Paul Miller grew up on his family’s farm in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. The farm was started by Paul’s great-great-grandparents in the 1850s, and was recently recognized as a sesquicentennial farm (150 years old). Paul vividly remembers plowing a field at the age of 8.
Some 60 years later, he’s still farming. Paul Miller Farms is Wisconsin’s second largest carrot producer, with 1,100 acres grown for processing (slicing and dicing), primarily at Birds Eye Foods and Del Monte Foods. All told, the farm raises over 2,500 acres of vegetables, including potatoes, sweet corn, snap beans and peas.
Read more of our May 2013 interview with Paul Miller.
Dr. Jeff Wyman’s responsibilities as Project Coordinator for the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (WISA) encompass sustainability issues impacting cropping systems in Wisconsin and nationally. In his career as a vegetable entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, he worked closely with the potato and processed vegetable growers in the state. These and other agricultural industries are currently facing important sustainability issues and Wyman’s experience with such systems has been instrumental in forging close linkages between WISA and the WPVGA. Water is an important component of agricultural systems throughout the United States, and WISA is therefore working closely with the WPVGA’s Water Task Force to address water related issues in the Central Sands.
Read more of our April 2013 interview with Dr. Jeff Wyman.
For 100 years, Wisconsin seed potato growers have had their seed potato crops certified by the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program. This program was started as a collaboration among farmers and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1913. It is currently administered through the UW-Madison Department of Plant Pathology, with oversight from the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association (WSPIA) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Among the long-standing seed potato producing farms, one name remains prominent in the Wisconsin potato industry: Bula.
Bula Potato Farms, Inc. is a fourth generation farm that began with 40 acres back in the 1920′s in Langlade County. At that time, they raised dairy cows along with potatoes. In the 1960′s, the farm went exclusively into potato production, and also purchased the farm located in Post Lake.
Read more of our March 2013 interview with Adam Bula.
Pete Clark and Rick Murdock are the co-owners of Ag Connections, a crop management software solutions company. Murdock is the manager in charge of all of the software development at Ag Connections. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Rick is the son of John Murdock, retired Soil Science Professor and International Ag Development Lead with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Growing up, Rick had the opportunity to live in Brazil for six years and then spent two years in Indonesia before returning to Madison. After graduation from UW-Madison, he returned to family roots in Murray, Kentucky where in 1978 he and his dad started Ponderosa Farms. Ponderosa Farms grows 1,200 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans as well as having 45 acres of catfish production. The Ag Connections offices are located on the farm in two renovated tobacco barns, connected to fiber optic internet where the 32 employees service growers all over the United States.
Read more of our February 2013 interview with Rick Murdock.
Tatro Irrigation and Potato (T.I.P.), Inc. is an agricultural equipment company started by Steve Tatro’s father, Bill, in 1976 in Ellis, Wisconsin. At that time the business handled only potato equipment, but in the years since then, they have diversified into irrigation equipment, custom manufacturing, and golf course maintenance equipment. They also import and distribute potato equipment from Europe throughout North America. In recent years they have expanded into fertilizer products for potato, vegetable and fruit growers as well as turf grass.
Read more of our January 2013 interview with Steve Tatro.
University of Wisconsin researchers are leading a new $2.1 million, USDA-funded project designed to help vegetable producers and processors get rewarded in the marketplace for producing their products in a sustainable manner. Scientists in five states will collaborate to create a system for reporting the sustainability of agricultural practices that will be credible to consumers and workable for producers.
The grant funded through USDA’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative, will be led by Dr. Paul Mitchell, Associate Professor in the University of Wisconsin Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
Read more of our December 2012 interview with Paul Mitchell.
Trembling Prairie Farms is a unique potato and vegetable operation, with farms in Wisconsin and Montana. John and Connie Bobek are natives of Indiana. John came to Wisconsin in 1989 with the intention of growing mint crops. After raising mint for one year, the Bobeks decided to raise red potatoes as well and the operation continued to expand.
By the mid-1990s, Trembling Prairie Farms was raising mint, potatoes and onions. By the mid-2000s, the Bobeks got out of mint farming and decided to raise their own seed potatoes, so they purchased a 200-acre farm in Montana, raising seed potatoes along with onions. They have since purchased more farmland in Montana and now raise seed potatoes along with corn, alfalfa, pinto beans and wheat on 525 acres. In Wisconsin, the farm consists of 180 acres of potatoes, 160 acres of yellow onions, 20 acres of red onions and a few acres of celery. They also lease out 150 acres of corn and soybeans.
Read more of our November 2012 interview with John Bobek.
Brothers Richard and Roderick Gumz formed Gumz Muck Farms, LLC in 1994. They grow, store and pack red potatoes and yellow globe onions for retail. The farm also raises carrots for processing (slicing and dicing), field corn, soybeans and over 1,000 acres of mint (primarily peppermint). The Gumz family has been raising mint for over 80 years in Indiana and Wisconsin. Richard, Roderick and their brother, Daniel, represent the fourth generation of Gumz family farmers. Daniel and their father, Jerome, still operate the home farm in Indiana.
Read more of our October 2012 interview with Richard and Roderick Gumz.
The Hancock Agricultural Research Station is a 412-acre vegetable crop research farm located in the Central Sands area of Wisconsin. Field trials at the station are related to potatoes, field corn, sweed corn, soybeans, snap beans, carrots, cucumbers and switchgrass. The station is also home to the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Storage Research Facility.
Matt Repking began his duties as the Interim Superintendent at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station on March 1, 2012. And while he’s still in his first year at the station, he was able to hit the ground running, having served as the Assistant Superintendent at the Arlington Ag Research Station the previous four years.
Read more of our August 2012 interview with Matt Repking.
The Wolter family of Antigo has a long history of potato farming. Herbert Wolter bought a small farm in the late 1930s and later bought his uncle’s (Gus Wolter) farm in 1945, raising potatoes and cattle. Herb also raised eight children, four of whom have strong ties to the potato industry: Sons John and Glen worked together for many years on their father’s farm; son Mike formed his own potato operation called Riverside Farms in Antigo; and daughter Caroline is the wife of Antigo seed potato grower Tom Wild of Wild Seed Farms.
Keith Wolter is a third generation farmer at Hyland Lakes Spuds in Antigo. In 1951 (the year Keith’s father, Glen, was born), Keith’s grandfather, Herb, sold the cows and formed Hyland Lakes Brand, which was primarily a potato farm with some rotational crops such as oats and clover. Glen joined his father on the farm operation in 1970; his younger brother, John, also joined in the farm a few years later. In 1982, the two brothers bought the farm from Herb, and formed Hyland Lakes Spuds.
Read more of our July 2012 interview with Keith Wolter.