Interview with Allan Brooks
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
When Allan Brooks was in first grade, he waited for the school bus in front of the old milkhouse at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station (HARS), Hancock, Wisconsin, where the office is currently situated.
“Back then, the area had a lot of dairy farms, and even though the forward research was in vegetable production, there was still unirrigated work being done for dairy,” Brooks explains.
Allan’s father, Gilbert Brooks, served as superintendent of HARS from 1946-1955, at which time he bought land and built a house in Plainfield. There, he began growing green beans, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers for Redgranite Pickle Company.
The house, which is now torn down, was located where James Burns & Sons Farms land is now.
“Dad commuted to the farm in Plainfield for a year or so before he resigned his position at HARS,” Allan relates. “He worked with 35-40 professors at the time, and when I went to college, I met many of his cohorts.”
“One of them told me that when my dad resigned his position, half of them thought he might make it in vegetable production and the other half thought he was crazy,” Allan says. “About three years after Dad resigned, he was paying more in income tax than he was taking home in salary.”