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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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A Visit to WISN 12 News & Sheboygan County
Aug. 31, 2014

It was an early morning as I traveled to Milwaukee to chat about ethanol with Thema Ponton on WISN Channel 12's morning show. While Ethul wasn't able to fit in the studio, I was able to bring in some #2 yellow dent corn to share how ethanol is produced. One in every four rows of this corn is made into ethanol, providing a renewable biofuel and feed for our livestock in the form of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS).

From there, it was off to the Sheboygan County Fair where I was able to spend some time in their Dairy Education Center. I was reunited with Addie the Cow and helped kids to "milk" a cow for the first time, while also sharing a few fun facts about dairy cows in Wisconsin. I also attended Sheboygan County's 15th Annual Holstein Futurity at the fair. There was an outstanding 32 entries in this year's show, with the Champion Holstein hailing from Mauk E Farm in Plymouth. Congratulations to all exhibitors who helped to showcase the dedication to dairy in Sheboygan County!

PotatoFest in Hodag Country
Aug. 30, 2014

Today I traveled north to Rhinelander for the 2nd Annual PotatoFest. Potatoes play an important role in Rhinelander's agriculture as this is where many types of potatoes are initially developed. They also supply a high percentage of the plants used yearly by growers in Wisconsin. This event aimed to bring awareness to the industry and to highlight the variety of uses for potatoes.

There were games and activities every hour on the hour for both kids and adults. Costume contests, potato sack races, a potato dig, and even a couch potato race entertained attendees and helped them to learn more about these spuds. And what would PotatoFest be without delicious food- made from potatoes of course! Potato pancakes, homemade French fries, loaded baked potatoes, and potato salad were just a few features at the event.

Wisconsin ranks #3 in the nation for potato production, and #1 east of the Mississippi River. This industry was on full display in the Northwoods and PotatoFest was a great way to showcase the agriculture of Northern Wisconsin!

A Day in the Office Life of Alice
Aug. 28, 2014

While this may be a Travel Journal, I'm often asked, "What does Alice do when she's not out on the road?". Welcome to a day in the life of Alice- in the office. As Alice serves as a public relations professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), there's more to my job than attending events and smiling for pictures.

When I'm not traveling, DATCP's headquarters are my home base. This is where a lot of the magic happens behind the scenes. I have amazing coworkers here that help me spread the message of Wisconsin agriculture and supply me with the facts, statistics, and figures I need to get the message across.

Much of my time in the office is spent researching and writing. As Alice, I write for six different publications and papers. You can check out my columns in Agri-View, The Country Today, Dairy Star, Plymouth Review Xtra, Sheboygan Beacon, and my editorials in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These print publications are a great way for me to reach audiences across Wisconsin- both rural and urban.

Time in the office is also spent prepping for when I'm on the road next. Coming up in the next several months, I will be on the road for multiple media campaigns. This means a lot of planning and organizing beforehand- contacting media, booking hotels, setting routes, and preparing scripts are just a few details that go into planning a campaign. Make sure to watch for my Soybean Campaign in September, Farm to School Campaign in October, and Something Special from Wisconsin Campaign in November.

And last but not least, as anyone who works on the road knows, there's always an inbox of emails, stack of letters, and a phone full of voicemails waiting for you upon your return. Anything that I'm not able to accomplish at my desk away from work (Ethul), I get the chance to catch up on when I'm back in the office.

I always enjoy getting the chance to spend time in the office to learn something new about Wisconsin ag, visit with colleagues, and give Ethul a rest. We'll be out on the road again soon!

Waupaca and Manitowoc County Fairs
Aug. 23, 2014

This Saturday was full of fairs as I visited Waupaca and Manitowoc County Fairs. It was extra special to be back at my home county fair as I grew up showing there. Even though I grew up on a dairy farm, I spent my childhood showing horses at the County Fair. So I was excited to jump into the dairy show ring for the Junior Dairy Show and Dairy Showmanship. It was great to see familiar faces in the ring and also meet some new exhibitors.

From there, I headed to Manitowoc for their 10th Annual Futurity Show. Exhibitors took to the ring wearing their finest as they showcased their premier dairy cattle. I look forward to visiting Manitowoc County each month as they are the host of the 68th Alice in Dairyland Finals. I learned that there are more cows than people in Manitowoc County (about 93,000 more), and these cows rank #1 in the state for milk production per cow. This industry was on full display at the Futurity Show and it was great to meet new community members that are making the Alice Finals possible!

Ethul Visits WSAW
Aug. 18, 2014

While Ethul travels all across Wisconsin, she usually sits tucked away in a parking lot. Today she got her three minutes of fame during my monthly interview with Diana Normand in Wausau. I stopped by WSAW to talk about the renewable biofuel that Ethul runs on- ethanol.

