Ag Briefs: Three brothers die in manure pit

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Three brothers die in manure pit

Three brothers who were trapped in a manure pit on their livestock farm after being overcome by fumes have died, authorities said.

Rescue crews found the men unconscious and unable to move in the pit Tuesday afternoon. They were fixing a manure pump before they passed out from the fumes, said St. Henry Fire Chief Matt Lefeld.

Authorities identified the victims as Gary, 37, Todd, 31, and Brad Wuebker, 35. All three were taken to area hospitals and later pronounced dead, Associated Press reported.

The men worked full time with their father as they owned and operated GBT Wuebker Farms L.L.C.


Jefferson County Dairy Breakfast Canceled

Due to short staffing and rising costs, Jefferson County Fair Park officials announced the cancelation of the in-person Jefferson County Dairy Breakfast scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 21.

Fair Park Director Amy Listle told Midwest Farm report that labor issues and rising costs provided many obstacles would jeopardize the promotional goals or fundraising expectations of the group's events participants and community partners.

Those who purchased tickets for the 2021 Dairy Breakfast may receive a refund by returning their tickets to the Fair Park Office at 503 N. Jackson Ave. in Jefferson between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.


Goats perish in barn fire

A barn was destroyed by fire during the morning hours of Aug. 3, killing two goats. The Racine County Sheriff's Office says the fire which occurred in the 19800 block of Spring Street (County Road C), was reported by a resident to the Racine County Communications Center about 10:35 a.m.

The Union Grove-Yorkville Fire Department and the Racine County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. Racine County Eye reported that the property owner had been burning brush in a burn pit where hot embers fell on the dry grass and spread to the barn by the wind. The barn was engulfed in flames when emergency personnel arrived. 

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to a nearby home and other buildings on the property. 


Tyson Foods closing Jefferson plant

Tyson Foods is closing down its facility in Jefferson. The Tyson Foods plant will permanently close in Septemeber, the company wrote to the state's Department of Workforce Development.

Tyson, one of the largest processors of chicken, beef and pork in the world, is discontinuing its products produced at the facility in Jefferson, prompting the closure.

The plant, which operated as LD Foods Inc., will cease operations effective Sept. 16, displacing 62 workers, more than 50 of those positions being hourly.


State's first case of EEE confirmed in Monroe Co. 

A Monroe County horse has tested positive for Wisconsin’s first case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in 2021. The results were confirmed August 11 by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

The unvaccinated 2-year-old crossbred gelding was euthanized after showing symptoms of the disease. Horse owners are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their horses against EEE and West Nile virus (WNV), which are both transmitted by mosquitoes. Horses that have never been vaccinated require two doses of the vaccine initially followed by annual boosters.

WNV and EEE may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. EEE is fatal in more than 90% of equine cases, and WNV is fatal in 30-40% of cases.

Last year, Wisconsin confirmed 26 cases of EEE and no cases of WNV. EEE is not contagious between horses and, while humans can be infected by both WNV and EEE, the viruses do not pass directly between horses and people.


Compeer Financial awards $169K in general use grants

The Fund for Rural America, Compeer Financial’s corporate giving program, has awarded 32 General Use Grants, totaling $169,097. General Use Grants fund initiatives and organizations whose work enriches agriculture and rural America, aligning with Compeer Financial’s mission.

Since the program was established in 2018, the Fund has awarded 267 General Use Grants, totaling over $1.4 million.

The following Wisconsin-based organizations received support from the General Use Grant Program: Dodge County Farmer for Healthy Soil- Healthy Water; Fondy Food Pantry; Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc.; Lancaster Food Pantry; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service; New Richmond High School; Operation HELP; REAP Food Group; ROOTED WI INC; Savanna Institute; and Thursday’s Table, LTD.


Beyond Meat sees Q2 sales jump on restaurant demand

Plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat said last week that its revenue jumped 32% in the second quarter as demand from restaurants returned.

But the company's shares dropped after it forecast lower-than-expected third-quarter sales. Beyond Meat said uncertainty about the coronavirus is among the things weighing on its projections Associated Press reported.

