Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘Corn’

Farm Perspectives: Reason for Every Season

potatoesAgriculture has a certain seasonality to it that is comforting.  It gives us something to look forward to, an expectation of timing that you can rely upon.  There is a rhythm that that is reassuring and usually calming.

We are currently getting to the end of the growing season for potatoes. While out road scouting last weekend you can faintly see the beginning of the end of many of the living potato plants.  You can see the slight discoloration, the fading of green into subtle yellows and browns.  The plants start to droop and show signs of wilting.  This is what some of the old-timers mean when they say the potatoes are starting to “come home”. (more…)

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Thoughts for Food: Feeding Our Vegetable Crops

Blog 27We all need food to grow and prosper.  Our doctors tell us that a balanced diet is one of the keys to a healthy life. So it should be no surprise that plants also need a nutritious diet!  Natural plant systems like forests and prairies eat what Mother Nature provides by teaming up with a huge array of critters from bacteria to bugs to break down old detritus and soil into the essential components of their diet, like nitrate and carbon.  Some have even evolved fantastic, mutually-beneficial arrangements with bacteria and fungi that allow them to pluck nitrogen from the air or move nutrients into the roots more efficiently!   (more…)

More Than Just Cheese Heads

Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland.  Whether it is the cheese heads our fans wear to cheer on the Green Bay Packers, our notoriety for award-winning cheeses, or the 1.2 million dairy cows that dot our landscape, Wisconsin is most often referred to as a dairy state.  It’s even on our license plates! However, what many don’t realize is the diversity of agricultural products grown or produced within our state’s borders.  And, it is this diversity that makes agriculture Wisconsin’s leading industry.

Cranberries

America’s Dairyland leads the nation in cranberry production

Yes, Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of cheese and dry whey (a by-product of cheese production). But, did you know that Wisconsin ranks first in six other products as well?  America’s Dairyland leads the nation in cranberries, cabbage for sauerkraut, snap beans, dairy goats, mink pelts and corn for silage – that’s what we feed those dairy cows.

 What is even more impressive is the diversity of food produced here and the number of agricultural products where Wisconsin ranks in the top five for national production.  We all know that carrots help you see in the dark, but did you know that Wisconsin is the nation’s second largest producer of them?  That is not the only vegetable Wisconsin produces.  Our state ranks third in the production of green beans and sweet corn for processing (aka canning), as well as American’s favorite vegetable – potatoes!
Potatoes heading to market

Wisconsin is the largest producer of potatoes east of the Mississippi

Let’s take potatoes as an example.  Most Wisconsinites don’t realize that we are the largest producer of potatoes east of the Mississippi, and rank only behind Idaho and Washington State for overall production.  Not only does Wisconsin produce a variety of different crops, but also we produce multiple types and varieties of each crop.  When it comes to potatoes, we grow Yellow Flesh, Round Red, Round White, Blue, Purple, and Russet.
Besides vegetables, don’t forget about the delicious maple syrup, cherries, honey, and strawberries that come from Wisconsin.  So, the next time you go to the grocery store, look in your cart and think about all the foods that come from Wisconsin.  And, when you go to brush your teeth tonight, the mint in your toothpaste might have originally called Wisconsin its home.

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