Ag Briefs: Motions filed in Diemel brothers' murder case

Wisconsin State Farmer


Man charged in Diemel brothers killing files motion

Associated Press is reporting that the Missouri man charged with killing two brothers from Wisconsin is asking for a new judge and a change of venue before his trial.

An attorney for Garland Joseph Nelson, of Braymer, entered the motions during a court hearing Monday in Callaway County. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and several other counts in the deaths of Nick Diemel, 35, and Justin Diemel, 34, of Shawano County, Wisconsin.

The brothers’ father told authorities his sons went to Nelson’s northwestern Missouri farm to collect a $250,000 debt. They were reported missing July 21. Their remains were found in Missouri and Nebraska.


No decision yet on 2020 WI State Fair

In a burst of tweets and emails Monday, Wisconsin State Fair officials said they are considering their options about moving forward with this year’s event, but no decision has been made.

State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 6-16 and annually draws up to a million attendees.

According to an email, officials said 'there are many factors to be considered. Several large industries, including agriculture, entertainment, concessions and ride operations, as well as hundreds of small businesses and thousands of part-time employees, are paramount to putting on a successful Fair'.

"We are analyzing all facets of the Fair, while continuing to closely monitor data from local, state and federal health officials, and assess how this will affect each one," the email said.


High-capacity well permitting opinion withdrawn

Wisconsin's attorney general is reversing one of his predecessor's stances on the permit process for high-capacity wells. Last week, Josh Kaul informed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that he is withdrawing a 2016 opinion by then-AG Brad Schimel, who concluded that the DNR does not have the legal right to regulate such wells based on how they could potentially effect nearby bodies of water, according to Wisconsin Ag Connection.

In a letter to DNR Secretary Preston Cole, Kaul explained that two court orders have undermined the legal analysis of that 2016 opinion, so therefore it is no longer valid.

The issue was brought to light after the DNR placed a condition on Kinnard Farms' permit that required on-going groundwater monitoring to make sure the Kewaunee County operation's large withdrawals of water didn't effect local water tables. The farm's owners felt the added conditions went beyond the DNR's authority, so they appealed. That prompted a different ruling by the DOJ, which stated that such actions would violate Wisconsin law.

The matter has since went through various court hearings and was even referred to the state Supreme Court in 2019.


2020 NTPA - Budweiser Dairyland Super National Truck & Tractor Pull canceled

The Monroe County Ag Society, promoters of the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin, have announced the cancellation of the event's 2020 edition. The event, originally scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, June 25-27, will not be rescheduled within this calendar year.

Per the event's multiyear sanctioning agreement with the NTPA, dates for the 2021 edition are Thursday through Saturday, June 24-26.

The decision to cancel was made in light of the extension through May 26 of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' Safer at Home Emergency Order, which was originally enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other restrictions, the order requires the closure of "places of public amusement and activity" and the elimination of “non-essential” travel within the state. It is expected that, even after this order expires, social distancing requirements will delay the reopening of large public spaces for social gatherings through most or all of the month of June.


WI provides food benefits for missed school meals

During a typical school day, more than 400,000 Wisconsin children receive free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch program.

To ensure that those same students continue to have access to nutritious meals while staying safer at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services is providing more than $140 million dollars in food benefits to their families for March, April, May and part of June – to cover the days that schools would usually be in session.

The benefit amount for March and April together is $176.70 and $148.20 for May and June together for each child who gets free or reduced price school meals.

These funds were appropriated under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and provided to states by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The program is referred to as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer or P-EBT because the benefits will be put on cards for families to use to purchase food at grocery stores or farmer’s markets, as available. 


Mink with coronavirus found on Dutch farms

Carola Schouten, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, announced the first confirmed cases after mink on two fur farms tested positive for the virus. The farms have since been put into quarantine.

As a precaution, people have been advised not to walk or ride a bike within 400 meters of the two farms.

According to a news release, the mink, which were tested after displaying signs of respiratory distress, were tested for the virus. Netherlands officials say the animals contracted the illness from farm workers that had shown symptoms of the virus.

Although the risk of animal-to-human infection is low, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment cautioned those working in the mink farming industry to "be careful".


PDPW Launches La Señal Lechera™

Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin has launched a free, on-demand version of The Dairy Signal™, delivered in Spanish. La Señal Lechera will offer translated insights and resources on business, market, finance, and animal care and nutrition, which previously aired on The Dairy Signal, said PDPW executive director Shelly Mayer.

Translated and recorded by students from Viterbo University, content on La Señal Lechera will be available on-demand weekly. No registration fee is necessary, and all episodes will be available at For more information, call 800-947-7379 or emai


Dane Co. pushes back farm breakfast

 In the interest of safety – and in cooperation with the extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic – organizers of the Dane County Breakfast on the Farm announced that this year’s event at Hinchley’s Dairy Farm in Cambridge has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 1, 2020.

The Dane County Dairy Promotion Committee will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and guidelines.

Typically held annually on the second Saturday in June, Breakfast on the Farm offers breakfast and entertainment throughout the morning for all ages and serves as one of the Dane County Dairy Promotion Committee's premiere, annual events. The breakfast is open to the public and offers visitors a chance to learn about the dairy community and its products. For a detailed program of scheduled activities, event admission prices, directions and more, visit


Tyson plant to remain closed longer

A Tyson Fresh Meats beef plant near the Tri-Cities will remain closed for a while longer as county health officials await test results on all the approximately 1,400 workers.

Walla Walla County health officials reported Wednesday afternoon the coronavirus test results are still pending, according to the Associated Press.

As of Wednesday, 130 people — both employees and others linked to the plant outbreak — have tested positive.

One Tyson worker, a 60-year-old butcher who lived in the Tri-Cities, has died.


USDA allows leeway for organic certification 

Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) may allow organic producers to report acreage as certified organic, or transitioning to organic, for the 2020 crop year if they can show they have requested a written certification from a certifying agent by their policy’s acreage reporting date.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) made available this flexibility to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, policyholders who have requested but not received an organic certificate, organic plan, or other written documentation must notify their insurance agent within 30 days after the certifying agent informs them of their organic plan or certificate status.

The policyholder notification may be made by phone, email, text, or other electronic communication method, and the AIPs must document the policyholder’s notification. Policyholders will be required to either sign digitally at the time of submission or must follow up with properly signed forms no later than July 15, 2020.


McDonald's says 25% of stores closed as 1Q sales fall

McDonald's says it has likely reached the trough of global restaurant closures due to COVID-19, with 25% still shuttered. But business has been slow to return as lockdown orders continue to disrupt consumers' routines.

McDonald's said its sales fell 6% to $4.71 billion in the January-March period. Declines have persisted in April, according to Associated Press. 

"We're now operating in a completely different world," McDonald's President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a conference call with investors.

Worldwide, 75% of the fast food giant's 39,000 stores are open. Kempczinski said locations are gradually reopening according to local regulations. 

In China, where 25% of stores were closed in February, nearly all have reopened; 99% of U.S. stores are open as well, offering limited menus and takeout food. But most stores remain closed in some key markets like France, the United Kingdom and Italy.