Ag Briefs: Hobart man faces prison for torching barns

Wisconsin State Farmer
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NEILLSVILLE, WI

Farmer dies in tractor vs. semi crash near Neillsville

A 59-year-old man is dead following a crash involving a tractor vs. semi south of Neillsville on June 7.

Law enforcement received the report of a crash around 10 p.m. on Highway 95, over two miles south of Neillsville. According to Neillsville Fire Chief Matt Meyer, rescue workers found a tractor upside down in the ditch and Thomas Kren of Neillsville unresponsive and was later pronounced dead.

Information on the second vehicle and its occupant was unavailable. 

SCHOFIELD, WI

AWF to undergo $1.7M expansion, creating 10 jobs

American Wood Fibers, Inc. (AWF), an animal bedding manufacturer, is adding a production line to its operations in Schofield – a $1.7 million project expected to create 10 jobs over the next three years while turning paper fiber waste into valuable product, according to WEDC.

WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $56,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. 

The new production line is in a building across the street from AWF’s original Schofield facility. It will convert paper waste — in the form of pure paper fiber — into paper pellet absorbents for animal cages. AWF will purchase the fiber from a Wisconsin-based tissue manufacturer, take it to Schofield and decontaminate, dry, pelletize and package it.

UNION GROVE, WI

8th annual Farm to Table set for Aug. 5 at Mighty Grand Dairy

Wisconsin Farm to Table’s eighth annual event will take place at Mighty Grand Dairy, 22811 18th St, Union Grove, WI, on Fri., Aug. 5, beginning at 5 p.m. with farm tours and cheese reception with music entertainment. The catered dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., complemented by a program featuring the local farmers who helped provide the evening's fare.

Proceeds from the Wisconsin Farm to Table dinner will go towards the Kansasville Volunteer Fire Department.

For more information and to secure dinner tickets, visit www.wifarmtotable.com, or call Kari Blazei, at (262) 203-4016, or email wifarmtotable@gmail.com. The event is limited to the first 100 guests. 

MADISON, WI

2022 DFW election results announced

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has certified the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) 2022 Board of Directions election results. Beginning July 1, 2022, the following dairy producers will begin a three-year term as elected members of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin:

District 3: Gary Kohn, Medford; District 6: Doug Danielson, Cadott; District 9: Jeff Betley, Pulaski; District 12: Stephen Pankratz, Marshfield; District 15: Sandra Madland, Lyndon Station; District 18: Rick Roden, West Bend; District 21: Gail Klinkner, Viroqua; and District 24: Virgil Hagg, Mount Horeb.

Of the 2,021 dairy producers living in affected districts, 14.9 percent returned ballots. 

FITCHBURG, WI

Emmi Roth donates $5K to Adopt-A-Dairy Cow program

Emmi Roth has donated $5,000 to Second Harvest’s Adopt-A-Dairy Cow Program in honor of June Dairy Month and state farmers.

The program, started in 2015, was designed to address the shortage of food pantry milk donations. Since its start, the Adopt-A-Dairy Cow program and partners, including Emmi Roth, have helped provide more than 200,000 gallons of milk to the community in southwest Wisconsin.

The Adopt-A-Dairy Cow program runs through the end of June, and everyone can make a difference by choosing a cow by visiting https://bit.ly/3tqD95r

GREEN BAY, WI

Hobart man faces prison for arson

A Hobart man is expected to be sentenced to 10 to 15 years in federal prison this week for setting three fires, including one to cover up the theft of money from his employer.

James T. Ambrosius, 25, admitted to setting a total of three blazes that were labeled "arson of a building used in interstate commerce." He had originally been charged in state court with setting eight fires, four of which involved barns, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Ambrosius also admitted to starting a fire on July 20, 2020 at Lazy S Farm in Hobart, stating that the farm's owner owed him $3,000; Nov. 3, 2020: Starting a fire in which he said cattle died at a farm in Hobart, because he didn't like the kids; Sept. 21, 2020: Starting a fire in an empty barn in Hobart and setting fire to another farm on Aug. 7, 2018, on Orlando Drive, a property belonging to his aunt and uncle. 

WASHINGTON D.C.

House passes ocean shipping bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed on Monday legislation to improve oversight of ocean shipping, which supporters say will help curb inflation and ease export backlogs, Reuters reported.

The bill passed 369-42 and will head to the White House for President Joe Biden's signature. Biden said in a statement he looked forward to signing it into law.

The bill would boost the investigatory authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the U.S. agency that oversees ocean shipping, and increase transparency of industry practices.

