Bio: Wagner, Victor – Clark Co. Ag Farm Management Agent (1975)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Wagner, Dopp

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co. WI) 1975

County Ag Farm Management Agent (Wagner - 1975)

Mingling With Mary

“When I go to work, on any day of the week, I don’t know what kind of problems I will face or the type of people that I will be working with.”

The above statement may sound like that of a doctor, but is the statement made by Victor Wagner, farm management agent for Clark County, when he was asked why he enjoys his work. For Wagner, the work is fascinating, enjoyable, and most of all, rewarding!

Being the farm management agent for the county for the past six years, Wagner was born and raised in Cleveland, Wis. Where he received his grade and high school education. After working in a farm partnership with his father in Cleveland for two years, he attended the UW-Madison in agricultural science education. Upon his graduation, he worked in the Greenwood area under the Veterans on the Farm Training Program, and the following year was hired as vocational agricultural instructor for the Greenwood school system. After teaching for 12 years, he began working for the extension office and received the UW Fellowship Scholarship. He then took a leave of absence to receive a master’s degree in dairy science from the UW-Madison.

According to Wagner, the prime responsibilities of his job, “are to go to the farm upon the farmer’s request and be of any service to the farmer that I can be concerning farm and dairy cattle management. Central Wisconsin will soon be, if not already, the dairy belt of the nation, and farmers are award that in order to keep progressing, they must be well informed on all aspects of farming, including farm financial management.

“Farm management is actually financial management,” stated Wagner, “and the farmer has to know how to analyze his records and know the returns of his invested dollars. Too many farmers are just concerned about the money that they have borrowed, while they should also be concerned about what the money they have invested.” According to Wagner, this is a very important aspect of farming and getting ahead.

Besides working on the farms with the farmers, Wagner also sets up and instructs educational meetings for groups and for individual farmers. One such program that he has organized is the Young Beginning Farmers Program. The four to five meetings that are held for the beginning farmers consist of instructing the men on how to have their cropping system and livestock program work as an economic unit for them. Wagner also gets assistance from the UW system with any extra projects that he feels need more expert advice.

Speaking on the topic of young farmers in Clark County, Wagner pointed out that most of the farms have the third generation managing them. The average of the farmers compiled during a six session in-depth farm series was 41. Wagner feels that this is a young age average considering that many of the men have had some vocational or college education, and the majority of those who did not receive post high school education did receive his entire high school education. Wagner also pointed out hat a few and increasing number of college graduates are beginning to farm in the area.

Speaking on the dairy cattle work in his job, Wagner stated that he works mainly with the departments of nutrition, feeding, and the building expansion of the dairy farms. “A tremendous amount of money is invested in the entire farm, with the average investment, per cow, around $2,500, which includes land, crops, and machinery, and in order to get ahead the farmer must know how to use his investments to further his income. Anyone who has visited a farm lately can see the great advancements that are being made in feeding programs, and cropping systems in Clark County,” remarked Wagner. Arv Dopp, agricultural agent for Clark County, also in the extension office, deals with crops and soil research work with the area farmers.

In Clark County, according to Wagner, there are 2,200 dairy farms, 3,400 total farms, and 66,600 dairy cattle. The number has been stable for the past five years in this part of the state, where other parts of the state have decreased in number. Wagner explained that in the Corn Belt of southern Wisconsin and bordering states farmers are becoming aware of the cash crop value, rather than the dairy part.

Working in the extension office at Neillsville, Wagner is an assistant professor within the UW system. The extension office was started by a request to the state by the County Board. He is presently co-author of a book entitled “Farm Business Management for Central Wisconsin Livestock Farmers,” along with four other farm management agents. The book will be published this January.

Besides working on the county level, Wagner is treasurer for the Greenwood School Board of which he has been a member for the past three years, President of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish Board, a director of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Greenwood and had previously served on the Greenwood City Council for three years. He has just finished serving as president of the Wisconsin Farm Management Agents Association, during which he organized a tri-state meeting of farm management agents. He is also associated with many state and national farm organizations.

Residing in Greenwood, Wagner and his wife, Dorothy, have four children, Mary Jo, a student at Eau Claire, and Tom, Bill, and Michelle, all at home.

For Vic Wagner, no two days are alike, some are spent on the farms, others in front of a group of farmers, while others are spent sitting and listening to another expert talk on the changing phases of farm management.

Anyone who has ever worked with Wagner will agree that he is an example of a man who is truly dedicated and enjoys his work. Perhaps the reason for finding such satisfaction in a job is that whatever he does he is making something a little better for the farmer, his family, and Clark County.

There was no date on this bio and the others I have done of Mary’s have been 1974-1975, we place this one at 1975.)



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