Ag Briefs: Chippewa Co. tapped to host 2024 FTD

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Milk herd numbers continue to decline

While the number of milk cows in Wisconsin was up 18,000 head from this time last year, the national trend tells a different story.

According to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Milk Production report, the national milking herd is 47,000 head lower than last year, which is the largest deficit in two years.

Milk production in Wisconsin during November 2021 totaled 2.56 billion pounds, up 2 percent from the previous November, while milk production in the 24 major states total 17.3 billion pounds, down 0.1 percent from Nov. 2020. 

Nationally, the number of milk cows on farms 8.89 million head, 24,000 head less than November 2020, and 8,000 head less than October 2021.


Sales of medically important antibiotics continues to decline

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week released its annual report on sales and distribution data for antimicrobial drugs approved for use in food animals. From 2011 to 2020, sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials – those also used in human medicine – have decreased by 27%. For hogs, they dropped by 22% from 2016 and by 5% from last year.

NPPC supported FDA’s 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive and Guidance 213, which, respectively, brought feed and water uses of medically important antibiotics given to livestock under veterinary supervision and prohibited the use in food animals of medically important antibiotics labeled only for growth promotion.


Grant to accelerate adoption of regenerative agriculture

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded Sand County Foundation a three-year grant to accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture among private landowners in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan watershed.

Sand County Foundation's project will work with farmers to generate whole-farm conservation plans and outcome metrics in order to quantify the benefit 15,000 acres of new regenerative agriculture practices can have on water quality and biodiversity, the Foundation reported.

The project titled, “Fostering Technical Assistance to Advance Regenerative Agriculture in the Lake Michigan Basin” was awarded $300,000 through NFWF’s Sustain Our Great Lakes Program.

The grant to Sand County Foundation, a national agricultural conservation non-profit, is one of 35 funded projects this year. The funds are matched by $300,000 in contributions raised by Sand County Foundation.


Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board elections

The Wisconsin DATCP has certified three nominees who are eligible to be elected to the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board (WCPB). Corn growers in affected districts will have until January 15, 2022 to vote on the following candidates:

District 4 Nominee: Calvin Dalton, Endeavor, WI: Includes Monroe, Juneau, Adams, Waushara, Marquette, and Columbia counties; District 8 Nominee: Casey Kelleher, Whitewater, WI: Includes Jefferson, Walworth, Racine, and Kenosha counties.District 9 Nominee: Whilden R. Hughes, Janesville, WI: Includes Green and Rock counties.


2022 Agronomy Update Virtual mtgs. set

The 2022 Agronomy Update meetings will be virtual this year and will present the latest information on hybrid/variety performance, an analysis and discussion of last year's growing season, and updated recommendations for field crop production.

There is no charge for this event, but registration by Jan. 3, 2022 is required and can by done by visiting The presentation will be offered twice at 9 am Tues., Jan. 4 and again at 1 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 6.

Presentations by Joe Lauer, John Grabber and Shawn Conley will touch on the 2021 growing season concerning precipitation, late frost, yields, performance trials and more.


Four faculty fellowships at UW-RF funded by Dairy Innovation Hub

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) recently awarded four faculty research fellowships to help increase dairy-related research capacity through the Dairy Innovation Hub initiative.

The selected faculty members will tackle research projects in the Hub’s four priority areas: stewarding land and water resources; enriching human health and nutrition; ensuring animal health and welfare; and growing farm business and communities.

With additional hub support, UW-River Falls recently hired three assistant professors in the areas of animal welfare, dairy processing, and community economic development. Two additional faculty scientists in the areas of climate and water management will be announced soon. 


Chippewa Co. tapped to host 2024 FTD

New general manager Arnie Jennerman says the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Board is expected to formally accept Chippewa County for the 2024 show.

The Eau Claire Leader Telegram reported that it will be the first time in 20 year that Chippewa County is hosting the event. County Administrator Randy Scholz said the County Board approved a resolution saying the county would provide infrastructure and law enforcement support.

