Ag Briefs: Potential railroad strike delayed until early December

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Egg and layer production continue to lag

Wisconsin egg production during September 2022 was 144 million eggs, down 4 percent from last month and down 14 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during September 2022 was 5.71 million, up slightly from last month but down 16 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for September were 2,528, down 4 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last September.


State production reports released by USDA

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. According to the report which is based on conditions as of Nov. 1, Wisconsin corn production is forecast at 537 million bushels.

Yields are expected to average a record 182.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October 1 forecast but up 2.0 bushels per acre from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 3.95 million acres, with an estimated 2.95 million acres to be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 115 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 54.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October forecast but down 1.0 bushel from 2021. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 2.16 million acres with2.13 million acres to be harvested.


Pork producers celebrate rejection of slaughterhouse ban

Agriculture producers across South Dakota say the defeat of a proposed ban on new slaughterhouse plants in Sioux Falls is a big win for the industry and will create more options for local farmers to market their livestock.

The majority of voters in the state’s largest city rejected the ban, which allows Wholestone, a Nebraska-based pork producer, to continue with its plan to open a $500 million plant in northeastern Sioux Falls.

The group Smart Growth Sioux Falls has been fighting Wholestone’s plan since early this year, claiming that the plant would negatively affect the city’s water and air quality and impact traffic and affordable housing.

The company said it would start with one shift of 1,000 employees when construction is finished in 2025 and add another shift of 1,000 to 1,200 employees later. Each shift would process about 3 million hogs per year.


Potential railroad strike delayed until early December

The possibility of an economically devastating railroad strike has been pushed back into early December to allow time for engineers and conductors to vote on their agreements with the freight railroads and give more opportunity for the industry to renegotiate with two unions that rejected their deals last month.

Previously, a Nov. 19 strike deadline hung over the talks, but the union that represents track maintenance workers agreed Wednesday to delay any action until next month. But all 12 rail unions must approve their deals to avoid a strike and so far only seven have ratified the agreements that provide 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses.

Rail workers remain concerned about the lack of paid sick time and the demanding schedules in the industry.


Holiday Market to Highlight Wisconsin Companies, Products

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP) Something Special from Wisconsin™ (SSfW) program, along with event planner Stephanie Juhl, will be hosting a SSfW Holiday Market in Johnson Creek. The event will take place at the Johnson Creek Elementary School and be open from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2022 and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2022.

The event will feature more than 70 SSfW member companies and showcase a variety of Wisconsin-made products, including beverages, lotions, snacks, spices, meats, and cheeses. Coinciding with Small Business Saturday, this free event will allow the public to support local businesses and purchase high-quality Wisconsin products.

In addition to traditional company booths featuring more than 70 member companies, there will be a pop-up shop featuring a variety of items from SSfW companies not in attendance


Grant Co. teams top meat judging event

Both the senior and junior teams from Grant County earned top honors in the State 4-H Meats Judging Contest held in Madison. Members of the senior team that will be advancing to the National 4-H Meats Judging Contest in Kansas City, MO. include Jessica Patterson, Luke Patterson, Avery Crooks, Shelby Knoble, and Cameron Patterson. Jessica Patterson also captured top individual honors in the retail identification and carcass evaluation contest.

Representing Grant County in the junior division were: Libby Vogt, Leah Patterson, Aiden Patterson, and Anna Drinkwater. The teams are coached by Dennis Patterson.

The State 4-H Meats Judging Contest consists of evaluating and ranking classes of hams, beef carcasses, lamb, beef, and pork cuts. Contestants also identified 25 retail cuts of beef, pork or lamb and 10 cuts of processed meats products, quality and yield graded 5 beef carcasses and completed a 10 question meat label reading exercise.


Nitrogen Optimization pilot grant application open through Jan. 31

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) invites Wisconsin farmers to apply for commercial nitrogen optimization research grants through Jan. 31, 2023. These grants aim to enhance the understanding of and refine new methods that optimize commercial nitrogen applied to agricultural fields.

