UW-Extension educators report on activities
During the Taylor County Agriculture Extension meeting on March 3, several people had the opportunity to discuss their educator highlight reports and programming focus areas for 2020.
Taylor County UWExtension agriculture educator Sandy Stuttgen participated in a study trying to understand the difficulties farmers have in transferring their farms to the next generation, a project which she explained to the committee.
Data from focus groups was gathered over 2018 and 2019. Just recently they’ve summarized all the information in a formal manuscript.
“Farmers say they want to transition their farm, but only 20% actually do,” Stuttgen said. “80% of them fail.”
Stuttgen pointed out that often times the failure comes from a fear of losing land that has been in the family for decades.
“We learned that the older generation is afraid to give up too much control to the successive generation. That inability comes from their fear of losing the homestead, land that’s maybe passed down from their parents. They’re afraid the younger generation will squander or lose it.”
Stuttgen also said a resistance to change deters the elder farmers from passing on their land, especially when they see the farm being run in a drastically different way than what they’re used to.
She continued, saying that both generations prefer a slow transfer of ownership, rather than the whole farm at once.
“Give it in pieces,” she said. “Let the younger generation take control of one aspect and run it, and slowly build their confidence.”
She said this incremental transfer helps the older generations feel less like they’re being “kicked to the curb” and makes an otherwise rough transition easier.
The profitability of the farm can cause farther tension between the two parties.
“The farm has to be profitable enough for the younger generation to run it, and also for the older generation to take their retirement income out.”
This need for profitability has many young farmers who inherit dairy farms looking to go into beef, looking to bolster their income.
They are currently trying to get the study published in a peer-reviewed science journal.
Rural Internet Rural areas may be getting improved internet access.
The federal government may begin to start a reverse auction, in which service providers can bid an offer to the government at a per household cost to provide internet coverage to a census block.
A local company has expressed its interest in submitting a bid to the government and may partner with the Broadband Committee.
Taylor County contributed $50,000 towards a feasibility study and business plan to figure out the logistics of installing better internet, such as making maps with potential fiber build sites, arranging a large stakeholder meeting, and figuring out the public’s opinions and attitudes.
The Taylor County 2020 Clean Sweeps will take place over two days. One day will be for hazardous waste, and the other day will be for everything else.
Recycling vendors often turn down dirty recycling due to the contamination and system-clogging factors. The educational “Dirty Dozen” campaign was created to coincide with Earth Day 2020, and is meant to raise awareness of proper recycling habits.
4-H Position The 4-H youth educator position is open until March 19, and screening of applications will take place on March 24. There will soon be a better timeline of when interviews will take place, but for now they are looking at sometime in early April.