• Fran O

    Budget cuts to UW-Extension would be devastating

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 17, 2015

    Gov. Scott Walker's proposed state budget cuts of $300 million to the University of Wisconsin System would have a crushing impact on UW Cooperative Extension and agriculture in particular. According to Rick Klemme, dean of UW-Extension, the cuts would mean the elimination of a number of Extension positions. "If the 13% cut is distributed evenly, as the cuts in the past have been, the cuts would be $2.7 million to UW-Extension in each of the next two years for a total loss of…

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  • Fran O

    Nearly 50% of all food is wasted

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 31, 2015

    Every year, between 40% and 50% of the food produced in this country is wasted, according to a food safety Extension specialist at the Michigan State University and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Food waste happens at all stages of production including harvesting, packing as well as restaurant preparation. We are all guilty of wasting food. Who hasn't had carrots or deli ham spoil in the refrigerator? The same is true for a loaf of bread or a bag of chips or a bunch of…

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  • Fran O

    Surviving the college years

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 1, 2015

    This is the sixth consecutive year I have had one or more sons in college. Currently our twins are juniors in college. One is attending University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is double majoring in dairy science and agronomy, and the other one is a student at UW-River Falls majoring in agronomy and soil science with an emphasis in soils. My 23 year old son graduated from UW-Madison in May 2012 with a degree in dairy science and is working for East Central/Select Sires in the Madison…

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  • Fran O

    Is Better Agriculture the Answer to World Peace?

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on November 19, 2014

    The other night my curiosity was piqued when I was watching a report on national TV linking the war with ISIS in Syria and Iraq with climate change. I admit my initial reaction was to roll my eyes as I listened to see how they were going to connect the dots on this one. It seems climate change is being linked to everything, but this is the first time I had heard about it being linked to war. The person being interviewed said climate change had caused a drought in Syria and other parts of the…

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  • Fran O

    Keeping 4-H a Family Tradition

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 28, 2014

    Happy Birthday 4-H! The organization has been an integral part of rural Wisconsin and a family tradition among most farm families for 100 years. The first 4-H club was started in Walworth County on Oct. 30, 1914. My mother started the tradition of 4-H in my family. My mom, my aunt and my uncle were all active in their 4-H club in the late 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s. When my younger brother and I were old enough to be in 4-H, my mother became the general leader of a new 4-H club called Lucky…

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  • Fran O

    4-H is a Great Youth Experience, Pass It On

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 2, 2014

    For 100 years, Wisconsin youth have been benefiting from 4-H. On Oct. 30, 1914, Linn 4-H Club in Walworth County became the first 4-H club in Wisconsin. 4-H has been going strong across the Dairy State ever since. That's the first reason to celebrate 4-H in October. The second reason is National 4-H Week is Oct. 5-11. According to the Wisconsin 4-H Office, there are 35,162 4-H members in Wisconsin today, which is pretty similar to the number of 4-H members there were 10 years ago in…

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  • Fran O

    Great Weather, Fantastic Shows!

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on August 22, 2014

    Hats off to Wisconsin State Fair officials and the 2014 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days show organizers for both holding extremely successful events last month. Super show Wisconsin Farm Technology Days held in Portage County near Stevens Point was the most organized show I have ever attended. Everything from the field demonstrations, to the farm tour, the ride and drive area, the vegetable harvesting tours and the Extension exhibits, to Tent City and even traffic and parking was…

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  • Fran O

    This Summer is Proving There Really are Only Two Seasons in Wisconsin

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 20, 2014

    You know the saying, in Wisconsin there are two seasons – construction season and winter. As I travel the highways and bi-ways of the state, this year that could not be more true. It seems no matter where I go, there is road construction everywhere. Can't get there Nowhere is road construction worse than in Madison. When I traveled there in June two different days to attend the Wisconsin FFA Convention at the Alliant Energy Center, I was warned to avoid the Beltline and John Nolen…

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  • Fran O

    Get Out and Celebrate June Dairy Month

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 23, 2014

    Everybody knows June is Dairy Month, but many people take it for granted. Get out and celebrate June Dairy Month at one of the dozens of Breakfasts on the Farm around the state this month. For a list of times, dates and locations, check out the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's interactive map at www.DairyDaysOfSummer.com. The locator map features many of the more than 70 dairy farms across the state that welcome the public to enjoy a hearty breakfast during the month of June. Fun…

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  • Fran O

    Cold, Wet Weather Delays Corn Planting in Wisconsin

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 14, 2014

    An inch of rain here, two inches of rain there on top of another inch of rain and pretty soon you're dealing with soggy soil too wet to till or plant. During the first two weeks of May, there were more days that it rained than were dry in most of Wisconsin. Add to that, cold temperatures which kept soil temperatures hovering around 42 degrees the first week of May in east central Wisconsin and you have a spring planting season that is off to a dismally slow start. As of May 11, only 20% of…

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