Since 2001, Peg Reedy has served as the UW-Extension Ag Agent for Walworth County. During this time Walworth County agriculture saw a change to smaller, value-added farms that were choosing to direct market their product through on-farm sales, farmers markets and restaurants. Collaboration between the Extension Offices of Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties, Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast, Town & County RC&D and the Milwaukee CSA Initiative developed the Farm Fresh Atlas of Southeastern Wisconsin. 80,000 copies are printed and distributed annually. Surveys sent to growers who advertise in the Farm Fresh Atlas indicate that 10 of 14 respondents feel that it is the first or second most effective method of marketing their food to consumers.
Integrated pest management in response to seasonal pest issues continues to be a primary interest in Peg’s programming. Peg helped organize the UWEX Southeast Wisconsin Variant Western Corn Rootworm Trapping Network, which included nine southern Wisconsin counties. The primary objectives were to delineate the geographic range of Variant western corn rootworm (Vwcr) and initiate educational programming, sharing results and current management recommendation. As this pest continues to evolve, Peg has collaborated to track the increasing incidence of resistance to some Bt hybrids.
Through grazing and pasture management programming Peg works with all species of livestock to promote management of productive pastures. She is co-authoring a field guide to poisonous plants found in Midwest pastures and forages.
Peg has collaborated in the writing of several grants including the USDA North-Central Risk Management Grant to fund the SWFFN (Southeast Wisconsin Farm and Food Network). This provided funding for a variety of educational programs including Putting Your Farm on the Menu and Back to the Land. Education and training are in the forefront of Peg’s tenure with the UW-Extension. She was involved with the Tri-County Safety Program which is educates youth on safe farm practices. In addition, Peg developed PowerPoints to accompany the new National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, which offers 12 hours of tractor driving and 12 hours of classroom activities.
Horses represent a unique challenge to educators in Extension. Peg is one of a group of Extension educators in Wisconsin and Illinois providing educational programing in equine issues. This bi-state equine group has provided educational programs on a variety of topics to owners of over 12,000 horses. Grants helped fund two pilot projects to use Webinar Technology and created DVD’s of workshops to reach wider audiences. The bi-state group received a Great Lakes Regional Water Grant to consider composting horse manure for sale to gardeners and landscapers. Four stables were set up to be demonstration sites so people can reduce the amount of manure going into landfills.
Peg is a strong believer in the team approach to programming. Peg is a MAQA trainer, works with the community garden project and assists with WIC, WNEP and farmers market. She regularly partners with Walworth County Land Conservation Division, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS), Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WI DATCP), Farm Bureau, Michael Fields Agriculture Institute, and UW Specialists for UW-Madison and other campuses.
Peg received the Chancellor’s Award in 2007 – For developing innovative marketing opportunities for farmers and increasing consumers’ access to healthful, locally grown food. Peg was the Walworth County Farm Bureau – Woman of the Year and recognized by Walworth County Visitor’s Bureau as a Friend of Tourism 2010 for the Barn Quilts Program.