Spud, Berry, and Dairy Tour Provides Insight into Wisconsin Potato Industry
The WPVGA, along with the Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureaus, held the Spud, Berry, and Dairy Tour September 26-28. The tour was designed to give those interested in Wisconsin agriculture an inside view of some of the industry’s most important operations.
The Spud portion of the tour was held on Monday, September 26th and included stops at Heartland Farms, Inc. and the Hancock Agriculture Research Station both in Hancock, WI, Paragon Potato Farms packing facility in Bancroft, WI, and the McCain Foods potato processing plant in Plover, WI. Day two of the tour focused on the cranberry industry, and day three offered insight into Wisconsin’s dairy industry.
The 40 Tour attendees included people from within Wisconsin as well as other states, along with special guests Alice in Dairyland, Katie Wirkus, Jill Grennan from U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s office, Colleene Thomas from U.S. Senator Herb Kohl’s office, State Senator Julie Lassa, and State Representative Keith Ripp. In addition to attending the tour, Representative Ripp also spoke to the group offering his unique perspective as both an elected official and an active farmer.
One of the highlights of the tour took place at the Storage Research Facility in Hancock where a wide range of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers explained the research projects and science that helps to ensure the future of Wisconsin’s potato and vegetable industry. Speakers included A.J. Bussan, Paul Bethke, Jed Colquhoun (Department of Horticulture), Russ Groves (Department of Entomology), Mary LeMere (Hancock Agriculture Research Station), and Amanda Gevens (Department of Plant Pathology).
The WPVGA would like to offer a special thank you to Jeremie and Alicia Pavelski – Heartland Farms, Melissa Sylte, Neil Simon, and Shawn Wilkes – RPE/Paragon Potato Farms, Mary LeMere – HARS, Kerry Larson and Susan Ziebell – McCain Foods, Sara Brish – Stevens Point Convention & Visitors Bureau, and A.J. Frels – Wisconsin Rapids Convention & Visitors Bureau, for all the time and hard work they put into making the Spud, Berry, and Dairy Tour a success. Thanks also go out to Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. for providing the tour bus.