News

Study: Quarter of all U.S. jobs tied to agriculture

By MAA

More than a fifth of the U.S. economy and a quarter of American jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to the food and agriculture sectors, according to a new study commissioned by industry groups.

The study estimates that more than 43 million jobs and $1.9 trillion in total wages are linked to the two sectors, which contribute some $894 billion in taxes. The food and agriculture sectors together account for $146 billion in exports, the study found.

In all, the study, which was released today, pegs the two sectors’ total economic impact at $6.7 trillion.

“As policymakers consider tax reform and other means to expand economic activity, I hope they will have a better understanding of how the food and agriculture sector not only feeds Americans, but also feeds the U.S. economy,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute.

The study was commissioned by 22 food and agriculture groups, including the Corn Refiners Association, the American Bakers Association and the United Fresh Produce Association. The groups posted the results on a site that allows individuals to search industry impact by state and congressional district.

Study: Land near CAFOs worth more

By MAA

A study of Wisconsin land sales found farmland in some counties is worth more if it’s closer to a concentrated animal feeding operation, also known as CAFOs.

The analysis came out of a larger project to combine statewide data on land use, land sales and soil survey data, said Simon Jette-Nantel, farm management specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Because CAFOs need large areas of land to grow crops and minimize the carbon footprint by spreading natural nutrients, Jette-Nantel predicted there would be a relation between farmland value and its proximity to a CAFO. Which is exactly what an analysis of farmland sales from the first six months of 2017 in Barron and Marathon counties found.

“If it is close to a CAFO, it would tend to command a premium. That premium so far from what we’ve estimated could vary somewhere between $400 to $800 per acre,” Jette-Nantel said.

Top dairy cooperative rebrands to give farmers an Edge

By MAA
GREEN BAY, Wis.   — Milk is getting a new voice in America’s Heartland. Meet Edge, the dairy farmer cooperative taking a fresh approach to representing its members.

Edge, formerly known as the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, has been a game-changer for dairy farmers since its inception in 2010.

“Edge is now representative of the growth and evolution our cooperative has undergone over the past seven years. It’s also a promise of the future,” said John Pagel, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of Edge. “We put our members at the forefront of the discussions, giving dairy farmers a voice in matters critical to their businesses and their communities.”

Continue reading “Top dairy cooperative rebrands to give farmers an Edge”

Agriculture groups part of new Michigan water coalition

By MAA

Michigan leaders have formed a unique new coalition working to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.

The Michigan Cleaner Lake Erie through Action and Research (MI CLEAR) Partnership includes farmers, agricultural and environmental leaders, universities, conservationists, landscape professionals, energy leaders, tourism and economic development interests, and more. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Jamie Clover Adams said she was encouraged to call the diverse membership to the table as a new way to tackle the ongoing water quality challenges affecting the basin.

“Our mission is to improve the water quality of the Western Lake Erie Basin through open discussion among regional leaders that brings a coordinated perspective to existing efforts,” Clover Adams said. “We will drive support for research that builds understanding of the science around water quality issues, and promote actions that bring long-term, meaningful change.”

She added the MI CLEAR Partnership will promote awareness of science and research-based efforts aimed at improving the health of Lake Erie, and provide quantifiable metrics and unbiased information about Michigan’s efforts to preserve and protect the WLEB’s waters.

In addition to MDARD, other members of the MI CLEAR Partnership:

  • Michigan Farm Bureau
  • University of Michigan Water Center, Graham Sustainability Institute
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
  • The Nature Conservancy – Michigan Chapter
  • Monroe County Drain Commission
  • Michigan Agribusiness Association (MABA)
  • DTE Energy
  • Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • American WaterWorks – Michigan Chapter
  • Michigan State University Extension Institute of Water Research and Technology
  • Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation

DBA wins settlement in DNR lawsuit

By MAA 

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association secured a settlement in its lawsuit against the state Department of Natural Resources for legal overreach on regulations.

The settlement, reached Wednesday between the association and DNR, will bring immediate relief for dairy farmers facing uncertainty and costly changes, and will provide assurance that the DNR will create future rules only according to the law.

The dairy group prevailed on the central claims of the suit — that the DNR illegally changed rules for how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage and calf hutch areas.

More broadly, the settlement reaffirms the significance of Act 21, a 2011 state law that requires agencies to follow a specific method of rulemaking.

“More than anything, this is a victory for the rule of law,” said Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association (DBA), a nonprofit that represents hundreds of dairy farmers and other related businesses across Wisconsin. Continue reading “DBA wins settlement in DNR lawsuit”

DBA president rejects call to remove “Dairyland” from WI license plate

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association, rejected a suggestion today by the president of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce that the state consider removing the slogan, “America’s Dairyland,” from state license plates.

“Considering the dairy community’s continuing contribution to the culture and economy of our state, it would be disheartening to make such a change after nearly 80 years,” North said. “We are talking about a $43.4 billion impact on the Wisconsin economy and tens of thousands of jobs. There are few single products in this state that provide more of an economic boost.”