The dates of the event will be picked at a later time with Scholz saying the outdoor farm show would likely be held in August 2024, so the event doesn’t interfere with Country Fest or Rock Fest. The host farm likely will be picked by next spring.


Wild winds leave dozens of cows dead

Fierce winds scoured Michigan last week, knocking out power for more than 150,000 customers, ripping a roof off a school and contributing to the electrocution of dozens of cows at a dairy farm.

Tim Butler was emotional as he described how his workers escaped after a power pole landed on the milking barn in Newaygo County.

"The parlor was full of dead cows. ... It's a miracle they got out," Butler told WOOD-TV.

Butler said at least 70 cows died at his farm. Dozens survived, but their injuries were being evaluated.


Amid drought, Calif. advances big new reservoir project

Amid a severe drought, California regulators  advanced what could be the state's first major new water storage project in years despite warnings it would hasten the extinction of an endangered salmon species while disrupting the cultural traditions of some native tribes, Associated Press reported.

The plan is to build a new lake in Northern California that, when full, could hold enough water to supply 3 million households for one year. Supporters need about $4 billion to build it.

Environmental groups argue the project would pull even more water from the state's rivers, which are already so depleted that fish hatcheries must send fish downstream by truck to give them a chance to survive.


Horizon Organic to extend Northeast milk contracts

The company that announced this summer that it would stop buying milk from 89 organic dairy farms in the Northeast next August has offered to extend those contracts another six months, Associated Press reported. 

Danone, parent company of Horizon Organic, notified officials in Vermont, Maine and New York this week. 

The company told Vermont officials that it did not want to transport milk from the region to its plant in New York and will focus their business on larger farms in the Midwest and West, Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said.

Danone is now giving the producers the option to extend the contracts to the end of February 2023. It's also providing a transition payment to affected farmers, the letter states. 


Survey shows Iowa farmland up average 29%

Iowa farmland values jumped 29% this year to an average statewide cost of $9,751 per acre, the highest such value recorded by Iowa State University since it began its survey in 1941.

The nominal land value is 12% higher than the 2013 peak in nominal land values.

The last time farmland values increased more than 25% in a year was in 2011, when values rose 32.5% due to surging ethanol demand and high commodity prices. 

University officials say the increase is in part "due to much stronger commodity prices thanks to higher exports, stronger than expected crop yields and strong ad hoc COVID-19 related government payments".


2 dead in Kansas wildfires fueled by windy, dry weather

Two men have died from injuries suffered in wildfires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres across Kansas this week, authorities said. 

An 84 year old farmer and rancher near Leoti died outside his home when he fell while trying to fight the fire and couldn't get up, Associated Press reported. The remains of a 36 year old man were discovered near Hays after his fiancée reported him missing.

Both men were killed in wildfires that erupted last week in western and central Kansas, fueled by dry conditions and winds up to 90 mph. The Kansas Forest Service said 625 square miles burned in 11 counties in western Kansas, with smaller fires in other counties. 


Deal reached to reduce Yellowstone's bison herd

Officials have agreed to allow as many as 900 bison from Yellowstone National Park to be shot by hunters, sent to slaughter or placed in quarantine this winter in a program that seeks to prevent the animals from spreading a disease to cattle.

An additional 200 bison among the park's more than 5,000 bison could be captured or hunted in the late winter if those numbers are met, federal, tribal and state officials agreed in a meeting Wednesday.

Bison routinely leave Yellowstone and head north into Montana each winter, raising concerns that the animals could spread brucellosis to cattle, Associated Press reported.


Volunteer at therapy farm dies after getting rammed by sheep

A 73-year-old volunteer at a Massachusetts animal therapy farm died over the weekend after she was repeatedly rammed by a sheep, police said.

Kim Taylor, of Wellesley, was caring for livestock in a pen alone at Cultivate Care Farms in Bolton "when a sheep charged at her and repeatedly rammed her," Associated Press reported.

Taylor, a longtime volunteer at the farm, "suffered extensive serious injuries and went into cardiac arrest" shortly after police and emergency personnel responding to a 911 call arrived on the scene and started providing first aid, he said.