Kewaunee water woes linked to animals, people

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

Research shows that human and bovine waste is finding its way into wells in Kewaunee County.

Dr. Mark Borchardt, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shared those findings during a presentation earlier this year at the 2017 Midwest Manure Summit in Green Bay. In a study funded by the Department of Natural Resources, Borchardt and his team used DNA sequencing to identify bacteria and pathogens in different Kewaunee County wells to determine if they came from cows or people.

The county has been ground zero in Wisconsin in the battle between some residents and large-scale farmers. In 2014, six environmental groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate groundwater contamination in the county. The DNR then brought together farmers, neighbors, environmental groups and government officials to find strategies to reduce groundwater pollution risk.

“There has been a lot of finger pointing and politics going on regarding water in Kewaunee County so we took a closer look at this issue to determine the source of the pollution,” Borchardt said. “The evidence shows both people and cows are contaminating the groundwater in Kewaunee County.”

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Canadian trade policy change hits milk processors hard

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

When Canada abruptly changed its dairy trade policies last month, Grassland Dairy Products Inc. lost $100 million worth of its annual business.
The Greenwood, Wis.,-based dairy processor previously sold the equivalent of 1 million pounds of milk each day to Canada. After a Canadian buyer said it would immediately stop purchasing from Grassland due to new dairy regulations, family-owned Grassland quickly looked for ways to incorporate some of that 1 million pounds of milk into its operations. The company was able to find use for some of it, but not all. On April 1, Grassland sent a letter to several dozen milk producers informing them that after May 1, it would no longer purchase their milk.

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Canadian trade policy change hits dairy farmers hard

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

When Canada abruptly changed its dairy trade policies last month, Grassland Dairy Products Inc. lost $100 million worth of its annual business.
The Greenwood, Wis.,-based dairy processor previously sold the equivalent of 1 million pounds of milk each day to Canada. After a Canadian buyer said it would immediately stop purchasing from Grassland due to new dairy regulations, family-owned Grassland quickly looked for ways to incorporate some of that 1 million pounds of milk into its operations. The company was able to find use for some of it, but not all. On April 1, Grassland sent a letter to several dozen milk producers informing them that after May 1, it would no longer purchase their milk.
“That’s the last thing you want to do as a company. You don’t want to hurt any of the farms,” said Goedhart Westers, vice president of business development at Grassland. “There was nothing wrong with those farmers. There was nothing wrong with their milk. We just had no place for it.”
The largest independent butter producer in the United States, Grassland purchases milk from more than 600 Wisconsin dairies.

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