Ag Briefs: Pine River man rescued following silo accident

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Pine River man rescued following silo accident

A Lincoln County man sustained serious injuries in a farming accident inside a silo. According to the Pine River Fire Department, responders were paged to a farm in the Town of Pine River Monday evening on Feb. 7.

Officials say the man had been completing some routine maintenance in the silo when he was injured by the auger. He was trapped in the silo about 30 feet above the ground.

Utilizing the Merrill Fire Department ladder truck, crews were able to reach the man and found he had sustained severe injuries. It took responders nearly an hour and a half to safely extricate, secure, and remove the man from the silo.

He was then flown from the scene to a hospital. No further update on the man's condition was provided.


Creameries honored with Good Food Awards

Two creameries were among six food producers in Wisconsin are winners of the 2022 Good Food Awards, recognizing socially responsible food producers in the United States who create authentic and delicious food, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Blakesville Creamery in Port Washington, which specializes in producing artisanal goat cheese, won for its semi-firm Sunny Ridge cheese, which is washed with a sour beer during its natural aging process. The creamery makes cheeses by hand on the same farm where the goats are raised and their milk is collected. This is the cheesemaking facility’s first national award since its opening in 2020.

Uplands Cheese of Dodgeville for Pleasant Ridge Reserve, made from grass-fed, raw milk. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a repeat winner for the Uplands Cheese company. It has also been honored by the American Cheese Society and U.S. Cheese Championships.


NE could be first state to move on Right to Repair law

Nebraska could be the first state to give farmers the right to repair their own equipment. He says although several states have previously introduced similar legislation, measures stalled.

State Senator Tom Brandt, a farmer and Republican from Plymouth, has introduced legislation that would require dealerships to provide access to digital repairs. 

Brandt told Brownfield Ag News says he hopes this puts pressure on the major dealerships to sign a national memorandum of understanding that would create a platform for owners and third-party mechanics to have access to digital repairs.

LB 543 was voted out of the judiciary committee last Thursday and is expected to be debated by the full Unicameral before the session ends in late March. 


State ag officials announce priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill

As discussions for writing the 2023 Farm Bill begin, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will direct its policy advocacy efforts regarding the bill towards 10 specific policy areas.

At the hybrid 2022 NASDA Winter Policy Conference today, members charged the organization to participate in Farm Bill conversations involving the following: Ag research; animal disease; conservation and climate resiliency; cybersecurity; food safety; hemp; invasive species; local food systems; Specialty Crop Block Grants and trade promotion.

NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said the next Farm Bill must remain unified, and that NASDA members are uniquely positioned to lead impact and direct policymaking solutions for the 2023 Farm Bill.


Northern Investment Co. merges with Hansen Auction Group

Hansen Auction Group has recently acquired Northern Investment Company based in Independence, WI.

With the merger, Northern Investment Company will be offering all the same services as in the past. The Hansen Auction Group will bring a much more robust marketing team to provide a supreme service for marketing all types of real estate as well as personal property.

From conventional listings to all auctions, the marketing department will focus on the most in-depth marketing strategies and develop a customized marketing plan.  The conventional real estate will still be operated under the Northern Investment Co. name with the same staff, but with a much larger marketplace to advertise properties.

Northern Investment will now be offering Online Only auctions, Live auctions, and Live and Online auctions on the Hansen Auction Group’s platform. Hansen Auction Group has been in the auction business over 20 years, and has five offices across WI and MN with specialists serving the farm, construction, transportation, estate, and industrial industries, as well as selling hunting and recreational land, waterfront, farm, and residential listings. 


Applications for Specialty Crop Block Grants accepted through March 24

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is accepting applications for 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grants through March 24, 2022.

Projects that focus on enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crop industries through research, education, or market development are eligible. DATCP will use a competitive review process to select the most qualified projects. 

Projects can receive grant funds for up to three years in duration. Typical projects receive between $10,000 and $100,000. Eligible project expenses include compensation for personnel, consultant services, materials, and supplies. In anticipation of receiving funding, selected project contracts and work would begin in November 2022.

Grant information and application materials, including a video detailing the application process, are available at For more information, contact DATCP Grants Specialist Ryan Dunn at or (608) 590-7239.


Dairy Lab Services to merge with CentralStar Coop

For the second time in less than a year, CentralStar Cooperative is expanding its DHI and milk-analysis services. On Jan. 25, 2022, the board of directors and delegates of Dairy Lab Services (DLS), a national Dairy Herd Information (DHI) milk-testing association and lab in Dubuque, IA, approved merging into CentralStar effective March 1.

With this merger, CentralStar Cooperative will become one of the largest DHI organizations in the country, working with more than 1,900 producers and 642,000 cows across the Midwest.

In time, sample processing will move from the DLS lab to the CentralStar laboratory in Kaukauna, Wis.


Compeer Financial to return $202M to member-owners

Compeer Financial and its board of directors announced the organization will be returning approximately $202M in patronage payments to member-owners in 2022. Member-owners received the first payment of $52 million this month.

