Vance Haugen has served as the Crawford County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent since 1992. Prior to that, Vance served as the crops and soils agent for Shawano County. In recent years, Vance has focused much of his work on Dairy Modernization, Small Scale Bio-gas Production, and Intensive Grazing. Vance has developed a reputation as the “go to guy” for these topics not just for the producers he serves in Crawford County, but also around the state.
The majority of dairy farms in Crawford County have 50 to 200 cows. These farmers are looking for ways to increase cow numbers while keeping the investment per cow to a minimum. Vance understood early on that by retro-fitting existing facilities, farmers could reduce the wear and tear on their bodies, be able to stand upright in a parlor, thereby extend their dairy farming careers. Vance has also been programming in the area of rotational grazing for many years. He has produced many educational materials that have been presented at local area, state and international meetings. One such example is Vance’s work with Dave Kammel and numerous agents around the state to put on formal educational events and one-on-one farm consultations in 34 counties on dairy modernization. Much of Vance’s work was documented by Mark Mayer and Dave Kammel in the recent Dairy Modernization Survey. In 2008 Vance received the NACAA Regional Award for Video Tape/Television – Low Cost Parlor Video. Vance has also published numerous fact sheets for UW-Extension and his modernization work has been featured in GRAZE magazine.
High energy prices have created growing interest in alternative and renewable fuel sources. Many farmers have expressed interest in making biogas from livestock manure. Small scale biogas production (1 to 150 cows) is in its early stages from a practical and research standpoint. Vance has worked to provide unbiased information on these types of ultra small digesters, construction techniques, and practical examples of ultra small scale biogas production methods in agriculture. These programs were delivered to farmers in Crawford, Buffalo, Clark, Barron, Ashland, Dunn, Shawano, Trempealeau, St. Croix, and Price Counties with several specialists and faculty at UW Madison, UW Richland Center and UW Platteville and the Marshfield ARS. Driven by the fact that there is very little information available for small scale production for the upper Midwest, Vance continues to develop and research more designs that can be used by small scale livestock producers. Vance developed and maintains the Small Scale biogas website (http://www.wcasfmra.org/biogas.htm). He has also worked with farmer on small scale digester projects in Zambia, Guyana, and Nicaragua.