Ag Briefs: Stop to buy chocolate milk for kids nets dad $1M winning lottery ticket

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


WI FB member places in National Discussion meet

Julie Wadzinski of Barron County placed third in the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau’s 103rd Convention in Atlanta, GA. Wadzinski, a Farm Operations instructor at Northwood Technical College in Rice Lake, was the winner of the 2021 WI Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Discussion meet last month.

Wadzinski will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH, as well as a $2,500 Investing in Your Future cash prize, courtesy of American Ag. In addition, she will take home $1,850 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise, courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.

The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.


Dad buying chocolate milk for kids wins $1M lotto ticket

A Virginia man who stopped by a convenience store to buy his kids chocolate milk also bought $1 million scratch-off lottery ticket. 

WRIC reported Sunday that Dennis Willoughby of Chesterfield County bought the ticket at a 7-Eleven right before Christmas. He decided to buy the ticket while he was in the store. 

The Virginia Lottery said he chose to receive a one-time cash payout instead of annual payments over 30 years. That makes the north Chesterfield County dad $640,205 richer.

The odds of winning it are 1 in 1,632,000.


Abbyland Foods, Inc. and Gempeler's Supermarket post recalls

Abbyland Foods, Inc., of Abbotsford, and Gempeler’s Supermarket in Monticello are issues recalls of products. Abbyland Foods is recalling approximately 14,976 pounds of beef sticks due to misbranding and undeclared allergens, while Gempler's is issuing a voluntary Class II recall for packaged summer sausage.

Abbyland's affected beef sticks contain milk, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label. The 2 lb. pkg. of Iowa Smokehouse Original Smoked Beef Sticks smoked beef sticks were produced between Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, 2021, with an establishment number 1633B on the package below the sell by date.

Gempeler's original Summer Sausage, lot code 323 packaged Nov. 19, 2021, was produced without the benefit of inspection by state officials

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Paul Hess, Controller, Abbyland Foods, Inc., at (715) 223-6386, ext. 7813 or Ken Gempeler, owner, at (608) 938-4927.


Crops prices up from last Nov.; milk and forages down

The average price received by farmers for corn during November 2021 in Wisconsin was $5.06 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This was 27 cents above the October price and $1.49 above November 2020. 

The November 2021 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $12.10 per bushel, was 30 cents above the October price and $1.70 above the November 2020 price. 

The November average oat price per bushel, at $4.25, was 21 cents above October and $1.88 above November 2020. 

All hay prices in Wisconsin averaged $168.00 per ton in November. This was $21.00 above the October price but $18.00 below the November 2020 price. The November 2021 alfalfa hay price, at $181.00, was $17.00 above the previous month but $15.00 below November 2020. The average price received for other hay during November was $119.00 per ton. This was $9.00 above the October price but $28.00 below November last year. 

The average price for milk was $20.30 per cwt, 70 cents above the October price but $2.50 below November 2020.


Extension hosting USDA DMC program update

UW-Madison Division of Extension will be hosting a virtual meeting featuring Mark Stephenson, director for the Center for Dairy Profitability and Dairy Policy & Analysis at UW-Madison.

Mark will cover what a producer needs to know for the 2022 DMC sign-up and changes to the DMC program that could affect current and previous years coverage of the program. The program will be held at 1 p.m. Wed., Jan. 12 pm online utilizing the Zoom platform. Please visit the WI Extension Events Calendar to register for the meeting. For assistance call the Green County Extension Office at 608-328-9440.

The 2022 DMC sign-up started Dec. 13, 2021 and the deadline to sign-up is Feb. 18, 2022.


SBCP presents crop insurance info meetings

Ahead of the March 15th deadline to purchase crop insurance for the 2022 growing season, State Bank of Cross Plains (SBCP) will host its annual Crop Insurance Meeting series, for the benefit of area farmers making plans for the coming year.

These are free, open-to-the-public events. Attendees do not need to have an existing business or personal relationship with SBCP for admission.

Comprised of four meetings throughout South Central Wisconsin, the series will provide farmers a forum in which to share insights, ask questions, and equip themselves with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about the best path forward for their operations. Areas of focus will include: Changes for multi-peril crop insurance, private crop insurance offerings for 2022, top insurance strategies for 2022 and USDA program updates

Meetings will be held in the following locations beginning at 10:30 a.m. — Jan.18, Connell’s Cedar Shack, 2248 Hwy 13, Adams; Jan. 19, Red Mouse Restaurant, 3738 County P, Cross Plains; Jan. 25,  Albany Lions Cluib, 401 N. Cincinnati St., Albany; Jan. 26, Johnson Tractor, 1110 N.US-14, Janesville. Lunch will be provided.

Space is limited; to RSVP, farmers are encouraged to call or visit their nearest SBCP office, register at or call (608) 835-1248.


WI Cranberry School, winter meeting reverts to virtual

The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA) Board will move their annual Winter Meeting from an in-person format to a virtual one. The event is held in conjunction with the annual Cranberry School hosted by the Wisconsin Cranberry Research and Education Foundation (WCREF). The 2022 Cranberry School will also be moved to a virtual format.

