Ag Briefs: Tyson Settles Anti-trust Case For $221.5M

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Tyson Settles Anti-trust Case For $221.5M

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveals Tyson Foods has agreed to pay $221.5M in a settlement in the broiler chicken antitrust civil price-fixing lawsuit against the company. The settlement will be reflected in the company’s first-quarter financial statement.

According to a Farm Journal report, the agreement allows Tyson to exit the price-fixing lawsuits filed against it and other poultry companies filed by customers and consumers. The settlement comes after Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Greeley, Colo., agreed to pay $75M in a settlement on Jan. 11. JBS USA is the majority shareholder of Pilgrim’s Pride.

In both settlements the companies did not admit liability.


WI Youth Livestock program virtual sessions set

The Wisconsin Youth Livestock Program (WYLP) will be offering virtual Zoom educational programs for the winter/spring of 2020-2021. These current topics are for youth and adults alike and occur on the 2nd Thursday of the month from January through May.  Each session begins at 7 p.m. CST with a presentation followed by Q&A. 

Participants must register in order to receive the connecting information through email.  

For more detailed information of each presentation and to register for any or all of the events, please go to: On this webpage youth can complete an educational verification form and turn it into their county fair and or livestock committee to verify participation.

These activities can serve as “county educational requirements”.  However, there are no educational opportunities that can substitute for YQCA certification. 

Programs include: Jan. 14 - Roaming the Rumen; Feb. 11 - Feeding & caring for Swine without Ractopamine featuring speakers Dr. Steven Moeller, Ohio State University and   Dr. Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University; March 11 - Lamb Live & Carcass Evaluation; Lamb Culinary products; April 8 - Artificial Intelligence in Animal Sciences using sensors and cameras and May 13 - Meat Science Cookery.

For more information visit or contact Bernie O’Rourke, UW- Madison Animal & Dairy Science Extension Youth Livestock Specialist at (608) 263-4304 or

All of the webinar recordings can be found at the Wisconsin Youth Livestock Program YouTube page at:


Mentees selected for WPA Pork Mentorship program

Mia Hillebrand of Lone Rock, Hailey Schulenberg of Mount Horeb, Michelle Stangler of Watertown and Essie Whitehead of Amery, have been selected as the next class of participants in Wisconsin Pork Association’s Pork Mentorship Program.

The pork mentorship program, which has a strong focus on career development, is designed to expand students’ knowledge of the swine industry, provide opportunities to network with pork industry leaders, help identify future career goals, and create valuable connections with potential employers.


Nearly 70K chickens perish in fire

Nearly 70,000 chickens perished early Thursday as fire swept through several buildings at a Pennsylvania farm.

Firefighters were faced with flames and thick smoke when they arrived at A&L Farms in Berks County.

A fire official told WFMZ-TV two buildings were burned to the ground and an egg house sustained partial damage.

Firefighters needed to bring in tankers to fight the blaze because a small pond on the property was clogged with slushy ice and could not be used to pump water on the flames.

This was the third fire at the farm in recent years. A fire in 2019 claimed the lives of more than 37,000 chickens and a fire in 2015 destroyed an empty barn.


US organic produce sales up 14 percent in 2020

Buoyed by a fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, 2020 organic produce sales finished with a 14.2 % increase over the previous year. This outpaced conventionally grown produce in both sales and volume gains, according to the 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report released by the Organic Produce Network and Category Partners LLC.

Organic fresh produce sales in 2020 were $8.5B, an increase of more than $1 billion from 2019, representing 12% of all fresh produce sales, according to scanned data from Nielsen. Conventional produce sales rose 10.7% for the year.

Organic bananas continued to be the biggest volume mover, with movement up 16% from 2019.


Activist group files suit against Sargento Foods

Activist organization Beyond Pesticides filed a lawsuit this week against Sargento Foods, alleging the Wisconsin cheese processor mislabeled its products.

In a news release, Beyond Pesticides officials claim Sargento Foods is misleading customers with product claims of "no antibiotics" used in its products. The group also alleges that the company's cheese products are made with milk from cows raised with antibiotics and that antibiotics can be found in some of the company’s finished food.    

The action is brought under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act.


Rock River Laboratory expands network into Mexico

Rock River Laboratory, Inc. is opening its newest licensed associate laboratory, Rock River Laboratory - Mexico. Located in Torreón, Coahuila, in the Comarca Lagunera region, the laboratory will offer both agronomic and animal nutrition analysis services to all of Mexico. 

“The continued growth of Rock River Laboratory’s brand commitments and knowledge base through Rock River Laboratory - Mexico offers nutritionists, agronomists, producers and growers in Mexico access to accurate agricultural analysis, and in turn, industry progress,” says Zachery Meyer, Rock River Laboratory, Inc. director of operations.

The new laboratory provides analysis services using Near Infrared (NIR) technology supported by Rock River Laboratory’s extensive, research-founded analysis calibrations, as well as wet chemical analysis. 


Jr. Holstein Convention cancelled

The Wisconsin Holstein Association and the Junior Activities Committee announced this week that it is cancelling the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention due to the ongoing pandemic. The event has been re-scheduled for March 27-28, 2021. 

According to a news release, as a way to keep juniors involved and recognize their accomplishments, the Junior Activities Committee and the WHA staff are working on a series of smaller, regional events for junior members later in the spring. Event details will be shared on the WHA Facebook page as well as at once finalized. 


Jefferson Co. FTD scholarship opportunity available

The Executive Committee of the 2019 Jefferson County Wisconsin Farm Technology Days show has announced that applications are now being accepted for their second round of student scholarships.

This scholarship is open to any student who is a high school senior. The applicant must be planning to attend UW Short Course, a technical college or four-year university and be majoring in agricultural studies.

The application and guidelines can be found at Applications will be accepted through April 1, 2021. For more information email Katelyn Broedlow at


Burling wins GROWMARK essay contest

Lake Mills FFA member Sydney Burling is the Wisconsin state winner of the 2021 GROWMARK essay contest for FFA members. FFA members were invited to write essays on a type of technology they would invent to improve agriculture.

The Lake Mills High School student wrote about inventing a pollen solution that doesn't originate from a bee but instead is created in a lab. The synthetic pollen would be produced and spread faster than the average bee could accomplish.

As the contest winner, Burling will receive a $500 award from GROWMARK. The Lake Mills FFA chapter will also receive a $300 award in honor of her accomplishment.

Four state runners-up and their FFA chapters include: Eve Ihlenfeld, Slinger FFA ; Chase Patterson, Unity FFA ; Taryn Smits, Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA; and Collin Zimmermann, Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah FFA.


Applications sought for Continuous Cover Program

Dane County is now accepting applications for its Continuous Cover Program, County Executive Joe Parisi announced. The program began in 2019 and provides landowners with an incentive to convert existing cropland acres into permanent, perennial grass.

Due to public interest, Parisi says funding has increased to to $1.75 million to provide more landowners with the opportunity to participate in the program.

Parisi says the program helps farmers preserve the character of their land, make their property less vulnerable to flooding, and enhance wildlife and pollinators habitats. We look forward to welcoming even more participants to the program this year.”

To apply or learn more about the Dane County Continuous Cover Program, visit

or call (608) 224-3730.