Ag Briefs: Two hospitalized after truck crashes into Amish buggy

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Two hospitalized after truck crashes into Amish buggy

A woman was critically injured after a truck struck a horse-drawn Amish buggy in Monroe County on Dec. 5.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that two people in the buggy, an 18-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man were hospitalized following the collision that occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on Highway 71 near London Avenue, east of Wilton, Wis. The male sustained non-life threatening injuries.

According to authorities, the buggy and a truck driven by Mike Breidenbach, 34, of Ontario, were both traveling west. The crash remains under investigation.

This is the second crash involving a pickup truck and an Amish buggy. On Nov. 24, a pickup truck driven by an impaired driver rear-ended a horse-drawn buggy full of Amish family members at “highway speeds” inTaylor County. The mother was killed and several children suffered severe injuries.

The driver of the truck, Skyler Opelt, 35, of Medford was charged with seven counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance causing injury. He is also charged with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle along with second degree reckless injury.


Bentley to retire as World Dairy Expo GM

The search is on to fill the shoes of Scott Bentley. The World Dairy Expo general manager announced he will be retiring after eight years of guiding the world's largest dairy event.

“We are grateful for Scott’s commitment and leadership to World Dairy Expo and wish him the very best as he begins his retirement. At the same time, we are eager to hire a new general manager and continue planning for the 55th World Dairy Expo and beyond,” shared Bill Hageman, World Dairy Expo Board President.

Each year WDE showcases over 2,000 dairy cattle and features 700 participating companies in one of the 30 largest trade shows in the United States.

WDE is a dynamic organization operating with an annual multi-million-dollar budget, ten staff members and support from hundreds of passionate volunteers, dedicated stakeholders, and engaged committee and Board members. The week-long event attracts 60,000 attendees and generates an approximate $25 million in direct spending for Madison, Wisconsin, and its surrounding communities.

For a complete job description and application details visit Questions about the job position should be directed to Hageman at (608) 279-0272. ­


Krentz re-elected president of WFBF

Waushara County dairy farmer Kevin Krentz was re-elected president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance Company.

Krentz, president of Krentz Family Dairy Inc., was first elected to the WFBF Board of Directors in 2012 to represent District 5.

Also serving three-year terms on the board include Dave Daniels from Union Grove in Kenosha County who was re-elected to serve as vice president, Robert Nigh of Viroqua in Vernon County representing District 3, and Krentz representing District 5.

Rounding out the WFBF’s board are the chairs of WFBF’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist and Promotion and Education Committees, both of which serve a one-year term on the board. Brenda Dowiasch of Augusta, one-year term as the chair of the Promotion and Education Committee; Bob Nash of Saukville elected to a one-year term as chair of the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee.


7 WI counties may be eligible for federal emergency funds

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that farmers in seven Wisconsin counties may be eligible for emergency aid due to late season freezing weather last May.

Counties impacted by the disaster declaration include: Jackson, Langlade, Marathon, Walworth, Kenosha, Lincoln, and Trempealeau. Emergency loans may be used to support recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Farms in contiguous counties may also be eligible for assistance. Those counties include Buffalo, Clark, Eau Claire, Forest,  Jefferson, Juneau, La Crosse, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Portage, Price, Racine, Rock, Shawano, Taylor, Waukesha,  Waupaca and Wood.


Biden administration extends trucking waiver

The Biden administration has extended a waiver for commercial truckers from the federal Hours of Service regulation through Feb. 28, 2022, the National Pork Producers Council said in a news release today.

The HOS rule limits truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period and requires prescribed rest periods, NPPC noted.


Ethanol production slows

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 26, ethanol production slowed by 43,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 4.1%, to a seven-week low of 1.035 million b/d, equivalent to 43.47 million gallons daily.

