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WATERLOO, WI

Livestock lost in Jefferson County barn fire

Thirteen head of cattle are dead following a July 3 barn fire in Jefferson County. According to the Waterloo Fire Department, the fire was discovered at the J&R Bar Ranch north of Waterloo during the early morning hours.

Authorities say the barn was used as a boarding facility at the time of the fire. Fifty horses that were housed in the barn escaped injury.

Firefighters from four counties responded to the fire, which shut down a portion of Highway 89 for over two hours. The fire remains under investigation.

Crews from four counties were brought in to battle the fire. The incident caused authorities to close down Highway 89 for several hours.

MADISON, WI

Regulators propose mandatory CWD tests

The state DNR is recommending that hunters in parts of western Wisconsin be required to have deer they shoot during the gun season this fall inspected for chronic wasting disease.

CWD affects deer's brains, causing them to grow thin, act abnormally and eventually die.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the agency's Chippewa Valley CWD Advisory Team of hunters suggested the testing orders in six townships in Eau Claire, Dunn and Pepin counties.

In 2018, state and federal officials paid Wisconsin deer farmers more than $330,000 in compensation after wiping out herds they feared were CWD-infected.

UNDERHILL, WI

Trailer dumps 5000 gallons of manure

About 5,000 gallons of liquid cattle manure was spilled after the trailer, owned by Zahn’s Farms, Gillett, was being hauled in detached from the semi on a curve on County H and rolled over into a corn field about seven-tenths of a mile north of Morgan Road in the town of Underhill.

The semi-truck, which held about 5,500 gallons, did not rollover and the driver was uninjured. The mishap occurred on 9:50 a.m. on May 24 and was the result of a faulty fifth-wheel receiver.

About 3,000 gallons were recovered that day, with additional cleanup to follow, said Oconto Co. Emergency Government Director Tim Magnin, citing a report his office received from the state.

The site was checked by the County Land Conservation Department and the manure was safely contained and done correctly, according to an accident report.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Minnesota aiming to preserve its dairy farms

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has rolled out a state program that aims to inject cash into the state's struggling dairy industry.

The Minnesota Legislature passed the $8 million Minnesota Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative (DAIRI) this year, in response to crisis in the dairy industry in Minnesota, the seventh-biggest dairy producer in the United States.

The new Minnesota program, designed for small and medium-sized farmers, recently became available. To be eligible, farmers have to produce less than 160,000 hundredweight of milk. That's what about 750 cows can produce, and would cover most of Minnesota's dairy farms.

The state program is designed to work in concert with the federal DMC program. It would pay 10 cents per hundredweight of milk, up to 50,000 hundredweight.

SILOAM SPRINGS, AR

$300M poultry plant nears completion

A new $300 million chicken processing plant in northwest Arkansas is nearing completion and is on track for an opening later this year.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , the new Simmons Foods facility in Siloam Springs will replace a processing plant now in Decatur. The company says the Siloam Springs plant will create 1,500 jobs, and it's expected to reach a capacity of 2,300 jobs in the next three years.

The plant will process chickens supplied by about 300 independent farmers.

PORTLAND, ME

Push for more local food in schools

Maine's Republican senator is joining a group of colleagues to beef up federal resources that are dedicated to getting fresh, local foods into schools.

Sen. Susan Collins says it's a bipartisan effort to make sure students in Maine and elsewhere have access to local foods, and that it will benefit both local farmers and childhood health.

The push would benefit the Farm to School Grant Program, which is administered via the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The senators say their proposal would increase the program's authorized level from $5 million to $15 million. It would also increase the maximum grant award to $250,000.

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