Ag Briefs: Farmworkers average $18.83/hr.

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Farmworkers average $18.83/hr.

According to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farm Labor report, farm operators in the Lake Region (Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin), paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $18.83/hr., an increase of $2.26/hr. above October 2021.

During the week of Oct. 9-15, 2022, there were 69,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Lake Region. Workers average nearly 43 hours per week, compared with just 41.3 hours last year.

Nationally, farm worker wages averaged $17.56, up 7% from last year. The 2022 field worker annual average gross wage rate was $16.77/hr., up 6% from the 2021 annual average. The 2022 livestock worker annual average gross wage rate was $16.29/hr. The 2022 annual average combined gross wage for field and livestock workers was $16.62, up 7% from the 2021 annual average of $15.56 per hour.


Check Christmas trees for unwanted guests

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is reminding consumers to check for invasive pests before purchasing live out-of-state Christmas trees and holiday décor.

In previous years, plant health inspectors have intercepted cut trees and décor infested with invasive pests coming into Wisconsin from other states. The non-native, invasive pest known as the elongate hemlock scale (EHS) has been found multiple times on fir wreaths, Christmas trees, baskets, and boughs sourced from eastern states.

EHS is a threat to Wisconsin’s Christmas trees, native hemlock, and balsam fir forests, and a quarantine rule has been proposed to prevent this pest from establishing in Wisconsin. Inspectors have also occasionally detected boxwood blight fungus and invasive bittersweet on wreaths, spongy moth egg masses on cut conifer trees, and dead spotted lanternflies on nursery stock.


Wisconsinites serve on national board

 Three grain farmers from Wisconsin will serve on the United Soybean Board. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the appointment of 40 members and five alternates to serve three-year terms starting Dec. 2022 and ending Dec. 2025.

Representing Wisconsin are: Nancy Kavazanjian, Beaver Dam; Tony Mellenthin, Eau Galle; and Sara R. Stelter, Wautoma.


State milk production up

Milk production in Wisconsin during October 2022 totaled 2.67 billion pounds, up 1 percent from the previousOctober according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report.

The average number of milk cows during October, at 1.27 million head, was unchanged from last month but down7,000 from October 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,100 pounds, up 25 pounds from last October.


8M turkeys lost to bird flu so far in 2022

Beth Breeding of the National Turkey Federation tells Brownfield new cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza continues to rattle the turkey industry.

“We have lost about 8 million turkeys to date, and those losses are very challenging, ”she said, adding that new cases continue to be diagnosed, making the virus a top concern heading into next year.

Just this week, Nebraska agriculture officials say another 1.8 million chickens must be killed after bird flu was found on a farm. It's the latest sign that the outbreak has kept spreading after having already prompted the slaughter of more than 50 million birds nationwide.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the state's 13th case of bird flu was found on an egg-laying farm in northeast Nebraska's Dixon County.


Kroger to sell 6.2M lbs of cranberries for Thanksgiving

Heading into the holiday season last week, Cincinnati-based grocer Kroger said that it expects to sell 6.2 million pounds — or 100 truckloads — of fresh cranberries, based on sales from the previous year during the same period.

The Packer reported that the grocery giant also projected to sell 55 million pounds of turkey.

Van Wert, OH

Activists blamed in release of 40,000 mink

Activists are likely to blame for the recent release of close to 40,000 mink from a farm in Van Wert County, Ohio, authorities have said.

The apparent on-farm criminal activity included stolen livestock, destroyed fencing, damage to barns, graffiti, and threats to the farmer and his family, according to the Fur Commission USA. In total, the damage is estimated to be close to $1.6 million, according to Ag Daily Reporter.

Currently, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Department is estimating that 10,000 mink are still unaccounted for. The loose mink are domesticated animals that aren’t used to surviving in the wild and aside from the threat they pose to local wildlife and the local ecosystem, the animals are already preying on local livestock.