Ag Briefs: Entries open for alternate State Fair livestock show

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Entries open for alternate State Fair livestock show

Livestock exhibitors eligible to show at the 2020 Wisconsin State Fair Junior Show are now able to submit entries for the Wisconsin Livestock Expo. The Expo was organized to provide youth with an alternative opportunity to exhibit their livestock following the cancellation of the Wisconsin State Fair.

The Expo is set for Aug. 9-14 at the Racine County fairgrounds in Union Grove, Wis. Animals to be exhibited include Beef (Steers & Heifers), Swine (Barrows & Gilts) and Sheep (Market Lambs, Commercial Ewes & Breeding Sheep).

According to the website, animals will be exhibited in a show ring while observing social distancing via class sizes and the absence of bleachers. No pens will be provided in barns, with exhibitors being required to pen animals by their respective trailers. Show schedule and entry information is available at


WI FFA Alumni and Supporters fundraiser set

The Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters Association will be holding a drive-thru fundraising event this weekend on June 27 at two separate locations to support dairy farmers during June Dairy Month.

The Alumni will set up the sale of 5 lb. bags of Land O’Lakes frozen macaroni and cheese in addition to bags of 10 3 oz. containers of cheddar cheese (dip cups) at $10 each. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is helping to sponsor the event that will benefit local FFA Alumni chapter grants and scholarships.

Products may be purchased beginning at 10 a.m. (until supplies run out) in the parking lots of Midwest Shooters Supply, 191 Church St. Lomira, Wis., and Blain’s Farm and Fleet, 9438 Hwy 16, Onalaska, Wis.  For more information call 715-937-4838.


No violations at Tyson plant with deadly outbreak

Iowa's workplace safety agency says an inspection did not uncover any violations at Tyson Foods' largest pork processing plant, where several employees died after contracting the coronavirus.

The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration closed its inquiry into the Tyson plant in Waterloo earlier this month without sanctioning the meat company, according to the DesMoines Register.

County officials and workers have alleged that in March and part of April workers did not have adequate personal protective equipment to stop the spread of the virus and were not social distancing. The company says it has taken numerous safety steps since then, including requiring masks, screening for symptoms, and frequent testing.

Black Hawk County has said that more than 1,000 of the Waterloo plant's 2,800 workers had tested positive for the virus or antibodies by early May.


Kwik Trip sees uptick in dairy purchases during COVID-19

Convenience story chain Kwik Trip reported that it was a substantial increase in the purchase of dairy products throughout the pandemic. According to WIZM, John McHugh, director of corporate communications said the company noted a shift in consumer choices. Rather than smaller, to-go containers of milk, gallons and half gallons of milk were leaving store shelves.

WIZM reported that sales of butter and eggs were also on the rise, but McHugh was not sure if that could be attributed to more people cooking at home, or because of a promotion that coincided with the increase. Kwik Trip did have to put a limit on butter at one point because of how quickly it was being sold.

Comfort foods such as ice cream also ranked highly on the list. Kwik Trip milk is sourced from farmers within a 75-mile radius of La Crosse. The milk is processed within 24 hours.


Bumble Bee Foods CEO headed to jail

A former CEO of Bumble Bee Foods has been sentenced to more than three years in jail for his role in a canned tuna price-fixing conspiracy involving three major companies, the U.S. Justice Department said.

According to the Associated Press, Christopher Lischewski was also ordered on June 16 to pay a $100,000 fine in addition to serving a 40-month term.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement that the sentence will serve as a deterrent to wrongdoing at top corporate levels.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Lischewski in May 2018. He pleaded not guilty but late last year a jury convicted him of a single count of participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna.

The Justice Department said the court found that the three-year conspiracy affected hundreds of millions of dollars in canned tuna sales.

Bumble Bee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $25 million fine and StarKist Co. was fined $100 million.


Ag in the Classroom kicks off school year on Aug. 22

Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program will kick off the 2020-21 school year with an informational meeting on Saturday, August 22, at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc.

The event will last from 10 a.m. – noon, concluding with a lunch for all participants. The program will feature topics including the 2020-21 school year calendar, introduction to the Book of the Year and Essay Contest guidelines, grants, new resources and discussion on needs for the upcoming school year. 

Registration fee for the event is $25 per person and includes admission and lunch. Others who wish to see the center but will not be participating in the program and lunch can receive a discounted admission of $5 person. To receive this group discount, interested parties must register in advance, at the same time as an individual who is attending the program and lunch.

