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Tater Talk

               Volume 6, Issue 31
                   June 27, 2014

WPVGA Associate Division 14th Annual Golf Outing & Barbeque

Openings for golfers still available!!
Door prize donations are also welcome. 

The WPVGA Associate Division will host the 14th annual golf outing at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.  The golf outing will be followed by a barbeque and drawings for raffle prizes.
The format for golf is a four-person scramble with a shotgun start.  The scramble begins at 11:00 a.m. with registration beginning at 10:30 a.m.  The event is limited to the first 36 foursomes.  Sign up is on a first-come basis, so don’t hesitate to sign up.  The cost is $75/person which includes 18 holes of golf with cart.  We will golf rain or shine.  Proper golf etiquette is expected.
Lunch will be available to all golfers that day courtesy of Ron’s Refrigeration.  The barbeque will be held immediately following golf and is open to everyone in the industry whether you choose to golf or not.  Tickets are required.  The ticket price for the barbeque only is $15 per person, and the meal will include a sirloin steak, green salad, vegetable, potato, rolls and dessert.  Checks can be made payable to the WPVGA.  Please contact Julie Braun at 715-623-7683 if you have any questions.
You have the opportunity to sponsor a hole with a minimum $200 donation in cash or prizes.  Contact Julie Braun at 715-623-7683 for more details.
Registration Form

Governor Walker Cocktail Reception

The Scott Walker Governors Club invites you to join them for a cocktail reception in support of Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.  The host reception will begin at 5:00 pm with the General Reception to follow at 6:00 pm.  The location of this event is at the Somers Residence in Stevens Point, WI.
Click here to view the invitation which contains more information

New PTI Lite Training Videos Available

As you start getting ready for the packing season, make sure you’re ready to use your PTI Lite software!  RedLine Solutions has published new training videos to help make sure you are ready.  Among the topics you can choose:
  • PTI Lite Refresher –  a 10-minute session for returning users of PTI Lite, who need a brush-up on using the system
  • PTI Lite Training – a 50-minute session for new users of PTI Lite
  • Printer Maintenance and Cleaning – does your printer need some “spring” cleaning?  RedLine has videos available to help you get your printer ship-shape before you start printing labels.
  • Using Your Accessories – Wondering how to set up your rewinder or other accessories? RedLine has videos covering those topics, too.
You’ll also want to make sure your PTI Lite software has been upgraded to the latest version – a video is also available describing the feature updates.  These updates were created in response to feedback from WPVGA members, so make sure to update and take advantage of the changes.
To access any of this information, go to and log in.  If you can’t remember your login name and password, simply write to and request assistance. After logging in, check the “Software Updates” screen for information on upgrading your software version, or go to the “Videos” screen to select training and maintenance videos.

Feeding Your Family Blog to Feature Wisconsin Growers

Every week, WPVGA puts posts up on two different blogs; “The New Family Farm,” which is more trade oriented, and “Feeding Your Family” which is more aimed at consumers.

As the next fiscal year approaches, the “Feeding Your Family” blog will be featuring grower perspectives from around the state. WPVGA will conduct interviews and therefore, begin introducing consumers to the very growers who provide them with quality potato and vegetables every day.

Some specific areas of focus will be informing the public about the multi-generational farms, the potato varieties and vegetables they grow, the location of the farms and making the connection to the consumers.

“Meet Your Grower” posts will be featured every other week on Tuesdays. To check out the blog ahead of time, please visit,

Volunteers Needed for Farm Tech Days

Volunteers are still needed for the 2014 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days to be held in Portage County August 12-14.  The hosts for this year’s event are Feltz Family Farms and Blue Top Farm, both in Stevens Point.
Volunteers make the Farm Technology Days show work.  To help on any of the many committees, please visit the website at:  Or, feel free to contact Ken Schroeder, Portage County Agriculture Agent at:
The following is a list of committees needing assistance:  Hospitality/Fundraising; publicity/marketing; food; food service and prep; family living; youth; grounds; field demonstrations; traffic; parking; utilities; sign; tent city; admissions; and volunteer coordinator.

USDA Invites Suggestions for the 2017 Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now inviting suggestions for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted only once every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture down to the county level.
“The recent release of the 2012 Census of Agriculture is the end of an ongoing 5 year-cycle that has started anew with the first stage of the 2017 Census – asking what changes to make in the next questionnaire,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “This is the perfect time to ask for suggestions since the 2012 data are fresh on our minds.”
NASS released the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results on May 2, 2014. The agency is now planning the content for the 2017 Agriculture Census and is accepting input. Any individual or organization may submit suggestions on questionnaire items to add or delete, as well as any other ideas concerning the Census. There will be another opportunity to provide official comment through the Federal Register process in the coming weeks.
“There are many industries looking for data that we don’t already collect,” said NASS Census and Survey Division Director Renee Picanso. “There are also some items that people may think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. Now is the time to express those ideas and concerns.”