Production was 6.3% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic, but 2.4% less than the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production volume declined by 1.7% to 1.053 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.14 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks rose 0.7% to a 12-week high of 20.3 million barrels. However, stocks were 4.4% below the year-ago level and 1.6% lower than the same week in 2019. Inventories increased in the Midwest (PADD 2) and Gulf Coast (PADD 3) but thinned across the other region.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, dropped 5.8% over the holiday week to a six-month low of 8.80 million b/d (134.84 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 10.3% above a year ago but 2.6% less than the same week in 2019.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the fifth consecutive week.


USDA announces Dec. 2021 lending rates for ag producers

The USDA announced loan interest rates for December 2021, which are effective Dec. 1. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operation, purchase equipment and storage structures or meet cash flow needs.

Interest rates for Operating and Ownership loans for December 2021 are as follows: Farm Operating Loans (Direct): 2%; Farm Ownership Loans (Direct): 3%; Farm Ownership Loans (Direct, Joint Financing): 2.5%; Farm Ownership Loans (Down Payment): 1.5%; and Emergency Loan (Amount of Actual Loss): 3%


CMA Young Professionals in Central Wisconsin Jan. 21

Build your network at the next Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) Young Professionals event, set for Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 in Marshfield, Wisconsin. WCMA member employees aged 40 years and younger are invited to register now at

The outing begins with a tour of WCMA member Nasonville Dairy, a family-owned business committed to excellence in cheesemaking for more than a century.  Participants will learn the Heiman family’s story, review their varied product line and check out the facilities from intake to shipping.

Registration, which includes the cost of lunch and activities, is just $30 per person. Only 35 spaces are available, so early sign-ups are encouraged. Visit for complete details. Questions may also be directed to WCMA Events Manager Kirsten Strohmenger at


Fauci says early reports encouraging about omicron variant

U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations, Associated Press reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's "State of the Union" that scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron's severity.

Reports from South Africa, where it emerged  and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest that hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.

Omicron had been detected in about a third of U.S. states by Sunday, including in the Northeast, the South, the Great Plains and the West Coast. Wisconsin, Missouri and Louisiana were among the latest states to confirm cases.

But delta remains the dominant variant, making up more than 99% of cases and driving a surge of hospitalizations in the north. 


Wetzel appointed to National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board

The National FFA Foundation announced its new chair and members for the Sponsors’ Board during the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis this fall.

Paul Rea, senior vice president, BASF agricultural solutions North America (Research Triangle Park, N.C.), was named the chair for the upcoming year. Michelle Wetzel, research, development and applications director, meat seasonings of Kerry Taste & Nutrition of Wisconsin was appointed to the Board for a three year term.

The National FFA Sponsors’ Board is made up of individual volunteers who are leaders from business and industry. During their service, sponsors’ board members are integral in helping the National FFA Foundation strengthen and develop corporate partnerships with others in business, industry and organizations to provide support.


Farmer-owned MMPA to acquire dairy processor Superior Dairy

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) will acquire Superior Dairy in Canton, Ohio, a subsidiary of LEL Operating Company.

Under the terms of the acquisition, all of LEL Operating Company’s subsidiaries, Superior Dairy, Inc., Creative Edge Design Group, Ltd., and LEL Logistics, Inc., will become wholly owned subsidiaries of MMPA effective December 31, 2021.

According to a news release, the new organization will launch a multi-state dairy manufacturing and innovation campus with four facilities in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, employ a team of over 625 individuals, and service dairy farmers across the Great Lakes region.


Lawsuit claims dairy company is misrepresenting Hawaii links

A food distributor in Hawaii has filed a federal lawsuit against a dairy company because milk from the mainland is allegedly being sold under a name that advertises local ties.

The lawsuit filed by Hawaii Foodservice Alliance claims Meadow Gold Dairies is selling milk from California alongside advertising that says “Hawaii’s Dairy” and “Made with Aloha,” the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The lawsuit says the company has no cows in Hawaii and their “Lani Moo” mascot is misleading.

“A sustainable Hawaii relies on locally produced and manufactured food. We believe that local farmers, ranchers, and local food production need to be protected from mainland products masquerading as local,” said Hawaii Foodservice Alliance CEO Chad Buck in a statement.