Ag Briefs: FFA Stars Over WI finalists announced

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


FFA Stars Over WI finalists announced

Here are the FFA members that will be vying for the most prestigious awards presented at the 92nd Wisconsin State FFA Convention and those hoping for national recognition as well.

State Star in Agribusiness finalists – Kaelyn Sumner, Pulaski and Madison Russell, Shullsburg.

State Star in Agricultural Placement – Carter Schmitt, Cochrane-Fountain City.; Alexandra Nowak, Denmark.; Isabella Atkinson, East Troy.; Lauren Weigel, Marshfield .;Brock Ashley, Portage.; Aidan Bobholz, Randolph Cambria-Friesland.; Brooke Kiefer, Slinger; Hannah Hockerman, Westfield; Ashley Johnson, Weyauwega-Fremont; Kendra Goplin, Whitehall.

State Star Farmer Finalists – Sydni Mell – DeForest; Randy Winch, Fennimore; Rainna Simone, Marshfield; Mitchell Grossen, Monroe; Kaelyn Sumner, Pulaski; Kobe Smit, Randolph Cambria-Friesland; Joseline Stringfield, Randolph Cambria-Friesland; Sophie Larson, Reedsburg; Libby Hasheider, Sauk Prairie; and Madison Russell, Shullsburg.

State Star in Agriscience Finalists –Megan Culpitt, Cashton; Caleb Gotham, New Auburn and Madison Russell, Shullsburg.

Among those earning American Degrees, the following FFA members have been tapped as 2021 Wisconsin FFA American Star candidates.

American Star Farmer Candidate – Devin Zimmerman, Waupun; American Star in Agriscience Candidate – Danielle Wrzesinski, Big Foot; American Star in Agribusiness Candidate – Logan Paul, Randolph Cambria-Friesland; and

American Star in Ag Placement Candidate – Levi Alsum, Randolph Cambria-Friesland.

The candidate's applications will be entered in the national competition for consideration of becoming a national finalist.


Western WI Conservation Council to host field day

Western Wisconsin Conservation Council on June 17 will host representatives from Agrometer, a Danish company, for a rare live demonstration of a new technology that allows liquid manure to be applied to standing corn.

Attendees at the field day will receive information about how the use of the Agrometer SDS 8000 self-propelled dribble bar applicator might transform the way nutrients are managed in the soil with little damage to growing crops.

According to Agrometer, there are currently no SDS 8000 machines being used in the US. The SDS 8000 being demonstrated at the field day is being borrowed from Canada.

The field day is set for June 17 at noon, at Jon-De Dairy, 2054 30th Avenue, Baldwin, Wis. 


Awards announced at WPA 2021 Annual meeting

A slate of awards were presented by the Wisconsin Pork Association during its annual meeting held June 2 in the Wisconsin Dells. Governor Tony Evers was awarded the WPA Distinguished Public Service Award for dedicated service to Wisconsin’s pork industry, while WPA gave a shout out to DATCP Secretary Designee Randy Romanski and the Division of Agricultural Development Team for exceptional service to Wisconsin’s Pork Industry during the pandemic.

Receiving the WPA Industry Honoree Award was Minitube for continued support to the Wisconsin pork industry. Topigs Norsvin won the Producer Honoree Award for perseverance in swine production.

WPA Ag Communicator of the Year Award was presented to Walter “Wally” Taylor.


Something Special from Wisconsin releases “Boxes of Fun” for Father’s Day

Something Special from Wisconsin will be featuring unique gift boxes full of locally produced goods in time for Father's Day.  Boxes can be purchased online through Christine’s Kitchens at

Orders must be placed by midnight on Monday, June 14, 2021 to be delivered in time for Father’s Day (June 20).

Father’s Day boxes are available in six varieties: Snack Box, Pamper Him, Father’s Day All Day, Spice It Up!, He Loves Sweets, and Morning Madness. Prices range from $39 to $89 and include products from a variety of Something Special from Wisconsin member businesses such as Slide Gourmet Potato Chips, Ugly Apple Café, Addicting Pretzels, Palo Popcorn, Honestly Cranberry, and many more. Shipping is not included in price.

