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OPINION  National Farmers Day, celebrated Oct. 12, is an opportunity for all of us to recognize and celebrate the impacts and contributions of Wisconsin farmers. Our state is fortunate to be home to more than 64,000 farms on about 14.3 million acres that produce a wide variety of excellent-quality products. Those products include dairy, ginseng, cranberries and other specialty crops.

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We hear the questions again and again. Where will the next generation of people in agriculture come from? How can we sow the seeds of interest in young folks? How can their interest be grown so they are engaged to work in Wisconsin agriculture?

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Wisconsin earned top honors in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the 2021 World Dairy Expo. A Wisconsin team has won top honors for the fourth consecutive year. The 2021 Wisconsin team is comprised of Jenna Gries, Lauren Siemers, Clarissa Ulness and Emma Vos. The team was coached by Paul Siemers and Angie Ulness.

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Sharing the road with farm machinery is a way of life for drivers in many parts of Wisconsin.  But the potential risk for both farmers and the general public is great – 17 people died between 2017 and 2018 as a result of roadway collisions, according to a 2020 study published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Farm Medicine Center. Preliminary 2019-2021 data show an additional 18 total reports of fatal incidents involving farm equipment on the state’s roadways and highways.

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The Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association will present its Daluge Red Jacket Award during the organization’s Football Fire-Up event Sept. 11 in Madison, Wisconsin. The 2021 award recipient is the late Bob Kaczmarek.

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The Wisconsin State Fair officials recently released statistics about the 2021 fair. The fair was canceled in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 2021 fair, which was held Aug. 5-15, attracted 841,074 fairgoers. That compares to more than 1.1 million attendees in 2019.