related to origin. Gottlieb said at the Politico Pro Summit that “there is a reference somewhere in the standard of identity (for milk) to a lactating animal, and you know, an almond does not lactate.”

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Cranberries succeed with water, sand and soil

By Leah Call
It’s September. On the 21,000 acres of cranberry marshes in central and northern Wisconsin, the cranberries are changing from pale pink to a brilliant red as harvest season approaches. Harvest typically starts in late September and peaks in the second and third week of October.
Growing cranberries requires three natural resources: black peat soil, coarse sand and water. Wisconsin has an abundance of all three. Wisconsin’s 250 cranberry growers produced 5.7 million barrels of the fruit, which makes the state No. 1 in cranberry production in the United States and responsible for 60 percent of the world’s cranberries.

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Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center debuts

By Jessie Cameron
After more than eight years of planning, fund raising and then, finally, building, the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center has come to life along Interstate 43 just outside of Manitowoc.
From the beginning, the center’s goal was simple: To help educate the 98 percent of people who do not work on farms to understand where their food comes from.
“So many people do not know what happens on a modern farm,” says Executive Director Lauren Rose Hofland. “They don’t really know where their food comes from or all of the sustainability initiatives farmers engage in. Farmers are now growing more food using less resources.”

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