To see a full list of the Father’s Day Boxes of Fun and order your box, visit the Christine’s Kitchens website at


SD butchers receive $5M in COVID-19 relief funds

Ninety-nine South Dakota butchers were awarded a total of $5 million in COVID-19 relief funds on Thursday, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

Made available through the state's Coronavirus Relief Meat Processing Grant program, the aid provides eligible butchers opportunity to upgrade their equipment and facilities, according to a news release from the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Meat processors in South Dakota have seen increased demand from local consumers since the start of the pandemic, especially when Sioux Falls' Smithfield temporarily shut down after becoming a COVID-19 hotspot in April.


Emergency relief sought for livestock haulers

The United States Cattlemen’s Association is urging Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to lift regulations for haulers of live animals and fresh meat products to prevent any potential disruption to the supply chain.

Brownfield Ag reported that the organization sent a letter to Secretary Buttigieg requesting immediate regulatory relief following the impact of the cyberattack on global meat supplier JBS USA.

The letter says USCA “strongly believes this event warrants immediate regulatory action to ensure grocery store shelves stay stocked.” It also says “further agency action following the ransomware attack of Colonial Pipeline provides a precedent” for an emergency declaration.


Report documents nationwide ag confined space-related injuries

Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program has released the annual 2020 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities report.

The program reported 64 fatal and nonfatal cases involving agricultural confined spaces, including 35 grain entrapments, seven falls into or from grain storage structures, four asphyxiations and 12 equipment entanglements.

The total number of cases represents a 4.5% decrease from the number documented in 2019, but this year’s total agricultural confined space-related cases exceeds the five-year average and the number of reported mining-related fatalities in 2020.

“As is well documented in past annual summaries, there is a direct correlation between out-of-condition grain and an increased likelihood of worker exposure to entrapment situations,” the report states. “Never enter a grain bin with evidence of crusting on the surface or within the grain mass. If the grain is crusted or the floor outlets are plugged, contact a professional grain salvage service that has the equipment and experience to remove out-of-condition grain.”


WI teachers named National Teacher Ambassador for FFA program

For years, teachers across the country have advocated for their students regardless of their environment – whether it be in-person, virtual or hybrid.

Agricultural education teachers are no exception. For the past few years, they have worked together to share the story of FFA and agricultural education in their states and communities.

Joining more than 80 agricultural education teachers, Jenny Russell of Shullsburg and Emma Huber of Tomah will continue to share the story as part of the National Teachers Ambassadors for FFA program.

The program, which began in 2016, provides teachers with the tools to share information about FFA and agricultural education with their communities. Teachers selected for the program receive intensive training in June and July to learn and collaborate on educational resources. 


WI residents win championships at Southwestern WI Angus Classic Show

Angus exhibitors led 81 entries at the 2021 Southwestern Wisconsin Angus Classic Show, May 30 in Lancaster, Wis. Craig Moffitt, Colfax, Iowa, evaluated the entries before naming champions.

Henning Fresh Prince 0005 won grand champion bull. Evan Henning, Janesville, Wis., owns the January 2020 son of PVF Surveillance 4129. He first claimed junior champion. 

FCF Phyllis 056 won grand champion female. Tucker Bayer, Ringle, Wis., owns the September 2020 daughter of Silveiras Style 9303. She earlier won senior calf champion. 

Hill Valley Elbina 026 won reserve grand champion female and was exhibited by Clara Henderson, East Troy, Wis., who owns the June 2020 daughter of Silveiras Style 9303. She first claimed intermediate champion.

Mindemann Dark Chocolate won reserve grand champion steer. The animal is owned by  Gabriel Mindemann, Watertown, Wis.,


Cattle markets legislation introduced

This week Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-4) introduced the Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 in the U.S. House. The legislation builds on a growing consensus among cattle producers, industry leaders, and Members of Congress that the current market dynamics — which stunt producer profitability and put undue market leverage on the side of meatpackers — are not sustainable for the beef supply chain.

