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Three Wisconsin Farmers Earn Stewardship Awards

We tip our hats to three Wisconsin farmers who were recently recognized for their excellent conservation! Jody Ausen, James Pingel and Jerry Wahleitner received awards from Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel on September 7 for being the top-ranked farmers in Wisconsin’s Conservation Stewardship Program enrollment this year. The Conservation Stewardship Program is for farms of all types and sizes, and rewards farmers for the conservation they are already doing as well as providing them the means to do even more.

The awards were presented by Secretary Ben Brancel and Margaret Krome, board member for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The awardees are:

Awardee Jody Ausen

Awardee Jody Ausen

Jody Ausen, Trempealeau County hay and grain farmer. After running the family farm for a few years, Ausen realized that agriculture was in his blood and returned to the farm full time. He recognizes that being a good steward may take more time and effort, but in the end it is the best business decision. By protecting his soil, he’s protecting the future of his business.

 

Awardee James Pingel

Awardee James Pingel

James Pingel, Chippewa County grain farmer. Pingel contends he is simply continuing the conservation his father started, such as the strip cropping his father put in in the 1950s. With the Conservation Stewardship Program he is implementing new conservation practices such as taking small, hard-to-get-to areas on his farm and creating wildlife areas by planting a wildlife mix with barley and oats.

 

Awardee Jerry Wahleitner

Awardee Jerry Wahleitner

Jerry Wahleitner, Langlade County seed farmer for grains, small grains and hay. Wahleitner is a fifth generation farmer, and his goal is to pass the land and this wonderful way of life to the next generation. He was surprised to be receiving this honor, stating that he is simply doing what all farmers should be doing to protect their land.

The Conservation Stewardship Program is available to all producers regardless of size, location, or type of operation, including crop, pasture land or forestland. Overall, over 524,284 acres plus 86,330 acres of woodland (non-industrial private forestland) are enrolled in Wisconsin.

Participating farmers receive an average of $20 per acre for cropland, $18 per acre for pasture, and $5 per acre for woodland for each year of a five year contract. Interested farmers can apply now for 2012 funding. Contact your local NRCS office at the USDA Service Center for more information, or visit www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov.