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Community members discuss the future of family farming in Wisconsin

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - This month's community conversation at the English Lutheran Church was the future of family farms.

Anne Marie Elwing, a veterinarian and Wisconsin farmer, said she is hopeful for the future of American farmers.

"I think if people eat, us farmers will be here," Elwing said. "Most farmers are born into farming, we enjoy what we do, and we want to teach others that have not grown in our experience, to become farmers and feed the world, I believe farming will always be here."

At the conversation, farmers discussed creative ways they have added to their farms to stay profitable. Some farmers are using technology to be more efficient, others are growing different crops on the side like hemp and ginseng, or leasing woodlands as hunting grounds, and even using planes to drop seeds.

Kaitlyn Lance, the Agriculture Educator with UW Extension-La Crosse County, said agriculture is at the forefront of technology.

"We're looking for better ways of managing Wisconsin's land, and that is why farming is so important." Lance said, "If you want to eat, have clothes, and new technology, farming is the future of that."

Tim Servais, a third-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer, said his children are in school studying various agricultural topics to pursue a career in the Ag industry.

"This is a new generation, years ago you worked seven days a week for 20 years and never took a day off, now, some farmers have you have the option to take time off," Servais said. "The pressure of farming is so intense, and I think the need to have the break is important."

Servais said because his children have the option to take time away from working on the farm, they are passionate about, is a big incentive for them to stay in the Ag industry. He said he had grown his farm to the point where he has employees who possess the expertise to watch the farm if he and his family choose to take time off.

"I think to create the lifestyle to be able to have time off from the farm gives your children more of an incentive to stay in farming, because they have that passion too, and to know that they won't be glued down to it 365 days a year, is a good thing," said Servais.

To view data and stats about Wisconsin's agriculture industry and more visit the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford is a multi-media journalist.

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