Latest News & Views

Stapel adjusts to Co-op’s presidency

Wisconsin farmer balances Edge role with running dairy

By Jesse Cameron
MAA
It is hard to imagine, but 10 years ago Brody Stapel, the current president of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, was not involved in the dairy industry.
Like many kids, Stapel admitted he could not wait to get off his family’s farm near Howards Grove, Wis., and head off to college and beyond – including living in New Zealand. “I wanted nothing to do with the family farm,” he said.
But times – and opinions – change and Stapel told his wife, who was pregnant with their first child, that he wanted to bring his children up on a farm. In 2009, he started working with his father, Rudy, on the family’s farm, which milked 80 cows. Read more here.

Farmer-led groups focus on conservation

By Tim Froberg
MAA
No one knows the struggles, hardships and challenges that crop up daily on the farm better than farmers.
That’s why state farmers are working together on an action plan to improve agricultural and conservation practices. While there are multiple farmer-led conservation groups in Wisconsin, they all share a common goal – to protect the precious soil and water in the Badger State for themselves and future generations.
There are four farmer-led groups who have made the most progress so far and garnered the most attention in Wisconsin: Yahara Pride Farms, Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance, the Western Wisconsin Conservation Council and Peninsula Pride Farms. Read more here.

Dairy co-op pleased with NAFTA replacement

By MAA
GREEN BAY — Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative representatives praised Friday’s signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — a replacement for NAFTA — but said more needs to be done to resolve tariff issues that continue to hurt farmers. The Co-op represents dairy farmers not only in Wisconsin, but across the Midwest.
According to Edge President Brody Stapel, USMCA includes important provisions for dairy, including retaining market certainty with Mexico, protecting common cheese names in the Mexican market, adding transparency provisions for oversight of Canada’s internal pricing structure and placing limits on certain Canadian exports. The deal still needs to be approved by Congress, a process that will likely push into 2019. Read more here.

New Dairy Revenue Protection Plan aids farms

By Aaron Gransee
Investors Community Bank
A subsidized, pooled, put option is one way to think of the new Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) plan of insurance. To put it simply, insureds choose when to insure their milk, how much milk to insure, how to price their milk and whether to add a multiplier to increase any indemnity paid. That’s it.
Sales take place every business day beginning at approximately 4 p.m. and end at 9 a.m. the following day. Coverage is available on a quarterly basis and can be purchased up to five quarters out. That being said, insureds who want to insure milk during the first quarter of 2019 would be insuring January, February and March milk, meaning a three-month pool of milk is insured together, per policy written. Read more here.

FVTC’s combine simulator brings harvest to life

By Jason Fischer
Fox Valley Technical College
Practice makes perfect, at least near perfect, in an industry that assumes uncontrollable factors like weather and related seasonal uncertainties.
A new combine tractor simulator at Fox Valley Technical College, donned in unmistakable John Deere green and yellow, is a virtual ride through any farm field and field condition. The simulation gives agriculture students from five different programs at FVTC another high-tech learning tool. Housed in the Service Motor Company Agriculture Center on the Appleton, Wis., campus, the technology creates an authentic experience of being inside a tractor combine, making this type of practice far from boring. Read more here.

Fischer: Trade wars trigger crisis for dairy farms

By Laurie Fischer
American Dairy Coalition
Times are tough for farmers across the nation, milk prices are low and dairy producers have been hit hard by tariffs on the products they export to some of our major dairy trading partners.
This year, President Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum on Mexico and China to push back on trade agreements deemed unfair by the U.S.  As a result, Mexico retaliated with its own tariffs of up to 25 percent. As a result, third quarter cheese exports to Mexico are down 11 percent from 2017. China also imposed its own tariffs of 25 percent on a large amount of U.S. dairy products, resulting in whey sales to China decreasing 8.2 percent so far this year. Read more here

Tech giant invests in ginseng industry

By Jesse Cameron
MAA
A Tawainese tech company is looking to transform Wisconsin’s ginseng industry.
Foxconn Health Technology Business Group signed an agreement earlier this fall with the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and Hsu’s Ginseng to jointly develop Wisconsin’s ginseng industry and grow Foxconn’s Wisconsin-based ginseng brand, Hong Seng.
Foxconn is building a $10 billion manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin and is also investing in other parts of the state, such as opening innovation centers in Eau Claire and Green Bay. Read more here.

Feast & Famine in the ag industry

McCormick advertises itself as a GMO-free source fo spices. The problem? There are no GMO spices available. Another example of deceptive advertising.

By MAA
FEAST:
 A far-reaching study of agricultural techniques by Cambridge University scientists confirms what our great-grandparents knew generations ago.
“There is mounting evidence that the best way to meet rising food demand while conserving biodiversity is to wring as much food as sustainably possible from the land we do farm, so that more natural habitats can be ‘spared the plough,’” said conservation expert and project co-author Dr. David Edwards from the University of Sheffield.
Researchers focused on organic farming in the European dairy sector and determined that for the same amount of milk produced by conventional dairy farming, organic systems cause at least one third more soil loss. Read more here.