Latest News & Views

Growers take lead in addressing water quality

By Tim Froberg
Clean, safe drinking water is a must for every homeowner. A local coalition is working to make sure residents in Wisconsin’s Central Sands area get that fundamental need. The Armenia Growers Coalition – a newly formed group comprised of three large area farming operations – Wysocki Produce Farms, B&D Farms and Okray Farms – is spearheading efforts for a permanent solution to the water quality issues that have plagued affected property owners in Juneau and Wood counties. Read more here.

Site selected for $470M Mich. processing plant

ST. JOHNS, Mich. — Glanbia Nutritionals, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Select Milk Producers Inc. (Select), selected the City of St. Johns as the preferred site for their new $470 million cheese and whey production facility.
The trio joined together for the joint venture to boost dairy production in Michigan. The new facility is slated to open in the later half of 2020 and will employ 250 workers. The plant will process 8 million pounds of milk per day into a range of cheese (300m lbs per year) and whey products for U.S. and international markets.
In addition, the partners reached an agreement with Proliant Dairy Ingredients to process the whey permeate. Proliant will invest $85 million in an adjoining facility, creating up to 38 jobs. Read more here.

Dairy Cares raises $1M for Children’s Hospital

Donors raise figures showing what Dairy Cares has raised for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin during the past eight years.

After raising more than $1 million for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW) over the last eight years, the simulation lab at the renowned medical center will be named in honor of the Dairy Cares organization.
The dairy community gathered for the annual Dairy Cares garden party on July 28 in De Pere, Wis., with the goal of supporting the Milwaukee-based hospital that provides medical services to all ages with 40 locations around the state. That dream became a reality as generous sponsors contributed $200,000 this year to bring the combined lifetime gift to $1,047,000. Read more here.

Dairy groups applaud FDA move to crack down on non-dairy labeling

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Two dairy groups with members throughout the Midwest applauded comments made Tuesday by the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who said the agency will crack down on the use of the term “milk” for nondairy products.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said his agency will soon start a formal process to redefine the rules for milk products. Read more here.

LaClare founder elected to American Cheese
Society’s board of directors

MALONE, Wis. — Larry Hedrich, co-founder of LaClare Family Creamery, has been elected to the American Cheese Society’s (ACS) board of directors.
A leading voice in the artisanal and goat-milk-cheesemaking field, Hedrich brings four decades of experience to the organization that supports and promotes farmstead and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to represent hard-working cheesemakers from across the country and North America,”said Hedrich. “Expanding our membership and focusing on long-term issues will be among my American Cheese Society consumers across the nation.” 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.

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.

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.