Beyond Meat's U.S. food-service sales more than tripled in the April-June period as more dining rooms reopened and people ate out. But the company's U.S. retail demand fell 14%, reflecting a drop from 2020's pandemic stockpiling. 


Deer farms in Sauk, Taylor Counties test positive for CWD

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirms that deer farms in Sauk and Taylor counties have tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Results were confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

Positive samples were taken from a 6-year-old doe in Taylor County and a 9-year-old buck in Sauk County. There is no connection between the two locations.

The 227 whitetail deer at the 22-acre double-fenced Taylor County farm and the two whitetail deer at the 1-acre single-fenced Sauk County farm have been quarantined, meaning no live animals or whole carcasses are permitted to leave the property. The herds will remain under quarantine while an epidemiological investigation is conducted by DATCP and USDA veterinarians and staff.


Teacher mini-grants available for Ag Literacy projects

Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program is offering mini-grants of up to $100 to fund projects that promote agricultural literacy. Grants can be used for innovative lessons, activities, resources, presentations, school fairs and other creative ideas.

The proposed project must be targeted to grades pre-K through 12 and should enhance student knowledge of the importance of agriculture. Preference will be given to projects that use funds toward ongoing, sustainable education efforts; events designed to engage large groups of students; or those that involve innovative approaches to promoting agricultural literacy.

A selection committee will review funding requests that are postmarked by Oct. 15. Applications can be downloaded from

For more information about the teacher mini-grants, contact Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson at or 608-828-5644.


Wisconsin DNR id's 92 new waters as 'impaired'

The number of waterbodies that are impaired in Wisconsin continues to grow.

State environmental regulators are proposing to add 92 new bodies of water to the state’s list of polluted waters for 2022. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources identifies rivers and lakes with impaired water quality every two years to meet requirements under the federal Clean Water Act. The agency lists waters as "impaired" if they don’t meet water quality standards and possibly prevent fishing, swimming or recreation in those waters. 

The DNR announced Monday that more than 80 percent of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers are healthy, mirroring a long-term trend. While most waters are in good condition, the agency has identified 1,285 polluted bodies or segments of water, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.


Maple Syrup Producers plan fall tour

The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer’s Association will be hosting their Annual Fall Tour Oct 1 - 2, 2021 in District 3 in Marshfield and Medford, WI. The tour will begin Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. with a tour of Nasonville Dairy and then Heiman Holsteins, in Marshfield.

The next day, busses will transport pick up participants at Chili Corners.  Then they will be traveling to three different family-owned sugarbushes Sugar Moon Hills, Running Tree Sugar Bush, and the Maple Dude, ranging from 2,500 to 44,000 taps.

Cost of the tour is $40 per person which include Friday events with transportation on your own, and Saturday’s tours with bus transportation and lunch. To register visit by Sept. 20. Hotel Accommodations are available at a reduced rates at Hotel Marshfield or Holiday Inn, Marshfield .


La Niña weather pattern could return this winter

A La Niña watch is in effect, and Indiana State Climatologist Beth Hall says conditions could return this fall and winter.

“If we see another La Niña, this would be two years in a row and we’ll probably start off with December being very mild and not very snowy or wet,” Hall told Brownfield Ag News. “And then in January or February when we do see more of our winter precipitation, it may be more rain as opposed to snow which could impact the soils.”

A La Niña climate pattern develops in the Pacific Ocean and can impact weather conditions worldwide.


Food stamp benefits to increase by more than 25% in October

President Joe Biden's administration has approved a significant and permanent increase in the levels of food aid available to needy families — the largest single increase in the program's history. 

Starting in October, average benefits for food stamps — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — will rise more than 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels. The increased assistance will be available indefinitely to all 42 million SNAP beneficiaries. 

The increase coincides with the end of a 15 percent boost in SNAP benefits that was ordered as a pandemic protection measure. That benefit expires at the end of September.

The average monthly per-person benefits for qualified recipients will rise from $121 to $157. The increase is projected to cost an additional $20 billion per year, but it won't have to be approved by Congress.