If enacted, the bill would direct the USDA to create a cattle formula contracts library, and increase the reporting window for "cattle committed" from seven to 14 days. These measures would increase transparency in the industry and improve the opportunity for robust price discovery. 

The bill would also require USDA, in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish mandated minimums for regional negotiated cash and negotiated grid live cattle trade. Minimums would be set within two years of passage of the bill.


Oshkosh woman hits high note as finalist in NCBA contest

Franki Moscato is among the top four finalists in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) 8th annual National Anthem Singing Contest.

The winner will receive a trip to the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the Opening General Session on Aug. 10 as well as the Cowboy’s Night at the Opry event on Aug. 12. The contest is sponsored by Norbrook. 

Moscato advanced to the Hollywood round during the 2018 season of American Idol and has also sang the national anthem at Lambeau Field and the Fiserv Forum in 2020. 

She is joined by the other finalists: Carrie Behlke, Benkelman, Neb.; Karna Dam, Hooper, Neb; and Kenli Twitchell, Rexburg, Idaho

Videos of the finalists are available for voting on the convention website at The public can vote for their favorite singer once per day per person through June 18, and the winner will be announced June 21, 2021

Wisconsin Conservation Congress And Partner Organizations Applaud Vote By State Lawmakers To Adjust Price Of State Duck Stamp


Waterfowl supporters applaud price increase in duck stamp

Wisconsin waterfowl hunting community applauds vote by state lawmakers to adjust price of state duck stamp. The price of a stamp will increase from $7 to $12 as a result of a vote by the Joint Committee on Finance in the state legislature’s 2021-2023 proposed budget.

WCC Chair Tony Blatter said sportsmen have been asking to provide more money for conservation through the stamp fund. All of the funds raised from the sale of the duck stamp are used to improve the habitat that attracts waterfowl to Wisconsin.

The current price of the waterfowl stamp ($7) has been in place since 1997.


U.S. dairy exports maintain momentum in April

April proved another robust month of growth for U.S. dairy exports. Volume on a milk solids equivalent grew by 25% compared to April 2020, with gains in every major U.S. dairy product, the USDEC reported.

Cheese led the way with an astonishing 51% increase (+13,687 MT) with whey (+28%, +11,757 MT) and non-fat dry milk/skim milk powder (NFDM/SMP) close behind (+16%, +10,559 MT). With the U.S. shipping greater volumes of higher-priced products like cheese and whey protein concentrates, U.S. export value surged by 33%.

The scale of the growth was almost certainly enabled by an improved port situation in April that allowed U.S. exporters to clear a backlog of shipments from the fourth quarter of 2020 and early 2021. Additionally, U.S. cheese exports in April 2020 were weakened by the global pandemic making the comparison month particularly favorable.

However, even accounting for these caveats, the data suggests impressive international demand for U.S. dairy.


Corn Growers set sustainability goals

The National Corn Growers Association released its U.S. Corn Sustainability Goals Report on Tuesday. The group says its committing to national efficiency goals by 2030 to enhance sustainable corn production.

“Making sustainability is a key component of maintaining and increasing market access opportunities,” said John Linder, president of NCGA in a news release.. “If we didn’t address sustainability proactively as corn growers, we’d either be left behind or we’d be allowing someone else to define it for us. Neither option is a good option. The truth is we have a great story to tell.”

There are five main goals NCGA wants to reach by 2030: to increase land-use efficiency by 12 %; increase irrigation water use efficiency by 15 %; reduce soil erosion by 13 %; increase energy use efficiency by 13 %; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13 %. With nine years to reach those goals, NCGA will be using more technology, board members said.


Weekend storms may do more harm than good for dry West

Storms from the Pacific set to swing into the rain-starved West Coast this week may end up turning detrimental, AccuWeather forecasters say, by whipping up gusty winds and heightening the risk of lightning-induced wildfires.

With over 87% of the Western states in moderate to exceptional drought, the news of Pacific storms poised to sweep onshore may sound good on the surface. However, the pattern will be a double-edged sword.

Each storm is expected to arrive with "very limited moisture," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.