USDA Crop Progress Report

The highly anticipated USDA Crop Progress reports came out Monday afternoon. Traders expected to see ratings decrease with all the storms the Midwest experienced last week. National levels decreased in response to the storms, but for the most part Wisconsin seemed unscathed.
National Standings:
Corn was rated 78 percent in good to excellent condition, down 2 percent from last week. Soybeans were 95 percent planted, 90 percent emerged and 72 percent in good to excellent condition which was down one percent from last week.
Corn was 94 percent emerged, with 79 percent in good to excellent condition. Soybeans were 96 percent planted and 90 percent emerged with 79 percent in good to excellent condition. Oats were 98 percent emerged with 33 percent heading and 87 percent in good to excellent condition. Winter wheat had 81 percent headed with 71 percent in good to excellent condition. Potatoes were 88 percent rated in good to excellent condition. The first cutting of alfalfa was 82 percent complete. All hay was rated 89 percent in good to excellent condition.

United States Potato Board Seat Nominations

The nomination season for the United States Potato Board has begun once again, and Wisconsin has one seat to fill. Mike Carter, CEO of Bushmans’ Inc., will have completed his second 3-year term on the board in March 2015.

Heidi Randall of Alsum Farms and Produce as well as Josh Knights from Heartland Farms have accepted the nominations to be on the ballot. Voting will begin by July 1.

Those currently serving represent Wisconsin’s interests on the Board and keep Wisconsin’s growers informed of how the USPB is fulfilling the interest of growers and maximizing their return on investment. All are also grower-leaders who actively participate in local government, cultural or business affairs.

The elected individual will be required to formerly accept the nomination in a letter, and submit other paperwork including a background form, no later than August 1st. The term of office will begin July 1, 2015.

The USPB encourages diversity on the board and therefore supports women, younger growers, minorities, and people with disabilities to seek positions on the board. Four of Wisconsin’s five seats were filled in last year’s elections. Those elected were:
  • Rick Kantner, Katz Produce
  • Adam Bula, Bula Potato Farms, Inc.
  • Eric Schroeder, Schroeder Bros. Farms
  • Mark Finnessy, Okray Family Farms
Please contact the WPVGA office at 715-623-7683 or with any questions.

UW- Madison Job Posting

The University of Wisconsin – Madison has listed a position opening for the Potato and Vegetable Storage Research Facility Manager.  Please follow the link below for more information:

Governor Walker Campaign

Nick and Dianne Somers will be holding a campaign event for Governor Scott Walker on July 16 at their home in Stevens Point.  We are accepting pledges from persons wanting to be included as a Host for the event.
We have established sponsorship levels that allow for your participation and interaction at the event.  Platinum and Gold sponsors will have the opportunity to meet with the Governor at the event.  Each level of participation is important as we support the effort and progress we have made as a state by the policies and practices implemented under this administration.
Please call to get involved.
Duane Maatz

WPVGA Invited to Participate in RedLine Solutions Educational Webinar 

On a monthly basis, RedLine Solutions hosts various educational webinars that focus on traceability and PTI compliance. Thanks to Wisconsin’s partnership with the company at the end of 2013, RedLine Solutions is inviting WPVGA to participate in an upcoming webinar that will focus on how other associations can be a resource for their membership base.

After Wal-Mart released its letter requiring compliancy a year ago in May, various growers urged WPVGA to help them get involved and devise a plan that would work for the state. The strategy was to work with one PTI company, which would make implementing PTI more cost effective and simple for the suppliers involved.

This idea has not only proved to be a success for the growers, but has also put Wisconsin on the map. It’s a team-oriented approach that can be a benefit for other states as well. Stay tuned for details once the webinar is scheduled.

In the meantime, feel free to participate in an earlier webinar on July 23rd.

Well Depth Monitoring / Sustainability Initiatives 

WPVGA Growers,
An important part of our Sustainability Initiatives is our appropriate use of water.  To assist in this effort, we need greater grower participation in our depth to water well testing.  The Water Task Force is asking that you collect measurements of your well depths. We need to collect data from as many growers as possible before irrigation begins in earnest.  This data will be cumulated and your data will be protected and not identified individually.  We do need to participate with the DNR study of the Little Plover River.  Our cumulated data is important to this process.
This is very important to the industry and the initiatives of the Water Task Force, as well as our future capabilities. We strongly encourage you to take part in this effort now and going forward. If you have any questions please contact Duane at the WPVGA Office, 715-623-7683 , Cell 715-610-1496.
Well Depth Monitoring Protocol
Hicap Well Monitoring Agreement
Hicap Well Depth Letter
Water Level Indicator Cutsheet
Blank Well Depth Monitoring Record Sheet
We need to ramp up our efforts and timing is critical.  Please get involved with this important activity.  We need to conduct these efforts to establish scientific certainty in our production practices.  Please get involved.  Also, remember that we have an electronic platform available for easier reporting and downloading directly into the databank.  Thank you for your cooperation with this important project.
Duane Maatz, WPVGA

Giant Potato Contest Returns

All Wisconsin potato growers are challenged to a Giant Potato Contest.
If you think you know something about growing potatoes, here’s your chance to prove it.
Show the world what we can do with Wisconsin potatoes!
Rules: The winner will be the person who grows the heaviest single tuber. Potatoes must be grown in Wisconsin soil. There are no restrictions on variety or production method. There will be no penalty for ugly tubers or hollow tubers.
The current world record is 11 lbs. It was not grown in Wisconsin.
Prizes: The winner will receive a case of good beer, a certificate of accomplishment, and bragging rights for one year.
Venue: Entries must be brought to the 2015 UW Extension and WPVGA Grower Education Conference by 11:00 AM Wednesday, where official weights will be determined.

For additional information contact Paul Bethke at

Upcoming Events

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