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The mission of this program is to evaluate weed management practices to help Wisconsin growers sustainably control weeds and maximize the production of corn, soybean, small grains, and sweet corn crops. Through integration of applied field research and extension activities, we strive to deliver thorough, unbiased results to Wisconsin crop producers and improve upon the body of scientific weed science literature.

To read the complete blog, please visit the Out of Control page.

Resource: AgrAbility of Wisconsin

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Do you know a farmer with a physical, cognitive, or illness-related disability that needs help? University of Wisconsin Extension and Easter Seals Wisconsin sponsor the AgrAbility program that provides free services. For example, they will conduct “on-site assessments to identify barriers to completing tasks both in the agricultural workplace and the home”. Also, they will recommend appropriate “assistive technologies (equipments/tools/devices), modified work practices, and/or other possible solutions to overcoming disability-related limitations.”

Agri-View recently featured an AgrAbility client. The program has a 98% success rate over the past 23 years.

They are currently in the process of re-designing their website but in the meantime, check out their Facebook page. A Facebook account is not required to access most of the content.

More Winter Reading, the 2014 WCWS Research Report

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Yep, it is that time of year. Winter is setting in and the 2014 WCWS Research Report is here to chase away the winter blues. Print copies will be distributed at the Pest Management Update meetings and at the Wisconsin Crop Management conference. Check out our Documents page again in December for an updated report with yield data.

Resource: Wisconsin Farm Center Newsletter

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has released the Fall issue of the Wisconsin Farm Center newsletter. This issue contains articles on farm succession planning, harvest concerns, and an overview of the 2014 Farm Bill.

For an archive and to sign-up for email updates, go to this web page, the subscription icon is in the left-hand column.

Calling All Farmer Innovators

The organizers of the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days are looking for farmer innovators and inventors. For more information, keep reading.

The 2015 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days to be held at the Statz Bros. Farm in Dane County will feature an “Innovation Square” which will be located in the center of “Tent City”. Farmer innovators are invited to submit their inventions/innovations for consideration as part of “Innovation Square”.

Innovations may range from modifications to an existing piece of machinery to a completely new invention. Anything that would make a specific operation easier , more efficient, or more effective would likely qualify. A panel of judges from University Agricultural Engineering Departments around the country will evaluate the entries on predetermined criteria (see evaluation criteria at www.wifarmtechnologydays.com under “Exhibitors”). A total of 4-5 farmer innovations will be chosen for exhibit in “Innovation Square” each year along with a similar number from agribusiness firms and universities.

There will be no cost to those chosen to be part of “Innovation Square”. Exhibit space will be flexible, based on the amount of room needed to adequately display/demonstrate each invention. Exhibits will need to be accompanied by a farm representative during a significant portion of each day of the three-day show.

Application forms for “Innovation Square” may be found at www.wifarmtechnologydays.com under “Exhibitors”. The application deadline is January 15, 2015.

Legal and Business Structure Workshop

Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection is offering a workshop for farm and food businesses to discuss different types of business structures, property and employment law, and liability insurance issues. For more information, their press release is below:

Media Contact: Ann Marie Ames
608-224-5041 annmarie.ames@wi.gov

Jim Dick, Communications Director
608-224-5020 jim.dick@wi.gov

MADISON – Those who want to learn more about legal issues involved with starting and successfully maintaining farms and food businesses should register for next month’s Legal and Business Structure Workshop, which will take place in four locations around Wisconsin. The workshop is part of the annual Local Food Business Seminar Series, designed to help farmers and food business owners improve business practices.

The workshop speakers are Rachel Armstrong from Farm Commons and Courtney Berner of the UW Center for Cooperatives. This highly informative and interactive workshop will benefit those who are planning to start a food business, have recently done so, or who have been running a successful food business for some time.

Topics will include:

● The pros and cons of different business types including non-profit, S corporation or C corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC and cooperative.

● Property and employment law including short- and long-term farmland leases, incubator kitchen leases, workman’s compensation and laws regarding the hiring of employees and interns.

● Liability insurance issues including those regarding food safety and agritourism.

Armstrong and Berner will travel to four sites to deliver the workshop on four dates from Nov. 3 to Nov. 6. They will be in Waukesha on Nov. 3, Stevens Point on Nov. 4, Gays Mills on Nov. 5 and Madison on Nov. 6. The Madison seminar will be available online as a free webinar.

No matter the location, the cost of the seminar is $15 for the first person from any organization and $10 for any additional participants from the same organization. Something Special from Wisconsin members get a $5 discount.

Each seminar will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Check-in starts at 8:45 a.m. Lunch is included in the cost of the seminar.

To learn the addresses of the seminar site nearest you, to find a complete agenda or to sign up, go to http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Buy_Local_Buy_Wisconsin/BLBW_Workshops.

To request a link for the webinar or if you have other questions, contact Kietra Olson at (608) 224-5112 or Kietra.olson@wisconsin.gov.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, along with a number of partner organizations, plan the annual Local Business Seminar Series, which will continue monthly through March. The next in the series is food safety from Dec. 1 to Nov. 4. For a complete list, go to http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Buy_Local_Buy_Wisconsin/BLBW_Workshops.

Agritourism Liability Workshop

A new agritourism liability law went into effect in April 2014. To learn more about how this may effect your farming operation and strategies to comply with the law, consider attending a free workshop on November 12, 2014 in Saukville, WI. Please download this pdf document for more information.

App for Pricing Wet Corn

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UW-Extension has a smartphone app for pricing high moisture corn. For more information, keep reading the following the press release from UW-Extension’s Greg Blonde.

