Wisconsin briefs: Potato industry faces new restrictions

Wisconsin State Farmer


Wisconsin Hazelnut Field Day set for Aug. 19

The eighth annual Wisconsin Hazelnut Field Day will be held from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station, W6646 Hwy. 70, Spooner. 

The purpose of the field day is to introduce attendees to the emerging new crop of bush-type hazelnuts and to tour the Wisconsin Hazelnut Production Trial.  Jason Fischbach, the UW-Extension Food and Energy Woody Crop Specialist will present an overview of hazelnut production in Wisconsin and provide information to beginning growers on plant selection, establishment, and management.

Attendees will then tour Hazelnut Production Trial planted in 2011 and learn about ongoing efforts to improve the genetics of hazelnuts. Hazelnut growers, current or prospective, are encouraged to attend.  

The hazelnut industry is new but growing in WI with more than 90 growers experimenting with hybrid hazelnuts produced from crosses between American hazelnut (native to WI) and European Hazelnut. 

The field day is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged by contacting Jason Fischbach at 715-373-6104 ext. 5 or jason.fischbach@ces.uwex.edu. 


Wisconsin FFA Foundation shares success of annual golf outings

The Wisconsin FFA Foundation is excited to share the success of its annual trio of summer golf outings, and extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated in and/or sponsored these vital fundraisers.  

Together, the three 2017 outings – Northwest, Northeast and Southern – raised more than $40,000 for Wisconsin FFA. Since 2010 when the Northeast (and newest) outing began, the summer events collectively have secured more than $330,000 in donated funds to support agricultural education and FFA throughout Wisconsin.  

The support for Wisconsin FFA continues to be constant and substantial at these events held in Eau Claire, De Pere and Middleton. Sponsors, golfers and Ag Ed partners contribute in time, dollars and in-kind items to make each of the July outings a success year after year.

The proceeds from the combined golf outings contribute significantly to the Foundation’s annual fund, a vital source of financial provision for FFA programs and leadership opportunities.     

“We've been honored to host so many Ag Ed supporters and advocates at our golf outings this year, many of whom make these events an annual tradition,” says John Hromyak, Wisconsin FFA Foundation executive director. “FFA members across the state will benefit from their sponsorships and presence on the course, and we're extremely grateful to have their support.” 


Wisconsin potato industry faces new restrictions

Wisconsin potato producers are facing new restrictions aimed at preventing crop disease.

Gov. Scott Walker signed two new measures involving potato growers Wednesday, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

One measure requires potato growers to use certified seeds if planting on five or more acres of land. The state's seed certification program through the University of Wisconsin-Madison ensures that seeds are free of damaging levels of viruses or diseases.

"Certified seed goes through a various amount of lab testing too before it can be replanted so the commercial grower that's buying the seed knows that it's virtually free of any disease that may cause a yield or harvest or storage limitations," said Alex Crockford, the program's director.

About 2 percent of growers in the state don't use certified potato seeds, said Tamas Houlihan, executive director of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association. Crockford said that's because many potato processors require them.

The other law says farmers now have 24 hours to treat plants with light blight or 72 hours to destroy them after being notified by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Farmers previously had 10 days to address the issue.


Farm Bureau, FFA to work together sharing story of ag ed

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National FFA Organization signed a memorandum of understanding on July 12 to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture. The MOU outlines how the two organizations will work together to discover opportunities that benefit both their members and agricultural education students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

“This is an opportunity for us to share the story of agriculture and agricultural education,” said Mark Poeschl, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization. “Our organizations know that agricultural education provides leadership development, career success and personal growth. This MOU allows us to recognize the role of school-based agricultural education.” 

The MOU was signed in Washington, D.C., during a national meeting of state Farm Bureau presidents from across the country. 

“Farm Bureau has long supported agricultural education’s critical role of creating opportunities for the next generation of agricultural professionals,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “This formal collaboration with National FFA will help us build on that legacy. We look forward to empowering young people to explore how they can be a part of agriculture’s bright future, from farming and ranching to agri-business and food-related careers.” 

Together, FFA and AFBF will attract, educate, inspire and prepare students to enter careers in the agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources industry. In addition, the two organizations will broaden the definition of “agriculturally related careers” to encompass the vastness of professions in the industry of agriculture.

FFA and AFBF will determine existing connections between county Farm Bureaus and local FFA chapters as well as state Farm Bureaus and state FFA associations. The MOU also allows AFBF to serve as a member of the FFA Agricultural Policy Committee.

FFA will use AFBF-branded advocacy resources and materials to train state FFA officers and find ways for FFA and AFBF members to interact during policy discussions or in policy communications.