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MADISON, WI

Hospital addresses food insecurity

One Madison-area health care provider will begin asking patients of all ages about hunger. 

The Wisconsin State Journal reported on June 6, UW Health providers in Madison will start asking all emergency room and hospital patients if they're worried about having enough food. Patients who are experiencing food insecurity will then be directed to food pantries and other assistance.

The hospital will also start providing children with free meals during the summer. The USDA will reimburse the hospital for the food.

The meals will be offered daily for pediatric outpatients and siblings or children or inpatients until Aug. 25. No registration or income check will be required to qualify for a meal.

TOWN OF OSCEOLA, WI

Cows die in barn fire

At least a dozen cows died in a barn fire in Fond du Lac County during the early morning hours of June 8.

Firefighters responded to a barn at W1828 Woodland Rive in the Town of Osceola at 4:39 a.m.

The barn and its contents were deemed a total loss. Investigators say over a dozen cows perished in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation

KEARNEY, NE

Farmers to learn about agricultural technology

Nebraska farmers, ranchers and other agricultural professionals will gather in Kearney to learn about changing technology and how to prepare for tough economic times.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau, University of Nebraska and KRVN Rural Radio Network will host the Agricultural Economic and Technology Summit this week in Kearney.

Presenters will discuss trade, climate challenges and rapidly evolving agricultural technology. Experts will share advice on specific crops and livestock, managing risk and using data.

TOPEKA, KS

USDA expects drop in Kansas winter wheat yield

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects this year's Kansas winter wheat crop to drop 35 percent from last year.

The department said on June 9, that Kansas winter wheat farmers are expected to bring in 304 million bushels this year.

Last year, farmers produced 467 million bushels of winter wheat last year. Dan O'Brien, an agriculture economist at Kansas State University, says disease and unseasonable weather contributed to the drop in production. But he says farmers also planted less wheat this year.

LINCOLN, NE

Report: NE farm income expected to bottom out in 2017

An economic forecast report says weak farm income will continue to hamper Nebraska's economic growth in the coming years. The forecast report released on June 9,  by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Bureau of Business Research says Nebraska's net farm income is projected to decline by nearly 16 percent for 2017, to $3.7 billion.

That will come as federal support for agriculture declines and as yields normalize following a strong 2016 harvest. Bureau director Eric Thompson says farm income is expected to bottom out in 2017, but rebound in 2018 and 2019.

The forecast is updated twice yearly and predicts economic growth three years into the future. It is developed in consultation with the Nebraska Business Forecast Council, a group of economists who work for the university, utilities and state government agencies.

WAUSAU, WI

Cheese company to expand

Great Lakes Cheese Co. in Wausau is growing again. The expansion includes includes construction of a 150,000 square foot packaging plant over the next four years, which they say could result in about 125 new jobs in the area.

Great Lakes Cheese Co. wants to acquire 60 acres in a nearby industrial park and will utilize over $6 million of credits through a special tax district financing plan.

Officials estimate that the project will cost around 85 million and be completed by 2021.

ALMA, WI

Wisconsin to convert farmland to sand storage 

Wisconsin residents are unhappy about plans to convert local farmland to storage for sand dredged from the Mississippi River. 

Wisconsin Public Radio reported that the Army Corps of Engineers is proposing five new locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota to dump sand it dredges from the Mississippi River. The Corps dredges 270,000 cubic yards of sand every year from the Lake Pepin area to keep the navigation channel open. 

Residents in Buffalo County and Wabasha County in Minnesota are unhappy that the proposal would convert almost 500 acres of farmland to sand storage. 

"There are a number of questions that (residents) have that they don't feel have been adequately answered," said Douglas Kane, chair of the Buffalo County Board of Supervisors. 

One concern is the increased traffic caused by selecting locations away from the river, Kane said. 

Craig Evans is the chief of plan formulation for the St. Paul, Minnesota, district of the Corps. The agency doesn't have many other options because they can't place material in wetlands, he said. 

The agency has chosen the lowest cost sites that don't have a negative impact on the environment, Evans said. 

"We know we don't have all the information, and we want the public to be able to tell us what we might have misunderstood or might have done wrong, if there are better places that would be less expensive for us to use or would have fewer impacts and not be any more expensive to use," Evans said. 

 

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