We have family and friends who have habitually (and of their own volition) frequented the Wisconsin Dells. But they have never, I suggest, been there on the (possibly) coldest night of then year.
Well, this speaker-for-hire is about to, I think. Tomorrow I address the WI Corn/Soy Conference in...well, somewhere 5.5 hours from Chrisman.
And oddly enough, I'm OK with it.
Wisconsin has become the crossroads (or collision location) for many trends in rural America.
- Immigration - what do you think is keeping small dairies alive here? Talk to people in Appleton about Hispanic workers.
- Ethanol - despite variable corn production, the state has built several ethanol plants that consitute a huge boon to corn growers and a definite challenge to their vaunted dairy industry.
- Technology - what do robot milkers mean to the picturesque WI dairy farms?
- Tourism - good Lord, this place is beautiful. No wonder most of Chicago decamps to Door County every summer.
- Hunting - these people take their deer seriously. And often. As a non-gun owner, I feel like a visitor from another planet.
- Community - the strong yeoman ethic pervades the speech and alliances of rural Wisconsin. I am torn between the respect for the individual and the group in these debates.
- Outsourcing - talk to people about manufacturing jobs leaving. My take is they cannot equate the service industry with the same moral value. This will be their undoing, I fear.