• Fran O

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

    Badger View

     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

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     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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  • Fran O

    Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on February 22, 2013

    Democrats have been calling for immigration reform in the U.S. for years. Until recently, Republicans opposed immigration reform. Mitt Romney ran for president in November calling for the 11 million Hispanic immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to "self deport." Since the election, which saw 71% of Hispanics vote for President Obama, a number of Republican politicians have begun calling for immigration reform. I suspect the Republicans are seeing the writing on the wall that…

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  • Fran O

    Farm Bill Extension Is Disappointing

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on January 7, 2013

    In the waning hours of 2012, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden negotiated a nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill. The measure, attached to the fiscal cliff legislation passed by the Senate on Jan. 1 and House of Representatives on Jan. 2, was a lost opportunity for true farm policy reform. Many smaller, targeted programs that invest in proven strategies to create rural jobs, revitalize rural communities and initiatives to foster a new…

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  • Fran O

    Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre Should Be A Wake Up Call

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on December 21, 2012

    Like most of you, I was very shocked and heartbroken to learn about the massacre on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. As the details unfolded about the horrific violence and the deaths of 20 first graders and six educators, my sadness and grief soon turned to anger. I felt so sorry for those 26 innocent people's lives being cut so tragically short by some deranged individual armed with an assault weapon. Thanks to ammunition clips that hold 30 bullets each, in…

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