Much of Mark’s Dairy Modernization work was has been accomplished by conducting individual dairy farmstead consultations. Dairy Modernization topics have been presented by Mark on numerous occasions, including annual county dairy management seminars, technical college presentations, UW Short Course classes, regional barn meetings, State Agriculture Educator conferences and legislative committees. Mark has facilitated and organized Dairy Modernization Farm Tours for the past 20 years which have allowed other producers and Ag industry professionals to see first-hand the finished results of dairy modernization projects. During the last four years over 340 dairy producers and Ag professionals from 15 counties and three states have participated in these farm tours. Mark has also facilitated many educational dairy farm tours for the public designed to increase consumer knowledge of modern dairy production. These tours have been done in conjunction with Green County Cheese Days with over 2,000 people participating every other year.
Mark has recently been a leader in exploring and developing an Ag plastics recycling program, resulting in over 145,000 pounds of Ag plastics being collected and recycled in Green County from 2014-15. He is currently involved with a pilot project to study the feasibility of placing dumpsters on farms and offering free pick up of Ag plastics that would be recycled and used to manufacture trash can liners. He also established a permanent Clean Sweep Hazardous Waste Collection program in Green County in 2013. Over the past two years 86 farmers, and 289 households have safely disposed of 20,452 pounds of hazardous waste. To conduct this work Mark has received grants totaling over $43,000.
To respond to the historic drought of 2012, Mark organized drought related informational meetings to address concerns about plant mortality, spider mite damage, nitrates in corm, pricing drought stressed feeds, alfalfa cutting management, and other animal health and agronomic issues. Numerous radio programs, fact sheets and a drought webpage were developed by Mark. In addition, he worked with local businesses and organizations to address the mental health challenges and stress farm families were facing as a result of the drought. Over 350 farmers and Ag industry professionals attended at least one of the three drought meetings held in the region. Mark also worked with UW specialists to set up a crop moisture and feed mycotoxin testing program in the county to help producers determine the best time to harvest their drought stressed crops and if they could be safely fed their livestock.
Mark has served on the Dairy Team and Animal Husbandry Conference planning team. He works with numerous external agencies such as Blackhawk Technical College, FSA, County Producer Groups and the Green County Milk Quality Board. He also served as advisor to Green County Master Gardeners, Green County Beef, Sheep and Pork Producers, Dairy Youth Recognition Auction and the Meat Animal Auction committees. Additionally, Mark is also a founder of the Monroe Excellence in Education Foundation, former President of the Monroe Board of Education, and is currently serving on the Blackhawk Technical College Board of Directors.
To read more about Mark Mayer’s scholarly UW-Extension work, you can click here.