Ag briefs: USDA expected to resume reports

Wisconsin State Farmer


Resources for struggling farmers

Tough economic times in the farm have left many producers in need of services. Here is a list of farming/agriculture-focused resources that are there to help.

Wisconsin Farm Center: (800-942-2474, Mon. - Fri. 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Provides information and support to farmers and their families. Staff are trained in basic mental health assessment, and offer counseling vouchers that can be used throughout the state. For more info visit:

Harvest of Hope Fund: (608-836-4633 Ieave a message). Provides financial assistance to Wisconsin farm families to meet a variety of emergency needs, including food, medical or veterinary expenses, machinery repair, spring planting supplies, and more. For more information or to download forms go to

Farm Aid Hotline: (800-327-6243, Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Through the hotline and email service, a Farm Advocate will provide a listening ear to those who are struggling or in crisis, and make referrals to family farm and rural support organizations across the country. For more information go to


Farmer to Farm Forage & Corn List available online

The Farmer to Farmer Hay, Forage and Corn List puts Wisconsin farmers in touch with one another for the purpose of buying and/or selling corn silage, high moisture corn, haylage, straw and other forages

Search one county or several at the same time. UW Extension assumes no responsibility in the transaction of buying or selling the items listed on the website. All transactions and negotiations are handled directly between buyers and sellers. To visit the website go to


USDA expected to resume reports

The USDA is expected to release backlogged reports that have been withheld due to the government shutdown.

USDA Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said the agency will get back to running full speed. That also includes major commodity market reports that help farmers plan for next spring’s crop planting season.

Chief Economist Robert Johansson said there will be one exception — the globe-spanning WASDE Report that serves as a monthly crop report for the world.

A planned Feb. 8 lockup for analysis should result in the release of the February World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE), January crop production reports as well as the annual crop production report, said USDA Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson .


WFU names Barrett a Friend of the Family Farmer

Wisconsin Farmers Union recognized Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Rick Barrett with the Friend of the Family Farmer award Jan. 26 at the 88th annual WFU State Convention in Appleton. First given in 2013, the Friend of the Family Farmer award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond in efforts on behalf of family farmers and rural communities.

Barrett has been a business reporter with the MJS for more than 18 years, and before that was the agricultural reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. In recent years he has returned to his rural roots, covering Wisconsin agriculture. 


Long idle Tyson plant reopening

An idle meat-processing plant that closed in 2014 in northwest Iowa will reopen this week with new owners.

The Sioux City Journal reports that Iowa Food Group has hired about 35 people initially to work at the plant in Cherokee, Iowa, and plans to increase the staff to about 100 this year.

The company plans to process beef, chicken, pork and lamb slaughtered elsewhere and package it for retail. Arkansas-based Tyson Foods closed the plant in September 2014, taking 450 jobs with it.

Iowa Food Group investor Mack Zimmerman said Tyson will be one of the companies that will send meat to the plant for processing, so the meat giant will maintain a connection to the facility. County records show Iowa Food Group paid $2.35 million for the Cherokee plant.