Wisconsin Briefs - Number of WI farms continues to fall

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Number of WI farms continues to fall

The total number of farms in Wisconsin in 2016 was 68,700, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is down 200 farms from 2015.

Farms in both the $500,000-$999,999 and the $1,000,000 and over sales classes showed an increase of 50 farms from 2015.

Total land in farms in Wisconsin in 2016 was 14.4 million acres, unchanged from a year ago. Farms in the $100,000-$249,000 sales class showed an increase of 50,000 acres from 2015.

Wisconsin’s average farm size in 2016 was 210 acres, up one acre from 2015. The average farm size for those in the $1,000,000 and over sales class was 1,479 acres, a decrease of 32 acres since 2015.


DNR land sales present opportunity for buyers

The Department of Natural Resources is offering seven state-owned parcels of land for public sale through Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Parcels available for purchase are located in Bayfield, Dane, Dodge, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln, Walworth and Waushara counties, and range from 1.06 to 202.48 acres. All properties are accessible by a state, county/town road or easement.

These parcels have been posted for bid as Auction #17123-70 on The bidding process will close Wednesday, March 15, 2017 starting at 10 a.m. It is important to note that one parcel listed for sale is a combination of four separate parcels that were combined for marketing purposes.


Farming your Finances workshop series set

UW-Extension and UW Center for Dairy Profitability are hosting a two-day workshop series on March 29-30, for farm women interested in improving their farm financial management skills, part of the fabric of farm life and the farm business.

This series includes in-class exercises to develop farm financial management skills. Upon completion, participants will receive certification credit toward fulfilling FSA or other financial institution’s educational requirements.

Topics include: Intro to the financial management model; records and recordkeeping systems; financial statements; analysis and interpretation of financial statements and benchmarking of financial position and performance.

The workshop will be held at the Athens Fire Hall, 301 Hwy 97, Athens, WI. Registration is $20 and includes food and educational materials.Class size is limited to 15 participants.

Pre-registration with payment is required by March 23. For more information about the workshop, please contact: Heather Schlesser, UW-Extension Marathon County, 715-261-1230.


Rural Mutual Insurance Co. farmers reap dividends

Rural Mutual Insurance Company announce that on Dec. 31, 2016, its Board of Directors declared an early five percent dividend payment to qualifying Rural Mutual farm policyholders. An estimated $2.5 million will be paid out due to the company’s financial success in 2016.

“Founded by Farm Bureau members, we understand and know how hard farmers work,” says Peter Pelizza, Executive VP and CEO. "Rural is in a good financial spot, so we asked what’s the right thing to do at this point? The right thing is to give back to our founders.”

Moving forward, farmers will have an opportunity to earn a dividend each year, as Rural Mutual has added the farm dividend program to its industry-leading farm product.


Nominations sought for potato board seats

Potato growers in three Wisconsin Potato Industry Board districts have until April 1, 2017 to nominate three members to the industry’s market order board. Districts 1, 2 and 3 potato growers are eligible to nominate board members or to be nominated.

Growers can find nomination forms online at Click on the “Growing Wisconsin” tab, then “Market Orders and Boards” and then on the link for the potato board or by calling Debbie Gegare at 608-224-5116 or

Completed forms must be sent to: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Marketing Order Program, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI  53708-8911. The forms must be postmarked on or before April 1, 2017.

The open positions represent the following counties:

District 1: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn counties.

District 2: Marathon, Outagamie, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca and Waushara counties.

District 3: Adams, Buffalo, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Winnebago and Wood counties.

DATCP will conduct the Wisconsin Potato Board election from May 15 to June 10. Elected board members will serve from July 1, 2017 to June 20, 2020.

The nine-member board is responsible for collecting and allocating about $1.3 million in annual assessment fees paid by Wisconsin potato growers. The money is used to support the industry through research, market development and consumer education.