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March's Learning Partner is proud to be a Farmer & to help increase agricultural literacy!
March's Learning Partner is proud to be a Farmer & to help increase agricultural literacy!
Sheri Hicken
Monday, March 04, 2019

March 14th is National Ag Day, so for this month’s Meet SAGES' Learning Partner feature, we thought it appropriate to highlight a local farmer and strong SAGES’ supporter — Jonathan Gibbs!

Mr. Gibbs farms with his dad just minutes away from SAGES, east on County Highway A. His farm’s proximity to school, plus Jonathan’s knowledge of and enthusiasm for agriculture have been a real asset. With little hesitation, he has helped us realize success on numerous occasions across the years. He has served as an Ag Day presenter multiple times, “harvested” samples of  soybean plants and corn stalks from his fields for classroom lessons, and provided equipment that helped us get big jobs done more efficiently. In fact, his skidsteer has made a few different trips into town for anything from clearing sod at the Community Garden to transplanting our five apple trees.

Mr. Gibbs’ support goes beyond his time and tools. Over the years, Jonathan and his wife, Karen, have also generously gifted items they noticed we could use, such as a Canon digital camera, Rock-the-Bike bicycle blender kit, science table, and Can-o-worms composter. He has participated in and secured sponsors for our SAGES Foundation Golf Outing, plus offers his “expert advice” at no charge to our Ag Teacher.

Mr. Gibbs, we appreciate what you do for agriculture on a daily basis and all the ways you’ve helped SAGES learners “grow!” No doubt you’ve helped “cultivate” future agriculturists! Thank you!

For additional background, read the “Q&A” with Mr. Gibbs.

  • Q: You attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, what was your degree?
  • A: Bachelor of Science – Agronomy.  I also have a Certified Crop Advisor certification (CCA) through the American Society of Agronomy

  • Q: How you would describe your farming operation?
  • A: 5th generation family farm.  We have a diverse operation where we raise dairy beef, custom raise heifers, and grow cash grains, processing vegetables and forages.  Our crops are used to either feed our livestock or feed and fuel America and the world.  While I may be the primary decision maker for day to day decisions, our family farm truly is a family farm.  My wife, Karen is involved in a support role and big picture decision making. She also keeps me grounded and reminds me to look at the positive aspects.  I also look to my father, Dave Gibbs, and my uncle, John Mersch, for their guidance and experience that farming 41 years together provides.

  • Q: What current Boards & Volunteer efforts are you involved with?
  • A: Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (state soybean checkoff, farmer-led board) – Secretary/Treasurer and Church Council First Ev. Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam

  • Q: What other jobs have you held prior to being back on the farm full-time?
  • A: Summer internship with Hartung Brothers based in Madison, WI in summer 2000. Then, I went full-time upon college graduation.  Worked full-time for 13 years covering Illinois (7 years) and Spring Green / Central Sands in Wisconsin (6 years). Duties were a processing vegetable (sweet corn, snap bean, canning pea) Field Representative.

  • Q: Anything else you want to share about you or your involvement with SAGES? 
  • A: Besides my children attending SAGES, we are excited to lend a helping hand when needed.  As a farmer, I am part of only 2% of the population which are classified as farmers. That means I have a lot of friends and neighbors who are not farmers.  I am continually excited about SAGES, because Agriculture and the Environment are not just a class, they are a guiding theme every day. SAGES gives the opportunity to bring the ideas and questions that both farmers and non-farmers both have at a childhood age with the students, but also with the adult ages due to SAGES high level of community involvement.