To learn more or to register for this meeting, visit


Group sues to restart WI DNR hunter education courses

A Kansas-based hunting advocacy group filed a lawsuit seeking to force the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to restart in-person hunter education courses.

Wisconsin law requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1973, to complete a hunter education course to obtain a hunting license and hunt alone. DNR officials cancelled department-sponsored in-person courses in March as the coronavirus pandemic seized the country and have refused to recognize completion certificates from other courses as part of the state's push to slow the virus' spread through social distancing. 

The hunting group alleges that the DNR is denying people the right to hunt and lacks the authority to cancel in-person educational courses. The state constitution guarantees the right to hunt and state law requires the DNR make hunter safety courses available to the public, the lawsuit argues. 

The DNR is offering online courses, but students under 18 still must attend an in-person field day and take a written test, which they can't do under the DNR's "ban" on in-person education, the lawsuit argues.


Judge blocks cancer label for Roundup

A U.S. federal appeals court blocked California from requiring that Bayer AG label its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup with a cancer warning, handing the company a victory in its ongoing litigation over the product, according to Reuters.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Shubb called California's cancer warning misleading and said the state's label is not backed up by regulatory findings.

Regulators worldwide have determined glyphosate to be safe with the exception of the World Health Organization's cancer research arm, which determined the herbicide to be a "probable carcinogen" in 2015.


Alliant Energy Foundation donates $20K to food banks

In conjunction with National Dairy Month, Alliant Energy’s Foundation provided a $20,000 donation to two Wisconsin food banks that will benefit dairy farmers and communities throughout “America’s Dairyland.”

Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin will use the funds to purchase products, including milk, cheese and yogurt, from dairy producers in communities served by Alliant Energy in Wisconsin. The food banks will then distribute the dairy products to families in need.

These funds provide an economic boost to Wisconsin’s dairy farmers and dairy industry, which has faced difficult times, even before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The donation will allow farmers and producers to benefit financially from the purchase of the dairy products and help to prevent wasted milk.


Golfers needed to support Ag education

The 23rd annual Wisconsin Ag Open, hosted by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, is set to take place on Tuesday, September 15 at the Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.

All proceeds from the golf outing support education and leadership programs through the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, such as Ag in the Classroom, Young Farmer and Agriculturist, Promotion and Education and WFBF’s Leadership Institute

The Wisconsin Ag Open begins with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. This event is open to the public. Wisconsin agribusiness professionals, farmers and others who wish to support youth and educational programs are encouraged to attend.

Registration is $150 and includes 18-holes of golf, a cart, box lunch, appetizers and entry into the door prize drawing. The field is limited to 144 golfers. To sign up by Aug. 10 visit To use the registration website, you must use the Google Chrome browser.


Modified produce safety inspections resume

Produce Safety staff at the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will resume modified operations beginning the week of June 29. Routine compliance inspections were halted in March by the FDA's partial stop work order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDA lifted the stop work order on June 5, allowing states to resume inspections following the guidance of the CDC and others.

Inspections will resume in three phases. During phase one, all staff will use appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings. Staff will maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when possible, sanitize all equipment between inspections, and each staff member will only inspect one farm per day. Details of phases two and three will be released at a later date.

In 2019, DATCP began inspecting produce farms for compliance with federal produce safety regulations.


Horse shootings under investigation

The Clark County Sheriff's Department is seeking information in the shooting of two horses in the town of Lynn near Neillsville in southeastern Clark County on June 17.

According to law enforcement, the horses were shot in two separate incidents, with one of the animals dying from the gun shot.

Clark County deputies urged anybody who owns any horses to check on them and make sure that they have not been shot.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the dispatch center at 715-743-3157 or call 1-888-TIP-CLSO (847-2567).


Scientists to track COVID-19 using human waste

Recent studies in the Netherlands and other places have shown that the presence of the novel coronavirus can be detected in human waste.

These studies have led to several ongoing projects throughout the world exploring how waste can be used to monitor the geographic circulation of viruses by providing early detection of its presence in places where people are connected to a centralized wastewater treatment system.

Over the course of the next year, University of Missouri researchers are partnering with the Missouri Dept. of Conservation and the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services in the Coronavirus Sewershed Surveillance Project.

This new project will detect the presence of the novel coronavirus in samples of wastewater from across the state to help inform disease mitigation efforts.