Ag Briefs: EPA marks 3 herbicide active ingredients safe

Wisconsin State Farmer
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WPS ordered to clean up contamination in Marinette

Attorney General Josh Kaul announced today that a federal judge has approved a settlement under which the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) will conduct the cleanup of historic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination located at a former WPS manufactured gas plant site in Marinette, Wis.

The agreement requires WPS to conduct remedial activity at the site, to dredge and dispose of the PAH-contaminated sediments, and to perform long-term monitoring to assess the success of the remediation, according to a news release.

In addition, the agreement provides that WPS will pay all future oversight costs incurred by the Wisconsin DNR in carrying out its oversight responsibilities during the remediation and monitoring work. WPS is required to obtain financial assurance in the amount of $7,600,000, which is the total estimated cost of the work to be performed.


Plant-based co. challenges meat consumer law

A lawsuit is challenging the state’s new law governing labeling for some vegan products, alleging that it violates the First Amendment.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma seeks a preliminary injunction preventing House Bill 3806, by Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, from taking effect Nov. 1, a permanent injunction and attorney’s fees, costs and expenses associated with it, according to Tulsa World.

The suit alleges the state Legislature passed the measure to protect meat-industry groups from competition brought by plant-based food sellers.

The claim was brought by Upton’s Naturals Co., an Illinois corporation that sells plant-based foods in many states, including Oklahoma, and the Plant Based Foods Association, which has more than 170 members, a substantial number of which sell plant-based foods in Oklahoma.

According to the lawsuit, the legislation “will prohibit sellers of plant-based foods from using meat terms to describe their foods unless they have a disclaimer — in the same size and prominence as their product names — that their products are plant-based.”

Prohibiting the use of meat-based terms without the disclaimer creates confusion among consumers where none existed, the suit says.


Governor breaks law with apple delivery

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee thought it would be a nice gesture to bring some apples from his own tree when he visited communities ravaged by wildfire last week.

Instead he was breaking the law.

By bringing apples from trees growing at the governor's mansion in Olympia, Inslee was violating state regulations about bringing homegrown fruit from an apple-maggot quarantine area into pest-free counties.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Washington is divided into quarantine zones, with large signs along the highways warning people not to transport homegrown fruit into pest-free areas. Most of Eastern Washington, which grows 65% of the nation's apples, is pest-free.

Bringing home-grown apples into a pest-free zone is a misdemeanor, but the state rarely cites anyone, said Hector Castro, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.


Emerald Ash Borer in Oconto, Shawano Counties

The Emerald Ash Borer has now confirmed in both Oconto and Shawano counties, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

EAB has been present in the town of Little Suamico and the city of Shawano for at least an estimated three to four years, said Alex Feltmeyer, a DNR forest health specialist.

The infestation in Oconto County was found on private property near the intersection of U.S. 141 and County S.

The borer was first identified in the state in 2008 in Milwaukee.

Ash makes a large component of the trees in Oconto and Shawano counties. Feltmeyer said that UW-Madison estimated there are 750 million in the state.


Trump has no plans to use CCC to help small oil refiners

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue set the record straight during a stop in Central Illinopis that the Trump Administration has no plans to use USDA Commodity Credit Corporation funds to help small oil refiners that were denied biofuel blending waivers.

The rumor has drawn strong criticism from farmers, farm state lawmakers and others.

Perdue told reporters, "We don’t think that qualifies under Charter 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation Act, and we’ve informed them of that. So we’ll have to see what happens,” according to Brownfield Ag News report.

Perdue says President Trump is trying to be fair to both sides on the issue of small refinery exemptions.


Grate.Pair.Share magazine scores wins

The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin marketing team took home two gold Eddie awards at the 2020 Eddie & Ozzie Awards on Sept. 21. The Summer 2020 issue of Grate.Pair.Share., a digital cooking and lifestyle magazine from Wisconsin Cheese, was recognized amongst the best publishers in the nation.

Grate. Pair. Share. features upscale, branded consumer recipes, food-related entertaining content, and lifestyle and consumer generated features to share our brand story. The magazine is published five times each year including Harvest, Holiday, Winter, Spring and Summer, generating 25-30 million consumer impressions.

Our recipe views year-over-year have increased 135% on with over 1 million-page views of recipe content and average time on recipe pages has increased 33%, encouraging consumer trial and purchase of Wisconsin cheese and dairy.


FDA proposes heightened traceability rules for certain produce

The FDA has proposed new traceability rules that seek elevated record-keeping for many fresh produce items, from all fresh-cut products to leafy greens and tomatoes.

Starting Sept. 23, there will be a 120-day public comment period on the new rule through the Federal Register. The rule is a key component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety and implements the long-awaited Section 204 of Food Safety Modernization Act ,according to The P.

Formerly referred to as “high-risk foods,” the Food Traceability List includes these items — and any items made with them: cucumbers; fresh herbs; leafy greens, including all lettuces and kale, chicory, watercress, chard, arugula, spinach, pak choi, sorrel, collards, and endive; All melons, including watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe; peppers; sprouts; tomatoes; tropical tree fruits, including mangoes, papayas, lychees, starfruit and guavas; and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.


EPA marks 3 herbicide active ingredients safe

Atrazine, propazine and simazine are safe to use according to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The agency announced its interim decision regarding these herbicides Friday, answering questions for farmers across the U.S. as atrazine is the No. 2 most used herbicide.

Wheeler touted the benefits of atrazine in agriculture as high, with the new protections giving US farmers more clarity and certainty concerning proper use.

Farm Journal reported that the EPA outlined changes for use of triazines including maximum application rates, personal safety protection for applicators, employing spray drift control measures and more label guidance on herbicide resistance.


Indiana records 21 work-related deaths on farms in 2019

Indiana had 21 work-related deaths on farms deaths last year, the fewest number of documented cases since 2013, according to an Associated Press report.

Three of the victims were children under the age of 5, while 11 were 60 or older, Purdue's Agricultural Safety and Health Program announced.

Tractors and skid steer loaders were involved in at least eight of the 21 documented fatalities, it said.

The report also highlighted the continued need for injury prevention educational programs for those 18 and younger.

The number of farm fatalities for the past 50 years continued a downward trend, probably reflecting safer machinery and work practices while also corresponding with a decline in the number of farmers, the report said.


Time to schedule treatment for Spotted Lanternfly

Adult Spotted Lanternfly are swarming area trees in a record-breaking year for the invasive insect. 

As the bugs feed on trees, they drip sour-smelling, sticky excrement called "honeydew." It coats everything underneath where the insects are feeding. The tacky honeydew is difficult to remove and attracts stinging wasps. 

Spotted Lanternfly has only been in the US since 2014, but the insect has multiplied rapidly. Researchers at Penn State and the PA Department of Agriculture recommend a control program that targets the pest during the Adult stage, between July and November when it is most vulnerable to treatment, according to an Associated Press report

The spray kills the insect on contact and the residual kills any Spotted Lanternfly that walk over or feed on the tree for up to 30 days.


Wisconsin DNR debuts new hunting flyer

Hunters checking out the regulations before heading into the field might notice something a little different this year. The Wisconsin DNR has combined its hunting regulations into one convenient document.

The new regulations are printed on larger paper, with color photographs and graphics, along with simplified language for all huntable species in Wisconsin. 

The regulations are available at many license agents throughout the state. They’re also posted on the DNR website in English, Spanish and Hmong. More information on hunting, including regulations and season dates, is available on the DNR website.