Ag Briefs: Six horses die in Clark Co. barn fire

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Bird flu detected in Fond du Lac, Oconto county flocks

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has identified new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in backyard flocks in Fond du Lac and Oconto counties. Both flocks (16 birds in Fond du Lac Co. and 250 birds in Oconto Co.) were depopulated to prevent spread of the disease.

HPAI has now been found in domestic flocks in nine counties. As cases rise in Wisconsin and neighboring states, DATCP urges flock owners to monitor their birds and immediately report increased mortality or signs of disease.

In Wisconsin, wild bird HPAI detections have been confirmed in 15 counties. As wild birds continue to migrate, DATCP asks that poultry owners keep their birds indoors to prevent contact with waterfowl that may spread the virus.


Six horses die in barn fire

A fire that killed six horses in the Town of Levis in Clark County remains under investigation.

According to WCCN radio, the Neillsville Fire Department responded to the report of a barn fire just before 7 a.m. on April 30, 2022, at N1001 Owen Avenue. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they discovered that the barn and granary had burned to the ground. 

Neillsville Fire Chief Matt Meyer told the media outlet that it was unknown whether a lightning strike or an electrical problem caused the fire.


Planting season crawls forward

Wisconsin had under three days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 1, 2022, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Cool weather continued across the state with temperatures averaging 7.9 degrees below normal. Soil conditions remain too wet and cold in most of the State for much fieldwork.

Where possible, farmers hauled manure and seeded small grains and alfalfa. There were reports of corn and soybeans being planted in southwest and south central Wisconsin.

Spring tillage was reported as 15 percent complete, over 3 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Corn planting was 1 percent complete, 16 days behind last year and almost 2 weeks behind the average.

Three percent of soybeans were planted, 5 days behind last year and 3 days behind the average. 


DATCP announces incoming Ag Youth Council

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has announced the members of the next Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council. These fifteen students, who will be high school seniors during the 2022 – 2023 school year, will serve a one-year term on the council.

Members of the 2022–23 council include: Morgan Baerwolf, Sun Prairie; Rachel Boehlke, Thorp; Brandon Boyd, Watertown; Ava Endres, Waunakee; Claire Esselman, Clinton; Arionna Harris, Milwaukee; Jacob Harbaugh, Marion; Natalie Hensen, Waunakee; Henry Koerner, Walworth; Henry Larson, Reedsburg; Ethan Lulich, Lyndon Station; Brianna Meyer, Chilton; Alyssa Schauer, Mukwonago; Talena Sprecher, Lone Rock and Jescey Thompson, Galesville.


Prices continue to rise for WI corn and soybeans

The average price received by farmers for corn during March 2022 in Wisconsin was $6.34 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Agricultural Prices report. This was 50 cents above the February price and $1.59 above March 2021.

The March 2022 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $15.20 per bushel, was 50 cents above the February price and $2.20 above the March 2021 price. The March average oat price per bushel, at $5.39, was 83 cents below February but $2.24 above March 2021.

All hay prices in Wisconsin averaged $151.00 per ton in March. This was $2.00 below the February price and $7.00 below the March 2021 price. The March 2022 alfalfa hay price, at $161.00, was $1.00 above the previous month but $11.00 below March 2021. The average price received for other hay during March was $120.00 per ton. This was $9.00 below the February price but $3.00 above March last year.

The average price for milk was $25.30 per cwt, $1.30 above the February price and $7.60 above March 2021. Prices received for milk cows for dairy herd replacement averaged $1,710 per head as of April 1, 2022.


Survey respondents support 350-wolf limit

A majority of respondents to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress' spring survey say they support limiting the state's wolf population to 350 animals. The congress is an influential group of sportspeople who advise the state DNR on policy, Associated Press reported.

The congress holds a survey each spring asking respondents for their thoughts on a host of outdoors-related issues. One question asked if the respondent supports holding the wolf population to 350 animals. Of the Wisconsin residents who responded, 12,978 said they support that number, 6,410 said they did not and 2,277 had no opinion. The question comes as the DNR is revising its wolf management plan.


WI State Fair Jr. Poultry Show in limbo

Due to all poultry shows and exhibits being suspended in Wisconsin until May 31, 2022 on the order of the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin State Fair officials have noted that the status of Jr. Poultry animal shows has not yet been determined.

Junior Poultry education contests, communications, quiz, and showmanship (with fake/plush birds) – will be held even if the Junior Poultry show cannot take place. Entries for these contests will be opened at a later date.

In the meantime, state fair officials will continue to monitor the Avian Influenza information provided by the Wisconsin DATCP, and ask that jr. exhibitors continue to check emails and the Exhibitor Facebook Page for updates.