I gave Diana some insight on where all the corn grown here in Wisconsin goes. While sweet corn is of course one of the most noticeable, and delicious, types of corn in Wisconsin, it accounts for only 1% of the total crop grown in our state. The majority is #2 yellow dent corn, or field corn for short. This type of corn is grown to either be fed directly to livestock or to produce ethanol, which also helps to provide livestock feed in addition to fuel.

One out of every four rows of corn grown here in Wisconsin is used for ethanol production. One bushel of this corn (56 pounds) produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17.5 pounds of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). DDGS are composed of the non-starch portions of the kernel and make a protein rich feedstuff for livestock.

We also chatted about Ethul herself. This E-85 Tahoe is provided to Alice by the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and is a great way for me to promote our local corn growers and the ethanol industry by simply driving around the state. Make sure to look for us during our travels this year- and lookout for her twin, Cornelius, who is still out and about on the road!

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days
Aug. 14, 2014

It was great to be back in my area of the state for this year’s Farm Technology Days in Portage County. This year’s show was cohosted by Feltz Family Farms and Blue Top Farms near Plover. We were in the heart of potato country, as Portage County is our state’s number one producer of potatoes. This part of the state is also known for its production of sweet corn, green beans, and green peas. These industries were on full display over the course of the three days and I was able to learn a new thing or two about these veggies and their production!

Each day of the show, I was able to introduce the two host families and ask them a few questions in order for the audience to learn more about their families and their farms. Both of these families had children who returned to the farm and also had the next generation interested in returning, as well. They are a great example of why 99% of farms here in Wisconsin are still family owned.

I was also able to recognize eight outstanding women who were awarded the “Pioneer Women in Agriculture” award. This award commended them on the contributions they made not only to their own family farm, but to Wisconsin agriculture overall. They are excellent role models for young women looking to become involved in production agriculture and I myself aspire to live up to the impact they have had on this industry.

Farm Technology Days is for more than just farmers and agriculturists. It’s a way for those in the industry to proudly display what Wisconsin agriculture is all about to their local communities. I hope many of you were able to make it to Portage County to see this show for yourself and to learn something new. Next year’s show will be held in Dane County by Statz Brothers, Inc. Hope to see you there!

Wisconsin State Fair: Closing Day
Aug. 10, 2014

Time sure does fly when you're having fun! Just like that, we are on the final day of the Wisconsin State Fair, and what an amazing 11 days it has been.

I stopped by several open shows to start the day off, including the Dairy Goat, Dairy, and Rabbit shows. From there, it was off to my final milking demonstration at the milking parlor, my last meet & greet, and the final presentation of "Growing a Healthy Wisconsin". It was such a great experience to meet new people each day of the fair at these events and to share with them the message of Wisconsin agriculture.

I also stopped into the coliseum to help with the awards for the Supreme Champion Drive of the Open Dairy Show. This show brings in both the Grand and Reserve Champions for each breed of dairy cattle. Congratulations to the Grand Champion Holstein, Reserve Champion Brown Swiss, and Honorable Mention Jersey!

I certainly "Got into Something Good" at the Wisconsin State Fair and I hope you too were able to experience it for yourself. Even though the Wisconsin State Fair has come to a close for another year, there are still many county fairs going on across the state through the end of the summer. Get into something good at these fairs and learn more about our state’s agriculture in a fun way!

Wisconsin State Fair: Day 10
Aug. 09, 2014

Many of the Open Shows kicked off at the Wisconsin State Fair today. I stopped in to welcome fairgoers and share a few facts about Wisconsin agriculture at the Open Dairy Goat, Beef, and Rabbit Shows. I was also able to award the Supreme Champion at the Beef Show. Congratulations to all exhibitors on the hard work you put into exhibiting your animals at the State Fair level.

Miniature Donkeys also made their way into the coliseum for the Miniature Donkey Show, which included halter showmanship, cart driving, and my personal favorite, novelty costume. While I wasn't able to get on a 6-horse hitch while at the fair, I was able to take the reins on a donkey cart during this show!

The last event of the day was the Wisconsin Holstein Association Futurity Show. Entries in this show were evaluated not only on the composition and genetics of the cow, but on the attire of the exhibitor, as well. The purpose of the WHA Futurity is to help promote the dairy industry to the general public and display the care and dedication that these exhibitors have for their animals and the products they produce. I was also reunited with three former Alices at this show- Kristin Olson, Rochelle Ripp Schnadt, and Ashley Andre. These ladies continue to be deeply rooted in Wisconsin's dairy and agriculture community- it was great to see you all!

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