Ag Briefs: Wisconsin tribes claim half the quota for fall wolf hunt

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs

MADISON, WI

Wisconsin tribes claim half the quota for fall wolf hunt

Wisconsin tribes are claiming 50 percent of the harvest quota for the upcoming fall wolf hunt, and they want to drive the share for state-licensed hunters lower after the February wolf hunt, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Wisconsin's Ojibwe tribes are entitled to up to half the quota as part of a federal court ruling that affirmed tribal treaty rights. Tribes don’t plan to harvest the animal, according to John Johnson Sr., chair of the Voigt Intertribal Task Force with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. The commission represents 11 tribes across Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

Tribes also want to see the WI DNR and its policy-setting board reduce the share allotted to state-licensed hunters by as many as 99 wolves — the number of wolves by which hunters exceeded their quota in February. The agency must submit any plans to readjust the quota based on the results of the February hunt to the Natural Resources Board for approval.

CHICAGO, IL

McDonald's introducing McPlant vegan burger in UK, Ireland

McDonald's will begin selling a vegan burger in the United Kingdom and Ireland this month.

The McPlant burger, developed with Beyond Meat, features a plant-based patty on a vegan sesame bun with vegan cheese, vegan sauce and other toppings. Both the patty and cheese are made with pea protein.

The McPlant will be cooked separately from other McDonald's sandwiches with dedicated utensils. It will go on sale in 10 restaurants this month before being rolled out to 250 more later this fall. The McPlant will be sold in all McDonald's in the U.K. and Ireland in 2022, Associated Press reported.

The Chicago-based burger giant said Thursday that vegan burgers have appeared on menus in some of its regions before. But this is the first time a vegan burger accredited by the Vegetarian Society will be sold by McDonald's in the U.K. and Ireland.

MADISON, WI

Over 100K households enroll in emergency broadband program

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin announced that more than 106,800 Wisconsin households are enrolled in the Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which represents about 20 percent of all eligible Wisconsin homes.

The Federal Communications Commission benefit provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for homes on Tribal lands, Wisconsin Ag Connection reported.

According to the FCC, 394,000 Wisconsinites lack access to high-speed internet service, and 1.5 million residents qualify for the program. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is funded with $3.2 billion through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and will be available until funds are depleted.

MOLINE, IL

John Deere workers push back amid contract negotiations

John Deere employees in Illinois and Iowa voted on Sunday for strike authorization amid contract negotiations with the agricultural equipment manufacturer, The Counter reported.

The move sets the stage for a potential work stoppage with only two weeks left in negotiations between the company and United Auto Workers (UAW) union members in those states.

By Tuesday morning, production and maintenance workers had gathered at a John Deere plant in Moline, Ill. for an “informational picket,” WQAD Illinois reports. The contract will affect more than 10,000 employees across 12 facilities.

Employees say they’re pushing back against cuts to short-term disability benefits, stricter attendance policies, and increased “legacy costs,” which refer to post-retirement benefits.

EAU CLAIRE, WI

WFBF Leadership Boot Camp set for Nov. 13

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Promotion and Education Committee will host a Leadership Boot Camp on Nov. 13 at Chippewa Valley Technical College Energy Education Center in Eau Claire.

The event will focus on current consumer trends related to agriculture, food and sustainability. Throughout the training, participants will learn to proactively address topics important to today’s consumers.

The event is open to all Farm Bureau members, including collegiate members. Registration is $15 and includes the training, lunch and a tour the CVTC Energy Education Center. The registration deadline is Nov. 1.

For more information, or to register, visit wfbf.com/leadership-boot-camp.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Senate Ag committee examines milk pricing

The challenges of the dairy pricing system, particularly those exacerbated by last year’s pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, drew scrutiny this week from the Senate Dairy and Livestock Subcommittee.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the senators on the panel agreed that the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system, and especially its Class I mover, should be changed, but not many specifics were offered up.

The hearing primarily offered a high-level discussion on the importance of FMMOs and the need to ensure they meet producer needs, rather than a discussion of detailed reform proposals, the Milk Producers Council reported.  

The hearing concluded without indications of a specific next step.

WASHINGTON D.C.

NCBA urges open dialogue on methane target 

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) urged the Biden administration to maintain an open dialogue with experts in agriculture as the President today announced the Global Methane Pledge as part of an international effort to curb global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

To achieve this goal, the administration will need the voluntary participation, scientific research and practical knowledge of U.S. cattle producers.

NCBA says the industry stands ready to continue leading the American agricultural community — and the rest of the world — on responsible resource management.

MADISON, WI

Lawsuit to unseat embattled DNR chair dismissed

A Dane County judge on Friday dismissed an attempt by the Wisconsin Attorney General to remove the embattled Natural Resources Board chair who has refused to vacate his seat after his term expired in May. 

Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn dismissed the suit against Frederick Prehn, citing a 1964 state Supreme Court Decision that allows for board members to stay on after their term expires if the Senate has not confirmed the new appointment to the seat.

The decision said that even though state laws have changed since 1964, there haven't been any changes to the statutes regarding vacancies. Bailey-Rihn also said that because board members aren't "serving at the pleasure of the governor," Gov. Tony Evers and his administration cannot remove Prehn from the board. 

State AG Josh Kaul says he is planning to appeal the decision.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

U.S. pork exports spike with swine fever in Dominican Republic

Massive hog culling in the Dominican Republic after the outbreak of a deadly swine disease has led the country to stock up on U.S. pork, according to Bloomberg.

Exporters last week sold a record amount of the meat to the island nation, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed Thursday. That’s after African swine fever was detected in hogs there in late July, in the first outbreak in the Americas in four decades. 

The Caribbean nation may have to slaughter half a million pigs to prevent the virus from totally leveling the herd.

Imports can blunt the impact of supply shortfalls. The U.S. said exporters sold 3,500 metric tons of pork to the Dominican Republic. That’s the most in the agency’s records dating back to 1999, and places it alongside traditional top buyers Mexico and Japan.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials were stepping up efforts to keep the deadly disease out of the U.S., including forming a “protection zone” around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

WASHINGTON D.C.

New book gives kids glimpse of a ‘Barn at Night’

A new children’s book is now available for families searching for a captivating agriculture story to share. “Barn at Night” is now available from Feeding Minds Press, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s publishing venture.

This heartwarming yet true-to-life tale, written by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Jen Betton, invites readers along as a father and daughter go out to the barn on a cold winter night and are welcomed with an enchanting scene.

“Barn at Night” is the fourth printed title from Feeding Minds Press, which published “Right This Very Minute” in January 2019, “Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish” in March 2020, and “My Family’s Soybean Farm” in January 2021.