Ag Briefs: Albion barn destroyed in blaze

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs

MERRILL, WI

Man killed when tractor overturns

A man died after the tractor he was operating flipped over in a field in Lincoln County, according to sheriff's officials. 

Deputies and paramedics were dispatched to the field in the Town of Merrill shortly before 4 p.m. Monday where they found a 46-year-old man pinned underneath the tractor. They worked to free the man who died at the scene. 

Authorities said the victim was using the tractor to try to remove a large truck that was stuck in the field when the tractor flipped over and pinned him, according to Associated Press.

ALBION, WI

Albion barn destroyed in blaze 

A controlled burn that got out of hand destroyed a barn in Dane County.

According to the Dane County Sheriff's Office, property owners told officials they were conducting a controlled burn behind the barn on Sunday, April 18, when the wind shifted, causing the flames to head toward the empty structure.

Firefighters from Edgerton, Ft. Atkinson, Cottage Grove, Janesville and Milton fire departments responded structure fire around 10:30 a.m. The barn, however, was deemed a total loss. Damages are estimated at $75,000.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Will next round of aid arrive in late summer?

Farmers and ranchers should expect the next round of COVID aid in late summer or early fall.

Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux told Brownfield Ag News that the USDA has been conducting a thorough review of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“For the program components based on this analysis, they’re going to go out in what we call a ‘mega rule.’ We don’t look for that rule to even be published until maybe July 1st, and then it would be payments hopefully late summer (or) early fall.”

He says the Biden administration is rebranding CFAP as the Pandemic Assistance to Producers Program, and there will be about $6 billion available in the next round.

Signup for the pandemic assistance reopened the first week of April.

MADISON, WI

Cheesemaker class honored

This year, the Center for Dairy Research and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin celebrated the 27th graduating class of the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program.

To be eligible for the program, cheesemakers must be licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers for at least 10 years.

To date, more than 90 cheesemakers have earned the title of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker in dozens of varieties of cheeses, according to the CDR.

This year's class includes: Steve Bechel, Eau Galle Cheese, Durand – Certified Master: Parmesan and Romano; Kirk Hansen, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield – Certified Master: Cheddar and Jack; Larry Harris, Meister Dairy, Muscoda – Certified Master: Colby and Colby Jack; and Brian Jackson, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield – Certified Master: Feta and Asiago.

EDEN, WI

Campbellsport FFA Alumni plans fundraiser

The Campbellsport FFA Alumni is holding a drive-thru brat fry from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at the Eden Community Center. Available are meals only at $9.00 single sandwich and $12.00 two sandwich meals (sandwich, chips, cookie and beverage). 

The fundraiser is a kick-off for the 2021 Campbellsport FFA Alumni Tractor Raffle. Raffle tickets will be available for a 1970 Ford 3000 gas 8 speed tractor with live power and power steering or $4000. Tickets are $8 each or three for $20. Only 4000 tickets will be sold.

The drawing October 9, at the annual Campbellsport FFA Crop Show in the Campbellsport High School Cafeteria. Proceeds till help offset travel expenses, educational seminars, facility support and ag scholarships for the Campbellsport FFA and ag program.

EAU CLAIRE, WI

FTD commemorative toy trucks available

Anyone wishing to add to their collection of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days' are still in luck. The Eau Claire County FTD committee is still taking orders for the 1/64 scale Huntsinger Farms semi truck and trailer.

Wisconsin Ag Connection reported that the toys are being produced especially for this year's event, which will be held at Huntsinger Farms near Eau Claire on July 20-22, 2021.

Cost of the toy is $60 with proceeds benefitting the three day show. The toy will be available at the show or can be shipped later. Orders are due by June 15.

For more information call 715-839-4712 or visit www.wifarmtechnologydays.com.

WITHEE, WI

Field day set in Clark County

Clark County UW-Extension, Clark County Land Conservation, Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition, and WI DNR have collaborated to schedule a Field Day from 12:30 to 3 p.m. April 28 on the Clark Turner Farm at the demo plots site located west of the County Road N and O intersection (south of Withee). Signs will be posted near the site.

The event will feature speakers Jim Arch, Clark County Land Conservationist-CCA, Richard Halopka, Senior Outreach Specialist-CCA - UW-Extension - Clark County, and Derek Schmitt, District Conservationist – Clark County NRCS.

The field day is free of charge and open to the public, rain or shine. For more information contact Halopka at 715-743-5121.

WASHINGTON D.C.

New Dairy Donation program to improve upon food boxes

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the new $400 million Dairy Donation program will discourage dumping milk and improve logistics at donation centers to distribute perishable products, according to Brownfield Ag News report.

