For some, variety is the spice of life. Nothing could be closer to the truth when it comes to the different crops Wallendal Supply, Inc., has grown throughout the years.
From vegetables such as potatoes, sweet corn and peas to food-grade soybeans for seed, lima beans and cabbage, to name a few, you might be hard-pressed to find a crop Wallendal Supply, Inc., hasn’t produced!
Processing contracts, canned and frozen products are mainly where the company’s produce go. Wallendal says, “Contract specifications for processed food usually require high quality; standard sizes; uniformity of taste, appearance and nutritive values. Stepped plantings of a number of varieties with varying maturity dates ensure a constant supply of raw material so the processing plant can operate with an even flow of input over a long period.”
Wallendal is a second-generation farmer and says his father taught him a great deal about the industry. Wallendal says his father, Pete, discovered the importance of sandy and loamy soils for vegetable production and could not have chosen a better place to grow vegetables than the Central Sands region. Wallendal also says his father showed him how to maintain productivity through sound fertility programs. Eventually, Wallendal says he began to understand aspects surrounding nutrient release and how to control soil fertility.
Throughout the years, practices changed and improved at the farm, which began with 2,000 acres when Andy began working on it. Now it has 3,100, many of which include the same crops they’ve grown since Pete was alive, as well as a new addition. Wallendal says they have a long history with Chippewa Valley Bean Co., Inc., and as a result, have returned to growing kidney beans for them.
“We are always looking for new crops to add to the mix or examining past crops,” Wallendal says. It’s this outlook on variety that Wallendal says for him is important. “Filling your mix with multiple crops can definitely help mitigate risks and aid in furthering agronomics, crop production, rotations and building a complete, sustainable farming system.”
When it comes to technology, Wallendall says the first tractor his father ever purchased new, a JD 4020, is still going strong on the farm. While resourceful, Wallendal Supply, Inc., is also looking ahead to the future. Wallendal Supply, Inc., is known as a leader and early adaptor of variable rate irrigation technology. They are also looking to purchase their first drone, which they intend to use for variable rate irrigation and variable rate fertilizer applications during the 2015 crop season.
Wallendal Supply, Inc., is also looking to continuously improve its relationships and sustainability outcomes. Wallendal says they accomplish this by belonging to a national sustainability organization called FieldRise, which addresses challenges in the global food chain through science-based metrics.
While potatoes haven’t been a main focus for Wallendal Supply, Inc., for many years, the company’s president, Andy Wallendal, was also recently elected President of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA). He says he enjoys working with the WPVGA staff, board members and industry to keep agriculture moving in a positive direction.
“I strongly advocate that growers jump in with both feet,” Wallendal shares. “You can join leadership programs and help on committees and events. Just make your voices known.”
Wallendal advocates differentiating the ‘silos from the bigger picture.’ He says he wants to influence legislation at all levels and participate in a process that creates a positive future for not only Wallendal Supply, Inc., but also for that of Wisconsin agriculture.
Wallendal graduated from Adams-Friendship High School and St. Norbert College in DePere with a degree in Agribusiness Management. He and his wife Paula have three daughters; Laura, who lives in Boston; Emily, who lives in Finland with her husband; and Teresa, who passed away in 2005 at age 17 after a courageous struggle with leukemia.
Wallendall previously served as Wisconsin Potato Industry Board (WPIB) President and Director, Healthy Grown Executive Board Member and WPVGA Process-Frozen Committee Member. He enjoys kayaking, fishing, traveling and hunting.