Ag briefs: Farmers post record crops

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Pickup crashes into tractor, 57-year-old Clark County woman dies

A 57-year-old woman died Jan. 10 after her truck crashed into a tractor in Clark County.

Marilyn Ruppelt of nearby Willard was driving east on Clark County GG in the town of Hendren around 6 p.m. when her pickup truck rear-ended the tractor, according to the county sheriff's office. The tractor was being driven by William Kokaly, 70, also of Willard.

Ruppelt, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene, according to the sheriff's office. Kokaly was transported to the Neillsville Memorial Medical Center for non-life- threatening injuries.

The sheriff's office said speed and weather conditions appear to have contributed to the crash. The investigation is ongoing.


DOJ picks new environmental protection director

Attorney General Brad Schimel has picked a new director for the state Department of Justice's Environmental Protection Unit.

Schimel chose Assistant Attorney General Anna J. Wildeman to head the unit. Before she joined the DOJ in 2016 she served as an environmental attorney for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

She replaces David P. Ross, whom President Donald Trump appointed as assistant administrator in the U.S. EPA's Office of Water.

Democratic legislators have criticized Schimel for not levying more fines against polluters. DOJ fines against polluters dropped to their lowest point in 2015 since at least 1994. Schimel has countered that he has leveraged concessions from polluters that will make the state cleaner.


Vos: Wetlands bill should pass but could look different

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says a bill that would allow developers to fill state wetlands without a permit should pass the chamber but the proposal could look different than what lawmakers have presented so far.

Vos said that the bill's chief sponsor, Majority Leader Jim Steineke, is working on changes to assuage concerns raised at a public hearing last month.

Ducks Unlimited has complained that the bill would lead to the destruction of wetland habitat mallards need to survive and reproduce. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress and Trout Unlimited also complained about habitat loss and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has warned that delineating between state and federal wetlands would slow down the regulatory process.


Holte re-elected to AFBF board

Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Annual Convention elected members to serve as board and committee leaders for the organization.

Holte, who has served as the president of Wisconsin's Farm Bureau Federation since 2012,  was among 12 state Farm Bureau presidents re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board.

Holte raises beef cattle on his Elk Mound farm in northwest Wisconsin.


Farmers post record crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers have harvested record crops for soybeans, peanuts, canola, rapeseed and hops.

The agency released its annual crop production report Friday summarizing the 2017 crop year. It shows that peanut production jumped 30 percent to 7.2 billion pounds. Production of hops, a main ingredient in beer, grew 20 percent as Idaho's production surpassed Oregon's for the first time. Washington remained the leader, producing 75 percent of the nation's crop.

Soybean production was at 4.39 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the previous year as farmers planted a record 90.1 million acres.

Canola production was up 1 percent. Rapeseed, used to make cooking oil, rose 7 percent. Corn production fell 4 percent to 14.6 billion bushels on fewer planted acres. Wheat production was down 25 percent.


Industrial hemp backers narrow proposal for KS research

Advocates of industrial hemp production in Kansas are pursuing a new legislative proposal for allowing state universities to research it.

The new bill is narrower than a measure opposed by law enforcement officials last year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee had a hearing this week.

The new measure would allow state universities to research industrial hemp but prohibit its cultivation outside state-sanctioned test plots.

The House approved a bill last year to allow research and commercial cultivation with industrial hemp growers licensed by the state Department of Agriculture. The measure stalled in the Senate because of law enforcement opposition.


Arkansas environmental agency denies hog farm's permit

The state Department of Environmental Quality denied a northern Arkansas hog farm's request for a new operating permit in the Buffalo National River's watershed.

The department cited a lack of critical information provided in C&H Hog Farms' permit application in their Jan. 10 announcement, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

C&H Hog Farms applied almost two years ago for a new permit on liquid animal waste systems for the farm near Mount Judea. The farm has been operating on an indefinite extension of its expired permit.

The farm's attorney, Bill Waddell, who plans to appeal the decision, called the permit denial "incomprehensible."

Farm officials said they sought to increase the number of on-site hogs but didn't anticipate a difference in the amount of waste produced.


CRI Collegiate Scholarship Deadline is March 31

Cooperative Resources International (CRI) is accepting applications for its 2018 collegiate scholarship. A minimum of six scholarships valued at $750 each will be awarded to youth pursuing undergraduate degrees in agricultural fields.

The collegiate scholarship is available to undergraduate students attending a four-year college/university or two-year technical college this fall. In addition to pursuing a degree in an agricultural field, applicants must be affiliated with a member of one of CRI’s cooperative businesses - GENEX or AgSource - by having an active role on the member’s dairy or ranch.

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2018. 

Visit for more information and to access the application.