AEM raises concerns about Wisconsin bill’s effects on ag equipment

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and member companies have expressed concerns about a bill that would affect the operation of agricultural equipment on Wisconsin roadways.

At a Jan. 28 public hearing at the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison, AEM voiced several concerns about the proposed Implements of Husbandry (IoH) bill (SB 509 and AB 648):

• Weight – AEM called on state legislators to consider an overall weight limit only and eliminate an axle weight restriction contained in the bill.

• Lighting and marking – AEM recommended a transition period of one year on used equipment to provide education on lighting and marking requirements and ensure kits are available to properly mount on equipment, when required.

• Permitting – AEM suggested that an “alternative route” guaranteed permit provision apply to all implements of husbandry for a period of time – such as five years – to give farmers time to change their operations.

Representatives of AEM member companies Kuhn, CNH and Landoll also testified at the hearing, held before the Wisconsin Senate Transportation, Public Safety and Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and the Wisconsin Assembly Transportation Committee.

AEM played an active role in the development of the proposed IoH legislation, serving as an official member of the IoH study group, attending town hall gatherings around the state and meeting on several occasions with the bill sponsors.

In a letter sent August 1, 2013 to Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, AEM noted that the study group was originally formed to examine rural road damage resulting from high-frequency animal waste transport at times when roadbeds are most susceptible to harm, such as during spring thaw.

However, AEM said, the study group expanded its scope to include nearly all categories of agricultural equipment, including several types that have historically been considered exempt from permits and regulatory controls.

AEM also objected to the aggressive schedule followed by the study group in completing its report and the lack of time provided to manufacturers to deliver requested data.

For more information, contact Nick Yaksich in AEM’s Washington, D.C. office (, tel: 202-898-9064).


Iowa State University animal science professor praises new research program 

A new competitive grants program in the recently passed Farm Bill that addresses critical issues impacting animal agriculture helps counter the shortfall in federal investment in animal science, said Maynard Hogberg, chair of the Iowa State University animal science department.

Hogberg also serves as president-elect of the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science (NAAAS), the organization that proposed the grants program last year. He said national and state animal agriculture organizations and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities worked with the NAAAS to support inclusion of the new program in the Farm Bill.

“The federal investment in research for the animal sciences has been declining for many years. This new competitive grants program provides the opportunity to step up investments in animal research to be more proportional with animal agriculture’s economic contributions,” Hogberg said. 

Livestock and poultry sales account for 40% of all farm income, according to the NAAAS. When feed crops consumed by livestock are included, the contribution to farm income is 60%.

The new program is part of the Continuing Animal Health and Disease, Food Security and Stewardship Research, Education and Extension Programs and is authorized for $25 million per year over the life of the Farm Bill. Research will focus on the priority areas of food security, health and stewardship. 

NAAAS is dedicated to improving overall federal funding for animal agricultural research. It is comprised of animal, dairy, poultry and veterinary science departments from colleges and universities across the United States as well as national and state organizations involved in animal agriculture and animal science.


Four seek seats on PDPW board

Four candidates are vying for three positions on the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) board of directors. Candidates include Jeremy Natzke, Wayside Dairy, Greenleaf, Wis.; Kay Zwald, Bomaz Farms, Hammond, Wis.; Charlie Crave, Crave Brothers Farms and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Wis.; and Mike Meyer, Meyer Family Dairy, Loyal. Wis.

PDPW members will be mailed a ballot, and are eligible to vote for three of the four candidates.

Ballots can either be mailed to the PDPW office (postmarked by Mar. 3) or turned into PDPW ballot clerks at the 2014 Business Conference on March 13.


Iowa 4-H online livestock production program under development

 Youth participating in 4-H are the focus of a new Iowa State University livestock education program. Amy Powell was recently hired to help develop an online curriculum to teach youth in 4-H about raising livestock. The new Extension and Outreach position of 4-H livestock specialist will work with Department of Animal Science professors to ensure the information is scientifically sound.

“One in every five Iowa youth develops life skills by participating in 4-H programs demonstrating the importance of providing a research-based education,” said Cathann Kress, vice president for Extension and Outreach. “This new position complements the governor’s STEM Initiative to boost our youths’ knowledge and skills.”

Powell is a native of Tennessee and worked as an extension educator there for about 16 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1996 and a master’s degree in agricultural education and extension in 2004, both from the University of Tennessee.

Powell said the curriculum that’s developed will be online making it available to youth outside of 4-H, such as FFA and others who want to learn about animals and the science involved in their production. The exposure to the information might lead youth to further study or to choose a career in science or animal science. 

“With more than 16,000 4-H youth enrolled in animal projects, we are looking forward to bringing new ways of delivery and educational experiences to both rural and urban youth in the area of animal science and the STEM initiative,” said Mike Anderson, a 4-H Youth Development livestock program specialist who will be working with Powell.


Nebraska Governor’s Ag Conference set for March 5-6

The 2014 Nebraska Governor’s Ag Conference will be held March 5-6 at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney, Neb.

Speakers include Randy Krotz with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, who will begin the conference by discussing strategies to educate consumers in conversations about agriculture; Kay Johnson Smith with the Animal Agriculture Alliance, who will talk about issues related to animal welfare and livestock production; and Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains Renewable Energy of Omaha, who will discuss policy considerations for the biofuels sector. Green Plains Renewable Energy owns several ethanol plants across the Midwest, including four in Nebraska.

Anyone interested in agriculture issues is invited to attend. The registration fee is $100.

Registration is available online at or by calling the Nebraska Department of Agriculture toll-free at 800-831-0550.


