Ag Briefs: Maple Leaf Cheese Coop launches Go Fund Me campaign

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Maple Leaf Cheese Coop launches Go Fund Me campaign

The 25 farmer-owned Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative has set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help keep up with the utility bills, insurance, taxes and legal fees connected to the plant.

Founded in 1910, the cooperative lost its cheesemaking partner and markets and will shut the plant down on Dec. 11. The Co-op plans to reopen its cheese plant by spring and has a bold vision for both new cheeses and a new brand, said President Jeremy Mayer.

In the meantime, Mayer says the Co-op needs help to get through the winter. To date, $1,575 of the $150,000 goal has been raised. To donate visit


Wisconsin deer harvest, license sales up from 2019

The 169th gun-deer hunt is in the books the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources say preliminary data for license sales shows an increase of 3.5% in deer hunters compared to 2018 and 2019, according to a news release.

As of Monday, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sport and patron licenses totaled 820,299, with 569,203 for the gun hunt. Preliminary data show that hunters registered 188,712 deer during the none-day season. Of those deer harvested, 85,340 were antlered and 103,372 were antlerless.

More female hunters took to the woods this year as well, with 92,312 obtaining licenses, an increase of 12% from last year.

One hunter died in a gun-related incident on Nov. 22, 2020. Steven Hoogester, 65, West Bend, died at the scene when he accidentally shot himself in the chese while exiting a ground blind on Washington Island. DNR officials also investigated eight gun-related injuries.


Holstein Marketplace Sires seeking potential new bulls

Holstein Marketplace Sires, which provides an avenue for Holstein breeders to market their own genetics, is seeking potential new bulls for their line-up. Under the program, bull owners retain ownership of the bulls, and Holstein Marketplace Sires coordinates marketing and sales.

Ideal candidates are genomic tested bulls with strong genetic merit and deep maternal pedigrees. Desired age is around six months. Holstein breeders with interest in submitting a bull for consideration should email with the bull’s name and registration number by December 15.


Suspected extremists kill at least 40 farmers in Nigeria

Suspected members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram killed at least 40 rice farmers and fishermen in Nigeria as they were harvesting crops in the country’s northern state of Borno, according to an Associated Press report. 

The attack Saturday in a rice field in Garin Kwashebe came on the same day that residents were casting votes for the first time in 13 years to elect local councils, although many didn’t go to cast their ballots.

The farmers were reportedly rounded up and summarily killed by armed insurgents in retaliation for refusing to pay extortion to one militant.

Malam Zabarmari, a leader of a rice farmers association in Borno state, confirmed the massacre to The Associated Press, saying at least 40 and up to 60 people could have been killed.


COVID outbreak reported on Oregon mink farm

An Oregon mink farm has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 among animals and staff.

The Statesman Journal reports the farm has been placed under quarantine, meaning no animals or animal products can leave the farm.

The state has not said where the farm is located, how many animals the farm has, when the farmer reported the illnesses, or when the animals were tested.

Ten samples from mink have come back positive for SARS-CoV-2, the animal virus linked to COVID-19 in humans, ODA said. The farm also is reporting cases of COVID-19 in staff.

Outbreaks in farmed mink have been reported in several states and countries. 

Earlier this month Denmark announced it would kill all 17 million of the mink raised there after confirmation that 12 people had been infected with a mutated strain of COVID-19 that had spread from mink to humans.

QUEBEC, Canada

Sizeable drop in Quebec squash supplies

Supplies of squash out of Quebec, Canada are down significantly this year. Due to a drought early in the growing season, exporter Alex Zenebisis told Fresh Plaza that there was a 40 percent loss in the fields.

He said the drought not only impacted the quantity and size of the squash crop but the weather along with COVID-19 impacted all of his company's winter products, especially carrots and beets.

Zenebisis said the drought and lack of employees forced them to reseed carrots and beets more than once since the beginning of the year.


China slaps 200% tax on Australia wine amid tensions

China added wine to the growing list of Australian goods barred from its markets in a trade war against Australia over disputes including its support for a probe into the origin of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Commerce imposed import taxes of up to 212.1%, effective Nov. 28, which Australia's trade minister said make Australian wine unsellable in China, his country's biggest export market according to an Associated Press report.

China increasingly is using its populous market as leverage to extract political concessions and increase its strategic influence.

Earlier, China stopped or reduced imports of beef, coal, barley, seafood, sugar and timber from Australia after it supported calls for a probe into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, which began in China in December.

Australia's main stock market index fell 0.5% on Friday following the news.