Midwest briefs: Nebraska farmer named pig farmer of year

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


Hearing set for Wisconsin bill targeting immigrants

 A proposal targeting sanctuary cities in Wisconsin offering protections for immigrants living in the country illegally is up for a public hearing in the Legislature.

The bill introduced by Republican Sen. Steve Nass is scheduled for a hearing this week before the Senate's Labor and Regulatory Reform Committee.

A similar effort died last year following an outpouring of opposition. Immigrant rights advocates and others are expected to come out in force against the measure yet again.

The measure would prohibit local governments from enacting any ordinances, resolutions or policies that would prevent federal immigration laws from being enforced.
Supporters call it a common sense proposal to protect Wisconsin citizens and those visiting the state.

It must pass both the Senate and Assembly and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law.


Nebraska farmer named America's Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board announced that Leslie McCuiston, a pig farmer from Columbus, NE, has been named the 2017 America's Pig Farmer of the Year, by achieving the highest combined score from a third-party judging panel and online voting on Oct. 3.

The award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and who connects with today's consumers about how pork is produced. 

The Nebraska farmer was named America's Pig Farmer of the Year following a third-party audit of on-farm practices and after taking part in a series of written and oral interviews by subject-matter experts.


Fines meted out over fish kills caused by manure

Ohio's natural resources agency wants three people to pay more than $30,000 for three large fish kills that it says were caused by livestock manure spread on farm fields.
Investigators think ammonia-laden manure put onto the fields in northwestern Ohio ahead of rainstorms in August washed into creeks and caused the fish kills.

An Ohio law put in place to combat algae in Lake Erie prohibits farmers from putting manure on fields before heavy rains because the manure also contains phosphorous that feeds algae.

Ohio officials say the manure spills killed close to 67,000 fish in Williams, Allen and Hardin counties. They say the biggest spill killed 37,000 fish near Delphos in August.
The state says it could seek higher penalties if the three parties challenge the fines in court.


EDA and Grasshopper Mowers to collect donations for disaster relief

The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) announced that one of its Manufacturer Members, Grasshopper Mowers, has stepped up to support the agriculture equipment industry. 

Following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, EDA sent a solicitation to its members requesting donations for the Equipment Dealers Foundation’s (EDF) Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund, which was formed in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, helps to offset the financial demands on dealers and their employees who are affected by natural disasters.   

In response to the request, Grasshopper Mowers called upon their employees to contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund and promised to match every dollar they donated. 

EDF continues to accept both Disaster Relief Applications from dealership employees and donations from those who are able to help. For additional information, contact the EDA office at 636-349-5000. 


Farm and Rural helpline answers call for mental health

 A new Farm & Rural Helpline is now available to Minnesota farmers and rural residents. The service, funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), is free, confidential, and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll free number is (833) 600-2670.  

Farmers and rural communities face unique stresses and emotional situations, including financial challenges, unpredictable weather, physically demanding work, and more. As stress, anxiety, depression, financial burdens, and other mental and emotional issues continue to impact the lives of farmers and rural Minnesotans, the MDA recognized the need for ongoing support.   

The Farm & Rural Helpline can connect callers to financial assistance programs, health and mental health services, legal help, and more. Calls are confidential, but counselors may ask for a first name and phone number in case of a dropped call.

The Farm & Rural Helpline is also available to those unsure of what to do about family or friends who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or a mental health crisis.  

Farmers and rural Minnesotans can call the toll free number as often as needed at (833) 600-2670. 


Dozens help harvest soybean crop of Illinois farmer who died

As many as two dozen farmers helped harvest the southern Illinois soybean fields belonging to a farmer who died this summer after he was trapped under an antique tractor.

Forty-year-old Ben Arbeiter of Murphysboro died in the Aug. 6 accident.

This week 17 farmers drove combine harvesters and auger carts to harvest Arbeiter's crop. Another 11 farmers took the soybeans to the grain operator. Arbeiter's sister, Alinda Heron, said the work would have taken her brother and father six weeks to finish.

Mike Imhoff was the best man at Arbeiter's wedding. Imhoff said Arbeiter "would have done the same thing for my family that I'm doing for his."

Ben's father, David, called it "one of the greatest days of my life."