Contact: Greg Blonde, UW-Extension Waupaca County, 715-258-6230, greg.blonde@ces.uwex.edu

Pricing Wet Corn? UW-Extension has an app for that

Waupaca, Wis. – It’s that time of the year when Wisconsin dairy and beef producers and Wisconsin corn growers explore their options of buying or selling high moisture shell corn (HMSC). This is especially true this year in the northern two-thirds of the state with so much wet corn still in the field.

To help farmers better evaluate their options, the University of Wisconsin-Extension released a Smartphone app this fall to provide a simple way to help estimate the market value of HMSC based on three main variables – dry corn moisture, current corn moisture and price per bushel.

The HMSC$ app is free and available for Android smart phones and tablets on the Google Play store by searching for “HMSC”.

Farmers can use this app to help determine an equivalent value for wet shell corn when compared with a dry shell corn price – a link to current local elevator dry corn bid prices is built into the app. The equivalent wet price is then calculated and displayed in both price per ton and price per bushel. Additional costs for drying and/or shelling can be evaluated under the expense tab. The app also features the ability to email the results directly to others.

“Although a desktop Excel spreadsheet for pricing HMSC is available on the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability web site, it doesn’t have the ability to bring up current market information or automatically share the results”, said Greg Blonde, UW-Extension Waupaca County agriculture agent. “When you’re out in the field or on the go, the HMSC$ app is a great resource tool to have on your Smartphone or tablet computer.”

Blonde also noted the app may be useful to grain elevator managers, as well as Ag lenders and farm managers for valuing their grain or feed inventories.

Hurry! Register for Pest Management Update Meetings

Hopefully, you will have finished or nearing the end of harvest by mid-November and will be ready to attend Extension’s Pest Management Update series. County Extension agents across Wisconsin will be hosting Pest Management Update Meetings during the second and third weeks in November. The purpose of each meeting is to review the past growing season and provide updates on research that can be applied to your farm. The speakers are Extension State Specialists including:

  • Bryan Jensen, Entomologist
  • Damon Smith, Field Crops Pathologist
  • Dan Heider, IPM Specialist
  • Mark Renz, Weed Scientist for Perennial Cropping Systems
  • Vince Davis, Weed Scientist for Annual Cropping Systems

Please register one week prior to the event. For a complete schedule of meetings including county agent contact information, please go here. Registration includes lunch, an information packet, and a copy of the 2015 Pest Management in Wisconsin Field Crops book. Four hours of CEU pest management credits will be available at each location. The registration fee is $40.

Learn How to Apply for Agricultural Grants

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Farmers and value-added food entrepreneurs can get expert advice from USDA, USDA-SARE, and WI DATCP grant managers on how to apply for grants to improve their food production operations. For more information, see the University of Wisconsin Extension press release below.

Contact: Andrew Bernhardt, 608-890-0097, andrew.bernhardt@ces.uwex.edu

Workshops provide information about applying for agricultural grants
Madison, Wis. – Farmers and other value-added food entrepreneurs can learn strategies to access state and federal grants by attending workshops sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Extension in partnership with Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, DATCP, SARE, USDA Rural Development, FSA, NRCS and several farm credit agency banks.
The workshops, being held during October in Janesville and Montello and during November in Ashland and Shawano, will provide information about potential grants, the basics on putting together a strong grant proposal, cost share programs and other financing options.
Each workshop consists of five main components:

  1. An overview to agricultural grants, grant writing and what makes a strong grant proposal.
  2. A lunch-time presentation from a local grant awardee talking about his/her grant experience.
  3. Description and overview of Ag Grants from grant managers for USDA Value Added Producer Grant, USDA-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant, USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, and WI-DATCP Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grant.
  4. A group exercise that allows participants to review actual proposals and gain hands-on experience at grant-writing.
  5. Specific info on other financial options (such as FSA loans, traditional bank loans and NRCS cost share programs) specific to Wisconsin.

Dates, locations and registration:
Oct. 28, 2014 – Janesville; contact: Kim Mork kim.mork@ces.uwex.edu or 608-757-5696
Nov. 4, 2014 – Montello; contact: Lyssa Seefeldt lyssa.seefeldt@ces.uwex.edu or 608-297-3136
Nov. 5, 2014 – Ashland; contact: Jason Fischbach jason.fischbach@ces.uwex.edu or 715-373-6104 ext. 5
Nov. 12, 2014 – Shawano; contact: Jamie Patton jamie.patton@ces.uwex.edu or 715-526-6136

A registration fee of $15 will cover the cost of lunch and materials. Please register at least one week in advance.
For more information about:
VAPG, please go to: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vapg.htm
ADD, please go to: http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/mktg/business/marketing/val-add/add/index.jsp
SARE, please go to: http://www.northcentralsare.org/
SCBG, please go to: http://datcp.wi.gov/Farms/Crops_and_Specialty_Crops/index.aspx
BLBW, please go to: http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Buy_Local_Buy_Wisconsin/BLBW_Grants/index.aspx

On the Bookshelf: Desert Farming

The journal Science just reviewed a new book discussing farming methods used at the fringes of the Gobi desert. The book, “Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty” by Gary Paul Nabhan details growing practices for those farmers that produce crops with less than 20 inches of rainfall per year. For reference, the average yearly rainfall in Madison, Wisconsin is 32 inches. In the drought years of 1988, 1989, and 2012, the precipitation totals were 25, 23, and 27 inches per year.