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Video UW-Madison partners with WPT for show on new farming challenges

August 26, 2016 By Käri Knutson


The University of Wisconsin–Madison and Wisconsin Public Television have partnered for “Wisconsin’s Homegrown Farmer,” a program about the challenges facing a new generation of farmers that began airing Sept. 8.

The show can be viewed online at WPT’s website.

The show features three Wisconsin farm families and their unique approaches to making modern farming a success. Working beside UW–Madison researchers, including Ruth Genger in plant pathology, Dadit Hidayat from the Nelson Institute and Kent Weigel in dairy science, each family’s passion and commitment shines through as they work to continue the legacy of family farming in Wisconsin.

Kat Becker and Tony Schultz at Stoney Acres Farms in Athens, Wis., transitioned his family’s defunct dairy farm into an organic vegetable farm that relies on variety – both in types of crops raised as well as variety of “ventures” they undertake. Maple syrup, Community Supported Agriculture, pizza night – all help to ensure the sustainability of their small family farm. By embracing variety, they have kept their family farm viable.

Lloyd and Daphne Holterman at Rosy Lane Dairy in Watertown, Wis., want to have the healthiest herd of cows possible. Long-time Wisconsin dairy farmers who weathered the challenging agricultural era of the 1980s, their commitment to collaborating with UW–Madison dairy science researchers for healthier cows has helped their farm to survive. Lloyd’s passion for genomics has yielded huge successes that reach far beyond his own Wisconsin dairy.

Robert Pierce wants to provide fresh, safe, affordable food to his urban community at the South Madison Farmers’ Market. He became an organic farmer and manages a neighborhood farmer’s market to help him achieve that goal. But the needs of his community go beyond access to good food. Through a partnership with the Nelson Institute, Pierce has created an urban agriculture-training program for ex-felons from his neighborhood. Helping to provide this career path for ex-felons benefits the entire community.

Together these stories of three very different Wisconsin farmers, the variety of approaches they take and collaborations with researchers and specialists, demonstrate the changing landscape of farming in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin’s Homegrown Farmer” was seen at:

  • 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, Wisconsin Public Television
  • 1:30 a.m. Sept. 9, Wisconsin Public Television on WPT
  • 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11, The Wisconsin Channel
  • 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11, Wisconsin Public Television
  • 12:30 a.m. Sept. 12, The Wisconsin Channel
  • 4:30 a.m. Sept. 14, The Wisconsin Channel