Ag briefs: No CWD found in depopulated elk herd

Wisconsin State Farmer


Tests show no CWD in depopulated elk herd

State agriculture officials say they've found no more signs of chronic wasting disease in a depopulated farm elk herd after the disease showed up in one of the facility's female elk.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection quarantined the Richland County elk farm in May after a two-year-old female tested positive for CWD.
DATCP officials issued a news release on Sept. 4, saying a team of state and federal agriculture staffers killed the farm's remaining 11 elk on Aug. 16.

All 10 adult elk were tested for CWD. None were positive. DATCP spokesman Bill Cosh says the 11th elk was too young to test.

The owner will receive a state indemnity payment after required cleaning and disinfection of the farm is completed. The farm will remain fenced and is not allowed to have any CWD-prone animals for at least five years, according to the news release.


Audit uncovers repeated embezzlement at Iowa soil districts

A former secretary for Iowa soil and water conservation districts allegedly embezzled nearly $300,000 in cash and personal purchases over a 7-year period.

A report released by State Auditor Mary Mosiman says Leslie Carey made hundreds of withdrawals and improper purchases, criticizing the districts for failing to implement safeguards after a similar scandal was uncovered in 2014.

Carey was secretary for the Black Hawk County Soil and Water Conservation District and its counterpart in Bremer County. She was an employee of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship until resigning last December.

The report found Carey withdrew $182,000 in cash from the Black Hawk district and spent $105,000 on debit and credit cards. She used public funds to buy items such as a new television and water heater, airline and concert tickets, groceries and clothing.

Carey improperly transferred $134,000 from Bremer to prop up Black Hawk's budget. A listed number for Carey, who hasn't been charged, rang unanswered.


Pilot on the lam crashes into cornfield

Authorities say they were trying to arrest a Wisconsin man on a domestic abuse-related charge when he fled in an airplane before crashing into a cornfield.

The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office says officers went to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh on Friday night to try to arrest the 47-year-old. The man took off despite instructions from the control tower, nearly hitting an Oshkosh police car before becoming airborne.

The twin-engine plane crashed about two hours later near Waupaca, about 40 miles away. The pilot was hospitalized with serious injuries that weren't life-threatening.


Cranberry growers want to destroy crops to prop up prices

Cranberry farmers have asked the federal government for permission to destroy a quarter of their crop in response to a glut that has kept prices low and growers operating in the red.

The Boston Globe reports that after struggling with an oversupply of the berries for nearly two decades, growers around the country are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for authorization to sell 75 percent of the supply and discard the rest.

If the government approves their request, farmers would hold back roughly 100 million pounds of cranberries.

Jack Angley is owner of Flax Pond Farms in Carver. He says overproduction means "we're not getting much money for our crops."

The USDA estimates the cost to produce a barrel of cranberries is $35, but the average price last year was $31.50.


Ranchers continue search for lost cows as wildfire grows

Utah ranchers are searching for hundreds of unaccounted for cattle as a region continues to deal with a growing wildfire.

The Daily Herald reports lightning sparked a wildfire Aug. 4 in Utah County, leading to 468 missing cattle.

Andy Neves and the rest of the Lake Fork Cattleman's Association say they were able to gather about 350 cattle initially within the first nine days of the blaze. Neves says about 100 cattle are still missing.

Besides the flames, the hay the cattle have been fed while corralled has been in short supply and very costly. Neves says hay production in some places has been cut down by half or more.

With cows corralled sooner than expected, ranchers are now cutting into the hay reserves they had set aside for the winter season.


Most of escaped bison herd back at northern Indiana farm

An owner of a bison herd that escaped from a northeastern Indiana farm says nearly all of the animals have been recovered after several days on the run.

Steuben County officials warned residents to avoid approaching any of the 58 bison that escaped from Sunday from a fenced-in area at a farm near the rural community of Pleasant Lake about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne.

Co-owner Mary Ann Shaefer tells WANE-TV that about 50 of the animals were back after around 30 walked into their pasture early Thursday, Aug. 30.

Farm owner Cathy Sanders says the bison have been in mating season and she suspected the bulls broke down a fence while fighting.

No injuries to people have been reported from the bison escape.