Ag Briefs: WI-based co. plans to build a meat processing plant in Missouri

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs

JEFFERSON CITY, MO

Meat processing plant could bring 1,300 jobs to Missouri

A Wisconsin-based company plans to build a meat processing plant in eastern Missouri next year that could bring 1,300 jobs to the region, officials announced Tuesday.

American Foods Group, which has factories in seven other states, would build the plant between Wright City and Foristell in Warren County if a final agreement can be approved.

The plant, which will process only beef, could generate $1 billion in economic impact, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. 

Warren County economic development director Steve Etcher said the company is in the design stage for the factory.

Gov. Mike Parson, who raises cattle in Polk County, said American Foods would potentially invest $450 million in the region west of St. Louis.

FRIESLAND, WI

Alsum Farms recalls select onions due to Salmonella risk

Alsum Farms and Produce is recalling some onion products sold at Wisconsin retailers.

The onions were imported from Mexico and sold between July 13 and August 18 and are labeled “Produce of Mexico.”

Products included in the recall include:3 lb. bags, 5 lb. bags, and 50 lb. cartons of fresh whole yellow onions; 2 lb. bags of fresh whole white onions; and 2lb. bags of fresh whole red onions.

Alsum says these products could be contaminated with Salmonella. The company says no illnesses have been reported in connection with the potentially contaminated onions, Channel 3000 reported..

Those who have purchased potentially contaminated onions should throw them out, or return them for a refund.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Tariffs, supply chain not on agenda for Biden-Xi meeting

Farmers, ranchers and ag exporters hoping President Joe Biden will engage Chinese President Xi Jinping on trade tariffs or supply chain problems will likely be disappointed.

Agri-Pulse reported that neither topic is on Biden’s agenda for the virtual meeting, according to a senior White House official who previewed expectations for the conversation to reporters.

Biden will be pressing Xi on China’s subsidies for its industrial sector, among several other contentious issues, but the trade war that is still effectively in place and the underlying tariffs that continue to impact the U.S. ag and food sector won’t likely be topics brought up by Biden during the virtual talks that are expected to last several hours, the Biden administration official said.

Xi may bring up the U.S. tariffs that are making Chinese goods more expensive to U.S. consumers, but Biden is not likely to bring up the topic, the official said.

MADISON, WI

WI DNR plans to start testing deer for SARS-CoV-2

As evidence mounts that white-tailed deer are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, researchers and health officials are scrambling to study the disease in the wild population and offer guidance to hunters.

To date there is no proof the virus sickens deer or can be transmitted from deer to humans.

But scientists say much is yet to be learned and worry about the potential for the nation's 30 million deer to act as a reservoir for an evolving virus and a source for human infection, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Building upon findings that white-tailed deer can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and transmit the virus to other deer, APHIS and its state partners will begin a phased, multi-year approach this winter to understand the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 in WTD to human and animal health.

MADISON, WI

Avoid late fee when renewing commercial pesticide applicator license

The Wisconsin DATCP is reminding individuals with a commercial pesticide applicator license expiring on Dec. 31, 2021, that they must have their certification done prior to renewing their license. An $8 late fee applies for any license renewal received after its expiration. 

Individuals who need to complete their certification can take the exam either on paper or online, and must schedule the exam in advance. Those who pass the exam receive a five-year certification.

For more information visit datcppesticideinfo@wisconsin.gov, or call (608) 224-4548.

WEST ALLIS, WI

State Fair Century, Sesquicentennial farm, home applications available

Wisconsin State Fair officials announced that applications are now available for the 2022 Century and Sesquicentennial Farm and Home Award, an award given to families who have dedicated their life to Wisconsin farming for 100 or 150 years.

To qualify for the award, families are required to provide proof of continuous family ownership of a property in the state of Wisconsin for either the last 100 or 150 years. 

Applications must be postmarked by March 1, 2022. Applications are not available online and only one certificate may be issued per property.

To request a copy of either application, contact Jill Albanese at 414-777-0580, or write to: Century or Sesquicentennial Farm and Home Program, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis, WI  53214.

KANSAS CITY, MO

WI dairies recognized for reproductive performance

Wisconsin dairies received receiving the Excellence in Dairy Cattle Reproduction Awards during the annual meeting of the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council. The awards recognized dairy farms that excel at reproductive efficiency, fertility and well-implemented management procedures.

Four Wisconsin dairies were among the six receiving Platinum recognition: Kliebenstien Farms (Nate and Morgan Kliebenstien), Darlington; Scholze Dairy (Theo Scholze), Humbird; Wessel Farms LLC (David Wessel), Mineral Point.; and Latham Dairy (John Latham, owner, and Mark Winters, manager), Boscobel.

Wisconsin farms receiving gold—Williams Bedrock Bovines (Jeff Williams), Brodhead; Brooklyn Rollin Green Dairy (Jim, Jeff and Jamie McNeely), Brooklyn and Holmesville Dairy (Travis Holmes), Argyle.

Silver honorees include—Sunrise Dairy (Dan Hischke), Suring and Blue Star Dairy Farms (Brian and Craig Meinholz), DeForest. Bronze winners—Faywillow Farms (Al Ruf and Tim Douglas), Darlington.; Night Hawk Dairy LLC (Chris Leick), Stratford; Davis Family Farms LLC (Jayme and Brad Davis), Darlington; Baudhuin's Grandview Dairy LLC (Karen Baudhuin), Casco and and Scheps Dairy (Ken and Dan Scheps), Almena.

This awards program, sponsored by Hoard’s Dairyman magazine and Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council.

