Feast & Famine in the ag industry

FAMINE: As competition intensifies for the best potential students among institutions of higher learning, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh didn’t do itself any favors recently by spending $20,000 to host a speech by anti-GMO, anti-modern agriculture activist Vandana Shiva.
Spending taxpayer money — essentially using the dollars of local farmers to host a speaker who attacks local farmers — was defended by the typical Ivory Tower Intellectual argument that colleges should foster “open” conversation and intellectual curiosity.

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Dairy-sponsored run/walk aids 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.

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More farmers consider growing industrial hemp

By Jesse 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.

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Wisconsin dairies hosting breakfasts 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.

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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.

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Michigan dairy processing 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.
Michigan ranks sixth nationally in milk production. The state produces 33 million pounds of milk daily, but currently has processing capacity for just 26 million pounds a day. Increasing milk processing capacity is a must to help Michigan’s dairy industry to keep growing, according to industry and economic leaders.

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Study: Yogurt fights inflammation in young women

ROSEMONT, Ill. – A new study funded by National Dairy Council (NDC) shows that healthy, pre-menopausal women who consumed low-fat yogurt before meals reduced their risk for inflammation following the meal.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, but if the inflammatory response persists for too long, it can lead to chronic inflammation where the body essentially attacks itself and damages organs. Chronic inflammation is a factor in inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and asthma. It also is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Continue reading “Study: Yogurt fights inflammation in young women”

Fischer: Allow peaceful, law-abiding immigrants out of the shadows

By Laurie Fischer
Milk is one of the most common and essential items on any American consumer’s grocery list. However, before it ever reaches your local grocery store shelf, the safe and abundant production of milk involves many steps — including top-quality animal care, modern milking procedures, state-of-the-art logistics and health-conscious food processing.
Each step provides much-needed jobs to both rural and urban communities and pours billions of dollars into our economy. A great deal hinges on the viability of the U.S. dairy industry, not the least of which are providing safe, nutritional food products to families throughout the world and employing hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans.

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Summer tractor safety course offered for teens

Teens can get the training they need to safely operate tractors and other farm machinery during an upcoming program offered by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

The course will provide youth primarily under the age of 16, but not younger than 12, with the necessary training and preparation to take the evaluation
test. Students who successfully pass the test and proficiency skills evaluation will be granted a state certificate of completion.

The state certificate will allow students who are at least 12 years old to work for their parents or guardians operating equipment and tractors on public roads. The federal certificate allows students 14 years of age to work for someone other than their parents in operating equipment and tractors on public roads. Students should have prior tractor operating experience.

The course will teach:

  • Safe operation and maintenance of farm machinery including skid steers and tractors over 20 horsepower
  • Follow rules of the road for machinery and tractor safety
  • Apply emergency first aid training
  • Handle agriculture fires and extinguishers

Classes will be offered in Green Bay and  Shawano from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 18 to June 21 at the Green Bay Transportation Center and Shawano Regional Learning Center respectively. Classes will be offered in Luxemburg from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 25 to June 28 at the Luxemburg Regional Learning Center. The class costs $85.02. Register by calling 888-385-NWTC.

Wood County ready to host Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Equipment demonstrations are one of the highlights of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.

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. “We love to have non-farm folks attend, too. Actually, about 20 to 25 percent of show attendees each year are non-farm.” Continue reading “Wood County ready to host Wisconsin Farm Technology Days”