Ag Briefs: Farm-fatality legislation moves forward

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Compeer Financial awards 59 county fair grants

Compeer Financial awarded $175K in grants to help county fairs in WI, MN and IL make facility improvements.

Wisconsin fairs benefitting include: Alto Fair, Bayfield County Fair, Burnett County Agricultural Society Fair, Columbia County Fair Association, Dodge County Fair Association, Grant County Fair, Juneau County Agricultural Industrial Recreational Society, Kenosha County Fair Association, Lodi Agricultural Fair, Marquette County Youth Organization Association, Monroe County Agricultural Society.

Ozaukee County Fair, Racine County Ag Society, Rock County 4-H Fair, Sauk County Agricultural Society, Inc, Sheboygan County Fair Association, St. Croix County Fair, Inc., Stoughton Fair, Vernon County Fair and Washington County Fair.


Chickens die in shed fire

Chickens housed in a machine shed died after the structure burned on May 9.

The Greenville Fire Department responded to the report of a fire in a 120x40-foot machine shed on W7554 Spring Road, around 7:36 p.m.

Authorities said the structure was located near a two-story barn. High winds threatened the larger structure, necessitating Greenville to call in mutal aid. The cause of the blaze was not released.


Salmon trucked to Pacific due to low river levels

California officials will again truck millions of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries in the state's Central Valley agricultural region to the Pacific Ocean because projected river conditions show that the waterways the fish use to travel downstream will be historically low and warm due to increasing drought.

Officials told the Associated Press that the massive trucking operation is aimed at ensuring "the highest level of survival for the young salmon on their hazardous journey to the Pacific Ocean."

California is now in its second year of drought after a winter with little precipitation and it's the state's fourth-driest year on record, especially in the northern two-thirds of the state, according to the California Department of Water Resources.


Cranberry Open Golf Outing slated

The Wisconsin Cranberry Research and Education Foundation (WCREF) announces  the return of its annual Cranberry Open Golf Outing.

The event is scheduled for June 16, at Bull’s Eye Country Club in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Check-in will begin at 8:30 AM and a shotgun start at 10:00 AM. 

Contact Alex Skawinski ( for event registration form, sponsorship opportunities, or donations. All are due by June 2. 

Proceeds from past events have been used to support funding for scholarships and research programs at: UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, the WCREF Cranberry Leadership Development program, WCREF research programs and enhancement activities, and the Koller Fund for Graduate Studies at UW-Madison.

VEVEY, Switzerland

Nestle to add dairy-free milk “Wunda”

There’s another brand throwing its hat into the dairy-free milk market with the launch of Wunda. The pea-based beverage will be released in several European countries.

The plant-based drink will come in three flavors: original, unsweetened and chocolate.

Just Food reported that the food giant will go up against stiff competition from Alpro, Oatly and Plenish, but Nestle says it “aims to disrupt the category with the new product and that “other innovations within the dairy-alternative space” would be following.


Toddler expected to make full recovery

A toddler that was injured after she fell from a tractor in the town of Byron in Fond du Lac County last week is expected to make a full recovery.

According to the Fond du Lac Sheriff's Office, the 2 year old girl was thrown from the Kubota tractor when the vehicle struck a bump. The child sustained a broken collarbone and facial fractures. Authorities say the child was not run over and remains hospitalized at Wisconsin Children's Hospital in West Allis. 


Tart cherry growers taste success in 2020

Wisconsin tart cherry production totaled 10.1 million pounds in 2020, up 11% from 2019 production levels, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2020 Summary.

Wisconsin’s bearing acreage was estimated at 1,500 acres, down 100 acres from last year. Average yield per acre, at 6,700 pounds, was up from 5,700 pounds last year. The overall average price rose from 10.9 cents per pound in 2019 to 49.9 cents per pound in 2020. The value of Wisconsin’s utilized tart cherry crop totaled $4.99 million in 2020.


Farm-fatality legislation moves forward

Legislation aimed at protecting family farmers from fines after a workplace accident is one step closer to passing.

The Michigan House approved House Bill 4031 on May 6, aiming to amend the Michigan OSHA to decrease penalties for failing to report injuries or fatalities to owners or family members of family farms.

Employers have 24 hours to report injuries and just 8 hours to report a workplace fatality.

State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian introduced the bill following the death of Blissfield Township farmer Keith Eisenmann in 2019. Following the accident, Keith’s widow, Barb Eisenmann, had to pay a $12,000 fine.

Under Kahle’s legislation, fines similar to the Eisenmanns’ would be reduced by 95%. HB 4031 would protect a family farm when most of the business is owned by the operator or family members, or a farm organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or family corporation.

The bill now now heads to the Michigan Senate for consideration.


Junior Holstein transfer deadline is July 15

Holstein Association USA extended the Junior transfer “received by” deadline to July 15 for both heifers and cows in 2020. This new deadline for juniors will remain in place for the 2021 show season and beyond. To be eligible to participate in sanctioned Junior Holstein Shows, the July 15 deadline must be met.

A transfer deadline of July 15 aligns more closely with most of the other dairy breed associations. The extended deadline also allows Juniors an extra month and a half to purchase their show calves, providing additional marketing opportunities.

This is a “received by” deadline – any ownership transfer not received by the Holstein Association USA office on or before July 15 will not be eligible for Junior Holstein Shows. Adding or dropping any owner after the deadline will disqualify an animal for Junior recognition.


Cranberry production down in 2020

Wisconsin cranberry production totaled 4.64 million barrels in 2020, down from 4.67 million barrels in 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2020 Summary.

The state’s cranberry growers harvested 20,800 acres, unchanged from 2019. Average yield per acre, at 223.0 barrels, was down from last year’s 224.4 barrels.

The price of cranberries was up 11% from 2019 to $38.60 per barrel. The total value of utilized production increased to $179 million dollars.

Processed cranberries accounted for 94% of the state’s utilized cranberry production. Wisconsin did maintain its number one ranking in total cranberry production with 59 percent of the nation’s total. Wisconsin total production was more than twice that of the next highest producing state, Massachusetts.


China makes its 5th largest purchase of U.S. corn

China made one of its biggest purchases of corn in U.S. history, a sign that its buying spree of grain off of world markets isn’t over.

The Asian country bought 1.36 million metric tons for the marketing year that begins Sept. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That comes on top of more than 20 million tons it already bought in the current season as it looks to rebuild a growing hog herd that was previously decimated by African swine flu.

Bloomberg reported that Chinese buying has been a key factor in driving global grain prices to multiyear highs. Bad weather, especially the drought that’s currently threatening Brazil’s corn crop, is also adding to worries that a supply crunch is coming.


Deadline to apply for Professional Dairy Producers Foundation grants approaching

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation is accepting applications for grants for up to $5,000 until June 1, 2021.

These grants will be given to new and/or unique programs that support dairy producers in Wisconsin. A press release said the grant selection committee will be looking for applicants who focus on raising the next generation of dairy farmers as well as building public trust in dairy products and improving industry workers' skills.

The foundation has awarded more than $275,000 in grants since 2010 to support the dairy industry. Application materials and more information can be found on their website,