Ag Briefs: Drunken bragging leads Texas police to cattle thieves

Wisconsin State Farmer


Drunken admission leads to jail time for cattle thieves

While knocking back a few drinks, Ayden Milam told bragged how he had stolen some cattle and sold them in a Wichita Falls auction barn. Unfortunately for Milam, spilled the beans to the neighbor of the rancher whose cattle had been stolen.

Thanks to the drunken admission, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) was able to track down three people connected to the theft of six cattle in Clay County. The initial theft happened on Aug. 8, 2017.

According to NewsTalk 1290, TSCRA special agent John Bradshaw says Brandt Dale Beasley, 38, and Shannon Boles, 51, were seen selling the cattle in Wichita Falls. Milam was also in the pickup but witnesses at the sale barn did not see him.

Beasley allegedly cashed the check for $6,420.21 and kept all of the proceeds. 


House Lawmakers Eye Late June for Second Attempt at Farm Bill

With the House’s failure to pass the farm bill last week, a second vote on the legislation will likely be pushed to late June. Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is said to be targeting early June for his panel to start work on its version of the measure.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said farmers across the country were quick to share their confusion and outrage over House lawmakers’ rejection of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2).

“They are facing very real financial challenges. We call on all members of Congress not to use farmers and ranchers as pawns in a political game. The risk management tools of the farm bill are too important, particularly at a time of depressed farm prices. We urge the House to pass H.R. 2 as soon as possible,” Duvall said in a statement.


Illinois governor gets bill legalizing industrial hemp

The Illinois House has sent the governor a measure legalizing industrial hemp.
The House voted 106-3 Wednesday to allow hemp cultivation for commercial use.

Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant distinct from marijuana. It does not produce any high-like effects and is often used in clothing or food.

Hemp was banned nationwide in 1937 for its relation to the marijuana plant. Former President Barack Obama opened the door for states to legalize industrial hemp in 2015. That removed opposition from Illinois Republicans who had blocked previous attempts to legalize the plant in the state.

Rebecca Osland is a lawyer with the pro-farming Illinois Stewardship Alliance. She says the move can add hundreds of new jobs and up to $100 million in state revenue.

The bill is SB2298.


Dairy farmers in Kentucky struggle with shifting market

Nearly 20 farmers in Kentucky have been told that their milk procurement contracts with Dean Foods are expiring this summer.

The Courier Journal reported Wednesday that more than 100 farmers across several states have received certified letters from Dean Foods that their contracts will be terminated May 31. Dean Foods extended that deadline this week until the end of June.

The newspaper reports the contracts are being terminated because Walmart will no longer buy Dean's milk for its Great Value brand. That loss will cut the production at the company's Louisville plant, which will shut down. Walmart has opened its own production plant in Indiana.

Dairy farmers were already struggling with exports leveling off from a post-recession surge and alternatives like almond milk gaining ground.


Vermont governor, senators urge dairy farmers to see price help

Vermont's top politicians are urging the state's dairy farmers to take advantage of programs designed to help them when milk prices are low.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders are going to be at the Statehouse in Montpelier Tuesday where they will discuss updates to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Milk Margin Protection Program and new state support for dairy farmers.

Farmers have until June 1 to sign up for the margin protection program that can help farmers when feed costs exceed what they are paid for the milk they produce.

The call comes at a time when continued low milk prices are challenging dairy farmers and forcing many out of business.