Farmer Hotline for Help & Hope

There is a current crisis is farming: historic low margins and high rates of suicide.  There is help and hope!  The Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection’s Wisconsin Farm Center offers a hotline for farmers looking for advice – everything from financial to succession planning for the future.  The hotline is available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-942-2474


“So much the more, then, must great care be taken to preserve for the nation the essential elements of what might be called genuine rural culture. We must preserve the qualities of industriousness, simple and honest living, respect for authority, especially for parental authority, love of country, and loyalty to traditions which have proved a source of good throughout the centuries. We must preserve readiness to aid one another within the family circle and amongst families, from home to home. All of these qualities we must have animated with a true religious spirit, for without such a spirit these very virtues tend to degenerate into unbridled greed for profit. May the fear of God and faith in God, a faith which finds daily expression in prayers recited together by the whole family, sustain and guide the life of the workers of the fields.” [Pius XII,Address to National Convention of Farm Owner-Operators, 1946].

Rural Life Day 

Rural Life Day is an annual diocesan celebration observed on the fourth Wednesday of September.  Part of this celebration is Mass on a farm with our Bishop.  This is a day to highlight the uniqueness of rural life values and to rejoice in the way that rural life contributes to the Church at large.  As part of this annual celebration, recognition is given to Century farms, an outstanding farm family, and individuals who’ve made significant contributions to rural life.

Celebrate Rural Life on the Feast Day of St. Isidore, May 15th, Patron of Farmers

Please consider reciting the Novena for St. Isidore, either in your parish or home with family. 

Click here to download a version for easy use.  On the feast day itself, recite this Litany in Honor of St. Isidore. 

Preparation For Your Family and Parish

Does your parish celebrate the patron saint of farm life? The virtues found in the lives of Isidore and his blessed wife Maria are exemplary for all farm couples: commitment to family, love for the land, service to the poor and a deep spirituality–qualities still very much needed for rural America.

This year, please consider reciting the Novena for St. Isidore, either in your parish or home with family. The nine days leading up to Isidore’s feast day, May 7-15, is a most suitable time to recite the novena.

Click here to download a version for easy use. On the feast day itself, recite this Litany in Honor of St. Isidore.

Has Rural America Become the New “Inner City”?

An analysis by reporters of the Wall Street Journal shows that since the 1990s, “sparsely populated counties have replaced large cities as America’s most troubled areas by key measures of socioeconomic well-being—a decline that’s accelerating.”*….. READ MORE >>

  • Evangelization One Radio Wave at a Time

    Amid the rolling landscape along Wisconsin State Highway 29 lies the small town of Boyd. This rural farming community is home to a little more than 680 residents. One of the more historic buildings in the town is St. Joseph Catholic Church, built in 1928. St. Joseph Catholic Church is used by All Saints Parish The post Evangelization One Radio Wave at a Time appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

  • ‘Till the Earth and Keep It’

    “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker’ — so God made a farmer.” This opening line from Paul Harvey’s famous speech to the Future Farmers of America (FFA) in 1978 is a sort of continuation of the Creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2. The post ‘Till the Earth and Keep It’ appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

  • Celebrating Rural Life and Service in God’s Country

    Father Nate Kuhn, Bishop William Patrick Callahan and Father William Dhein celebrate Rural Life Day with Dr. AnneMarie Elwing and family in Genoa. “The earth has yielded its fruit, the Lord our God has blessed us.” (Ps 67) This was not only the responsorial psalm for the Rural Life Day Mass on the farm but The post Celebrating Rural Life and Service in God’s Country appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

  • Maintain my Church

    William (Bill) F. Crogan answers the call at St. Bridget Parish in Ettrick   William (Bill) Crogan is the person one contacts when something needs to be fixed, maintained, modified or constructed at St. Bridget Parish in Ettrick. He would rather repair something than replace it with new. Bill adopted an attitude from his grandfather, The post Maintain my Church appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

  • A history of faith through the generations

    The McGowan family’s roots run deep at St. Mary Parish in Lyndon Station As one of the original farm families in Lyndon Station dating back to 1855, the McGowans have made it a family tradition to pass down their love of farming and their Catholic faith through eight generations. The McGowans are a tight-knit group The post A history of faith through the generations appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.


Each year one of the deaneries in our Diocese hosts this celebration of our connection to and dependence upon rural life.  In the recent past, this celebration has been celebrated on a farm making this connection even more obvious.

At each Rural Life Day celebration, awards are given to recognize accomplishments by those living and serving the rural areas of the hosting deanery.

  • The Diocese recognizes an outstanding farm family with the “Strangers and Guests” Award. The name of this award is taken from Leviticus, Chapter 25, where God says to the Jewish people, “The Land belongs to me, and to me you are only strangers and guests.”  Criteria by which the family is chosen include both farm and faith.
  • With fewer and fewer people involved in production agriculture (farming), we need to recognize the significant contributions to rural life of those people involved in agri-business but not actually farming.  This Friend of Rural Life Award, allows us to recognize these key individuals who are so vitally important not just because of the agricultural service they provide, but because of the example they live of embracing the fullness of the truth in the Catholic church.
  • Century Farm Recognition is given to those farms in the host deanery who have maintained active ownership in the same family for 100 or more years

“Herbicide Controversy: Care for our Common Home?”

Part I

Part II

Project Milk

We wish to thank everyone who has given so generously during Lent and June Dairy Days for Project Milk! Your contributions are not only an act of charity for the orphans of Casa Hogar in Peru, but also a strong show of solidarity for our dairy farmers suffering under an unfair pricing system! Visit the Project Milk website.

Project Seed

A portion of the Lenten CRS Rice Bowls remains within the Diocese of La Crosse to fund Project Seed aiding local farmers with low cost, non-GMO seeds.  Visit the Project Seed page.  Click here for the Project Seed Flyer 2019

Hotline number for farmers in crisis
Don’t wait until you think a farmer has suffered all he can. Let him know that help is available. The Wisconsin Farm Center offers a one-call one-stop resource for legal, financial and psychological counseling: 1-800-942-2474.

How can you help the farmers?
Show that you care through prayer for our farmers. For more information on the rural crisis, check out the National Catholic Rural Life Conference website at For information on the Green Ribbon Campaign resource materials, call the Office of Ministries and Social Concerns at (608) 791-2667.


Dan Kitzhaber served the Church in youth, young adult and family ministry for 15 years. He served the parishes of St. John the Baptist in Marshfield and Christ the King in Spencer as Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Before starting parish work, Dan was very involved in agriculture dating back to his childhood growing up on a dairy farm near Greenwood. He was active with the FFA organization during high school and served as a state FFA officer during college years.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Journalism with a minor in International Agriculture. His academic plan was preparing him for a career in international agriculture trade and marketing. He served on the Agricultural Advisory Committee or then Rep. Steve Gunderson. During this time he became involved with the Farm Bureau, competing in their Young Farmer Discussion Meet on the local, state & national levels. Prior to his senior year of college, he was granted in internship at the USDA in Washington D.C. However, since graduating from college, God has asked Dan to labor in a different type of field.

Though you can take the boy off the farm, you can’t take the farm out of the boy. With the combining of the Offices of Justice and Peace with the Office of Ministries, an individual was sought to serve as liaison for the Rural Life Committee. Someone with skills and experience in the areas of agriculture and ministry. Bishop Listecki had learned of Dan’s background and in collaboration with Christopher Ruff extended the invitation for him to serve in this capacity. Please feel free to contact him regarding issues & concerns of rural life.

Contact info:  [email protected] or (608) 791-2673