The USDA announced that the Farmers to Families Food Box program will end in May and the agency will shift to more effective ways of delivering fresh produce and dairy products, Vilsack said.

“We're going to continue to provide healthy food, but we're going to do it through the most efficient system that we have,” including food banks and a new Dairy Donation Program, Vilsack told the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday.

According to USDA, the average price of a box fluctuated from as low as $28 to as high as $105, and distribution costs and the content of boxes varied from place to place. 

There was also “an inadequate accounting of where the boxes were actually delivered,” Vilsack said. “There was a lot of food waste and loss that we uncovered” during listening sessions USDA held.

Vilsack says another component will be to make sure food banks can receive and store fresh products to distribute.

Michael Dykes, head of the IDFA, urged USDA to keep a wide variety of dairy products as a primary component of their distribution programs during a recent food purchases listening session and spread out the purchases over the life of the program, according to Brownfield Ag News report.

IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation hailed the announcement.

MADISON, WI

Wood from Madison laboratory headed for U.S. Capitol repairs

Workers repairing damage to the U.S. Capitol during January's riot are using priceless wood that spent decades sitting in a Madison laboratory. 

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Saturday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Products Laboratory has been storing nearly 80 mahogany boards it acquired during World War I for research on aircraft propeller material. Research suggest it was harvested in the early 20th century in the Philippines, South America or Africa. 

Officials with the Architect of the Capitol, the agency that maintains the building, plan to use the wood to repair doors and millwork damaged during the Jan. 6 riot. 

The agency says the type of mahogany stored at the lab is no longer available anywhere in the world at any price. The lab shipped the wood to Washington D.C. by truck in February.

MADISON, WI

DNR announces wildlife poster contest winners

The Wisconsin DNR recently announced the winners of the third annual Keep Wildlife Wild poster contest. Submitted by fourth through sixth graders around the state, each poster helps spread the word about our shared role in keeping all wildlife healthy, and most importantly, wild.

According to the DNR, officials received about 130 entries from across Wisconsin. The winners in each grade category are as follows: 

Fourth grade winners: Archer Peterson, Brillion, 1; Nayeli Ostrander, Lodi, 2; Hutson Conley, Plover, 3. Fifth grade winners: Mathew Bernier, Beloit, 1; Thea Kammerud, Darlington, 2; Blythe Griggs, Campbellsport, 3. Sixth grade winners: Miriam Borgwardt, Fond du Lac, 1; Wyatt Orth, Medford, 2; Kate Mischick, McFarland, 3.

FORT COLLINS, CO

Research: US has most sustainable beef industry

A new study by Colorado State University confirms the US is the country with the most sustainable beef industry.

Mary Thomas Hart, Environmental Council for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, told Brownfield Ag News Report its attributed to the fact that cattle can be raised in the US with little deforestation compared to other countries, but also because of innovative practices.

The study was a comparison based on beef industry life cycle assessments from around the world which look at efficiency across the entire supply chain including grazing, processing, and retail to show the environmental inputs and outputs of production. 

WASHINGTON D.C.

USDA marks 5M acres enrolled in conservation easements

The USDA and private landowners have partnered to protect more than 5 million acres of wetlands, grasslands, and prime farmland — an area the size of New Jersey.

Since October, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has enrolled 110,000 acres in new conservation easements, bringing USDA to this important conservation milestone, according to a news release.

NRCS has offered conservation easements through the Farm Bill for 28 years, through programs like the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements.

CALHOUN, GA

Farm machinery makers faces lack of components

Thanks to higher grain prices, farmers are eager to place orders for new equipment in time for this year’s harvest. Unfortunately, disruptions along the supply chain have left machinery makers like AGCO Corp scrambling to keep up with those orders.

Reuters reported that the Georgia-based company says shortages of steel, plastics, microchips and tires that it needs to make tractors and combines due to the pandemic, has left them telling customers they may have to wait as long as six months for their machinery – maybe too late for the 2021 harvest.

AGCO is not alone. Other farm equipment makers affected by the supply logjam include Deere & Co, and CNH Industrial.

For farm machinery companies, whose business is highly seasonal, sourcing problems could mean lost sales, the report said.

PRAIRIE DU SAC, WI

Culver's launches "Swagriculture Design Contest" to support farmers

Culver's Thank You Farmers Project is launching a new initiative, the "Swagriculture Design Contest," to raise money to support ag education programs in schools. Anyone can create a mug, hat or T-shirt design, which may be featured as an official campaign apparel item.

The grand prize includes $1,000 and a Culver's cooler, T-shirt, hat and mug featuring the selected design. Runner-up will win $250 and a T-shirt, hat and mug with their design, while the Honorable Mention will receive $100 and a hat and mug with their design. Contestants can submit their designs by May 21 at culvers.com/swagriculturecontest.