Midwest Briefs - Congress targets wolf protections

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


Midwest, Wyoming lawmakers target wolf protections again

Pressure is building in Congress to take gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list, which would allow farmers to kill the animals if they threaten livestock.

Representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming have asked House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for a fast floor vote before the season during which most cows and sheep will give birth begins in earnest. That followed testimony before a Senate committee a week earlier from the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, who said producers need to be able to defend their livestock and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, both sides in the debate are waiting for a federal appeals court to decide whether to uphold lower court rulings that put wolves in the four states back on the list or to let the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service return management of the species to the states, which it has wanted to do for years.


Warmer weather raises concerns for Michigan's fruit growers

Fruit experts in Michigan say they're concerned about the state's fruit trees and bushes getting their buds out too early due to the unusually warm weather.

Michigan State University Extension Service fruit educator Mark Longstroth says the warm temperatures will be "a little worrisome" if they continue and the buds start waking up in the region's peach trees and apricot orchards.

Longstroth said that if the buds start swelling now, they could be vulnerable to cold temperatures later this spring.

Steve Tennes, owner of Country Mill Orchard in Charlotte said that an early spring could hurt his income. He said he tries to prevent the trees from budding by using frost fans and experimenting with misting. However, some of those protections don't cover even half of the orchard.

Amy Irish Brown, an educator in the commercial tree fruit industry with the Extension Service, said she doesn't expect this spring's temperatures to warm up to as high as they did in 2012, when the state's apple harvest shrank from 980 million pounds in 2011 to just 115 million pounds in 2012.


SD House panel passes industrial hemp bill 

South Dakota residents who pass background checks and get a license from the state agriculture department would be allowed to cultivate industrial hemp under a measure a House panel approved Thursday.

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 9-2 to approve the plan, which now heads to the full chamber for consideration. Supporter Rep. Elizabeth May, a Republican, said that hemp would be a useful product for South Dakota's agriculture industry.

The bill restricts the allowable content of THC — a main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — for industrial hemp.

Hemp's comeback got a foothold in the 2014 federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states that have approved hemp growing. Neighboring North Dakota is among many states with an industrial hemp program.

House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, a supporter, said he thinks it could be a "very viable industry for South Dakota."


ADSA Foundation to honor graduate students

Work done by graduate students, from assisting in the laboratory to authoring manuscripts, is invaluable to scientific research. For many students, an extensive literature review is part of the thesis or dissertation required to graduate. These reviews offer in-depth summaries of the literature and could be a great benefit to other researchers. Often, though, these reviews are not widely available.

The ADSA Foundation Graduate Student Literature Review Awards will annually recognize the work of four graduate students—two doctoral candidates and two master’s candidates—in two categories, dairy foods and dairy production. Within six months of successful thesis defense, graduate students should submit literature reviews to the Journal of Dairy Science®. These reviews will undergo standard, blinded peer review and be published as Invited Reviews, with page charges waived. All reviews that are accepted via the regular peer review process will be published in the journal, not just the award-winning reviews.

Reviews accepted within the previous two years will be considered for the award. The ADSA Foundation expects to present the first Graduate Student Literature Review Awards in 2019, meaning all literature reviews accepted between January 2017 and January 2019 would be eligible for awards. From the submitted reviews, a panel of judges will select the best and the winners will receive a plaque and a $1,000 cash prize.