Ag Briefs: Horse tests positive for EEE

Wisconsin State Farmer
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$41.6M distributed via WI Farm Support Program

Nearly 12,000 Wisconsin farmers received a total of $41.6 million through the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, a joint program between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR). Each recipient received a $3,500 payment.  

According to DATCP, the program was designed to assist Wisconsin farmers, and was funded by $50 million provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to quickly provide direct payments to help cover economic losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With $8.4 million remaining after the first round of the program, another round of funding will be distributed. The second round is open to farmers whose gross income from farming is between $10,000 and $5 million. Applications will be accepted between August 10-24.


Man dead, woman injured in SUV vs farm sprayer crash 

A 73-year-old man was killed and a 72-year-old woman seriously injured July 22 in a crash with a farm sprayer in Green Lake County, according to The Reporter./

Deputies responded around 9 p.m. to the crash on County A at Hickory Road in the town of Mackford. Officials said an SUV and the sprayer were rolled over in the ditch northeast of the intersection, and first responders called for medical helicopters.

Officials said the man who was driving the SUV died at the scene and a woman who was a passenger was seriously injured and taken by helicopter to a hospital. The 60-year-old man who was driving the sprayer had minor injuries.

Officials said the SUV was going north on County A and hit the sprayer, which was going east on Hickory Road at the intersection. County A was closed for more than eight hours, and the crash is under investigation.


Farm cleans up manure spill resulting in fish kill

A Shawano County farm is cleaning up contamination after a manure spill reached the Little Suamico River in Oconto County.

According to the Associated Press/Gannett Wisconsin, the spill has killed fish on the river, but authorities haven't determined how many or how far the manure has spread, said Brian Hanson, an agricultural runoff specialist for the Department of Natural Resources.

The spill is traced to manure spread July 8 and 9 by Betley Farm about 5 miles southwest of Pulaski. The manure ran off into a drainage ditch or small unnamed waterway after rain late on July 9 and the next day, said DNR spokeswoman Sarah Hoye.


Horse tests positive for EEE

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed that a Dunn County horse tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). It is the state’s first confirmed equine case of EEE this year.

The unvaccinated crossbred mare was approximately 10 years old and was euthanized due to her rapidly progressing neurologic symptoms. Subsequent testing was positive for EEE.

DATCP encourages horse owners to vaccinate their horses against EEE and West Nile virus (WNV), which are both transmitted by mosquitoes. EEE is fatal in more than 90% of equine cases, and WNV is fatal in 30-40% of cases.

Equines, other animals and humans can become infected by EEE. In 2019, Wisconsin confirmed five equine cases of EEE and no cases of WNV.


USDA announces 3rd round Food Box Program purchases 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will launch a third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases with distributions to occur beginning by September 1 with completion by October 31, 2020.

The purchases will spend the balance of $3 billion authorized for the program. So far, over 46 million Farmers to Families Food Boxes have been invoiced and delivered.

In this third round of purchases, USDA plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products.


2020 WCMA golf outing, trap shoot cancelled

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) announced today the cancellation of its annual Golf Outing and Trap Shoot event.

The decision to cancel the September 16 networking event, which had previously been postponed, was not made lightly. WCMA sought input from dairy processing companies that regularly participate in the event as well as evolving official health and safety recommendations, according to WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer.

The WCMA Golf Outing and Trap Shoot will return July 21, 2021, based at Lake Arrowhead Resort near Nekoosa, WI.


Vegans' lawsuit over Impossible Whopper dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Burger King of deceiving vegan, vegetarian and other customers into thinking it cooked the plant-based patties for its “Impossible Whopper” on different grills than those used to cook beef and chicken.

Reuters reported that U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said the seven plaintiffs failed to show that reasonable consumers were deceived into paying higher prices because of Burger King’s actual cooking methods.

He said the plaintiffs did not ask about Burger King’s cooking method or request an alternative to satisfy their dietary requirements, and that the company’s advertising did not promise cooking on a different surface.


Hundreds of heifers stolen

The Cassia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent theft of several hundred unbranded dairy heifers from a calf ranch in Declo that occurred over the last six months.

The Cassia County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to the Idaho State Journal on Wednesday that it is investigating reports that several hundred or more Jersey and Jersey cross dairy heifers were stolen from the MGM Cattle Ranch between early January and late June.

The owner of MGM Cattle LLC, Marco Garcia, on July 1 told the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office that approximately 400 heifers he had been raising for at least three different clients were missing, Garcia told the Journal this week.  The number of missing heifers - between 3 and 11 months in age - could number 400 to 800.


Burger King apologizes after state TV criticism

Burger King's China unit has issued a public apology and promised to cooperate with a government investigation after state TV reported one of the U.S. fast food giant's outlets used expired ingredients.

In a statement on its social media account, Burger King said the Nanchang outlet was run by a franchisee but apologized for the “management error.” It said the restaurant was closed for “rectification and investigation,” according to an Associated Press report.

Food safety is especially sensitive in China following a string of scandals over tainted, fake or shoddy milk, drugs and other products that injured or killed consumers.


3.2M trout killed to halt bacteria outbreak

California will kill 3.2 million trout to stop the outbreak of a bacterial infection that's threatening hatcheries, wildlife officials told Associated Press.

The trout, which are used to stock waterways for recreational fishing, are in two hatcheries in the Owens Valley in the eastern Sierra and one hatchery in the Mojave Desert city of Victorville, northeast of Los Angeles.

Fish at the hatcheries have been infected with Lactococcus garvieae, which is similar to streptococcus, wildlife officials said.

Outbreaks have been reported in fresh and saltwater fish farms and shellfish hatcheries but also cattle and poultry farms around the world, according to a statement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

However, the bacterium had never been detected in fish in California before it was found at the Victorville facility in April. About 60,000 fish have since died.

The depopulation could last up to four weeks.