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BELOIT, WI

Brown Swiss Association looking for 2020 queen

The Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association is now accepting applications for the 2020 WI Brown Swiss Queen. 

The queen represents the association and promotes the Brown Swiss Breed at the state level. The queen is expected to educate the dairy industry and public on the advantages of the Swiss breed and products produced. 

The application can be found online www.wibrownswiss.com/juniors  Applications are due Feb. 25 to Kara Kasten-Olson.

Please contact Kara with further questions, karakastenolson@gmail.com or 608-445-2010.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Baldwin invites farmer to State of Union Address

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin invited grain and dairy farmer Les Danielson from Cadott, Wis., to join her for President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

According to Baldwin, Danielson has been farming for 30 years in northwest Wisconsin and is a member of the Wisconsin Farmer’s Union. She noted that the Cadott farmer is concerned about the future of agriculture for his children and family farmers as trade wars and tariffs have produced tough times for Wisconsin farmers.

“Farmers in Wisconsin are facing some really tough market conditions and President Trump’s trade wars have only made things worse. During his address on Tuesday, I hope he will move past empty promises and outline a clear plan to get the job done for farmers like me.”

ST. MARTIN, MN

Man dies after fall into grain bin at Stearns County farm 

A man has died after falling into a grain bin at a farm in Stearns County, according to sheriff's officials. 

Dispatchers received a call Tuesday morning, Jan. 28, about a missing man who may have fallen into the grain bin in St. Martin Township. 

Firefighters recovered the victim in the bin which was nearly full of corn. He's identified as 35-year-old Brandon Schaefer, of Albany. 

An investigation found Schaefer was trying to loosen up frozen corn in the bin, fell in and was buried. 

He was transported to the Paynesville Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

MADISON, WI

Milk prices dip from last month, higher than one year ago

The Wisconsin all milk price for December 2019 was $21.30 per hundredweight (cwt) according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This was $1.10 lower than last month’s price but $5.10 higher than last December’s price. 

The U.S. all milk price for December was $20.70 per cwt, 60 cents lower than Wisconsin’s price and 30 cents lower than last month’s U.S. price. Nine of the 24 major milk producing states had a higher price when compared with November, 14 had a lower price, and one state, New York, was unchanged. Idaho and South Dakota had the largest price decreases, both down $1.40 per cwt. from last month.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange* (CME) 40‐pound block cheese price closed at $1.9200 per pound on January 31, while barrels were $1.5000 per pound.  The CME butter price was $1.900 per pound.

For the week ending January 25, 2020, the Agricultural Marketing Service* U.S. weekly 40‐pound block cheese price averaged $1.8995 per pound, and 500 pound barrels adjusted to 38 percent moisture averaged $1.6484 per pound.  The U.S. butter price was $1.9009 per pound.

LABELLE, FL

Rancher guilty of letting cows starve

A Florida rancher has been convicted of letting cows starve to death over several months.

A Hendry County jury found Robert David Starkweather, 52, guilty Friday of 12 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, according to court records. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26.

The Hendry County Sheriff's Office agricultural crimes unit responded to a LaBelle pasture owned by Starkweather in March 2018 following reports of a downed cow, prosecutors said. Deputies reported finding 13 dead cows and 131 emaciated cows and calves. The animals were taken from the property.

Starkweather failed to provide adequate food, water, and medication to the animals, prosecutors said during the trial.

GILLETTE, WY

Wyoming cattle owner disputes animal cruelty allegations

A trucking company owner and cattle raiser has testified against allegations of animal neglect that he and his son face in Wyoming.

David Love and his son are each charged with 27 counts of animal cruelty after authorities found a pile of dead animals on the property, The Gillette News Record reported. 

David Love took the stand Wednesday and said he allows his cattle and horses to die of old age at the end of their rodeo careers out of love instead of taking them to a killing plant.

Love was working a job in Oklahoma when the animals were seized, but has no concerns leaving them with his son, who handles daily operations in Campbell County, he said.

Veterinarian Kyle Innes was called in to look at the animals and give body condition ratings in June and was "very certain" in his assessment that the animals weren't getting adequate care, authorities said.

SIOUX CITY, IA

2 plead not guilty to charges stemming from grain scheme

Two former officers at a northwest Iowa agriculture cooperative have pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges.

The Sioux City Journal reported that Kenneth Ehrp and Calvin Diehl entered the pleas Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. The charges: conspiracy to defraud the United States, and making false statements.

Prosecutors said the two directed Farmers Cooperative Society workers in Sioux Center from 2011 to 2017 to layer higher-value soybeans over oats in grain bins and in trucks and then concealed the scheme from customers and USDA inspectors. The scheme led to the overvaluing of the co-ops grain inventory in order to influence a lender's action on a loan, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Grain Standards Act bars blending different grains unless the blend is designated as "mixed grain" or an exemption is granted by federal regulators. 

FULKS RUN, VA

34K chickens die in farm fires in North Carolina, Virginia

Investigators believe up to 34,000 chickens were killed during two separate poultry farm fires in North Carolina and Virginia within a day of each other.

A fire in Virginia killed an estimated 24,000 chickens at about 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 31, Joe Mullins with Rockingham County Fire and Rescue told WHSV-TV. Firefighters contained the blaze, which appeared to have started in a barn at the Fulks Run farm, but chose to let it burn because of the age of the structure, fire officials said.

Approximately 10,000 chickens were killed in a blaze at a poultry house in North Carolina just one day prior, Chief M. Dale Couch of the Forbush Volunteer Fire Department told McClatchy News. Crews responded to the Yadkinville farm, about 25 miles west of Winston-Salem, on Thursday afternoon and discovered the fire spreading near the feed silos, Couch said. The ventilation system was activated and caused the fire to move rapidly through the structure, he added.

The operation is managed by Mountaire Farm, a Delaware-based chicken producer with 28 locations in North Carolina, according to Couch.

The two fires didn't appear to be related and no workers were injured in either. The cities are about 260 miles apart.

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