Shown during the agribusiness tour at Insight FS Thursday are, from left, Tamas Houlihan, executive director of the<br />
Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Tom Bressner, executive director of the Wisconsin Agri-Business<br />
Association, State Senator Tom Tiffany, and Joel Zalewski, Mike Dailey and David Ward of Insight FS.

Insight FS Explains Agri-Business

Antigo organization draws local, state federal officials for tour.

Wisconsin agriculture is a $12.3 billion business, but much of it is centered far from fields and barns.

That was the message state agribusiness leaders brought to Antigo Thursday, during a tour for local, state and federal officials at Insight FS.

The event drew State Sen. Tom Tiffany along with Pat Synder, who represents Congressman Sean Duffy, and a host of local and regional officials for the morning tour of the company’s agricultural processing plant and lunch.

“We’ve got a fabulous group,” Shawn Pfaff, who organized the tour for the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, said. “Our goal here is to let you kick the tires and see what is going on.”

Tom Bressner, executive director for the association, noted that his organization strives to be a strong unifying voice for the agribusiness industries of Wisconsin, including providing programs and services and managing regulatory and legislative affairs.

Our goal is to tell you what agribusiness is all about and help you understand just what makes us tick,” he said.

Bressner said that agriculture tends to be a “quiet” industry, without a lot of voting clout, but with impressive numbers. According to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the state sees $88.3 million in economic activity from agriculture annually. There are 76,800 farms in Wisconsin and 11.9 percent of state workers are employed in agriculture.

Wisconsin is home to 76,800 farms and 1.27 million dairy cows, producing 27.6 billion pounds of milk per year.

Wisconsin ranks first in the nation for cheese, milk goats, corn silage, cranberries, carrots and snap beans for processing.

“This state’s economy is run by agriculture,” he said.

Joel Zalewski, operations manager for Insight FS, reviewed the company’s long history across the state with a goal of “being the best in business.”

Antigo is home to 40 to 45 full-time employees and 25 seasonal workers and operates three locations, the huge fertilizer plant, retail division and the Fast Stop convenience store on Antigo’s north side.

Antigo’s territory is a huge one, he added, stretching from New London and Bonduel on the south and east north into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with $30 to $45 million in annual gross sales.

Insight FS supplies seed, feed, fertilizer and crop protection products to farms along with an array of services including nutrition management , precision technology and GPS variable rate custom applications.

The company is also a fullservice provider of refined and renewable fuels, lubricants and propane for agriculture, industrial, commercial, fleet and residential customers.

“We want to be the best supplier we can be,” Zalewski said.

Source: Antigo Daily Herald