Ag briefs: Collapsing barns in Minnesota threaten economy

Wisconsin State Farmer


Collapsing dairy barns threaten Minnesota economy

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says dairy barns collapsing due to heavy snowfall are threatening the state's economy.

Walz and Sen. Tina Smith met with dairy farmers near Altura in southeastern Minnesota on Saturday. Dozens of barn roofs have collapsed in Minnesota because of heavy snow, with farms in the southeastern part of the state especially hard hit.

Walz calls dairy farms "the bedrock of the economy and their communities."

Smith says the damage to barns and herds is following low prices for dairy products. She calls it "a double whammy."

The Post Bulletin report s a bill in the Legislature would help get loans and insurance payments to affected farmers as soon as possible.

But farmer Rob Kreidermacher says he's not sure how much money his family can afford to borrow.


Farmer barred from owning livestock after he leaves prison

A southeast Nebraska farmer who was imprisoned for neglecting his animals in 2011 is headed back to prison and won't be allowed to own any livestock after he gets out.

Otoe County District Court records say 67-year-old John Maahs, of Unadilla, was sentenced Wednesday to two years. Judge Julie Smith also barred him from possessing livestock for 75 years. He'd pleaded no contest to five counts of abandonment or cruel neglect of livestock.

Authorities tipped off last April found the carcasses of more than 40 pigs and 15 goats on the farm, with live hogs feeding on dead hogs. Animals were locked inside buildings without food or water, although deputies found plenty of feed in sacks on the farm.

Maahs pleaded no contest in 2012 to the same charge and served more than a year in prison. In September 2011 deputies found about 1,000 hog carcasses on the property.


Wauzeka hog farmer named NPPC president-elect

Howard AV Roth of Wauzeka, WI, was elevated to president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council at the organization's annual meeting – the National Pork Industry Forum – held March 7-8 in Orlando, Fla.

Roth will serve with David Herring of Lillington, N.C., who took over as NPPC president, and with Jen Sorenson, with Iowa Select Farms, who was elected NPPC vice president.

As the owner of Roth Feeder Pig, Inc., Roth, a fifth-generation farmer, manages a 3,000 head farrow-to-wean operation and grows more than 800 acres of corn and soybeans. 

Roth previously served as president of the Wisconsin Pork Producers Association and currently serves as chairman of the organization's Swine Health Committee. For the past seven years, Roth has served on the NPPC board of directors.

The agricultural business major attended the University of Wisconsin – Platteville from 1994-1998. A member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Roth formerly chaired the Wauzeka Township Smart Growth Committee.


US Agriculture Secretary Perdue to kick off maple season

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will be helping to kick off Vermont's maple season alongside by tapping a tree alongside Gov. Phil Scott.

Perdue and Scott, a Republican, will each tap a maple tree Friday in Milton as part of the official kickoff of the season and to highlight the importance of maple to Vermont's economy.

The maple season starts in late winter when the nights are cold and the days warm. Depending on the weather it can last into April.

Vermont is by far the largest maple syrup producing state in the country, providing about half of all syrup produced in the United States.

Last year Vermont produced just under 2 million gallons of syrup, down 2 percent from 2017.


Organic Farmers Association announces newly elected governing council

The Organic Farmers Association is a national membership body of American organic farmers. Members of the Organic Farming Association are represented by a Governing Council, Advisory Committee, and Policy Committee.

Recently, new representatives were elected to the Governing Council and Policy Committee for 2019. These representatives will serve 2-year terms, up to 3 consecutive terms (no more than 6 consecutive years). Newly elected members begin their terms at the annual meeting on March 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

North Central Region Farmer Representatives are Mike Kelly (newly elected), High Meadow Farm, Johnson Creek, WI and Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm, Spring Valley, WI.