WASHINGTON D.C.

EPA fines Nutrien Ag $668,100

The U.S. EPA penalized Nutrien Ag Solutions amid allegations of applying dicamba illegally on farms in Kansas during the summer of 2020. 

The EPA says that the pesticide was canceled by the federal government and that Nutrien applied it “in a manner inconsistent with the products’ labeling.” The Colorado-based company, which sells, distributes, and applies pesticides mainly for farming operations, will pay $668,100, Ag Daily reported.

In 2020, EPA canceled the use of certain pesticides containing the active ingredient dicamba. In its cancellation order, EPA said that farmers could use their existing stocks of three pesticides containing dicamba until July 31, 2020, but that applicators must adhere to all product labeling requirements.

According to the EPA, Nutrien Ag Solutions allegedly used two dicamba products in a manner inconsistent with the approved label on at least 27 occasions, in violation of the Agency’s cancellation order. 

EUNICE, N.M.

City moves ahead with desalination project

One southeastern New Mexico city is taking another step forward as it looks for an "unlimited" source of water.  The Eunice City Council recently voted to have a Hobbs-based engineering firm continue studying the benefits of building a desalination plant for the community. 

As depletion of fresh water from the Ogallala Aquifer continues, the council wants to know the feasibility of a proposed alternative — desalination of saline or brackish water.

The Hobbs News-Sun reported that it could cost about $5.5 million to build a plant and the completion of the engineering study likely will provide a more accurate estimate.

Mayor Billy Hobbs believes the project could make the city water independent if the study is feasible.

Using the fresh water from the Ogallala are agriculture, commercial industry and residences, with much less replenishing from rainfall or snowmelt. Below the fresh water aquifer are saline and brackish water supplies that need to be treated, often at high cost, before human consumption.

URBANDALE, IA

Big victory for livestock haulers

The National Pork Producer Council is claiming a victory for livestock haulers in the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill, which the House approved last week.

A provision in the legislation expands the miles agricultural truckers can drive without the restrictions of the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rule, which limits commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period.

Drivers hauling livestock already were exempt from the HOS rule for the first 150 miles. Now they also are exempt for the final 150 miles to their destination, the organization reported.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Concerns raised over vaccine mandate impact on meat inspectors

Several agriculture groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation raised concerns about the effects on USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and other USDA personnel of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Implementation of the mandate, the organizations pointed out, may lead to a loss of some FSIS meat inspectors, resulting in packing plant disruptions and closures.

They noted that the meatpacking industry already has limited harvest capacity because of increasing demand for meat and poultry, a severe labor shortage in rural communities and pandemic-related supply chain challenges.

The agricultural groups asked for “clarification on how USDA will mitigate potential disruptions in staffing with the implementation of this [vaccine] directive.” 

SAVANNAH, GA

Kemp: Georgia ports mark mega rail milestone

Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced that the Georgia Ports Authority has completed and is now operating the second set of nine new rail tracks for a total of 18 tracks at its Mason Mega Rail Terminal.

The expansion immediately increases intermodal capacity to and from the Port of Savannah by more than 30 percent, Associated Press reported.

Kemp said the project is coming online at the perfect time to help address the influx of cargo crossing the docks at the Port of Savannah. The added rail capacity, along with new container storage on and off terminal, are already serving as important tools to resolve the supply chain issues for Georgia and the nation.

Since Sept. 1, GPA has seen a 60% reduction in the amount of time containers are on terminal, as major retailers have begun moving cargo off-terminal at a faster pace. The improved flow of cargo and additional space at Garden City Terminal has allowed the Port of Savannah to expedite vessel service, reducing the number of ships waiting at anchor by 40%.

WASHINGTON D.C.

NCBA urges Vilsack to halt Brazilian beef imports

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is calling on Secretary Vilsack to immediately suspend all imports of fresh beef from Brazil to the U.S.

In the letter to USDA, NCBA asked for a suspension until the agency conducts a thorough risk assessment and review of the processes that Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply (MAPA) uses to detect disease and other threats to consumers. NCBA also urged USDA to review Brazil's veterinary diagnostic laboratory system, the organization reported.

According to reports published by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Brazil took more than eight weeks to report two confirmed cases of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The OIE requires countries to report within 24 hours for any animal disease event that could be of international concern for public health emergencies. 

WASHINGTON D.C.

Support grows for ag shipping bill

Support on and off Capitol hill is building for legislation that would help U.S. ag commodities get to foreign buyers despite bottlenecks at some of the biggest U.S. ports, Agri-Pulse reported.

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., believes there’s a 50-50 chance that the House will be able to approve the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 in the waning weeks of this year.

The bill seeks to stop Chinese exporters from paying ocean carrier companies to return containers empty instead of filling up with U.S. Asian-bound goods.

Johnson said 220 national organizations have endorsed the bill that says international shipping companies that use American ports would have to “assume some very basic common carrier obligations, including not unfairly discriminating against American ag exports.”

MADISON, WI

Badger Brawl livestock show is back

The Alliant Energy Center will be filled with livestock again this December as the Badger Brawl jackpot livestock show returns to Madison following a year's hiatus.

The show is set for Dec.3-5, 2021, with Friday being reserved as a Wisconsin-only show as a way to aim the spotlight on state exhibitors.  The show will feature dual rings for both the steer and heifer show, with opportunities for showmanship classes for ages up to 21. 

Entries can be edited online up to Dec. 3. However, late fees will be applied to entries submitted after Nov 23. Entry deadline is Dec. 3. For more information visit https://showman.app/shows#/badger-brawl