Wisconsin briefs: Grains take a nosedive under USDA revise

Wisconsin State Farmer


2017 Hop Field Day

2017 Hop Field Day will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at Jim and Bob Conant’s Bohica Farm, 11523 Formica Rd., Tomah, WI. 

The program includes presentations by Dr. Amanda Gevens, UWEX horticulture plant pathologist, Dr. Christopher Baxter, UWEX soil fertility specialist, tours of harvester and drying equipment.

Lunch will be provided to those who have pre-registered for the event. Attendees as asked to bring their own lawn chair.

Cost is $20 which is payable at the door.

Please registger by Aug. 2 by email at carl.duley@ces.uwex.edu or calling 608-685-6256. 


Wisconsin teen in leadership conference

The National FFA Organization has selected 50 young people to participate in the 2017 New Century Farmer conference. Among those selected is Rhett Borth of Ellsworth, WI. 

Participants will attend a seminar July 16 - 22 in Johnstown, Iowa. Topics will include the global marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management.

Keynote speakers will address the risks and rewards involved with production agriculture. In addition to classroom learning, New Century students will see the latest developments in agricultural technology. 


Rural Mutual delivers $1 million in inaugural farm dividend program

Rural Mutual Insurance Co. (RMIC) delivered more than $1 million of its inaugural Farm Dividend program since January 2017. The company expects to pay out about $2.5 million by the end of the year.

So far, more than 3,000 qualified farm policyholders have received their checks. 
“Rural Mutual has strong roots in the farming community, and premiums paid here stay here in Wisconsin,” said Peter Pelizza, executive vice president and CEO of Rural Mutual. “We’re happy to be in a position to give back to our loyal customers.” 
The company’s board of directors approved the Farm Dividend program one year earlier than planned due to strong financial success. Through the program, a five percent dividend payment is made to qualifying Rural Mutual farm policyholders. Each qualifying policyholder will receive a dividend no matter his or her loss experience. 
The dividend program is one of many ways Rural Mutual serves the agriculture community.

For more information on Rural Mutual Insurance’s Farm Dividend program, please contact a Rural Mutual agent near you. 


Grains take nosedive under USDA revise 

For the past two weeks, grain markets had been exploding on fears of forecasted hot and dry weather, which could threaten this year’s crop yields. 

But last week, the USDA stunned markets lower with a revised outlook for this year’s corn, wheat and soybean crops, raising estimates for global stockpiles of the three major commodities.

The report served as a reminder that global harvests should replace any U.S. production losses, forcing the markets quickly lower. 

During the week, corn prices lost as much as 35 cents per bushel, wheat lost 50 cents, and soybeans sank by over 60 cents. 

Despite the tough week, grain prices are still at profitable levels for most producers. And, if weather forecasts worsen, concerns could spark another rally, giving farmers another opportunity to lock in prices in the coming weeks. 


Badgerland Patrons reap cash dividends 

Badgerland Financial closed its 2016 fiscal year with good earnings, a strong portfolio and solid capital position, resulting in the cooperative’s Board of Directors declaring $15.2 million in cash patronage dividends be returned to nearly 7,000 patronage-eligible member-borrowers. 

“The patronage program is one of the many benefits of working with our cooperative and a knowledgeable team. Together we navigate both the good and challenging agronomic times, and together we share in the success,” said Diane Cole, CEO. “Our members know that we are committed to serving Wisconsin agriculture and the rural communities we call home. No other lender is better at financing agriculture or giving back to it.” 

In the last 13 years, Badgerland Financial has returned more than $126 million to its patronage-eligible member-borrowers to reinvest into their farms and businesses, directly impacting local and state economies. 

Badgerland Financial is now part of Compeer Financial as of July 1. 


Biologist researching growing rice commercially in Wisconsin

A Marquette University biology professor is researching the possibility of growing rice commercially in Wisconsin, despite the state's seasonally cold temperatures.

Native American tribes have been growing wild rice in Wisconsin for generations, but growing rice commercially is a different challenge, associate professor of biology Michael Schlappi told Wisconsin Public Radio.

About 95 percent of rice grown in the United States is done in the warm California weather. But drought that's affected the West is raising questions about how the thirsty crop will be sustained.

Schlappi initially built four rice paddies on the roof of the university. He later moved the project to a Mequon Nature Preserve pond, where he connected with Hmong refugees who had experience growing rice.

Schlappi is also working with the university's business and communications department to find a market for Wisconsin rice.