Ag Briefs: 1000 animals perish in barn fire

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Barn fire kills scores of goats, other animals

Authorities say a barn fire on a western Minnesota farm killed 1,000 goats and other animals.

The Star Tribune reports the blaze struck the Cornerstone Farm's dairy barn northeast of Henning at about 3 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office said along with the goats, dairy operators Brittany and Stephen Springer lost a dog trained to tend to the herd, 15 peacocks and at least two tractors in the fire that ravaged the barn.

Sheriff's Lt. Greg Seim said the fire is under investigation but it doesn't appear suspicious. 


Publication releases new "life saving" infofor ag pros

The Journal of Agromedicine, a publication that focuses on agribusiness health and safety, has dedicated one of its issues to the 2020 North American Agricultural Safety Summit, the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute said.

While the summit was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, its host organization Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would allow them to publish 41 abstracts (summaries of study findings) on the ASHCA website.

The abstracts were all peer-reviewed and are expected to generate dialogue among researchers and industry partners. Senior associate editor Barbara Lee said the publication highlights the "important partnership between academia and industry" in ag.

The 2021 summit will be held virtually March 22-24, 2021 and will focus on COVID-19.


WI farmers expected to end year with higher income

Direct government payments are expected to help Wisconsin farmers end the year with a higher average income than they did in 2019.

The USDA's Economic Research Service estimated in their latest farm financial forecast that net farm income will hit $119.6 billion in 2020, a 41 percent increase from 2019 and the highest income level since 2013.

Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Wisconsin Public Radio that the forecast is slightly higher than last quarter's estimate, partly because of a price rally for corn and soybeans seen around harvest time. 

Earlier forecasts also did not include the $13.3 billion expected to be paid to farmers through the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. 

That means farmers are now expected to receive $46.5 billion in direct government payments. That's $24 billion more, or 107.1 percent higher, than in 2019. By comparison, farmers received just under $13 billion in direct government payments in 2016.

Mitchell said the influx of cash will help many producers pay down their debts and catch up on capital investments.


Dairy Farmers of Walworth County to offer scholarship

A $500 scholarship from the Dairy Farmers of Walworth County is up for grabs.

It's available to any student in Walworth County attending a two- or four-year program in Wisconsin related to dairy, with the scholarship going towards the 2021-22 school year. To apply or ask for more information, talk to Katy Katzman at 262-903-6727 or Applications are due March 26, 2021.


Ag Committee members tapped

Following the latest general election, legislative leaders have tapped members of the Assembly to serve on several committees. According to a news release, lawmakers serving on the Agriculture Committee as the 2021-22 legislative session begins this week include: Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel, chairman; Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua, vice chairman; Dave Considine, D-Baraboo; Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit; Jeff Mursau, R-Crivitz; Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville; Jon Plumer, R-Lodi; Clint Moses, R-Menomonie; Don Vruwink, D-Milton; LaKeshia Myers, D-Milwaukee; Treig Pronschinske, R-Mondovi; Travis Tranel, R-Platteville; Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point; Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay; and Nancy VanderMeer, R-Tomah.


WI herds recognized for reproductive efficiency

Four Wisconsin dairies were among seven herds with 12-month pregnancy rates of 34 percent or higher were recently recognized with the CentralStar Cooperative ReproStar Award.

Rademacher-Meier Dairy, Sun Prairie, Wis.; Latham Dairy, LLC, Boscobel, Wis.; Luckwaldt Agriculture, Inc., Woodville, Wis. and Blue Star Dairy, DeForest, Wis. were among the most recent recipients.

While the award winners have different approaches to achieving reproductive efficiency, a shared strategy includes genetic selection for health and fertility traits. 

Established in 2019, the ReproStar Award recognizes producers for their accomplishments with reproductive efficiency, according to CentralStar Cooperative.


Feeding Minds Press features soybean farm 

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Feeding Minds Press released a new book, My Family’s Soybean Farm, along with a companion educator guide.

This third title from Feeding Minds follows the farm adventures of Alexander, who takes readers on a tour of his family’s soybean farm, showing how soybeans are planted, grown and harvested, technology used on the farm, pest management techniques, and the many different products soybeans are used in.

My Family’s Soybean Farm was created by author Katie Olthoff  and illustrator Joe Hox, both Iowa natives with farm backgrounds. The book is now available in paperback for purchase directly from Feeding Minds Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.