Approximately 32,000 checks will be sent to farmers, rural homeowners and others with ag-related business in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The February payment of $52M reflects equities allocated to member-owners for business they conducted before Compeer Financial was formed in July 2017. The organization will issue a second patronage payment totaling $150M in August for business member-owners had with Compeer Financial in 2021.

The $202M being paid out in 2022 represents approximately 42% of Compeer Financial’s 2021 adjusted earnings – and is an increase of $5 million compared to the prior year.


FFA Alumni honors members, chapters during State Convention

Terri Wilfert of Mishicot was elected the new president of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters during the group's annual convention last weekend. Members and chapters recognized include: Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Alumni earning Outstanding Chapter Award in the small division, with Waupaca and Granton earning top honors for medium and large areas, respectively. National Outstanding Chapter honors were also presented to the Denmark and Granton programs, Wisconsin Ag Connection reported.

The media outlet reported that this year's recipients of Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to Matt Wavrunek, Denmark; Charlotte Johnson, Granton; and Angela Baeten, Oconto Falls. Sue Slotty from Sauk Prairie was tapped as the Team Ag Ed Contributor award for her support of FFA, FFA Alumni and Agriculture Education.

Outstanding Agriculture Educator Awards winners were Troy Talford and Sally Ladsten, Sauk Prairie; Daniel Robinson, Lomira; Marty Nowak, Denmark; Mariah Markhardt and Walter Taylor, Oconto Falls; and Katie Reider, Granton.

And the group honored BJ Chrisler from Sauk Prairie with its Outstanding Young Member Award.


Calumet Co. Ag Stewardship Alliance sets annual meeting for Feb. 23

Members of Calumet County Ag Stewardship Alliance (CCASA) will share updates at the group’s annual meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23, at the Neighborhood Pub & Grill, N5091 County BB, Chilton.

Independent crop consultant Steve Hoffman will provide an update of the Between the Lakes Demonstration Farm Network, while agricultural strategy manager Ricardo Costa will CCASA conservation outcomes 2021. Conservationist Joe Smedberg of NRCS in Calumet Co. will provide program updates. Calumet Co. conservationist Tony Reali will discuss county and watershed projects, current and future cost-share opportunities.

RSVP by Wed. Feb. 23 to Barbara Fett - 920.588.0464 or


Horn of Africa drought kills over 1.5 million livestock

Drought in the Horn of Africa has killed more than 1.5 million livestock and drastically cut cereal production, “and we are most definitely now sitting on the brink of catastrophe,” a senior official for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday.

Rein Paulsen, FAO’s director of emergencies and resilience who returned from the region Friday, said a “very small window" exists for taking urgent action, and a key is whether the region’s long rains between March and May are good – and whether the agency gets the $130 million it needs until June.

The result of the drought meant that overall cereal production for the last rainy season in southern Somalia was estimated to be 58% lower than the long-term average, Paulsen said. In agricultural areas in marginal coastal zones in southeastern parts of Kenya, “we’re looking at crop production estimated to be 70% below average,” he said.


Tyson Foods' higher meat prices nearly doubles profits

Tyson Foods shares climbed more than 11% to an all-time high on Monday after the company reported that first-quarter profits nearly doubled due to soaring U.S. meat prices, CNBC reported.

Shares rebounded from a one-month low on Friday to reach a record $99.20, up 14% from the start of the year.

The surge reflects strong demand and high prices for Tyson’s beef, pork and chicken, as U.S. labor shortages have limited production.

Tyson and three other industry giants slaughter about 85% of the nation's cattle.


American ag exports shattered records in 2021

The American agricultural industry posted its highest annual export levels ever recorded in 2021, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today.

The final 2021 trade data published by the Department of Commerce shows that exports of U.S. farm and food products to the world totaled $177 billion, topping the 2020 total by 18 percent and eclipsing the previous record, set in 2014, by 14.6 percent.

The U.S.’s top 10 export markets all saw gains in 2021, with six of the 10 – China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Colombia – setting new records, USDA reported.

Worldwide exports of many U.S. products, including soybeans, corn, beef, pork, dairy, distillers grains and pet food, also reached all-time highs. China remained the top export destination, with a record $33 billion in purchases, up 25 percent from 2020, while Mexico inched ahead of Canada to capture the number two position with a record $25.5 billion, up 39 percent from last year.


APP strikes Upper Midwest pig farms

Recent APP outbreaks in the Upper Midwest have resulted in increased morbidity and mortality across a pocket of production systems where it had previously been well controlled. For one veterinarian, seven sites in their system have had lateral APP breaks since November that have affected late finishing pigs. Evaluation shows these breaks are all APP type 15, Farm Journal reported.

The information was shared during a webinar offered by the Swine Health Information Center and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, hosted by the Iowa State University Swine Medicine Education Center.

Some of the farms confirmed concurrent infection with the PRRS 1-4-4 strains leading up to the outbreak.