Ag Briefs: Cow College Mooves online

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Cow College Mooves online

Those participating in the 2021 Cow College can do it from the comfort of their home as the meetings and tours for next year's event will be presented in a virtual format beginning at noon, Jan. 13.

From noon to 1 p.m., Dr. James Salfer , University of Minnesota Extension , University of Minnesota Extension will offer "Is Robotic Milking Right for You? Economics of AMS the Family Farm".

On Jan. 20 from noon to 1 p.m. Tina Kohlman, UW -Madison Extension, Fond du Lac County will present "Does She Grow or Should or Should She Go She Go? Heifer Inventory Management" along with Dr. Gavin Staley, Diamond V with "Why Building Mature Heifers Matter".

Virtual farm tours and discussion will take place on Jan. 27 from 8 to 9 p.m. 

There is no registration fee for the virtual meetings and farm tours, but pre-registeration is required. For more information visit:


Farm no one has heard of received $1.2M PPP loan

A Paycheck Protection Program loan for nearly $1.2 million issued to an organic farm operator allegedly located in western Maine has raised suspicion after a massive disclosure of federal records about the small business relief program. 

According to records released by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Common Ground Organic Farm LLC, based in Bridgton, received the loan. The records show the company claimed to have 91 employees. 

There is no company by that name registered in Maine and the local insurance firm that owns and operates the business address used by Common Grounds said it has never heard of the company, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The loan raised suspicion when it was discovered in a database of Maine companies that received loans larger than $150,000. Members of the Maine organic farming community noticed the large staff and it's address that corresponded to an office building far from the regions best known for large-scale agriculture. 

A small business in DeLand, Florida, was found in an online search that was formerly called Common Ground Organic Farm LLC. 

In a phone interview with the newspaper, that business' co-owner, Pat Joslin, said that she and her husband not only dropped "organic" from the company name in 2011, but her company is not eligible for PPP because of the way they do their taxes. 

Joslin said that the couple runs the farm themselves, does not have full-time employees and does not have any substantial debt. "We couldn't have even applied," she said. 

The couple immediately contacted the SBA and are awaiting a response. 


Economic impact of dairy cows

The new “Comprehensive Review of Iowa’s Dairy Industry” defines how important the Iowa dairy industry continues to be and just how strong and economic driver it is in Iowa and the Midwest. The projected national trends for dairy products show increases in profitability and forecasters expect that dairy revenue will continue to rise at 1.15% to $39.9 billion during 2019-24 (IBIS World Dairy Production 2019).

Iowa continues to be a significant contributor to dairy production based upon several factors that include necessary infrastructure, natural resources, inputs and experience. The state has a unique competitive advantage in these categories and continues to expand on these assets for identified growth opportunities.

The economic impact realized by the state from the dairy industry projects the following:  Key metrics include total economic impact of Iowa’s dairy industry is $5.6 billion, supplying 15,587 jobs with a labor income of $891 million. Annual economic impact of a single dairy cow is $25,495 per cow.


Gypsy moth population increases

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) caught 83,720 gypsy moths in 10,139 traps in Wisconsin this summer as part of the federal Slow the Spread of the Gypsy Moth Program. 

“Weather conditions were relatively mild across Wisconsin compared to the previous two years,” said Michael Falk, DATCP’s gypsy moth trapping coordinator. “Winter temperatures were not low enough to kill gypsy moth eggs, and spring conditions did not support the fungal and viral diseases known to kill gypsy moth caterpillars. As a result, gypsy moth populations rebounded after two consecutive years of population decrease.”

Gypsy moth is an invasive pest that has been spreading westward since its introduction to North America. In Wisconsin, gypsy moth is well established in the eastern two-thirds of the state. DATCP focuses its efforts on the western edge of that area in an attempt to slow the spread of this destructive insect. Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of many species of trees and shrubs, especially oaks, and can cause severe leaf loss when feeding in large numbers.


UW-Madison to host annual cover crops virtual conference

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will be hosting the annual cover crops conference over Zoom Feb. 10-11. Attendance is free, but registration is required in advance on the Division of Extension website.

The conference will begin with a presentation at 7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 10 with speakers Barry Fisher, Blake Vine and Rick Clark that will feature a Q&A session on their cover crop innovations from the past year. For the first time, the conference is also having a virtual poster, video and photo showcase to "highlight innovative agriculture practices."

Programming on Thursday, Feb. 11 will begin at 11 am with a diversification presentation from Loran Steinlage, who owns FLOLOfarms. Afternoon breakout sessions will include various topics from Rodrigo Werle, Erin Silva, Shawn Conley, Matt Ruark, Mike Ballweg and Serge Koenig.


DNR confirms CWD in Washington County

A new 2-year baiting and feeding ban has been issued for Ozaukee County after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources confirmed that a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Trenton in northeastern Washington County, within ten miles of Ozaukee County.

The DNR will also renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Washington County effective Jan. 5, 2021.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult buck harvested during the 2020 archery deer season that was tested as part of the department's disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Washington County.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD.


Mexico proposes phasing out Roundup pesticide by 2024

Mexico's Agriculture Department has proposed rules for phasing out the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in weed killer Roundup, by early 2024. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has long objected to the pesticide, and in late 2019, Mexico blocked a 1,000-ton shipment of the pesticide from entering the country, citing health and environmental concerns. 

But previous rule proposals from the agriculture department had suggested that more study was needed. The new proposal is to look for replacements.


Marijuana is now Maine's biggest ag commodity

Maine is known for its wild blueberries and potatoes but marijuana has surpassed them to become the state's most valuable crop.

Medical marijuana sales totaled $221.8 M from January through October, more than double what had been sold by the same time last year, the Portland Press Herald reported, based on state sales tax figures.

That compares to $184.1 million for potatoes, $123.6 million for milk and $26 million for blueberries in 2019.

The state's year-to-date numbers do not include recreational marijuana, which totaled $1.4 million in October, the first month stores opened. In contrast, medical marijuana sales in October totaled $22 million.


Camp TaPaWingo fundraiser set

Looking for a place to purchase trees and shrubs this spring? Camp TaPaWingo is currently holds its annual tree sale fundraiser to help support the Manitowoc 4-H program and Camp TaPaWingo.

The camp is owned and operated by the Manitowoc County 4-H Leaders Association and serves Manitowoc county and beyond and is dedicated to providing opportunities for youth to interact in a natural setting. C

Varieties for sale include Balsam Fir, Black Spruce, White Pine, Flame Birch, Sugar Maple, Butterfly Bush, Dogwood Red Osier, Hazel Nut and more. Deadline to order is March 1, 2021. To place an order visit For more information call Wendi Holschbach at (920) 683-4169 or email