Dear Custom Operator Enthusiast!
Our group consists of people like you who are involved in many aspects of custom work including: forage harvesting, silo filling, combining, tillage, planting, baling, manure handling, spraying, among others.
The Wisconsin Custom Operators Association also has members who have interests in our type of work such as implement dealers, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and people involved in continuing agricultural education.
Founded in 2002, we are now over 160 paid operator members statewide and growing each year! The Symposium event in January attracts 500-600 custom farming industry members.
Current members who refer new members receive $25 dollars toward their membership. Make sure to fill out the "referred by" field on the membership application.
Board of Directors: Made up of nine members from all over the State. Board Members are on three-year terms, with staggering terms so there is the potential for a mix of experience and new energy every year. The Board determines the direction and priority of activities for the organization. The Directors come from a cross section of Wisconsin, as well as a cross section of various interest groups.
Committees: The following are active committees of the organization made up of some Board members and also members at large.
Annual Meeting/Conference/Trade Show: We continue to be involved as one of the principle sponsors in the annual tri-organization conference along with the Midwest Forage Association and the Wisconsin Professional Nutrient Applicators Organization. Topics continue to be informational and useful to our membership. In addition, the trade show that coincides with the educational meetings, have increasingly become more oriented to Custom Operators interests and needs. Over 250 people and 28 vendors attended this year's conference held in Wisconsin Dells.
Related Organizations: We have established relationships with other related organizations including the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, the Dairy Business Association of Wisconsin, the Professional Nutrient Applicators of Wisconsin and the Midwest Forage Association. Several of our Board members have been appointed to committees of some of those organizations.
Regulations: We have successfully petitioned the Wisconsin Dept. of Labor to look at our industry as "sub agriculture" in regards to overtime requirements. The Department now recognizes overtime requirements for our type of work the same way it recognizes "farms" and also the same as the Federal Dept. of Labor. Other issues that are being worked on include: Definitions of Implements of Husbandry, requirements for "farm/custom" operations, Dept. of Revenue issues with fuel taxes, among others.
Website: We have established a website which is constantly growing and improving. The website currently offers exposure for our members and lots of educational links related to custom operator concerns. The entire University/Extension system is now aware of our site, and is able to offer its link as a useful resource for producers who are interested in using custom operators. The site has recently undergone some great new updates, with more planned in the near future!
Education: The annual conference and website continue to provide valuable information to members regarding all sorts of pertinent issues and topics ranging from equipment to regulations to feed quality to better methods of doing our work.
Networking: Being able to work with others to work on common problems and concerns as well as cultivate relationships to help get the jobs done.
Discounts: Some sponsor members are providing CASH benefits to being a member. Legal, Accounting, and Insurance firms are offering discounted rates to members. It PAYS to belong!
Strength in Numbers: The organization offers a powerful voice to help to affect change in certain issues that concern us collectively. The bigger and more active our group is, the more positive influence we will have.
Improving or expanding your business, Providing a better product/service for your clients, Projecting a more professional image of your company, Keeping up-to-date with the latest in equipment, Learning about recent regulation changes that affect your business, Link with University/Extension people for what’s new in science, And would like to listen and share ideas with like minded people,