Latest News & Views

Wisconsin may get soybean crushing facility

By Jessie Cameron
Wisconsin may soon have its first soybean crushing facility.
If the $150 million project moves forward in Waupun, construction would start in 2019 and open in 2020. The plant would process up to 100,000 bushels of soybeans a day. Waupun and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board are jointly soliciting the facility’s development.
A 65.5-acre location in Waupun Industrial Park has been selected as the potential site for the project following a feasibility study conducted by Frazier, Barnes & Associates, LLC. Read more here.

Artisan cheesemakers create Mosaic Meadows

KAUKAUNA, Wis. – Three world-class cheese companies — Wisconsin-based La Clare Family Creamery and Saxon Creamery along with Verona, Pa.-based Lamagna Cheese Co. — have combined forces to create Mosaic Meadows, a company of family-operated cheesemakers.
The merger will allow each creamery to further expand its world-class artisanal product lines, while sharing resources in marketing, service and sales capabilities.
“’Mosaic Meadows’ is the perfect name,” said Alex Coenen, the company’s director of business development. “A mosaic is an assembly of small colorful pieces that combine to create a larger work of art.” Read more here.

Dairy-sponsored run/walk benefits kids

By Michael Kuehl
Similar to America’s dairy industry, the nation’s running community finds itself in difficult circumstances.
While the competitive running sector doubled in demand and participation between 2005 and 2013, it more recently has struggled to maintain its customer base. While 19 million Americans participated in running events in 2013, the number fell just below 17 million just a few years later.
With these statistics, one probably wonders why, in 2017, would Dairy Cares of Wisconsin – a non-profit that benefits Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – want to organize a Fun Run/Walk? The answer is simple — opportunity. We had an important story to tell and a critical cause to support, and whether we reached 250 people or 500, we knew we wanted to go beyond the dairy industry and reach out to the wider community. Read more here.

Wisconsin dairies open doors during June

Tony Korn of Junion Homestead Farm in Casco, Wis., expects to have thousands of visitors show up for breakfast on Father’s Day.
“We chose to host the 2018 Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm to celebrate Junion Homestead Farm’s 150th anniversary of family farming,” Korn said of the June 17 event. “I volunteered about five years ago to secure the 2018 date. We have been planning for the last two years to ensure that everything on the farm is ready to go for the event.”
Korn is one of several dozen farmers across Wisconsin who open up their barns to members of the public during June Dairy Month. Read more here.

Tech Tilling: Precision ag is here and now

In addition to changing the way farmers approach their work, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology is demanding a new set of skills for everyone involved.
“Using GPS to precisely track what’s being done in farm fields puts the focus on production and profit concerning each acre, while factoring in topography and drainage,” said Randy Tenpas, department chair of Fox Valley Technical College’s (FVTC) agriculture programs in Wisconsin.
Much of today’s agriculture equipment comes with systems needed for precision farming installed at the factory. Read more here.

Michigan dairy processing capacity expands

An illustration of Foremost Farms’ new dairy processing plant in Michigan.

By Jessie Cameron
Michigan dairy processors are rapidly increasing capacity as two new dairy processing facilities will be built during the next few years while a current site is expanding.
In April, Agropur Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian-based Agropur Cooperative, announced plans to put $21.3 million into its current plant in Wyoming, Mich., by adding new equipment and making modifications to the facilities. Foremost Farms is building a new $59.7 million processing facility in Greenville, while a partnership with Glanbia plc, Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers Inc. is working together on a plan to bring a new processing facility online in 2020. Read more here.

Indiana firm turns manure into bedding

By Leah Call
Indiana-based innovator Roland Kessler can turn manure into money. Well, not literally, but he can convert what is typically one of the biggest challenges on a dairy farm into a cost-saving, environment enhancing, revenue-producing, value-added product.
Over the last 10 years, Kessler and his partners have perfected the technology, which converts dairy waste into a product that can be used as livestock bedding or as a marketable soil amendment for use in the horticulture industry.
While there are other waste-converting technologies on the market, Eco-Tek LLC says it sets itself apart because of its efficiency and its business model. Read more here.

More farmers growing industrial hemp

By Jessie Cameron
A once popular agricultural crop is finding new fans.
Industrial hemp, which is used in a variety of products, was hit hard by the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, which did not distinguish between hemp and its cousin, the cannabis plant. The act was passed due to concern about the drug, with support from industry interests, including timber, that were worried about a new process that easily created paper from hemp.
As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, however, Congress opened the door to allow farmers the opportunity to grow marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin as a research pilot program. Since then, 32 states have signed on board to participate in research pilot programs related to industrial hemp. Colorado leads the nation in hemp production, accounting for one-third of all legal production. Read more here.

Annual Wis. event focuses on farm technology

Equipment demonstrations are a highlight of the annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. This year’s event will be held in Wood County.

By Leah Call
Excitement is building in Wood County, Wis., as they put the final touches on preparations for the upcoming Wisconsin Farm Technology Days (WFTD), the largest outdoor agriculture show in the state and one of the largest in the nation.

The 2018 show will take place July 10-12 at two farms outside of Marshfield, Wis. The two host farms — the D&B Sternweis Farms and Weber’s Farm Store/Heiman Holsteins — invite farmers and non-farmers to enjoy the sights and flavors of this central Wisconsin agricultural hub while discovering the latest in farm innovation.
“The show typically draws 35,000 to 45,000 people, and with it being near the center of the state, it will probably be in the upper part of that range,” said WFTD coordinator Matthew Glewen. Read more here.