WSCGA President Steven Bartling said the decision was made in light of the global pandemic's current trajectory and health concerns for attendees. The event will take place virtually on Jan. 19 and 20. There will be no winter trade show or pesticide applicator training sessions.

Registration fees are $50 per person for members, $75 for nonmembers. To register visit


Pork sessions offered during Pork & Corn/Soy Expo

The 2022 Pork & Corn/Soy Expo will be held Feb. 3-4 at the Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells. During the Expo, Wisconsin Pork Association (WPA) will be hosting several programs designed to keep pork producers current on industry issues, provide networking opportunities for youth and pork industry members, and offer quality assurance certification opportunities

The WPA annual membership meeting will also take place on Feb. 3. All Wisconsin pork producers and industry partners are invited to attend the Annual Membership Meeting. The meeting will begin at 12:00 p.m.

Registration either through WPA or the Pork & Corn/Soy expo website is required. To register visit or call 608-723-7551 or email Following the annual meeting, there will be a national industry update as well as the benefits and challenges of utilizing carbon credits. 


Governor vetoes bill to allow farm workers to unionize

Maine's Democratic governor has vetoed a bill that would have given farm workers in the state the right to unionize, citing the possibility of heaping new costs on an already struggling agriculture sector.

The Maine Legislature passed the proposal, which called for people working in agriculture to be able to organize for the purposes of collectively bargaining for wages, hours, working conditions and benefits, Associated Press reported. 

However, Gov. Janet Mills vetoed the proposal  with a message that said she could not "subject our farmers to a complicated new set of laws that would require them to hire lawyers just to understand."

The Maine AFL-CIO said the bill would protect farm workers from abuses such as wage theft and sexual harassment. 


Dole recalls salad sold at Walmart, Kroger, Aldi, H-E-B for listeria risk

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. is voluntarily recalling dozens of types of prepackaged salad for a “possible health risk” from listeria from dozens of states.

The recall comes weeks after the company had a similar recall in December and one in October. 

According to the Jan. 7 recall notice posted on the FDA's website, the affected products are Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Springfield, Ohio and Soledad, California production facilities. 

Consumers are advised to throw out the recalled items and not to eat them. Affected store brands include Walmart’s Marketside brand, Aldi’s Little Salad Bar, Kroger, H-E-B and Presidents Choice. 


Chinese man pleads guilty to stealing Monsanto trade secret

 A Chinese national admitted in federal court Thursday that he stole a trade secret when he worked for Monsanto and one of its subsidiaries in Missouri, federal prosecutors said. 

Haitao Xiang, 44, formerly of Chesterfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit economic espionage. He was indicted by a grand jury on eight charges in 2019. 

Prosecutors said in a news release that Xiang transferred a trade secret to a memory card and then attempted to take it to China for the benefit of the Chinese government.

Xiang worked as an imaging scientist for Monsanto and one of its subsidiaries, The Climate Corporation, from 2008 to 2017, Associated Press reported. 

Court records say Monsanto and The Climate Corporation developed a digital online farming software platform to help farmers collect field data to increase productivity. 

Part of the platform was an algorithm called the Nutrient Optimizer, which the companies considered a trade secret and their intellectual property, prosecutors said. 

In June 2017, the day after leaving employment with the companies, Xiang tried to fly to China. During a search, investigators found one of Xiang's electronic devices contained copies of the Nutrient Optimizer, prosecutors said. 

Xiang flew to China, where he worked for the Chinese Academy of Science's Institute of Soil Science. He was arrested when he returned to the United States.

He will be sentenced April 7. 


USDA to increase school meal reimbursements

USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an additional $750M in school meal reimbursements to help schools continue to serve children healthy and nutritious meals.

School lunch reimbursement rates usually do not increase during the school year. However, Vilsack said that due to the pandemic, USDA allowed schools to benefit from the highest rates available, which are normally reserved for the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). 

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, the SFSP lunch reimbursement rate for participating schools was already 15% higher than the standard reimbursement for a free lunch. Now, because of higher food costs and other circumstances, schools will receive an additional 25 cents per lunch.

BANGKOK, Thailand

Asia looks to China-focused trade bloc for virus recovery

Members of a China-centered Asian trade bloc that takes effect Jan. 1 are hoping the initiative, encompassing about a third of world trade and business activity, will help power their recoveries from the pandemic.

Associated Press reported that the 15-member Regional and Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, includes China, Japan, South Korea and many other Asian countries. It does not include the U.S. or India. India opted out largely due to fears that Chinese imports would swamp its markets.

The deal slashes tariffs on thousands of products, streamlining trade procedures and providing mutual advantages for member nations. But it has less stringent labor and environmental requirements than those expected of countries in the European Union or the smaller Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes many of the same countries but not China.


Feral swine test positive for pseudorabies at Colorado farm

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers confiscated feral swine from a farm in El Paso County that later tested positive for pseudorabies.

A team of CPW officers descended on a small farm on Sept. 3 near Colorado Springs after reports the homeowner was raising feral swine illegally imported from Texas.

CPW found three of the wild pigs in a small barn and euthanized them. After sending blood samples to a lab for analysis, test results showed the presence of pseudorabies.

The homeowner was cited for illegally transporting and possessing the prohibited species. Each is a misdemeanor charge and carries a fine and surcharge amount of $137 per animal, CPW reports.