MIDDLETON, WI

WCIA seed lab achieves USDA accreditation

The Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association (WCIA) announced that its Seed Laboratory has achieved accreditation by the USDA Accredited Seed Laboratory (ASL) program.

Gaining ASL accreditation highlights the accuracy, quality, and reliability of test reports and other quality- and compliance-related services offered by WCIA. Successful completion of the rigorous ASL accreditation program is another milestone attained by WCIA over the course of its 121-year history.

WCIA Executive Director John Petty says this value-added benefit expands business opportunities for its customers and elevates WCIA’s standing as one of the premier seed certification agencies in the nation.

One of the key advantages of ASL accreditation for Seed Laboratory customers will be easier access to foreign markets. Next month, WCIA will be completing the requirements for the USDA-administered Canadian Seed Grader Program.

WASHINGTON D.C.

US inflation at new 40-year high

The prices of gas, food and most other goods and services jumped in May, raising inflation to a new four-decade high and giving American households no respite from rising costs.

Associated Press reported that consumer prices surged 8.6% last month from 12 months earlier, faster than April’s year-over-year increase of 8.3%. The new inflation figure, the biggest yearly increase since December 1981, will heighten pressure on the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates aggressively.

On a month-to-month basis, prices jumped 1% from April to May, fueled by prices for food, energy, rent, airline tickets and and new and used cars.

SPRING VALLEY, WI

Name change for MOSES

An education and technical assistance organization for organic farmers has changed its name. The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service or MOSES is now called Marbleseed, Brownfield Ag News reported. 

In a statement, Marbleseed says after more than thirty years, they are in the awkward position of being the victims of their own organic education success, claiming consumer demand for organics has increased by double-digits but market capture by industrialized food and farming means little of the demand is reaching small and mid-scale farmers. 

The group says they remain committed to growing the number of thriving small and mid-scale organic and sustainable farms and fighting the barriers farmers face when entering the organic movement, especially farmers of color, veterans, and LGBTQ farmers.

LANSING, MI

Michigan lifts poultry show ban imposed to control bird flu

Michigan has lifted a statewide ban on poultry and waterfowl exhibitions after 30 days passed with no new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in domestic birds. Michigan's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says it lifted the ban on June 11, Associated Press reported.

Poultry and waterfowl exhibitions were stopped May 10 as a precaution to protect against the spread of bird flu among the state’s domestic poultry flocks. Avian flu has been spreading across the U.S., prompting farms to euthanize millions of birds. It can spread be spread from flock to flock, including wild birds, and through contact with infected poultry, equipment and the clothing of caretakers.

SACRAMENTO, CA

California lawmakers mull buying out farmers to save water

Some California lawmakers want to use taxpayer money to purchase water rights from farmers. The proposal by Senate Democrats aims to keep more water in California's rivers and streams to benefit endangered species of fish.

According to Associated Press, the proposal would set aside about $1.5 billion to buy senior water rights from farmers. These rights allow farmers to take water from rivers and streams to irrigate their crops.

Farmers, environmental groups and state regulators often fight over how much water should be left in rivers and streams for environmental purposes. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski says simply buying water rights could avoid some of those fights.

CORVALLIS, OR

USDA approves release of wasp targeting fruit fly

After 12 years of research, a parasitic wasp that controls a highly destructive fruit fly will be released by Oregon State University agricultural scientists in June, according to the University.

Now with a permit, OSU Agricultural Experiment Station is raising enough wasps to make a dent in the spotted wing drosophila (SWD) population in Oregon.

An invasive insect from Southeast Asia, the spotted wing drosophila arrived in Oregon in 2009 and soon became a major pest of soft fruit crops like cherries, peaches, figs, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and winegrapes.

Damage from the invasive insect costs the country's agricultural industry approximately $500 million a year.

The parasitoid wasp kills SWD by laying eggs inside the insect and when the wasp hatches, its larva consumes its prey.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands

Dutch govt. angers farmers with tough emission goals

The Dutch government has unveiled goals to drastically reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides to protect the environment. The plan will lead to major upheavals in the Netherlands' multibillion dollar agriculture industry and has already angered some farmers.

On June 10, the government mandated reductions in emissions in coming years of up to 70% in many places close to protected nature areas and as high as 95% in other places. It called the move "unavoidable" and earmarked an extra $25.6 billion to finance changes that will likely require many farmers to reduce their livestock or get rid of them altogether, Associated Press reported.

An organization that represents 35,000 farmers, called the goals "unrealistic."