Ag Briefs: Soaring temps could impact grocery costs

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Wisconsinites recognized at National Holstein Convo

Wisconsinites Corey Geiger and Mitch Kappelman and the Bauer brothers - Frank, Patrick, David, and Greg - were recognized during the 2022 National Holstein Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Geiger of Beaver Dam, retired from Holstein USA’s Board of Directors after having served as outgoing President. Robert "Bob" Webb of Plymouth, representing Region 5, was re-elected for his second three-year term following a board candidate forum.

During the Progress on the Plains Celebration Luncheon, Mitch Kappelman of Manitowoc received Holstein Association USA’s 2022 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award. The Bauer brothers of Sandy-Valley Farms from Scandinavia, received the Elite Breeder award.


John Deere sued by Des Moines Works employee

A veteran Iowa employee recently sued Deere & Co., alleging that co-workers and supervisors subjected him to racist jokes and threats for years.

Johnnie Ray Hogan III, who has worked at John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny since 2010, said many employees called him "the angry black man" and refused to associate with him once he complained about how they treated him, according to a lawsuit filed in Polk County District Court in late June. He also alleged that his managers scrutinized his work more.

Hogan, 40, of Pleasant Hill, is suing the company for harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, as well as retaliation. 

Deere employs about 1,000 workers at the Ankeny factory, best known for its production of sprayers and cotton pickers. 


National Pork Board settles with ex-employee

Leaders at the Clive-based National Pork Board have agreed to settle a former spokesperson's sexual harassment lawsuit stemming from an affair with an executive.

Attorneys for the board told a U.S. District Court judge on July 7 that they reached an agreement with Adria Huseth. The two sides have been engaged in a legal dispute since Huseth sued the organization in January 2021, alleging that her boss, a senior vice president, fired her in retaliation for breaking off their sexual relationship about a decade earlier, the Des Moines Register reported.

Asked for comment, Huseth's attorney said in an email that "the parties jointly state only that a mutually agreeable settlement has been reached." The lawyers have not disclosed details of the settlement.


Soaring temps could impact grocery costs

Costs are already rising dramatically as a result of inflation, but food prices could be driven up even further as the world faces heat waves that could impact crop production.

Grist, an environmental news publication, reported that as heat waves hit Europe and Asia this week, "heatflation" could lead to increased global food prices.

Pork prices in China are rising as heat threatens crop production, CNN reported. Food Tank, a think tank that is focused on food, noted this month that heat waves in India, the second largest wheat producer in the world, are increasing wheat prices, according to Newsweek.

According to Grist, hot temperatures in the central United States impacted wheat production last year, and led grain prices to shoot up to their highest price-per-bushel since 2008.


Public invited to UW Potato Breeding Field Day

Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station, home to the UW-Madison’s potato breeding program, is one of the nation’s top potato research facilities, making it a fitting host for the UW Potato Breeding Field Day on July 28. This free event from 9:30 a.m. ­– 1:00 p.m. will feature research presentations and tours of the station.

Attendees will start the day listening to short research presentations focused on non-potato research activities at the station, then touring the station’s fields and pollinator plot via tour wagons for a second round of presentations focused on the latest potato research by UW–Madison faculty and graduate students.

Lunch will be provided at the station after returning from the fields. The event will be located at 4181 Camp Bryn Afon Rd., Rhinelander. The station encompasses 235 acres primarily used for potato breeding research, including the development of improved breeding methods and the breeding of new potato varieties.


Petition banning new slaughterhouses exceeds signature goal

City officials say a November ballot petition forbidding the construction or operation of any new slaughterhouses within Sioux Falls city limits has officially been filed and validated, Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

The petition was turned in last week, with representatives from Smart Growth Sioux Falls saying there were more than 10,000 signatures collected, more than the 6,090 required.

The petition will be presented to the Sioux Falls City Council at its July 19 meeting, according to a release.

While it’s not specified in the language, the petition is a direct response to Wholestone Farms, a Nebraska-based pork processor looking to build a new plant in northwestern Sioux Falls.

Wholestone leadership says the move would hurt local farmers.


USMEF releases export numbers and impact on crop growers

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) just recently updated its export numbers and the value to corn and soybean farmers.

The study shows in 2021, beef and pork exports accounted for 537 million bushels of corn usage, which equals $2.94 billion (estimated using an average corn price of $5.48 bushel).

Other key findings from the 2021 report include: Beef and pork exports account for 3.4 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles; Pork and beef exports contributed 12% of bushel value and The market value of beef and pork exports to U.S. DDGS equals $716 million.


Biden steps into rail labor dispute

An emergency board to resolve an ongoing labor dispute between rail carriers and the unions that represent their workers will get to work today, averting strikes that seemed imminent.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on July 15 that prevents any work stoppage for 60 days, writing "these disputes threaten substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree that would deprive a section of the country of essential transportation service.” 

Politico reported that the Presidential Emergency Board will hold hearings in the coming weeks and issue a written report, including settlement recommendations, in mid-August.