Ag Briefs: Decatur semi crash spills liquid manure, injures driver

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Ripp joins WI Farm Bureau staff

Keith Ripp has been hired as the Executive Director of Governmental Relations for Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

Ripp brings with him nine years of experience as a state legislator and one year as the Assistant Deputy Secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Ripp manages Ripp Farms LLC, a crop and dairy heifer farm, with his family.  

As WFBF’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations Ripp will oversee lobbying efforts on the state level. In addition, he will be working on local issues and with county Farm Bureau members on policy and governmental initiatives.

Ripp will begin his duties on Oct. 18. He succeeds Karen Gefvert who is now WFBF’s Innovation and Engagement Strategist.


OCM, ag groups lobby for checkoff reform

Two bills that would restructure and increase transparency for agriculture checkoff programs have been reintroduced into the Senate.

The Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act (OFF) and the Voluntary Checkoff Bill is also supported by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul (R-KY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) as cosponsors on the OFF Act, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as a cosponsor of the Voluntary Checkoff bill, Brownfield Ag News reported.

Organization for Competitive Markets board member and executive director with Animal Wellness Action Marty Irby says check off dollars are being misused and not representing the interest of producers. “Funds are being illegally used to lobby and there’s been a ton of corruption in many of these checkoffs.”

The bills would make checkoff programs more responsive to contributors and voluntary instead of mandatory.

OCM Executive Director Mike Eby says while USDA requires checkoff fees, the agency has dropped the ball reporting to Congress where the money is being used.


Harvest ahead of schedule

Good weather helped farmers make inroads on this year's harvest, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Reporters noted that 80% of the corn crop was mature, and that 91% of corn silage was harvested. Moisture content of field corn harvested for grain was 23% and the crop's condition was rated at 73% good to excellent.

Soybeans dropping leaves or beyond reached 94% and NASS noted that the soybean harvest was 31% complete, 9 days ahead of the average. Twenty-nine percent of winter wheat has emerged, and the 4th cutting of alfalfa hay was 92% complete.


Decatur semi crash spills liquid manure, injures driver

Authorities say about 5,500 gallons of liquid manure spilled after a semi-tractor overturned in Decatur, injuring the driver.

Deputies from the Green County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash at about 12:44 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1.

Authorities said Jeffrey M. Brewer, of Evansville, was driving a semi-tractor hauling the fertilizer on a county and failed to negotiate a curve.

The semi-tractor went off the road and into a ditch where it overturned. Authorities say the driver suffered minor injuries, Associated Press reported.


August milk prices fall

Wisconsin farmers will see less on their milk checks as the all milk price for August was $17.40 per hundredweight, 30 cents below last month's price and $2 less than last August's price, according to the latest USDA prices report.

The U.S. all milk price for August was $17.70 per cwt, 30 cents higher than Wisconsin’s price but 20 cents lower than last month’s U.S. price. According to the report, 20 of the 24 major milk producing states saw milk prices drop while Arizona and Illinois remained the same. Just Idaho and New York, experienced higher prices compared to the previous month. 


U.S. has ‘promising’ vaccine for deadly African Swine Fever

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has potentially found a vaccine to combat African Swine Fever, a disease that devastated hog herds in China and was recently detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the agency said

The vaccine, which officials described as “promising,” provided immunity to one-third of swine within two weeks and full protection in all animals within four weeks, according to a study.

It “could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening the global pork supply,” said Douglas Gladue, a USDA researcher who co-authored the study said the vaccine "could play an important role in controlling the ongoing outbreak threatening the global pork supply," Bloomberg reported.

U.S. researchers will continue to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine under commercial production conditions and are working with a commercial partner, Navetco National Veterinary Joint Stock Company, located in Vietnam.


Corn & soybean nutrient additions to field day

Corn and soybean producers and agronomists are invited to attend a two-part field day being held Oct. 14 at a pair of research and demonstration plots in Marinette & Oconto Counties. Soybean foliar fertilizer and biological products are the focus of the first portion. Corn nitrogen rates and nitrogen capture products are featured in the second portion.

The event begins at 10 a.m. with the second portion of the event starting at approximately 11:15 a.m., with the event completing around 12:30 p.m. 

The soybean plots are located at the intersection of Larmey Lane and Hogsback Road in the Town of Little River and will be where the event begins. The second portion of the field day will take place just north of the soybean event, near the intersection of Murach Road and Townline Road in the Town of Pound (0.8 miles south of Cty. Hwy. M on Townline Road). 

For more info contact Scott Reuss at or calling 715-732-7510.


Deer from WI farm with CWD wind up in Minnesota

State wildlife officials say two Minnesota farms received deer from a Wisconsin farm where chronic wasting disease was detected last month.

The Minnesota DNR said that the news was "extremely concerning" and the agency is "actively considering management responses" to the threat facing the state's wild deer population.

A recent report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that the Wisconsin deer farm where the disease was detected sold nearly 400 deer to 40 farms across seven states in the past five years. Two of those farms were in Minnesota.

