It was a wonderful day, on May 16, 2016, at the Kenosha County Center. The sun was shining and it was a marvelous day to have a tour in Kenosha County. We first met Andy Buehler, Director of Planning Operations, Kenosha County Department of Planning and Development. Andy started by saying that their job takes years of work in planning, and most of the planning that they do is behind the scenes. He also stated that sometimes planning is like a roller coaster. So, they get questions like, “Why are things are being built without us knowing it?” and “Why are big companies, like Amazon, being built here?” Andy remarked because of research and statistics, it can take years before everything falls into place for a development. He mentioned that Kenosha is the 3rd fastest growing county in Wisconsin.
Andy also talked about the need and the importance for permits before building anything. Other things to consider would be the ordinances in place that would possibly relate to:
- storm water
- property values
- impacts of land use
- projections up to the year 2050
- commercial property
Our next presenters were Dan Treloar, Land & Water Conservation Planner, and Leigh Presley Agriculture Educator, UW-Extension.
Dan talked about:
- Land conservation
- Land preservation
He also mentioned the economy and the acreage summary of what happens in the county. They work with contractors in regards to condos and subdivisions as to when and where the land is available.
Leigh talked about the need of farmers and dollars ($$) to conserve the practice. She also talked about the following:
- Diversity of farms
- Farm Fresh Atlas
- Wisconsin is No 1 in dairy production
- Visits with farmers and promoting farming and provide available resources
At 8:45 we traveled to Daniel’s Dairy Farm, with owner Tom Daniels. Mr. Daniels talked about the economy in regards to the cost of milk, his personal life about the farm and his family. He stated that they employed young people to help them around the farm, especially in milking and feeding the cows. Mr. Daniels is very passionate about his work, his family and his farm. He showed us around the farm. First, we stopped where the sampling of milk is done, and heard about the many samplings they have to do before the milk leaves the farm. He also showed us the areas where they milk the cows and the machinery/tools they use to perform that process. Last, he took us to other areas where they have younger cows and calf. The calves were full of energy.
We traveled to Brightonwoods Orchard where we met Dr. Bill Stone. He really knows his apples! He told us that his farm has as many as 28 varieties of apples, and that some of the trees are pretty old (since the 1950’s) but they still give fruit. He mentioned that the trees don’t show that much of a difference until the apple comes out, and then you can tell what kind of tree it is by the apple. We walked through the orchard and he explained why the tree are cut low and maintained at that size – most of it is because of safety when picking apples. He mentioned how certain trees are also cut differently and the wires that are used to maintain the trees straight. Dr. Stone also gave us some apple cider to taste, IT TASTED DELICIOUS!! While at the store he showed us some grafted branches where one type of apple was grafted with another to produce something different.
Even though I did not participate in the wine tasting, the information into the process was very interesting. One of the things that they discussed was what is considered alcohol and what isn’t. They show us the stills and the tanks where they made the wine.
The presentations at the end were marvelous. Everyone dedicated their time and effort in building up their projects and learned what makes organizations grow when everyone works together. GOOD JOB, EVERYONE!
Juan J. Torres