Ag Briefs: Washington Co. farm shed destroyed in fire

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Washington Co. farm shed destroyed in fire

A farm shed and its contents were destroyed in a fire in the town of Kewaskum Sunday evening.

According to a news release, a Washington County sheriff's deputy was traveling in the area of Kettle View Drive and Badger Road around 9 p.m. when he noticed smoke. Stopping at a residence at 8648 Kettle View Dr., he discovered an implement shed fully engulfed.

Fire departments from Kewaskum, West Bend, Boltonville, Kohlsville, Campbellsport, Theresa, Fillmore, Allenton and Jackson all assisted at the scene. No injuries were reported.

The property loss if valued at over $100,000. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 


Trump accuses China of foot-dragging on farm purchases

President Donald Trump is accusing China of "letting us down" by not promptly buying more U.S. farm products.

After meeting with President Xi Jinping late last month, Trump said China had agreed to buy more U.S. agricultural products as part of a cease-fire in the two countries' trade war. The truce suspended U.S. plans to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods — action that would have extended the taxes to everything China ships to America.

According to the AP, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said "Our side expects China very soon to start purchasing American agriculture commodities, crops, goods and services."


Lawmakers want grain rules addressed

Republican senators along the northern U.S. border are asking officials to address grain in the trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

The Billings Gazette reported that lawmakers from Minn., Mont. and N.D. sent a letter to the chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. trade representative, calling for an agreement that creates a more level playing field for wheat producers.

Canada controls the value of its wheat by limiting the number of varieties it accepts.

Montana farmers do not grow varieties on Canada's list, so wheat from the state has not moved freely across the border.


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.


Cotton farmers affected by new virus

Alabama cotton farmers will face threats to their crops this year in the form of a new virus with no known cure.

WSFA-TV reports cotton leafroll dwarf virus is a new strain of cotton blue disease.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System says the virus is transmitted by aphids and diminishes blooms and bolls in the upper canopy, resulting in lower yields, mainly in late-planted cotton.

The new strain was discovered in Alabama in 2017 but has been observed in Brazil in 2006. It has since been confirmed in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. Officials say it will likely take years to develop new resistant cotton cultivars.


Judge slashes $80M award in Monsanto case

A U.S. judge lowered a jury's damage award from $80 million to $25 million for a California cancer victim who used Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said he was required to reduce the punitive damage award because it went beyond constitutional limits set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In March, a jury found that glyphosate was a likely cause of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman's diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Jurors awarded him $200,000 for economic losses, $3M for past pain and suffering, another $2M for emotional distress in his future years, and $75M in punitive damages. Hardeman's cancer is in remission.

Chhabria refused Friday to overturn the jury's verdict that Monsanto's product was a likely cause of Hardeman's cancer.


Livestock owners warned over spreading virus

Wyoming is warning livestock owners in the state to be on the lookout for an animal virus spreading in other states.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the Vesicular Stomatitis Indiana serotype has recently been found in horses in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

Officials say VSV can affect equine species, cattle, swine, sheep, and goats and that the virus is spread by flies and midges, as well as direct contact with infected livestock.

The virus can also spread indirectly through contact with contaminated equipment and tack.