Wisconsin Briefs: Early freeze prompts disaster request

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Gov. Walker requests USDA Disaster Designation for crop losses

Gov. Scott Walker requested a Secretarial Disaster Designation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for producers in 10 Wisconsin counties who suffered crop losses following freezing temperatures last May. The counties included in this request are Chippewa, Columbia, Eau Claire, Jackson, Jefferson, Pierce, Polk, Sauk, St. Croix, and Trempealeau.

“Wisconsin producers are in need of assistance from the USDA to help them deal with their losses,” Gov. Walker said. “I asked the federal government to respond quickly with this designation so the affected producers may obtain relief.”

The 10 counties included in the designation request experienced frost and freezing temperatures recorded on the nights of May 13 and 14, 2016, with temperatures reaching as low as 25 degrees. Due to the low temperatures, certain crops were affected, such as apples and other perennial crops that had begun to blossom or bud. All counties impacted experienced harvest losses of 30 percent or greater for apples, asparagus, blueberries, hops, and strawberries.

Gov. Walker asked USDA Secretary Vilsack for the disaster designation following the harvest so crop losses could be fully determined.


Man injured after crash with manure spreader in Oakfield

A man was injured after the pick-up truck he was driving hit the back of a manure spreader being pulled by a farm tractor on U.S. 151 Monday evening.

At 5:21 p.m., the Fond du Lac Sheriff's Department, the Oakfield Fire Department and First Responders as well as the City of Fond du Lac Ambulance were dispatched to a crash with injuries on U.S. 151 south of Thill Road in the town of Oakfield.

According to a press release from the Fond du Lac Sheriff's Department, the northbound pick-up truck was following too close to a northbound farm tractor pulling a manure spreader and struck the farm implement.

The driver of the pick-up was trapped in his vehicle and had to be extricated by the Oakfield Fire Department. He was brought to St. Agnes Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the tractor was not injured in the crash.

According to the sheriff's department, the tractor and manure spreader had proper lighting and reflectors.


FSA extends voting deadline

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Patty Edelburg said the deadline to submit ballots for the 2016 County Committee Elections has been extended to ensure farmers and ranchers have sufficient time to vote. Eligible voters now have until Dec. 13, 2016 to return ballots to their local FSA offices. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office.

FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 13, 2016. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2017.

Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of County Committee seats are up for election each year. County Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support, conservation, indemnity, disaster and emergency programs.


Jefferson County offers Master Gardener volunteer training

Those interested in learning about horticulture and sharing knowledge through community volunteering are asked to consider registering for the Master Gardener Volunteer Level 1 Training Program offered through UW-Extension, Jefferson County.

The 14-week Level 1 Master Gardener Volunteer Training will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday evenings beginning January 16, 2017 and concluding in late June. Training will be held at the UW-Extension, Jefferson County Office, 864 Collins Rd., Jefferson. The program cost is $175. $40 will be refunded upon successful completion of volunteer hours. The course fee includes training materials and a comprehensive set of UW-Extension horticulture publications. The training is open to the general public although participants must be at least 18 years of age. Registration will be on a first come, first served basis and class size is limited to 25 participants.

The Training Program will include presentations, labs and activities on a wide range of topics such as: lawn care, house plants, plant pathology, botany review, backyard wildlife, fruits, vegetables, landscape design, soils, perennials, annuals, weeds and composting among others. Interactive classes will include presentations by UW specialists, local experts and other guest speakers.

Successful completion of the training program is the first step to becoming a Certified Master Gardener Volunteer and a member of the Jefferson County and Wisconsin Master Gardener Associations. In exchange for training, participants share their time and knowledge in their local communities by completing 24 hours of approved garden related volunteer service before October 1, 2017.

For more information call 920-674-7297 or email