Ag briefs: Pilot dies after plane crashes in cornfield

Wisconsin State Farmer


Pilot dies in gyroplane crash near airport in Wisconsin

Authorities in southwestern Wisconsin say the pilot of a gyroplane died when the aircraft crashed into a field near an airport in southwestern Wisconsin.

The Vernon County Sheriff's Office says dispatchers received a 911 call about the crash around 6:30 p.m. Monday at Viroqua Muncipal Airport. Emergency crews quickly located the downed aircraft in the Town of Jefferson.

Firefighters put out a small fire. The pilot was the only person aboard the plane.

Witnesses told police they could see the aircraft leaving the airport, heard the engine stop and saw the gyro descend.

Police say the single rotor detached from the aircraft upon impact, and the body of the gyro continued another 40 feet before coming to rest in a cornfield.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the pilot's name was not released. Federal authorities are investigating.


Ohio State to aid farmers needing emotional, financial help

Ohio State University is creating a new way to help farmers dealing with the stress and strain of keeping their farms running.

t's called the Rural and Farm Stress Task Force.

The university says the task force will help connect farmers with specialists who can help them learn more about keeping their businesses afloat or find jobs off the farm. Specialists also will be able to help farmers find mental health providers.

Ohio State University Extension says farmers are facing more challenges with slumping grain prices, tariffs and an extremely challenging weather year.

One of the leaders of the task force says that farmers are always dealing with challenges and that sometimes their perseverance brings with it a resistance to seek help.


Anthrax confirmed in cattle herd in western N.D.

North Dakota agriculture officials say anthrax has been confirmed in a group of cows in a pasture in eastern Billings County.

The case was confirmed Friday. It is North Dakota’s first reported case of anthrax this year.

North Dakota state veterinarian Susan Keller says producers in Billings County and surrounding areas should check with their veterinarians to see if they should start vaccinating their cattle for anthrax.

Anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week to establish immunity, and the vaccine must be administered annually.

Anthrax is caused by bacterial spores that can lie dormant in the ground until they are activated by heavy rains, flooding or drought. Scattered heavy rains may have triggered the recent case.

No anthrax cases were reported in North Dakota last year.


USDA: South Dakota leads nation in unplanted acres

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says South Dakota farmers were unable to plant more than 3.8 million acres this year, the highest number in the nation.

KSFY-TV reports the tally includes 2.8 million unplanted corn acres and nearly 851,000 acres for soybeans.

The USDA says total number of unplanted acres nationwide was more than 19 million acres, and the is the highest since the agency began reporting those figures in 2007

Many states across the Midwest were hit hard by flooding this spring, leading to fields being too wet for farmers to plant.


Arkansas farmers didn't plant on 1.3 million acres this year

This spring's heavy rainfall and flooding left 1.3 million acres (0.526 million hectares) of land unplanted in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Lawrence County farmers saw nearly 74,000 idled acres (29,947 million idled hectares).

Jerry Morgan is one of the county's farmers who says his farm had more than 500 acres (202 million hectares) of corn, rice and soybeans that he couldn't plant this year. He says prevented planting insurance helps pay the bills, but it doesn't bring a farmer to a break-even point.

Morgan says this year has been "the hardest" both mentally and physically.

Arkansas is the nation's top rice producer. It reported 510,000 acres (206,394 million hectares) of prevented planting of the grain this year. The newspaper reports that rice not planted amounts to about $420 million in lost sales.


Kibosh on ice cream made from raw milk

The state of New Hampshire has put the kibosh a farm stand’s ice cream made from raw milk.

Jill Fudala said her ice cream made from goat milk and sold in cherry walnut, black raspberry and other flavors was a hit — until the state stepped in.

The Boston Globe reports that customers could pay on the honor system at her farm stand. That was before the state Department of Health and Human Services threatened to fine Fudala unless she stopped selling the ice cream. The department contends processed dairy products must be made with pasteurized milk.

State Rep. James Allard said he hopes to help Fudala return to her ice cream production. He’s exploring whether to submit a bill “to update the language” of the state law.


Missoula County considering inmate farm at jail

Missoula County is seeking a $200,000 grant to start a farm that would be staffed by jail inmates.

County Commissioner Josh Slotnick is the co-founder of Garden City Harvest, which rents some garden plots, allows people to buy shares of the produce grown in some areas and supports school gardens. He says inmates working in the garden, alongside community volunteers, could build job skills and confidence that could prevent them from returning to jail.

Kristen Jordan, director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, says similar community farming programs in California, Minnesota and Connecticut have shown success in reducing recidivism.

The Missoulian reports the county is seeking the three-year grant from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation.