Dennis Frame was presented the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's "Distinguished Service to Agriculture" award during the organization's 94th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on Dec. 8.
The Distinguished Service to Agriculture is awarded to an individual for outstanding contributions to Wisconsin's agricultural industry. Dennis Frame co-founded Wisconsin's Discovery Farms Program in 2001 and served as its director until his retirement earlier this year.
"Wisconsin farmers have benefitted from Dennis' vision and leadership because he brought a farmer's commonsense to Wisconsin's rules and regulations," said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. "The on-farm research he has overseen on water, air and soil quality has positively impacted crop and livestock farmers throughout Wisconsin."
"Dennis was the right person to bring together farmers, regulators and researchers to collectively decide what to study in order to show how rules and regulations work or don't work on actual farm fields and pastures," Holte said.
Frame began his career with University of Wisconsin-Extension in 1982, working in Wood and Brown counties before being named Trempealeau County's agriculture agent in 1987. The western Wisconsin county has a rich conservation history and Frame soon became active in soil and water conservation education.
When the nutrient management standard was being proposed in the 1990s, Dennis and group of Trempealeau County Farm Bureau members undertook a project (partially funded by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau) that examined the potential impacts the regulations would have on local farms. Since that time he has focused his educational programming on environmental rules and regulations; developed a farmer-led nutrient management-training program and researched the importance of soil moisture for the proper timing of manure application.
In 2001 he and Fred Madison designed and developed the UW-Discovery Farms Program. Frame was involved in all aspects of the program's funding, personnel, data collection and maintaining countless partnerships, in addition to teaching and speaking at numerous field days and workshops.
"Dennis is fond of saying that nutrient management planning should be on a note card, not in a big report," Holte said. "He would rather have all farmers doing everything 80 percent right, than just a few doing 100 percent right. It's that kind of commonsense, pragmatic approach that Farm Bureau members admire in Dennis Frame."
Dennis and his wife, Susan, and two sons live on a farm near Osseo in Trempealeau County where they maintain a herd of beef cattle and spend time fishing in western Wisconsin.