One was at a now-defunct farm in Stillwater, which received two deer in 2016. Those deer were eventually transferred back to Wisconsin in 2019. Investigators are working to determine if those deer are still alive and have been tested, WCCO-TV reported.


USDA funds $1.5B to combat school meal supply-chain problems

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced plans Wednesday for $1.5 billion in aid to address supply-chain disruptions bedeviling school meal programs as students return to classrooms.

Bloomberg reported that school cafeterias across the country have been struggling with product shortages, delivery delays and difficulties finding workers as they staff back up after the pandemic hiatus.

The Agriculture Department earlier this month announced it would give schools more leeway on minimum nutrition standards for federally subsidized meals amid spot shortages of ingredients.

The department said in a statement the aid would fund procurement of agricultural commodities and technical assistance from USDA staff.

Vilsack also announced another $500 million in aid to address disruptions in agricultural supply chains, including transportation bottlenecks, $500 million in drought aid and $500 million to bolster defenses against African Swine Fever, a livestock disease that devastated China’s hog herds and has now surfaced in the Dominican Republican and Haiti.


Tropical larvae found in fruit shipped from Costa Rica to US

The U.S. government ordered the destruction a $15,000 shipment of pineapples from Costa Rica after agriculture inspectors in Mississippi found butterfly larvae that they said could be harmful.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release Monday that inspectors from the USDA APHIS found the Saunders 1850 larvae Sept. 2 at the Port of Gulfport.

It was  the first time  the larvae, which is considered a pest, had been found in the United States. This type of colorful butterfly feeds on pineapples, legumes, sunflowers and ginger. The typical habitat is Amazonian tropical rainforest.


Why coffee could cost more at groceries, cafes

As if a cup of coffee wasn't expensive enough, a confluence of factors is driving up farmers' costs to grow the beans and it could begin filtering down to your local cafe before the end of the year.

After hovering for years near $1 per pound, coffee futures doubled in late July, reaching heights not seen since 2014. Though prices have eased a bit, they remain elevated at about $1.90 per pound.

A sustained drought followed by two July frosts impacted Brazil's coffee output, immediately sending wholesale prices for the popular Arabica bean to more than $2 per pound. The frost will significantly affect the 2022-23 harvest, reported Associated Press.

The Brazil frosts followed COVID-related supply chain snarls, a dearth of shipping containers, labor shortages and other production hiccups. Add in rising costs for virtually everything and you have a bitter cup brewing for coffee drinkers.


Costs eating into farmers' margins

Costs are on the rise, which is weighing on farm margins and starting to slow growth in milk production. According to the Dairy Margin Coverage program’s income over feed calculation, the average dairy producer spent $12.45 on feed to produce 100 pounds of milk in August. That’s the highest national average feed cost since 2013, on the heels of the devastating 2012 drought.

Even at eight-year highs, the index likely understates feed costs because it fails to account for this year’s stiff markups due to regional scarcity and expensive freight. Other costs are higher too. Wages and fuel are taking an especially big bite out of dairy producer incomes.


AFBF, NPPC file Prop 12 appeal to Supreme Court

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council today petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take their case against California’s Proposition 12, which would ban the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet the state’s arbitrary production standards.

The appeal to the high court comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in July upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF case. The appeals court found despite the organizations plausibly alleging that Prop 12 “will have dramatic upstream effects and require pervasive changes to the pork industry nationwide,” 9th Circuit precedent won’t allow the case to continue, AFBF reported.

“We’re asking the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of one state imposing regulations that reach far outside its borders and stifle interstate and international commerce,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “In this case, arbitrary animal housing standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and that will only inflict harm on U.S. hog farmers.”


Fairlife milk products to be offered in China

Fairlife made its China debut in Shanghai last week as KeNiuLe Dairy Co Ltd, a joint venture of The Coca-Cola Company and Chinese dairy giant Mengniu, announced its plan to launch a set of chilled milk products under the brand.

It was the first show of KeNiuLe Dairy, set up last year under the partnership of Coca-Cola and Mengniu with a plant in Bengbu, Anhui Province, via the launch of fairlife to enrich the Chinese chilled milk market, China Daily reported.

Fairlife is an established brand that originated in the United States.


Danes take precautions after swine flu crops up in Germany

Authorities in Denmark urged hunters, truckdrivers and farmers to use extra care in cleaning their equipment and to avoid importing meat products following recent reports of African swine fever cases among domestic pigs in neighboring Germany. 

The swine flu cases were reported in areas of Germany less than 250 miles from the Danish border, Associated Press reported.

"Just a single case of African swine fever on Danish soil will result in losses in the billions," said Signe Balslev, a veterinarian with the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. 

Approximately 90% of Denmark's pork production is exported, accounting for almost half of all agricultural exports and for more than 5% of the country's total exports, according to official figures. Danish pig meat goes to more than 140 countries, with the largest markets being Germany, Britain, Poland, China, Japan, Italy, Russia and Sweden.