Wisconsin Briefs: Johnsonville to expand again

Wisconsin State Farmer


Tractor Safety classes offered 

The UW Extension Office in Clark County is offering three tractor safety classes at three locations during the month of June.  Classes will be offered at both Greenwood / Loyal High School and Thorp High School from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5-8. There is a $20 fee for youth in the Greenwood/Loyal School Districts and no fee for students living in the Thorp School District. Cost is $30 for students living outside the district. Classes are limited to 30 students. A third course will be offered in the Abbortsford-Colby School District from 8 am. to 2 p.m. June 26-29 at Colby High School. Cost is $20. Registration deadline for all three classes is June 1. Youth must be  12 years old or older at the time of the class session.  No one under 12 will receive certification.  Brochures/registration forms for classes are available by calling 715-743-5121 or visiting http://clark.uwex.edu/ 


Johnsonville to expand corporate headquarters

Johnsonville and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced that the company is expanding its global corporate headquarters in Sheboygan Falls. Construction on the 49,000-square-foot addition, which will feature a member development center, additional workstations and an expanded fitness center, is already underway and expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

The project calls for Johnsonville to significantly expand its investment in engineering, research and development, and marketing as the company prepares for additional growth in its domestic, international and food service businesses. 

WEDC is supporting the expansion by awarding Johnsonville up to $10 million in state income tax credits over the next five years. WEDC awarded tax credits to Johnsonville for previous expansions at Johnsonville’s Sheboygan Falls facilities in 2012 and 2015. Since that first award, the company’s employment in Sheboygan Falls has grown from about 700 to more than 1,200. The company plans to add nearly 100 new jobs over the next five years. 


Grazing tours set for May 25

Iowa County’s Farmer-Led Watershed Group and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute are hosting a tour of two grazing farms on May 25. The first tour will start at 9:30 a.m. at the Butler Family Farm (Ann and David Zimrin), 5044 Wiest Rd, Spring Green. The tour will then move to the Hillside Pastures Farm (Daniel and Linda Marquardt), 6511 Hillside School Rd, Spring Green at 11:30 a.m. The tour will be followed by lunch at Hillside Pastures Farm 

The tour will feature discussion on grazing practices – grazing rotations, a demonstration of moving fence, no-till drilling for pasture improvement, goats for brush control, stream stabilization and crossings, overwintering fields in recovery, challenges with erosion and runoff, and a rainfall simulator showing impacts of land cover on erosion. 

For more information, visit the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute website or contact Margaret Krome at 608-238-1440 or Gene Schriefer, Iowa County Extension at 608-930-9850. 


La Crosse Co. finds contaminated wells

Health officials in a west-central Wisconsin county are finding increased levels of nitrates in private wells.

The La Crosse County Health Department told 2,000 households last month their private wells may be contaminated, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. Contaminated wells have been found in Onalaska, Holland and Holmen.

More than 450 wells have since been tested for nitrates, and 29 percent show levels over the permissible 10 parts per million.

A health department official said the county began worrying about possible contamination after a state audit last year found issues with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' regulation of a concentrated animal feeding operation in the area.


Henning's Cheese recalls Colby Jack cheese

A Wisconsin cheese company says it is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of Colby Jack cheese due a temporary pasteurizer malfunction.

Officials with Henning's Cheese in Kiel say about 1,000 pounds of the product was distributed statewide. The recall covers cheese sold on or after April 10 in 1- and 2-pound blocks. The product contains a date code of 1007 on a small label on the bottom of the cheese block.

Company officials say no illnesses have been reported in connection with the product. They say the malfunction made it impossible to verify the proper pasteurization.

Consumers can return the cheese to the place of purchase or to Henning's Cheese store for a full refund. The company's phone number is 920-894-3032.


Senate approves looser fish farm regulations

The state Senate has approved a bill that would loosen fish farm regulations.

Under the Republican proposal, fish farms wouldn't need permits to discharge material into a wetland if the wetland was created for fish farming. Natural water bodies could serve as fish farms and farms wouldn't need permits to construct or enlarge artificial water bodies connected to a navigable waterway.

New permit conditions would be prohibited unless needed to meet water quality standards. The bill also would require a review of rules on viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a deadly fish disease.

The Senate approved the bill on a voice vote Wednesday. The Assembly passed the bill last week. It now goes to Gov. Scott Walker. Asked if he would sign it, his spokesman said only that Walker would review it.