Eligible applicants must be an agricultural producer, agree to collaborate with the University of Wisconsin System (UW) on their project, and voluntarily conduct commercial nitrogen optimization field studies for a minimum of two years. For a full list of requirements, visit DATCP’s website.

DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski said $1.6M in grants will give farmers across the state the opportunity to continue preserving natural resources and identify new opportunities in nitrogen optimization.

The grant application is available on DATCP’s website. Applications are due by midnight on Jan. 31. Grant recipients will be announced in March 2023.


Discovery Farms Conference set for Dec. 14

The University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms will host its 11th annual conference at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells this fall. The December 14 forum is - Stacking the Deck: Integrating management practices for water quality, agronomic and management benefits.

This year’s conference will connect water quality, agronomy and management practices on farms by showcasing the importance of stacking practices into a conservation system. Cost is $80. For more information visit


Tractor Supply raises record $2.4M for National 4-H Council

Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, in partnership with the National 4-H Council, announced its Fall Paper Clover campaign results, raising $1,137,991. Proceeds from the 2022 Fall Paper Clover event will impact more than 10,000 4-H kids and teens across the country, funding their leadership conferences, camps and educational programs.

From Oct. 5-16, Tractor Supply customers and Team Members purchased the signature 4-H Paper Clover Emblem at checkout in-store and online at Funds raised will go directly to 4-H, with 90 percent of donations earmarked for programs in the state where funds were collected, and the remaining funds to support the overall mission and growth of 4 H nationally.

Since the initiative began in 2010, Tractor Supply has raised more than $19 million for 4-H youth through the Paper Clover fundraisers.


AMS announces plans to amend the U.S. standards for soybeans

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced that the Federal Grain and Inspection Service (FGIS) will publish a proposed rule seeking public comment on a proposal to make changes to the U.S. Standards for Soybeans.

Under the authority of the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA), USDA established the soybean standards to help in the marketing of soybeans. “Soybeans of Other Colors” (SBOC) has served as a grading factor for determining soybean quality. USDA has recently received numerous requests from representatives of US soybean producers and grain traders to remove SBOC, as a grade-determining factor for describing the quality for soybeans (e.g., U.S. No 1 Yellow soybeans, U.S. No. 2 Yellow Soybeans, etc.).

Historically, SBOC levels are low, rarely impacting the grade of soybeans. For the past two years, the soybean industry has experienced an increased presence of SBOC. At the request of the Grain Inspection Advisory Committee (GIAC), FGIS conducted a study to evaluate whether the presence of SBOC had an impact on the quality of soybean protein and oil. The study found no significant differences in official protein or oil content.


Grain business files for bankruptcy

A north central Iowa organic soybean business filed for bankruptcy Monday, saying it owes at least 100 creditors $10 million. It’s the state’s second grain business to run into financial insolvency this year.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture suspended the warehouse and grain dealer licenses of Global Processing Inc. of Kanawha earlier this month, saying the company failed to 'have sufficient funds to cover producer grain checks' as well as to file monthly financial statements as Iowa law requires.

The loss of state licenses means Global Processing is no longer able to accept grain in Iowa. The company says online that it process food-grade organic soybeans, with locations in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota.

Global Processing said in its bankruptcy filing Monday that it owes between 100 and 199 creditors from $10 million to $50 million.


New members tapped for FB YFA Committee

Darren and Kendall Riskedal of Jefferson County, Casey and Morgan Lobdell of Iowa County, Luke and Ashley Lisowe of Calumet County, and Lexi Cook of St. Croix County have been appointed to Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist  Committee by the organization’s Board of Directors, according to WFBF. Their terms begin at the end of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau YFA Conference on December 4.

WFBF President Kevin Krentz said the YFA program is designed to build the next generation of Farm Bureau leaders.

The WFBF YFA Committee consists of nine couples or individuals (ages 18-35) from around the state. Its goal is to get more young farmers and agriculturists acquainted with and involved in Farm Bureau.