Ag Briefs: 1 injured in barn fire

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Focus on Forage webinar series begins

Focus on Forage is a FREE, webinar series being offered by UW-Madison, Division of Extension. Each session in the series will highlight research-based information and on-farm strategies to optimize forage yield, quality and profitability in Wisconsin. The series is presented live every other Wednesday in February and March, from 12:30 pm -2:00 pm

The four Focus on Forage session topics and dates include: Feb. 15: alfalfa - featuring herbicides’ effect on stand establishment, pest management, fertility management, and the 2022 results of the WI Alfalfa Yield and Persistence project. Mar. 1: Alternative forages and pastures - Presentations on nitrogen decision-making, pasture management and renovation, and optimum utilization of alternative forages in beef production. Mar. 15 - Forage storage management - featuring inoculant decision-making, hay storage, baleage management study results, and silage management.

Registration is required for EACH webinar at  A zoom link will be emailed to registrants. For more info call Scott Reuss, 715-732-7510 or or Jordan Schuler, 920-674-7197 or


2022 Census of Ag due next week Feb. 6 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds our nation’s farmers and ranchers that the deadline to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture is Feb. 6. Producers can respond online at or by mail.

Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by federal law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all individual operations’ information confidential, use the data for statistical purposes only, and publish the data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.


Cheese contest features 2,249 entries

The 2023 United States Championship Cheese Contest promises to feature hot competition among cheesemakers across the country. Already the event has garnered 2, 249 entries from 197 cheesemakers representing 35 states, according to WCMA.

The event is set for Feb. 21-22 at Resch Expo in Green Bay, where a team of highly qualified dairy processing experts from across the U.S. will evaluate each product and calculate a precise score based on attributes such as flavor, body, texture, salt, color, finish, packaging, and others. Preliminary rounds of judging will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on both days.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony that can be viewed live online at and on Facebook at 2:00 p.m. (CT) on Thurs., Feb. 23.


Egg production, laying hen numbers still lagging

While egg production increased 4% in December to 149 million, Wisconsin egg production is still down 19% 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 December 2022 was 5.73 million, up slightly from last month but down 21% from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for December were 2,598, up 3% from last month and up 2% from last December.


Ag groups challenge latest WOTUS rule

Several agriculture groups have filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas challenging the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule. 

Mary-Thomas Hart, chief council for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the definition is an attack on America’s farmers and ranchers. She tells Brownfield that agricultural exemptions added in the final rule for stock ponds, prior converted cropland, and certain farm ditches lacks regulatory certainty for producers. 

Groups joining NCBA in filing the legal action include the American Farm Bureau, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Pork Producers Council, the Texas Farm Bureau, and the US Poultry and Egg Association.


Farmers sought for study on balancing children/work  

To better understand farm and ranch families’ realities in balancing children and work, researchers at the National Farm Medicine Center and The Ohio State University are asking farmers to share their experiences through a new national survey.

The survey is especially timely, Becot said, because this is a Farm Bill year, and some farm organizations and policy makers are debating if affordable child care in rural areas should become a priority. The survey will provide important information about what solutions could look like. The results of the survey will be available later in the year and will be shared with farmers, farm organizations, state agencies, and policy makers.

Farm and ranch families can respond to the survey online at


1 injured in barn fire

One person was transported to a hospital after a barn fire on Jan. 25 in southeastern Wisconsin.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, around 10:40 a.m., dispatch received a report of a barn on fire on the 5000 block of County Y in the Town of Trenton.

The caller reported that the inside of the barn was fully engulfed in flames and that animals were being moved outside by farmhands. An employee that was moving the animals away from the barn suffered minor smoke inhalation and was transported to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton for evaluation, sheriff's officials said.


House bill targets interstate trucking system

A new bill in the US House aims to resolve supply chain challenges by improving the interstate trucking system.

Reps. Dusty Johnson, S.D. and Jim Costa, CA, have introduced the bipartisan legislation known as the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act, which would increase safety and shipping capacity for truckers, provide recruitment and retention incentives for drivers and grant regulatory flexibility during emergencies, Brownfield Ag News reported.

Officials say the trucking sector has been struggling to keep up through labor shortages and strict Entry Level Driving Training requirements.

The legislation would also streamline the CDL process, expand access to truck parking and rest facilities and incentivize new truck drivers to enter the workforce through temporary tax credits.


USDA Deputy Secretary Bronaugh stepping down

USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh has announced she is stepping down from her role at USDA. In a statement, Bronaugh says she wants to spend more time with her family.

She says serving US farmers and ranchers has been the greatest honor of her professional career helping make historic investments in equity, boosting food assistance, creating new trade markets and providing support for underserved producers after being confirmed by the Senate in May of 2021.

Bronaugh helped launch USDA’s first-ever Equity Commission, which she co-chaired. She also led trade missions to the United Kingdom, East Africa and other nations.


Lab meat makes advances

Once the stuff of science fiction, lab-grown meat could become reality in some restaurants in the United States as early as this year, Reuters reported.

Executives at cultivated meat companies are optimistic that meat grown in massive steel vats could be on the menu within months after one company won the go-ahead from a key regulator. But to reach its ultimate destination - supermarket shelves - cultivated meat faces big obstacles, five executives told Reuters.

Companies must attract more funding to increase production, which would enable them to offer their beef steaks and chicken breasts at a more affordable price. Along the way, they must overcome a reluctance among some consumers to even try lab-grown meat.

Just one country, Singapore, has so far approved the product for retail sale. But the United States is poised to follow. The U.S. FDA said in November that a cultivated meat product - a chicken breast grown by California-based UPSIDE Foods - was safe for human consumption.


Deere seeks end to Right-to-Repair case

The future of a right-to-repair class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 16 farms against John Deere is in the hands of a federal judge, who is considering a motion by the company that could lead to dismissal of the case, DTN reported.

The cases allege the company has monopolized the repair service market for John Deere brand agricultural equipment with onboard central computers known as engine control units, or ECUs. The company alleges the farmer plaintiffs lack legal standing to sue.