Ag Briefs: Man stabs cashier over price of milk

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


China approves two GMO corn strains for imports as demand soars

Bloomberg reported that China has approved two genetically modified corn varieties from Bayer AG and Syngenta AG for imports as demand for animal feed surges.

The two strains MON87411 and MZIR098, which are resistant to insects and tolerant of herbicides, are approved for imports for five years starting December 2020, according to a list from the agriculture ministry on Monday.

The report says the latest approvals are notable as China’s corn imports have jumped to a record because the domestic hog population is rebounding faster than expected from African swine fever. That’s jolted the government into action, including resuming state corn sales and pledging to expand domestic crop production.


Compeer Financial awards grants to 37 WI farmers markets

Compeer Financial’s Fund for Rural America, the Farm Credit cooperative’s giving program, has awarded 73 Farmers Market Grants, totaling $64,970. This is the third year Compeer Financial has offered these grants.

The grants are supporting 60 farmers market organizations, with funding up to $1,000 for marketing, technology or educational efforts. Wisconsin farmers markets received 37 grants. Among those were markets in Milwaukee County, one of three urban markets that serve communities designated as food deserts.

Grants to farmers markets will directly impact 2,118 people and impact 1.6 million people through the communities they serve. Thirteen farmer vendors also received up to $500. The Fund will offer this grant again in the fall to provide funding for 2022.


November strong month for beef and pork exports. 

US Meat Export Federation president and CEO Dan Halstrom says beef exports were the largest in more than a year. Brownfield Ag News reports that while exports to China and Taiwan were strong again, there were some bright spots in other markets. Halstrom says Mexican exports were up 23 percent.

US pork exports for 2020 have already set new full-year volume and value records, before adding in December values. And Halstrom says he’s encouraged by the demand increases to Latin American markets.  “There were 65,000 mt into Mexico, a growth of 13 percent,” he says. 


Matching grants available through Ag in the Classroom program

The Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program is accepting applications for matching grants, up to $500, that will be awarded to groups conducting activities that promote agricultural literacy in K-12 schools.

Projects that use funds toward an ongoing, sustainable education effort will receive preference over a one-time program. Applicants must have a matching donor for their project equal to the amount of the Ag in the Classroom grant. The application deadline is March 1.

Interested groups or schools can get an application on the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom website at or can contact the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson atdarneson@wfbf.comor 608.828.5644.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag in the Classroom program is designed to help K-12 students understand the importance of agriculture. 


KUHN Wins 2021 ASABE Award

KUHN, of Brodhead, Wis., was recently awarded an AE50 award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

An AE50 award was given to the patented I-DENSE system found on KUHN VB 7100 Series round balers, which independently controls the baler’s density settings based on crop conditions and moisture levels.

The technology was touted as one of the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products for the food and agriculture industries.

KUHN I-DENSE technology will be featured in the January/February 2021 special issue of ASABE’s magazine Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World. 


Man stabs cashier over price of milk

A Connecticut man was arrested for stabbing a Walmart clerk over the price of milk, police said.

The assault happened shortly after noon Sunday at a Walmart in Waterbury, the Republican-American reported.

Hichman Asfir, 41, stabbed the cashier in the head with a folding knife after she scanned a gallon of milk and told him the price, police said.

Asfir was arrested on charges including first-degree assault, police said. 

The 19-year-old victim was hospitalized for treatment of a puncture wound behind her left ear. She was in stable condition Sunday night.


Top court suspends implementation of new farm laws

India’s top court on Tuesday temporarily put on hold the implementation of agricultural reform laws and ordered the creation of an independent committee of experts to negotiate with farmers who have been protesting against the legislation.

According to an Associated Press report, the Supreme Court's ruling came a day after it heard petitions filed by the farmers challenging the legislation. It said the laws were passed without enough consultation, and that it was disappointed with the way talks were proceeding between representatives of the government and farmers.

Tens of thousands of farmers protesting against the legislation have been blocking half a dozen major highways on the outskirts of New Delhi for more than 45 days. Farmers say they won’t leave until the government repeals the laws.


DNR confirms CWD detected In Shawano County

The Wisconsin DNR has confirmed that a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Germania in southwestern Shawano County, within 10 miles of Waupaca County. As required by state law, the DNR will renew the baiting and feeding bans in Shawano and Waupaca counties.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult doe harvested during the 2020 gun deer season and was tested as part of the department's disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Shawano County.

According to the news release, 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. Baiting and feeding were already banned in Shawano County due to a prior CWD positive detection in a farm-raised facility in 2017.

The DNR will continue surveillance near the CWD positive detection location. Collecting CWD samples is essential for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state.


Mars accused of skirting premium to African cocoa farmers

Cocoa regulators allege that American chocolate maker Mars Inc. changed its purchasing patterns to avoid paying a $400/ton premium to African cocoa farmers.

Bloomberg reports that the candy giant famed for making M&Ms, Snickers and Twix, says it "categorically disagrees" with the charges that the U.S. company and its rivals tried to skirt the premium aimed at boosting farmers’ incomes.

The report says the move comes after the West African nations, which account for about 70% of global supplies, accused competitor Hershey Co. of squeezing the futures market in New York to get its hands on cocoa that doesn’t incur the premium. The nations also accused Mars of changing its cocoa butter purchasing and Olam International Ltd. of changing its recipes for the same reason.


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.


Soil health study seeks soybean growers

A study from UW-Madison Extension needs your help in learning how best to measure soil health.

The study will focus on soil carbon and nitrogen stocks with testing on dry soil samples with the aim of determining soil health relating to crop performance. Lindsay Chamberlain, the lead on the project, asks for soybean farmers to mail up to four samples from their 2021 soybean fields, postage paid. There will also be a field history survey to fill out, which includes questions on crop rotation, tillage, cover cropping, manure applications and other topics, including total 2021 yields.

If interested, you can email Chamberlain at or call her at 585-815-3185.


Space reservations available for CheeseExpo's virtual Ideas Showcase

CheeseExpo Online, the virtual version of the event in 2021, is now taking reservations at their Ideas Showcase.

The showcase allows exhibitors to have a scheduled time to present what goods and services their company offers. The deadline to reserve is Jan. 26 and space is limited on a first come, first serve basis.

Each space includes up to 10 minutes of a live or prerecorded presentation, and the content should be technical or promotional. Only two talks will run at one time, ensuring each exhibitor will be able to reach a large audience. Reservations are made at, and questions can be directed to events manager Caitlin Peirick at


Children's book about dairy farming named "Book of the Year"

Children's book "Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck's Ice Cream Wish" has been named the 14th "Book of the Year" by the Foundation for Agriculture.

Author Viola Butler and Atlanta-based illustrator Ward Jenkins share the story of Chuck, a kid who wishes for "all the ice cream he can eat" – and his "dairy godmother" grants his wish with a dairy farm, teaching him how each part runs and the process of making ice cream from the udder to the cone.

The Foundation's "Book of the Year" award aims to identify accurate books for all ages that help promote the ag industry and cover various related topics.