• Fran O

    Budget cuts to UW-Extension would be devastating

    Badger View

     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

    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

    Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling Put Farm Bill On The Back Burner

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 10, 2013

    The 2013 farm bill inched forward in September and seemed headed for a House-Senate conference committee until the Congressional agenda was hijacked by fights over the budget, threats to defund the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare and raising the national debt ceiling. Little more is likely to happen until those issues are resolved at some point in the near future. At the time this magazine was going to press on Oct. 15, there was no resolution. Before the government shutdown took…

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  • Fran O

    Enthusiasm For FFA At All-Time High

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 14, 2013

    If you thought FFA membership was declining due to fewer farms and a lack of support for ag programs at high schools around the state, you would be wrong on both counts. According to Jeff Hicken, state FFA adviser with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, membership hit a 29-year high this year in Wisconsin with 19,000 FFA members. And if you were anywhere near the Alliant Energy Center in Madison June 10-13, you may have noticed a sea of blue and gold jackets. That's…

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  • Fran O

    Health Care Costs Are Out Of Control

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 7, 2013

    I just finished signing up for health insurance through my employer. It's a task that I dread every year for a variety of reasons. One, I hate the paperwork involved. This year was worse than most because we had to sign up on the computer and it took much longer to complete than previous years. And two, I have to decide what level of coverage I want for my family and which level of risk I'm willing to assume – do I want to pay more and have better coverage or am I willing…

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  • Fran O

    Check Alfalfa Fields Now For Winterkill

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 3, 2013

    Now that alfalfa is finally beginning to green up after the winter that would not end, many farmers across Wisconsin are discovering that their alfalfa winterkilled or is suffering significant winter injury. Dr. Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension forage agronomist, says he has been getting reports that damage varies from low spots only in fields to major portions of alfalfa fields. Short of plowing up all of your alfalfa fields and starting over, what can be…

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  • Fran O

    Make Mine Milk, Please!

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 26, 2013

    I confess there was a time when I drank two, sometimes three cans of Diet Coke per day. In fact, I was addicted to Diet Coke. I could tell because if I went a day without drinking any Diet Coke I would wake up the next morning with a pounding headache. The cure? You guessed it – another Diet Coke. This addiction to Diet Coke went on for 23 years! Finally, in 2005 I managed to kick the habit. Fortunately for me, Diet Coke wasn't the only thing I drank. I have always been a…

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  • Fran O

    Spring Fieldwork Will Require Patience This Year

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 19, 2013

    Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. That is certainly true when it comes to our weather. Last summer, nearly everybody was praying for rain in June and July in the southern half of the state and there was little rain to be had until the end of July. Showers were widely scattered throughout August and much of the state grew dry again during September and the first half of October. After a snowy, cold winter, spring has been much colder than normal and extremely wet…

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  • Fran O

    You and Your Family Should Take Tornado Warnings Seriously

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 12, 2013

      The week of April 15-19 is Tornado Awareness Week in Wisconsin and with any luck, the crazy weather we have been experiencing lately in Wisconsin will help increase residents' awareness and preparedness for tornadoes and even more dangerous weather. A freak ice storm hit east central Wisconsin overnight on April 10 knocking down countless trees and power lines, damaging homes and farm buildings and cutting electricity to thousands of homes, farms and businesses…

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