Ag briefs:Legal fees awarded in ag gag lawsuit case
Officials designate high risk areas for bovine TB
Officials have designated parts of Iosco and Ogemaw counties in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula as a potential high-risk area for bovine tuberculosis.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Monday that it recently made the designation after a free-ranging white-tailed deer in Alcona County tested positive for bovine TB , which is a bacterial disease.
Anytime a positive deer is identified, cattle and bison herds located within a 15-mile radius of the deer must be tested for bovine TB within six months.
DES MOINES, IA
Legal fees awarded in ag gag lawsuit case
A federal judge has awarded more than $181,000 in legal fees to seven lawyers who successfully fought a 2012 Iowa law that made it illegal to get a job at a livestock farm to conduct an animal cruelty undercover investigation.
Animal rights and civil rights organizations, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement, sued Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and others over the so-called ag gag law.
In January, U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner concluded the law violated the constitutional right to free speech. The state has appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last week, Gritzner approved animal rights groups' attorney fees, which the state must pay. Additional costs are mounting for the appeal.
Alabama authorities seek killer of two cows
A cow killer could be on the loose in Limestone County.
Wendell Powers says he's been raising livestock for 15 years and he just lost two of his beloved cows.
WAAY-TV reports the Powers believes someone intentionally shot and killed the animals and he's looking for some answers.
Powers says the cows were valuable. One was registered a "Beef Master" cow, worth about $2,500; the other had a calf and could likely have been sold as a pair for about $1,400.
Powers said Friday that he filed a report with the sheriff's office and they're looking into the incident. He says he's just worried that whoever killed the cows won't stop there.
He's offering a $500 reward for any information that could lead to an arrest.
NEW YORK, NY
Ground beef likely cause of 6-state food poisoning outbreak
Health officials say ground beef is the likely source of a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in six states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said no specific brand or source of the meat has been determined yet.
The CDC says people can continue to eat ground beef. The meat should be cooked thoroughly to 160 degrees to kill germs.
The outbreak started in early March. So far, 109 people have been infected with E. coli O103, an unusual strain of the bacteria. They reported eating ground beef at home and at restaurants. Seventeen people have been hospitalized. No one has died.
Half of the cases are in Kentucky. The others are Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.
Solar projects to quadruple WI capacity
Regulators have approved two solar farms that they say will more than quadruple Wisconsin's solar capacity. The Public Service Commission approved the projects 2-0 on April11.
One farm near Two Rivers will have a 150-megawatt capacity. The other will be located in Iowa County and will have a 300 megawatt-capacity. PSC officials say together the projects will produce enough energy to power 120,000 homes for a year.
According to the Citizens Utility Board, Madison Gas and Electric and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation plan to play a combined $390 million for a portion of the facilities' power.
MG&E officials estimate ratepayers will see a 1 percent increase but will realize future savings since the plants don't need fuel. WPS spokesman Matt Cullen said he didn't have any specifics on rate increases.