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COVID-19 Information
Posted On: March 26, 2020
WCO is a small association dedicated to the success, health and wellbeing of our members and your employees. We leverage partnerships with other ag organizations to bring you the best information available on issues that matter to you. 

We will be posting updates to our social media channels and website as they are available. 
Ditzenberger: Take time to be kind
Posted On: March 25, 2020

By Mary Hookham for WCO

Jeff Ditzenberger, founder of the Talking, Understanding, Growing, Supporting (T.U.G.S.) program for mental health, believes basic human kindness can cure many issues, but especially mental health issues. He emphasizes the ever-growing need for comprehensive mental health care for farmers and all workers in agricultural-related industries. He started his program to provide support for anybody struggling with mental issues and is specifically catering to men who find it challenging to talk about their feelings.

“Everybody has depression, everybody has bad days, and everybody has those moments where they just want somebody to talk to,” he said. “This is important because we’re losing farmers every single day to suicide.”

Annual symposium equips farmers with more tools
Posted On: March 25, 2020

By Mary Hookham for WCO

The 2020 Forage Symposium highlighted the new decade of agriculture with presentations on large-scale forage operations, nutrient management regulation updates, farm diversification options, the economics of silage bag use and the latest in equipment technology.

Patricio Aguirre Saravia of Buenos Aires, Argentina told his story of growing up on a farm near the small town of Carlos Casares and working closely with his brother on an entrepreneurial adventure. In 1983 the brothers started the Duckas Group, which provided silage services to area farmers. Although his brother passed away in 2006, Saravia has continued his family business enterprise, now operating three custom farming services under the Duckas Group with a team of employees. He prides himself on setting a great example of professionalism for his employees to mimic every day.

WCO honors Cross and Osterhaus; Scholarship apps due May 1
Posted On: March 18, 2020
The Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. (WCO) recently awarded two scholarships to students pursuing further education. These students were selected based on leadership, civic engagement, academics and volunteer activities related to agriculture. Students also submitted essays detailing their educational and vocational plans for the future. Scholarship winners are required to have ties to the WCO – either as a member, relative of a member or employee of a member. Students received a $1000 scholarship
WCO members re-elect directors, officers
Posted On: March 08, 2020
Wisconsin Custom Operators members re-elected three directors during the group’s annual business meeting on Feb. 19, held in conjunction with the Forage Symposium at the Chula Vista Resort. 
Ray Liska, owner of Apollo-Vale Enterprizes in Cochrane and Derek Ducat, from Ducat Farms Custom Work in Kewaunee were re-elected as operator directors. Josh Bartholomew, territory manager for Oxbo International, was re-elected as a corporate director.
Read the fall issue of the Custom News
Posted On: November 05, 2019
The fall Custom News is here!

In this issue:
  • Feature: Silage safety revisited
  • Crew of the Year
  • Feature: Grain dust safety
  • Feature: Farmer stress
Silage safety - revisited
Posted On: November 05, 2019

By Keith K. Bolsen, Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University

I will begin my 50th year of working in the silage industry on January 1, 2020. This includes 32 years as a professor at Kansas State University, where I conducted over 300 research trials on silage production and management, and 18 years as a silage consultant for dairies, feedyards, and companies who provide silage-related products and services.

Health concerns from grain dusts during harvest: One assistive technology tool to help
Posted On: November 05, 2019

By Amanda Harguth, AgrAbility of Wisconsin

With the fall harvest in full swing, and if you produce corn, soybeans, or other crops in Wisconsin, dust exposure while working is inevitable. Breathing in grain dust can affect the health and overall comfort for grain farmers and others who work in the grain industry. Exposures can occur: in the combine, in bins, while unloading, during drying or processing and while grinding/mixing grain and other feed products.

Asking a question can save a life
Posted On: November 05, 2019

By Maria Woldt for WCO

There is a stigma surrounding mental health, and farmers and farm service providers can be somewhat dismissive of the topic. As farmers, we often have the mindset that hard work fixes everything. But when someone is experiencing chronic, long-term stress, just “working harder” isn’t going to fix the problem.

WCO Crew of the Year Award - Due Dec. 1
Posted On: October 16, 2019
One of the biggest issues in agriculture is labor. Even with our struggles, we have excellent employees!
Protect your business with written contracts
Posted On: July 05, 2019
Collecting on past due accounts can be a serious challenge in any business but especially in custom operating businesses. David Krekeler of Krekeler Strother, S.C. of Madison provided attendees at the Wisconsin Custom Operators 2019 symposium with challenges, opportunities and options when it comes to collecting on past due accounts.
Wisconsin Injury to Highway law & state budget update
Posted On: July 05, 2019
Year after year, it seems like the same spots on the same town and county roads are being patched. But new roads require funds that local governments don’t have. At the same time, the ag equipment we use has gotten larger and heavier. While many people benefit from using the local roads, some are quick to cast the blame for worsening roads on our agriculture equipment. As local roads grow worse, funds diminish, pressure  increases to make visible users of the road pay the price. 
Silage handling safety a must on the farm
Posted On: March 21, 2019
Keith Bolsen had two close calls while handling silage at Kansas State University during his teaching and research career there. In one instance, he lost parts of three fingers on his right hand. In the other instance, he nearly overturned a pack tractor. Now he works to educate farmers on safe silage handling techniques in hopes of preventing other accidents.
Positive attitude, commitment to customers earns Kowitz top employee award
Posted On: March 09, 2019
The Wisconsin Custom Operators (WCO) recently honored a Norwalk man for his hard work and dedication to a custom farming business. WCO’s 2019 Employee of the Year award was given to Norm Kowitz, an employee of Sullivan Custom Farming in Sparta on Feb. 20 during the organization’s annual meeting at the Forage Symposium at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

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