WMMB director nomination period closes Feb. 21

Eligible milk producers interested in running for a Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) director seat have until Feb. 21 to submit a nomination form to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).  In order to qualify, a nominee must be an active dairy producer who: 1) lives in a district up for election; and 2) sells milk into commercial channels.

Districts and counties holding elections include:

• District 1: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer, Washburn

• District 4: Barron, Polk

• District 7: Clark

• District 10: Brown, Door, Kewaunee

• District 13: Buffalo, Pierce, Pepin

• District 16: Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette

• District 19: Columbia, Dodge

• District 22: Grant

• District 25: Green, Rock, Walworth

Potential candidates must submit a completed nomination form and have the “Affidavit of Eligibility” (on the nomination form) notarized. In addition, nominees must acquire at least five signatures from active dairy producers who reside in the same election district.

After nominations have been certified, DATCP will announce the candidates and hold a mail-in ballot election April 7-26, with results announced later in May. Elected directors will then serve a three-year term beginning July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017.

Nomination forms are available online at, or for a hard copy, contact DATCP at (608) 224-5140 or


South Dakota ag essay content planned

South Dakota Ag in the Classroom and South Dakota Farm Families are partnering to host an essay contest for third and fourth grade students across South Dakota. The topic for this year’s essay contest is “The Surprising Places I Found Agriculture”.

 “By having to do some research before writing, youth are enlightened as to just how many times each day they experience some aspect of agriculture, even if they don’t live on a farm,” states Ann Price, Executive Director for South Dakota Ag in the Classroom.

“South Dakota dairy and hog farmers have been visiting classrooms as a part of South Dakota Farm Families “National Ag Week” activities for seven years now. The essay contest gives each school the opportunity to take part in the National Ag Week activities,” adds Rebecca Christman, Outreach Director for South Dakota Farm Families.

Third and fourth grade teachers are encouraged to utilize this contest as a writing exercise for their classrooms. “Entire classrooms can submit essays. The more students from a single classroom who enter, the greater the chances that room will be having pizza for lunch one day,” states Christman.

Price adds, “This contest was designed to meet the Common Core standards for writing so teachers can use this as a practice activity before the DSTEP tests. Teachers can refer to the entry blank on the website to see exactly what standards are being met.”

Any third or fourth grade student in South Dakota can enter. Entries are due March 28, with the winner to be announced on the South Dakota Ag in the Classroom and South Dakota Farm Families Facebook pages April 15.

The winning student will receive a classroom pizza party hosted by South Dakota Farm Families, a visit from a local agricultural producer, a certificate and the winning essay will be published on South Dakota Ag in the Classroom and South Dakota Farm Families websites and Facebook pages.

Entry forms can be found on the South Dakota Farm Families ( and South Dakota Ag in the Classroom ( websites. Students should submit their 100-250 word essays by March 28 to Ag Week Essay Contest, c/o South Dakota Ag in the Classroom, PO Box 402, Miller, S.D., 57362 or e-mail them to with the subject line “Ag Week Essay Contest”.  Contact Price at or 605-853-6040 with questions.


Dairy Management Workshops offer insights on dairy policy

Attendees of recent Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Dairy Management Workshop were among the first in the nation to gain in-depth analysis of the dairy provisions included in the recently passed Farm Bill. University of Minnesota dairy economist Dr. Marin Bozic outlined the new Margin Protection Program and offered insight as to what dairy farmers need to consider as the program is unveiled. You can view Dr. Bozic’s presentation and download the podcast here.

Matt Lange, AgStar Business Consultant, showcased the habits of successful dairy managers, regardless of the approach to dairying. Using tools and technology to capture and evaluate production and financial data, along with allotting enough time for managers to plan and benchmark strategic goals significantly increases the dairy’s long-term success.

Consumer trust, product quality, cow comfort and the producers’ bottom-line were all the correct answers to the question Who Cares About Milk Quality? Zoetis veterinarians Dr. Gary Neubauer and Dr. Marty Wayne shared recent research and consumer trends which emphasize the need to continue to improve milk quality.
Visit Minnesota Milk’s webpage to download the 2014 Dairy Management Workshop proceedings.

Also, if you missed Bozic’s talk, two more opportunities are scheduled:

• Friday, Feb. 21, 10:30–11:30 a.m., Lewiston Silo School – Lewiston, MN

• Friday, Feb. 28, 10:30–11:30 a.m., Pizza Ranch – Alexandria, MN

Complimentary registration is provided by the producer and associate members at MMPA. If you are interested in staying for lunch and attending Midwest Dairy Association’s District Meeting, RSVP to Eir GarciaSilva with Minnesota Milk by phone (763) 355-9697 or email


Wisconsin’s Giebel wins national Collegiate Discussion Meet

Ethan Giebel, a student at UW-Platteville, was selected the winner of the 2014 national Collegiate Discussion Meet Contest held in conjunction with the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference, Feb. 8. 
The Juneau County native and former president of the Wisconsin FFA Association competed against 52 other collegiate Farm Bureau members from 36 states at the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet.

Giebel was previously selected as Wisconsin’s state winner. The Collegiate Discussion Meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each committee member.

Giebel is pursuing a degree in agricultural education. He enjoys working on his parent’s 350-acre farm, EDEM Acres, where they raise about 400 Holstein dairy steers along with corn and alfalfa. As the national winner, Giebel received $2,500 scholarship from competitive event sponsor CHS Foundation. 

In addition to Giebel, three runners-up participated in three rounds of discussion before making it to the Final Four round. Runners-up were Clarissa Brown of Missouri (University of Missouri), Keili Summey of Arizona (Oklahoma State University) and Katie Winslow of Minnesota (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities).