WI farmer-led conservation group debuts in LaFayette County

By MAA

A group of farmers in western Wisconsin launched the Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance (LASA) in late August.
LASA will identify and promote conservation practices that demonstrate continuous improvement in farming methods that protect water quality.
The farmer-led, nonprofit organization, sets forth three main responsibilities: protecting natural resources, empowering members to continuously improve and giving the public an inside view of farming practices, said Jim Winn, a dairy farmer from Wiota and chairman of the new group.
“All of us in the community share in the responsibility of protecting the quality of our water. As farmers, we realize and accept our role,” he said.
Sixteen farmers, representing 23,000 animals and 56,000 acres of farmland, already are on board. Members include crop farmers, beef farmers and a pig farmer. The farms are of all sizes and types, including one organic dairy.

WI Farm Technology Days a success in Algoma

By CJ Krueger
MAA

ALGOMA, Wis. – Kewaunee County hit a home run in mid-July with its first turn as host for Farm Technology Days.

Held at Ebert Enterprises near Algoma – just two miles from the shore of Lake Michigan – the event brought more visitors to the 60-acre Tent City than the county’s population of more than 20,400 citizens over its three-day run, said Kristy Pagel, FTD publicity chair.

“We were excited to learn the first day of the show attracted more than 10,000 visitors, the highest attendance on day one in several years,” she said.

Farm Technology Days is designed to showcase the latest improvements in production agriculture, including many practical applications of recent research.

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Planning for potential business disasters vital

By Dave Coggins
For MAA
Recent news showcased how more than 50 dairy farms were nearly devastated by the Canadian trade policies that forced Grassland Dairy Products to drop them as patrons. While that roller-coaster experience has ended with nearly all of the affected farms finding new processors, it should serve as a wake-up call for every farm owner to plan for the unthinkable.
Most farmers are well-equipped in terms of insuring their business against potential acts of nature. But many are not so prepared for other types of disasters that warrant having a “Plan B” if they want their business to survive.
While it’s human nature to want to avoid the unthinkable, planning for all types of disasters is a crucial part of farming operations.

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Planning for potential business disasters is vital

By Dave Coggins
For MAA

Recent news showcased how more than 50 dairy farms were nearly devastated by the Canadian trade policies that forced Grassland Dairy Products to drop them as patrons. While that roller-coaster experience has ended with nearly all of the affected farms finding new processors, it should serve as a wake-up call for every farm owner to plan for the unthinkable.

Most farmers are well-equipped in terms of insuring their business against potential acts of nature. But many are not so prepared for other types of disasters that warrant having a “Plan B” if they want their business to survive.

While it’s human nature to want to avoid the unthinkable, planning for all types of disasters is a crucial part of farming operations.

Continue reading “Planning for potential business disasters is vital”

Blueberry growers under intense pressure

By Nikki Kallio
MAA

When Elizabeth White teamed up with the USDA in 1910 to grow blueberry hybrids on her New Jersey farm, it was the beginning of an industry that would eventually have a notable impact on the southwest lakeshore of Michigan.

Growers eventually discovered Michigan’s acidic soil, combined with the moderating effect of the lake on climate, was ideal for blueberry crops. By World War II, the state had a sizable blueberry industry that continued to expand, said Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension small-fruit educator.

In 2014, the state ranked first in acreage of blueberry production. Michigan is consistently one of the top producers of blueberries in the nation, along with Washington and Georgia, according to the USDA.

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Yahara Pride successfully reduces phosphorus levels

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

By making changes to their farm practices during the past several years, Yahara Pride Farms members dramatically reduced the amount of phosphorous entering the Yahara River watershed. But while they’ve been successful, members say there is plenty of work left to do.
“Five years ago, we had no idea we would be here,” said Bob Uphoff, owner of Uphoff Ham & Bacon Farm and vice-chair of the Yahara Pride Farms Conservation Board. “As we keep making changes and improvements, who knows where we will be in five years?”
Yahara Pride Farms held its annual watershed-wide conference on March 2 to share information and research on the different steps being taken to decrease the amount of phosphorus in the watershed and to celebrate its successes.

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