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Pagel’s Ponderosa hosts Ag Career Days

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 23 May 2014

More than 1,000 junior high school students attended Ag Career Days at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Casco, Wisconsin, to learn about the breadth of agricultural job opportunities in Kewaunee County.

Situated between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, this rural area boasts more cows than people, earning its status as one of the nation’s top 50 dairy-producing counties. In fact, one out of every four jobs is directly related to agriculture in Kewaunee County.



Agriculture’s impact is recognized by the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation. The group’s agriculture sub-committee organizes the event, which was held for the second time on April 10 and 11.

Ag students

John Pagel and his family opened the doors of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy to host students from five local school systems. His strong belief and support for Ag Career Days comes from concern over the future agriculture workforce in his county.

Editor's note: Watch a video fromwearegreenbay.comto see additional coverage from Ag Career Days .

“I want these students to understand the possible opportunities for them to come to work in agriculture because we don’t have enough people to fill the spots,” Pagel said. He explained that in the past, many farm families in his area raised six to eight children. Some would remain on the farm while the others applied their farm backgrounds to careers that supported the agriculture industry.


large-animal veterinarian “Now, there are just not enough farm kids and farm families,” Pagel added. “There are not enough people to fill the void that we have in agriculture, so we’ve got to have non-farm people understand the opportunities.”

To achieve this, students started out their day with a tour of the modern family dairy operation. They were then grouped into one of four career clusters based on their interests. The “Dollars and Sense” cluster covered careers in agriculture lending, marketing and communications, food science and animal health.

Dave Jauquet

Meanwhile, the “Cow Tipping” cluster heard from professionals in areas like dairy cattle genetics, nutrition and veterinary medicine. Students learned about careers in construction, heating and cooling and cropping in the “Digging Deep” cluster, while the “Grinding Gears” group covered heavy equipment and energy-related jobs. A total of 32 different career stations were represented.

The local agriculture community stepped up to the plate to support the event. More than 200 volunteers helped out in various capacities, from presenters to tour guides to lunch servers. In addition, nearly 80 area businesses pledged sponsorships. PD

PHOTO TWO: Students even got the chance to learn about careers in agriculture communications and the day-to-day role of a magazine editor.

PHOTO THREE: The “Cow Tipping” cluster visited a large-animal veterinarian, where they learned about procedures and surgeries performed by dairy vets.


PHOTO FOUR: Dave Jauquet embraced the event as an opportunity to tell students about his career as a dairy producer while also educating them on modern practices such as dehorning, tail docking and taking calves away from their mothers. “These young people need to know where their food comes from,” Jauquet said. Photos by Peggy Coffeen.

peggy coffeen

Peggy Coffeen
Progressive Dairyman