Summer tractor safety course offered for teens

Teens can get the training they need to safely operate tractors and other farm machinery during an upcoming program offered by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

The course will provide youth primarily under the age of 16, but not younger than 12, with the necessary training and preparation to take the evaluation
test. Students who successfully pass the test and proficiency skills evaluation will be granted a state certificate of completion.

The state certificate will allow students who are at least 12 years old to work for their parents or guardians operating equipment and tractors on public roads. The federal certificate allows students 14 years of age to work for someone other than their parents in operating equipment and tractors on public roads. Students should have prior tractor operating experience.

The course will teach:

  • Safe operation and maintenance of farm machinery including skid steers and tractors over 20 horsepower
  • Follow rules of the road for machinery and tractor safety
  • Apply emergency first aid training
  • Handle agriculture fires and extinguishers

Classes will be offered in Green Bay and  Shawano from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 18 to June 21 at the Green Bay Transportation Center and Shawano Regional Learning Center respectively. Classes will be offered in Luxemburg from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 25 to June 28 at the Luxemburg Regional Learning Center. The class costs $85.02. Register by calling 888-385-NWTC.

Growing tried and true talent in the ag sector

Fox Valley Technical College agriculture instructor Kevin Rauchholz shares insight with his students on farm animal health during one of his classes at the college in Appleton, Wis.

By Kevin Rauchholz

Tugging heavy books. Cramming overnight. Running on a lightning-fast career pathway. Balancing work, family, and school. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? These are just a smidgeon of the demands confronting today’s busy college students.

For students in Fox Valley Technical College’s (FVTC) agriculture programs, reaching the end of the higher education grind comes with a few checks and balances. Those checkpoints of success often include robust internship experiences and hands-on field activities, which in turn contribute immensely to the college’s impressive graduate employment rates year in and year out. Continue reading “Growing tried and true talent in the ag sector”

Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center on track for July opening

By CJ Krueger

MANITOWOC, Wis. — After eight years of planning and dreaming, the vision set forth by a committed board of directors, staff and volunteers will become a reality when the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center (Farm Wisconsin) opens its doors this summer.

Melissa Bender, director of education and programming for Farm Wisconsin, said the state-of-the-art interactive center located south of Manitowoc will open July 28.

“Farm Wisconsin is a unique opportunity (for visitors) to learn about Wisconsin’s rich farm history,” she said. Continue reading “Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center on track for July opening”

Dairy well-being workshop focuses on animal care


Why aren’t cows allowed to go outdoors?  Why are calves raised without social interaction?  These are just a couple of the questions that consumers have about how dairy animals are cared for.  Animal welfare continues to be critical topic for dairy producers as consumers question where their food comes from, and activists pressure food companies to influence how animals are raised. Continue reading “Dairy well-being workshop focuses on animal care”

Interest drives new dairy science major at UW-Platteville

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

At a time when some colleges are cutting back on ag-related programs due to fiscal concerns, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is doing just the opposite. Located in southwest Wisconsin, the university is strengthening its ag-related programs, including creating a dairy science major.

“For more than 100 years, we have had a hands-on ag program, but nothing specifically with the name ‘dairy’ on it,” said Tera Montgomery, associate professor of dairy and animal science in the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture and the animal science program coordinator.  “We had dairy-related classes in our animal sciences area, but employers were looking for students who had the word ‘dairy’ in their degree.” Continue reading “Interest drives new dairy science major at UW-Platteville”

FVTC plans Ag Development Career Day


APPLETON, Wis. — Fox Valley Technical College will hold its fifth annual Agricultural Department Career Day on Nov. 8 at the Service Motor Company Agriculture Center.

Availability is limited to the first 120 students registered per half-day session with a maximum of 20 students per school. Registration is free.

Schools can register for one or both sessions: 9:30 a.m. to noon or noon to 2 p.m.

Continue reading “FVTC plans Ag Development Career Day”

Program provides on-farm experience to non-farm professionals

By Leah Call

“Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” is a familiar lesson in understanding and empathy. The Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) offers an opportunity to walk three days in a farmer’s shoes. PDPW’s Agricultural Professional Partnerships (APP) program enables individuals working in the ag industry with limited farm experience an opportunity to roll up their sleeves, throw on some work boots and spend time on the farm.

“Non-farming professionals often come into the industry not knowing anything,” explained Amy Bonomie, PDPW manager of Partnerships & Public Outreach. “This really gives them a safe environment to step back and immerse themselves into modern ag. And they come out of this more knowledgeable, confident and open to listening and working closer with the farmers.”

PDPW launched the program in 2010 at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which wanted to provide training for staff that did not have a farm background. The three-day crash course is ideal for non-farm professionals, such as DNR and other government staff, milk processors, bankers and sales and marketing professionals.

Continue reading “Program provides on-farm experience to non-farm professionals”

Tech Tilling: From family farm employee to business owner

By Dale Drees

It’s always amazing to see how the world of agriculture opens so many paths to prosperity in related fields. For Ryan Kortz, he took his hands-on experiences growing up on a family dairy farm in Kaukauna, Wis., to making a career out of shaking hands and growing relationships.

In high school, Kortz juggled early morning and evening chores with homework and other activities while discovering a passion for fixing equipment so vital to his family’s livelihood. He was kind of the go-to farmhand when it came to engines and maintenance, thanks to his father’s mentorship. Learning the value of such skills and possessing an affinity for hands-on work, Kortz’ interest in outdoor power grew by the time he finished high school in 2008.

Continue reading “Tech Tilling: From family farm employee to business owner”