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Pittman blends farming, leadership

Mel and Pat Pittman make calf care and calf comfort a priority on their farm. Calves are housed in individual pens in a three-sided, south-facing facility the Pittmans designed. -- Photo submitted

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article was originally published in the April 2013 issue of "Wisconsin Agriculturist" and was written by Fran O'Leary. It regards the selection of Mel Pittman of Plum City as a 2013 Master Agriculturist.

PLUM CITY--Mel Pittman was born and raised on the Pierce County farm where he still lives, the seventh of 13 children.

His dad, Clarence, purchased the original 120-acre farm in 1942 with help from his father. A year later, Mel's parents were married.

There was always plenty of work to be done on the farm for the home-grown workforce, Mel recalls.

"Dad built an addition on the barn in the early 1960s. By then, we were milking 50 cows. He could do that because he always had four or five sons around to do work."

Like several of his older siblings, after graduating from high school, Mel attended UW-River Falls. He majored in animal science and planned to work off the farm after getting his bachelor's degree.

While attending UW-River Falls, Mel met fellow classmate Pat Dushek, a native of Fond du Lac. She was majoring in general agriculture with plans of becoming a meat inspector after graduation.

"It wasn't until we graduated from UW-River Falls in May 1976 that my dad said he wanted to step back and retire," Mel explains.

A month after graduation, Mel and Pat were married. They worked for Mel's parents for two years before they started buying the farm, cattle and machinery in January 1979.

"Dad continued to help with fieldwork after he sold the farm to us," Mel says.

For more please read the April 17 print version of the Herald.