Other Junior Livestock entries are now open. Exhibitors are reminded to have an electronic copy of registration paper (breeding stock only for Junior Beef, Dairy Cattle, Goats, Sheep and Swine), YQCA certification number and name, and tax information.

Online entries close at 7 p.m. CST, May 25, 2022 at 7pm CST. Late fees will  be charged after 7 p.m. that evening.  Late online entries assessed a $100/exhibitor late fee will close at 5 p.m. CST, June 1, 2022. 


FU donates $125,000 to help humanitarian and ag crisis in Ukraine

National Farmers Union and Farmers Union Enterprises, owned by the state Farmers Union organizations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, are donating $125,000 to help with the humanitarian and agricultural crisis in Ukraine.  

"The war in Ukraine is devastating hundreds of thousands of families, driving them from their homes and into hunger," said NFU President Rob Larew. "While the scope of the humanitarian crisis is immense, American family farmers and ranchers want to help in the best way we know how: to provide food and humanitarian aid to those around the world who need it." 

NFU has partnered with the World Food Program USA, the non-profit arm of the United Nations-affiliated World Food Program (WFP), on this fundraising campaign. To join NFU in contributing, please visit


Mining company seeks permit in Marathon Co.

A mining company wants permission to explore for gold and other minerals in Marathon County. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday that Green Light Metals submitted an exploratory drilling application to the county on Thursday.

The company wants to explore in Eau Claire River County Park. The company received a state permit in February that's good through June 30. The site likely would become an open-pit mine if Green Light decides to launch a full-scale operation there.

Mining at the site could become the first such activity in Wisconsin after legislators overturned a moratorium in 2017.


Regulators approve next phase of Alliant Energy's $1.5B clean energy plan

State regulators have approved the second piece of Alliant Energy’s plans to spend more than $1.5B to replace its coal-fired plants with solar energy.

The Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to authorize Alliant to buy or build six solar farms at a cost of about $620 million, Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The projects in Dodge, Grant, Green, Rock and Waushara counties will have a combined capacity of 414 megawatts, enough to power about 100,000 typical homes.

The vote comes about a year after the PSC approved a roughly $925 million investment in 675 megawatts of solar spread over six projects currently under development.

Together the projects are part of Alliant’s plans to replace its remaining Wisconsin coal plants in the next two years, which the utility estimates will save consumers $1.52 billion to $6.15 billion over the next 35 years.


Evers: WI has planted more than 9.3 million trees in a year

Gov. Tony Evers today, in celebration of Arbor Day and Forest Appreciation Week, announced more than 9.3 million trees have been planted in Wisconsin since the governor committed to the Trillion Tree Pledge just one year ago.

In 2021, Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #112, pledging to plant 75 million new trees in rural and urban areas and conserve 125,000 acres of forest in Wisconsin by 2030 in collaboration with public, private, and non-governmental partners.

When fully realized, Wisconsin’s tree pledge will result in nearly 29 million metric tons of carbon dioxide stored over the next 50 years.


Cold spring weather boosts state maple syrup harvest

Wisconsin maple syrup producers say the lingering cold weather has been sweet for the industry. The maple syrup season in Wisconsin typically runs from mid-March to mid-April, but this year has been completely different, said Theresa Baroun, executive director of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer’s Association.

"If you have three, four major runs, you're having a great season. This year, I've heard of producers where it ran for seven days straight," Baroun told Wisconsin Public Radio.

Jill Adamski of Antigo says they were able to produce around 5 pounds of maple syrup per tree — about 15 percent more than last year. Some producers in northern Wisconsin say their production was doubled.

Wisconsin ranks fourth in the United States for maple syrup production. 


UW-Platteville competes in national soils contest

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Collegiate Soils Team placed in the top half of the field during the 60th Soil Science Society of America National Collegiate Soils Contest . The group placed 10th out of a field of 21 teams. 

Representing UW Platteville were: Abigail Field, Wonewoc; Brooklyn Hill, Appleton; Andrew Mitzelfelt, IL; Isaac Nollen, IL; Nicole Plenty, Delevan; Gabriela Strobel, Sun Prairie; and Tyler Torstenson-Harris, Darlington. Nollen and Field captured third and seventh place finishes, respectively, in the individual competition in a field of 84 contestants. Coaching the team was Dr. Chris Baxter.


Meijer now accepting SNAP benefits for online orders in Wis.

Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer, is rolling out payment capability for pickup and home delivery orders in Wisconsin following initial success in Michigan.

This allows customers with SNAP benefits to pay for Meijer Pickup or Meijer Home Delivery orders using an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card in any Wisconsin Meijer store.