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MADISON

GOP asks UW to research more uses for milk

A group of Assembly Republicans are asking University of Wisconsin System officials to start researching more uses for milk.

The Republicans sent a letter to UW System President Ray Cross on last week saying that an oversupply of milk is driving prices down and hurting farmers. The letter says it's time to get creative and explore alternative uses for milk, pointing to how the development of ethanol has helped improve things for Iowa corn farmers.

The letter was signed by two dozen representatives, including Speaker Robin Vos and John Nygren, co-chair of the Legislature's finance committee.

A UW System spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the request.

LISBON

Wisconsin Corn Elects New Officers

The Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board (WCPB) and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association (WCGA) elected their 2017 officer teams. Elections were held during the March board meeting, with new officers starting their year-long positions immediately.

The promotion board re-elected Cal Dalton, Endeavor, as president, while Tom Gillis, River Falls, was elected as vice president and Howard Hartmann, Prairie Du Sac, was elected as secretary/treasurer. The WCGA board of directors re-elected Casey Kelleher, Whitewater, as president, and Zeb Zuehls, Montello, as vice president and Doug Rebout, Janesville, as secretary/treasurer.

MADISON

Lawmakers drop farm oversight study

Legislative leaders have scrapped a plan in Gov. Scott Walker's budget to study shifting oversight of large livestock farms from the Department of Natural Resources to state agriculture officials.

A state audit last year found DNR employees don't have time to thoroughly monitor large farms. Walker's budget called for the DNR and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection to jointly study the possibility of transferring oversight and report findings by the end of next year.

The leaders of the finance committee, Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling, announced they had removed the study provision from the budget because it's a non-fiscal policy item.

The League of Conservation Voters praised the move, saying DATCP isn't qualified to enforce clean water rules as they apply to large farms.

COLBY

Youth Leadership Derby set

The 2017 PDPW Youth Leadership Derby for teens ages 15-18 will be held April 22-23 at Colby High School. The two-day event connects both farm and non-farm teens with progressive dairy farmers, veterinarians and industry professionals in a hands-on career-focused environment. The Derby provides on-farm tours, veterinarian labs, breakout sessions and keynote speakers.

Participants will have the opportunity to network with youth sharing their goals and passion for dairy.. Registration is due April 14 and can be completed online, via mail or by phone. To learn more or to register, visit www.pdpw.org or call 800-947-7379.

WEST BEND 

FB donates to wildfire relief efforts

The 10th annual District 1 Young Farmer and Agriculturist Spring Fling held March 18 collected $750 for wildfire relief efforts.

The YFA group uses their profit to host other educational or networking events throughout the district. This year, however, their $450 profit will be donated to the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for wildfire relief efforts. An additional $300 was collected by passing cowboy boots around to the more than 350 attendees.

While fires burned their way through Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas, the worst of the wildfires were in Kansas, so the Spring Fling planning committee determined the $750 raised would be for the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation.

MADISON

WI cheese moves closer to getting its due

The wood violet, sugar maple and white-tailed deer are already in the club. So is milk, polka and the honey bee. In a state so well-known for its cheese, it's hard to fathom that it's yet to receive an official state declaration.

That would all change under a bill passed unanimously by state Assembly last week. It would name cheese as the state's official dairy product, while also allowing lawmakers to cast one of the easiest votes of their careers.

The measure now heads to the Senate where it must pass and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before cheese gets its designation.

A fourth grade class in Mineral Point lobbied lawmakers to recognize cheese, finally, as the state's dairy product.

Wisconsin produces the most cheese in the country at 11 billion pounds per year.

LAMARTINE

Chickens die in shed fire

One hundred chicks and a number of Rhode Island red chickens died in a shed fire April 7 morning.

At 8:23 a.m., the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office received a report of a shed fire at the residence located at W8790 Johnson Road in the town of Lamartine.

The shed was destroyed, according to the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office. The cause of the fire is not suspicious in nature.

The towns of Lamartine, Eldorado and Rosendale Fire Departments as well as a paramedic unit from North Fond du Lac assisted the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office at the scene.

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