Well so much for the advice in my previous article suggesting we venture into the field to check for damage in winter wheat and forage stands. By the time that Agri-View edition arrived in our mailbox, we were dealing with 10 inches of fresh snow with a crust of ice to enhance the misery. The temperature and wind were cold and blustery enough to make working outside the protection of a shop uncomfortable. Ah, but a couple last-minute tax questions gave me an excuse to spend some time doing a little bookwork. Never thought I’d say I was happy to work on taxes!

I traveled recently to Madison to join with staff and board members of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association to discuss issues and concerns facing Wisconsin’s corn farmers. Even though the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association represents crop production, enough of the board members are involved in dairy that related issues were also discussed. After morning discussions we spent an afternoon visiting state senators and representatives — or staff — in their Capitol building offices. As we split up to visit each member, our priorities focused on groundwater access, responsible and sustainable nutrient management, and transportation — including biodiesel and implementing rules making it easier for Wisconsin gas stations to offer E-15 — 85 percent gasoline with 15 percent ethanol — without incurring significant costs refurbishing their pumps.

Wisconsin’s economy is dependent on a healthy and profitable agricultural economy. Our legislators are interested and appreciative of hearing the specific issues and concerns being felt by the state’s farmers.

Before we begin doing major fieldwork we’ll be greasing, checking tires, and checking gear boxes on the pivots and other equipment. If field conditions allow, there’ll be a mad dash to empty manure pits, spread commercial fertilizer and arrange seed delivery. If one comes upon those who are hauling manure or moving equipment on the roads, give them a little slack. Chances are there could be some fatigue from putting in long hours.

Don Lutz of Scandinavia, Wisconsin, is one of the Wisconsin representatives on the board of the American Soybean Association. He farms 1,350 acres in Waupaca and Portage counties with his brother and nephew, as well as finishes Holstein steers. Lutz is retired from the National Agricultural Statistics Service of Washington, D.C.