Wisconsin Briefs - Cows perish in FDL Co. barn fire

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


10 cows die in barn fire

Multiple fire departments were called out early March 17 to battle a blaze that destroyed a barn and pole shed in Fond du Lac County. Approximately ten dairy cows perished in the fire, and several more were injured.

The fire broke out around 3:30 a.m. at W9135 Lincoln Road, Rickland Farms, Inc. The farm is owned by Don and Lila Rickert, Gregory and Laura Rickert, Jim and Kelly Rickert, Andrew and Shannon Rickert and Andy and Jenna DeVries. Owners were home at the time of the fire and were alerted by a passerby.

A neighbor attempted to help get cows out of the barn and some were reported running loose, according to the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Log.

The 18,000-square-foot barn and attached pole shed were located close to a house, but the wind was blowing in the opposite direction, the log stated. When firefighters arrived the barn was already engulfed in flames.

The Sheriff's Office said the fire remained active for several hours due to the size of the barn and the amount of hay inside of it. The owner estimates the loss at $250,000.

Fire and law enforcement officials were unable to determine the exact cause of the fire, however it is not considered suspicious.


Walker, Trump at odds over defunding of Great Lakes program

President Donald Trump and his close Republican ally Gov. Scott Walker are at odds over Trump's budget proposal calling for elimination of federal funding to help preserve the Great Lakes.

Walker joined with other Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats in opposing Trump's call for eliminating federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that addresses the lakes' most pressing environmental threats.

Walker told The Associated Press that he would work with House and Senate leaders and talk with the Trump administration about restoring the funding. A bipartisan group of 47 members of Congress, including everyone from Wisconsin except House Speaker Paul Ryan, sent Trump a letter last month urging him to protect the $300 million-a-year program.

The program Trump wants to kill has pumped more than $2.2 billion into the eight-state region for projects that have removed toxic waste from industrial harbors, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms. Congress voted last year to authorize the program for five more years.


Wolf-dog hybrids, horses seized

A northern Wisconsin woman is expected to face charges after 30 wolf-dog hybrids and 14 horses were seized from the Crandon area.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says authorities had received complaints about the owner breeding wolf-dog hybrids — the result of breeding a wolf with a domestic dog. Residents also complained about the animals frequently escaping, posing a public safety risk.

Members of an ASPCA team found the wolf-dog hybrids living in deplorable conditions, many kept on chains without access to proper food or water and suffering from various untreated medical conditions. Some were found running loose on the property. Responders also found horses apparently suffering from malnutrition.


Ban on Irish butter sparks lawsuit

Wisconsin resident Jean Smith snatches up entire stocks of her beloved Kerrygold Irish butter from stores when visiting family in Nebraska, thanks to an antiquated law in her dairy-obsessed state that bans it and any other butter that hasn't been graded for quality.

Tired of trekking across state lines to stock up, she and a handful of other Wisconsin butter aficionados filed a lawsuit this week challenging the law, saying local consumers and businesses "are more than capable of determining whether butter is sufficiently creamy, properly salted, or too crumbly.

On the books since 1953, the law is strict: It requires butters to be rated on various measures — including flavor, body and color — by the federal government or people licensed as butter and cheese graders with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Anybody convicted of selling unlabeled or ungraded butter is subject to a fine between $100 and $1,000 and six months in jail. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation with such a stringent butter provision, which the lawsuit argues amounts to an unconstitutional "government-mandated 'taste test."


Seminar offers food export education

Whether novice or experienced, food exporting professionals can learn more about food exporting at an upcoming seminar co-organized by the Food Export Association of the Midwest and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The seminar, “Foundations of Food Exporting,” will be held Thursday, April 20at the DJ Bordini Center, Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, and will be led by Dennis Lynch, a Food Export Helpline counselor. Cost is $50 per person and the registration deadline is April 18, 2017. Pre-registration is required.

Topics to be covered include: free trade agreements, freight forwarding, quoting and pricing products and more. The seminar will also include a panel discussion with companies discussing challenges and successes in exporting.

For more information, contact Lisa Stout at (608) 224-5126