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Portage County Farmers Market

LPC session was all about Agribusiness

By Portage County Business Council

Written by Kelly Gardner & Tama Manske , Leadership Portage County Class Participants 

September’s LPC session was all about Agribusiness so we made our way to Paragon Potato Farms in Bancroft.

Before heading out to see their operations we started out with some great speeches from Dave, Randy and Lisa.  Dave taught us all about Central WI Airport funding clearing up many misconceptions.  Then we “dug” into gardening with Randy learning about zones, companion gardening and techniques.  Lastly Lisa took us around the globe comparing Hawaii with Puerto Rico and we all wished we were there.

Following that we were lucky enough to have Jenny Bula of RPE take us through an overview of the Wysocki Family of Companies including RPE, Wysocki  Produce Farm, Paragon Potato Farm and lastly Paramount Farms which they have recently acquired.  In addition they also partner with Central Sands Dairy as well as Tasteful Selection, LLC.  Their brands include Tasteful Selections™, Old Oak Farms™ and Biggins®.   It was quite impressive to see how this family farm that started in the 1950’s has grown into the large operation it is today.

Enough talking about it we want to get out there and see it!  So our tour guides arrived and we did just that.  Wow was there a lot to take in and see!  Our tour guides led us through the farm explaining the processes as we went.  We were all surprised to the technology involved in the process and how accurate it can be.  On the other hand the committed workers are second to none, they would not be able to operate without them.  From russets to fingerlings to onions, Wysocki Family of Companies continues to grow and lead by example producing quality food we all benefit from.

Lastly we were all presented with wonderful treat bags including coupons, recipes and of course a Biggins® potato to take home!  It was a great tour.

After our tour of the Paragon Potato Farm we headed to the Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (SPACVB) for lunch and an afternoon of speakers.

First we heard from Melissa Sable of the SPACVB regarding Agri-Tourism in Portage County. When traveling, the main things that motivate people are FUN and FOOD. Good thing Portage County has lots of good options for both!

Next up was Ken Schroeder from the UW Extension Office to discuss Agribusiness in Portage County. Portage County produces 31 million gallons of milk each year. Other crops include grain, potatoes, peas and cranberries with Portage County being the #1 producer of green beans and sweet corn. It was interesting to see how science/technology has helped to increase production efficiency of both milk and crops over time.

After a short break we listened to Gary Yeast of Ministry Health Care discuss Emotional Intelligence and Ethical Decision Making.

He presented the relationship of a high Emotional Intelligence and being successful (emotional intelligence seems to play a more important role in being successful than IQ). He also believes that people are able to increase their emotional intelligence. During the Ethical Decision Making discussion we talked about the relationship between skill, luck and how to make better decisions.

Our last speaker was Wendy Mitch to kick off the 6 session series on Mindset. In the first session we learned about the differences between an “outward mindset” and an “inward mindset”. In life we are presented with many challenges and opportunities. We are excited to continue to learn about approaching these with an outward mindset where we focus on our impact on others instead of focusing on the impact on us.