Resource: Wisconsin Farm Center

Wisconsin Farm Center, another resource from the state of Wisconsin and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, releases quarterly newsletters with a wide array of topics. If you are too busy during the growing season, winter may be a great time to catch up on Farm Center newsletters. Another great way to stay up-to-date is to subscribe to their email newsletter.

The Farm Center offers a variety of services to Wisconsin farmers.

Attention Farmers: Farm Succession Planning Survey

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UW-EXTENSION FARM TRANSITION AND SUCCESSION PLANNING SURVEY

Farm succession has, by many local and statewide experts, been identified as one the most urgent issue affecting farmers in Wisconsin. Nearly 6,000 Wisconsin dairy farm operators (or two of every three) do not have a successor identified, leaving families, communities and local economies in a state of financial insecurity.

This UW-Extension Farm Transition and Succession Planning Survey has been created to determine needs regarding farm transition and succession planning for among farm businesses in the state. Those with knowledge of the day-to-day operations and those who own farmland are encouraged to participate in the survey. Any type of farm business can participate in the survey if they are defined as a farm according to IRS definitions ($1,000 gross sales). Not all questions may apply to the situations of individual farms and no question is required to be completed.

This UW-Extension Farm Transition and Succession Planning Survey was developed in collaboration with Kenosha, Walworth and Racine Counties Cooperative Extension offices with financial support from the UW-Extension Farm Team and Center for Dairy Profitability. Questions about this project can be directed to Peg Reedy (peg.reedy@ces.uwex.edu) 262-741-4961 or Amy Greil (amy.greil@ces.uwex.edu) 262-857-1935.

The online survey can be accessed at: http://goo.gl/oa0CFG A paper copy can be requested from UW-Extension Center for Dairy Profitability by calling 608.263.7795 or by e-mail at jmvander@wisc.edu.

New USDA Cover Crop Termination Guidelines

The NRCS just released new cover crop termination guidelines. Recently, a webinar was held to discuss the new changes and answer questions. To access the archived webinar, “Cover Crops and Crop Insurance: Questions and Answers on USDA’s Cover Crop Termination Guides”, follow this link to the YouTube video. Most of the changes involve the termination guidelines for areas of the country with a summer fallow practice. The termination zone for Wisconsin is Zone 4 and the guidelines have not changed from the June 2013 to the December 2013 guideline release. To see the new termination guidelines released in December 2013 from the USDA-NRCS, go here. For the previous termination guidelines released in June 2013, go here.

In addition, the USDA’s Risk Management Agency just published a new cover crops fact sheet outlining their policy from a crop insurance standpoint. To access their fact sheet, go here. According to the RMA, a cover crop can be harvested for forage or grazed without violating your crop insurance policy. However, it is important to remember that when removing a cover crop as a forage crop the herbicide label restrictions must be followed when feeding to livestock. Also, removing biomass for forage may limit the benefits that you may expect for a cover crop. Researchers looking at crimson clover managed as a cover crop with no removal versus a spring forage harvest found that corn grain and yields were higher in the fields with the cover crop compared to the forage crop 1. However, in another study with cereal rye (Secale cereale) in a corn grain system, removal of the aboveground rye biomass did not affect the subsequent corn crop yield 2. Aside from yield, removing biomass for forage can impact soil health. In a 5 year study of three cover crops in a corn grain system, removal of the cover crop biomass reduced soil organic carbon and nitrogen 3.

References:

  1. Holderbaum, J.F.; Decker, A.M.; Meisinger, J.J.; Mulford, F.R.; Vough, L.R. Harvest management of a crimson clover cover crop for no-tillage corn production. 1990 Agronomy Journal 82(5): 918-923.
  2. Tollenaar, M.; Mihajlovic, M.; Vym, T.J. Corn growth following cover crops: influence of cereal cultivar, cereal removal, and nitrogen rate. 1993 Agronomy Journal 85(2): 251-255.
  3. Kuo, S.; Jellum, E.J. Influence of winter cover crop and residue managment on soil nitrogen availability and corn. 2002 Agronomy Journal 94(3): 501-508.

Resources for Wisconsin Farmers, Part II

The Wisconsin Farm Center, at the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, offers a variety of services and resources for farmers.

  • Farm Mediation and Arbitration Program- contact the program or read the brochure. The Center has also produced a legal guide, available as a pdf document.
  • Rural Electric Power Services Program– farm re-wiring resources
  • Focus on Energy Program– funding for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations. This includes commercial agribusiness, dairy and livestock farms, grain facilities, aquaculture facilities, and irrigation systems.
  • Financial Counseling offers more than budget worksheets and articles. To speak with a financial analyst, contact the main office at (608) 224-5012.
  • Employment Resources can help with an off-farm job search. They can provide assistance with a variety of job hunting tasks including identifying transferable skills, composing a resume, or finding training opportunities.