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Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by Zoey Brooks

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Zoey Brooks

2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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Pumpkins & Corn Mazes- It must be Fall!
Oct. 18, 2014

October is the perfect time to explore Wisconsin agriculture and to see the hard work of our state's farmers as harvest begins. Over the past two weeks, I've been able to see a variety of different harvests across the state and my travels today took me to Northeast Wisconsin.

Mishicot was the destination for my monthly Manitowoc County visit. Their annual Pumpkin Fest brings producers and vendors downtown to showcase their products and, of course, pumpkins- massive ones! Their "Giant Pumpkin Contest" included entries weighing up to 1,750 pounds!

I also made a stop to Meuer's Corn Maze in Chilton. People from all across the state travel here to give it their best shot. This year, the Meuers are celebrating 25 years with a Simpsons themed maze. I put my directional skills to the test and made my way through the maze in just under an hour with the help of corn-themed clues. Meuer Farms also offers tours, kids activities, and delicious foods. Make sure to check them out before the season ends!

Ginseng Harvest Tour
Oct. 14, 2014

Today I headed north to Central Wisconsin, where one of Wisconsin's leading specialty crops is grown. Wisconsin ranks number one in the nation for production of ginseng and we produce 95% of the nation's ginseng. I visited Heil Ginseng in Edgar to tag along for their harvest and learn more about this "heal-all" root.

While it was too wet to take equipment out into the ginseng gardens for harvest, I was able to see ginseng that had been harvested in previous weeks that was stored in a cooler for two weeks before it's transported to be dried for two weeks, dropping the moisture level from 80% to 10%.

Ginseng has a deep history in Eastern Medicine and correlate with the "Yin & Yang" philosophy. American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius) that is grown in Wisconsin has a cooling effect that calms and rejuvenates while Asian Ginseng (Panax C.A. Meyer) has a warming effect that stimulates and energizes. Both types are known to boost immunity, increase stamina, and also have been found to reduce fatigue in cancer treatment patients.

Thank you Joe Heil for inviting me to your operation during a busy harvest season! To learn more about this amazing root, visit

Tri County Pork Producers Dinner
Oct. 09, 2014

Tonight was all about the pig at the bi-annual Tri County Pork Producers Dinner. Pork producers, processors, and lovers get together twice every year to celebrate the industry and enjoy a delicious meal. Pork chops (made with a secret recipe and sauce) are the staple of this meal.

I was able to meet and greet guests, help raffle off 1/2 a hog, and try the delicious pork chops for myself- definitely Alice Approved! They even had a "Help yourself to seconds" table and a take out dinner option- a must for busy, hungry farmers.

I was asked several times what Alice in "Dairyland" was doing at a pork dinner. This was a great opportunity to inform them on the scope of Alice and the fact that I represent all sectors of Wisconsin agriculture- including the pork industry!

Time for Cranberry Harvest
Oct. 07, 2014

Fall in Wisconsin is known for the beautiful pops of color. But it's not just the leaves that add a flare of red to the landscape. Cranberry bogs across Wisconsin are being flooded in preparation of harvest and bright red berries can be seen floating in these beds.

I returned to Warrens, WI today to tag along for their cranberry harvest, along with the Division of Agriculture Development PIO, Ann Marie Ames. I was able to witness the unique "fresh cranberry harvest" method that gently removes the berries from the vines in order to for them to be sold fresh. Only 5% of the nation's cranberries are harvested this way, so it was a special site to see. I was also able to throw on a pair of hip waders and walk through the bog to get a closer look.

Thank you to Jim and Nodji VanWychen and their family for allowing me to tag along and learn more about Wisconsin's State Fruit!

Happy Farm to School Month!
Oct. 06, 2014

With school in full swing here in October, itís time to put the spotlight on a pivotal part of any studentís school day- lunchtime. Lunch at many schools throughout Wisconsin is doing more than just providing nutrition to these students. Itís helping to educate them on where their food comes from and also helps to support local farmers.

Farm to School Month is celebrated across the nation during the Month of October. Here in Wisconsin, we have a special reason to celebrate, as over 500,000 students are currently part of the Farm to School program.

I'll be traveling throughout Wisconsin this month promoting the Farm to School program and all its benefits. Tune into your local radio or TV Station and follow my travels on Facebook and Twitter to learn more!

Closing of 2014 World Dairy Expo
Oct. 04, 2014

Today marked Day 5 of World Dairy Expo and what a great 5 days it's been! New technology, global relationships, the brand new pavilions, and of course, the cows, made the 2014 Expo one to remember.

The Supreme Champion of the 2014 World Dairy Expo was named tonight at the closing ceremony. Congratulations to TJ Classic Minister Venus- ET, a Jersey from Tremont Illinois, owned by Nic, Jeni, Ben & Andy Sauder. Reserve Champion was awarded to the Holstein, Rf Goldwyn Hailey, out of Quebec, Canada.

I was given the responsibility to deliver the judge's decision to be announced- a much anticipated announcement for the audience. The coliseum was full of spectators, exhibitors, and family as the final 7 cows graced the red shavings for the last time. Make sure to visit Madison next year for the 2015 World Dairy Expo, "Dairy in our DNA".

Day #4 of World Dairy Expo
Oct. 03, 2014

Today kicked off with recognizing the 2014 Cow of the Year, a Guernsey by the name of Coulee Crest Nick Lorilyn. This recognition dates back to the 1970's where the Governor selected a cow to exemplify Wisconsin's leading dairy industry. Through a predetermined rotation, each of the 7 dairy breeds is recognized each year. This year, the Guernsey is in the spotlight and Lorilyn is a tremendous example of what not only a Guernsey cow should be, but what a dairy cow from America's Dairyland should be.

I was able to read Governor Walker's proclamation recognizing Lorilyn, who became the most popular cow on the Expo grounds. You can visit her in Pavilion 2, North Aisle 2!

The day ended with Expo's International Reception, a tradition that welcomes the more than 70,000 international visitors to Madison. I met people from all across the globe, including China, Paraguay, the Netherlands, India, Italy, and Scotland, just to name a few! It was great to explain the role of Alice to them and snap lots of pictures, too!

Day #3 of World Dairy Expo
Oct. 02, 2014

World Dairy Expo serves as a meeting place for dairy industry leaders from around the globe. Each year, the International Trade Team at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection welcomes international feed buyers to Madison to meet with local Wisconsin feed suppliers.

As an intern working with the International Trade Team last year, I was able to help connect these buyers with Wisconsin companies and aid these companies in sending their products beyond our borders. It was great to attend these meetings this year as Alice and visit with the international visitors and learn more about their businesses.

Wisconsin exported more than $3 billion worth of agriculture products to over 150 countries last year. Meetings such as these are imperative to make international connections and establish business relationships.

Thank you to our guests for recognizing the quality of Wisconsin agricultural products and for spending time in Madison to meet with companies and also to experience World Dairy Expo!

View Travel Journal Archive
- Oct 14 - Sep 14 - Aug 14 - Jul 14 - Jun 14 - May 14 - Apr 14 - Mar 14 - Feb 14 - Jan 14 - Dec 13 - Nov 13 -

Contact the Alice In Dairyland Program at:
2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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