On Monday, WMC Executive Director Kurt Bauer said the state should consider dropping the motto, which has been on the state’s license plates since 1940. He said residents should reimagine their identities for the 21st century and that “Forward” would be a better motto. Continue reading “DBA president rejects call to remove “Dairyland” from WI license plate”

Water organization leader: Judge overstepped authority in well decision

By MAA
A Dane County judge ignored an opinion from the Wisconsin Attorney General and state law when vacating eight high capacity well permits issued by the Department of Natural Resources, according to the leader of a non-partisan organization focused on protecting the state’s water resources and advocating for sound water policies.
“This is an ill-advised and seriously flawed decision from a Madison judge who wants to legislate from the bench rather than follow the statutory law and accept the opinion of the Wisconsin Attorney General,” said Dan Ellsworth, president of the Wisconsin Water Alliance. “In reaching its faulty decision, the court ignored a 2016 attorney general opinion that correctly states the DNR’s authority and the proper statutory provisions controlling the issuance of high capacity wells.”
Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled this week the DNR had ample authority to set limits on well applications to protect drinking water supplies and lakes and streams that might be affected by heavy water use.
Ellsworth said the ruling also goes against Act 310, which was enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature in 2003 and contains specific requirements for issuing high capacity wells, and Act 21, which provides that explicit statutory laws are controlling and the public trust doctrine is not implicated when issuing permits for high capacity wells.
“These laws were enacted by the Legislature to give certainty to the regulatory permitting process without sacrificing water protections. Unfortunately, the judge failed to read the clear statutory law that regulates high capacity wells and instead invoked a flawed and incorrect reading of the public trust doctrine,” he said. “We expect the case will be appealed and are confident that it will be overturned.”
Ellsworth said WWA will continue to work to protect the state’s water resources and advocate for sound water policies that benefit current and future generations of Wisconsin families, cities, businesses, farmers and others.

Group formed to protect Wisconsin’s water

By MAA

A diverse group representing Wisconsin businesses and landowners have formed a new organization aimed at broadening the discussion about Wisconsin’s fresh water supply and the important role it plays in sustaining and growing the state’s economy.

The Wisconsin Water Alliance (WWA) will advocate for common sense regulations and policies that both help protect the state’s abundant fresh water supplies and foster a science and fact based discussion on water related issues, said Dan Ellsworth, who serves as president of the WWA board and is president and CEO of ANIMART LLC.

“Wisconsin has an abundant supply of freshwater, including deep, replenishing aquifers, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Wisconsin River, many other rivers and streams and an estimated 15,000 inland lakes,” he said. “We want to work with policy makers and others who share our commitment in protecting this vital natural resource for generations to come and to also make sure that we can continue to rely on it to help drive the state’s economy.”

Ellsworth added the WWA has as its mission to advocate for sound water policies that benefit current and future generations of Wisconsin families, cities, businesses, and others.

Continue reading “Group formed to protect Wisconsin’s water”

Farmers can attend Dairy Strong for free if registered by Nov. 1

Dairy farmers who register for the fourth annual Dairy Strong Conference  by Nov. 1 will receive two free tickets..
Hundreds of dairy farmers and industry professionals are expected to attend Dairy Strong, an exciting conference and trade show, will be held  Jan. 17-18 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. 
Registration is now open  at dairystrong.org. To receive your two complimentary registrations, you must register prior to Nov. 1. After that date, dairies can attend for $150 for two days or $99 for one day.
Highlights of this year’s event include:
Inspiring keynotes – Dairy Strong provides farmers and dairy professionals with the opportunity to hear from renowned national speakers. This year, Bud Selig will serve as the opening keynote for Dairy Strong. He is the former commissioner of Major League Baseball, the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and a Milwaukee native. During his tenure, Selig navigated numerous controversies in baseball and will call on his leadership experience to draw parallels to challenges in the dairy community.
 Valuable connections – None of us got to where we are without relationships. Dairy Strong is where farmers, corporate professionals and representatives from government agencies and universities come together with a united mission to move dairy forward. Attendees will also have the chance to network with the nation’s leading suppliers on the trade show floor in a relaxed setting. Dairy Strong is an inclusive environment where farms of all sizes and management philosophies connect with each other and the dairy community.
Practical sessions – Time off the farm is hard to come by and the schedule for January’s event will be a great use of time.  There will be innovative and practical sessions to help farmers improve their dairies, as well as panels focusing on issues related to dairy market access, economics and trade. Enjoy a few days off the farm and return with new ideas and a fresh perspective.
Hosted by the Dairy Business Association, Dairy Strong is an event for the entire dairy community. Farmers representing farms of all sizes and management philosophies are encouraged to attend the event held each January.

Dairy marketing cooperative backs proposed guestworker bill

By MAA

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, which represents about 800 dairy farmers throughout the Midwest, have formally endorsed a federal bill aimed at solving an increasingly dire rural workforce situation.

The Agricultural Guestworker Act (AG Act) was introduced in the House  Judiciary Committee by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

John Pagel, a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and president of the cooperative, said DBMMC applauded the efforts of Goodlatte to help farmers have access to a sustainable workforce.
“Maintaining a reliable workforce is one of the foremost concerns of our nearly 800 dairy farmer members throughout the Midwest. Changes in demographics and labor patterns have made it impossible for growing
farms to fill all available positions with American citizens,” he said. “As a result, dairy farming has become increasingly dependent on foreign-born employees. Unfortunately, there are no agricultural visa programs that meet dairy farmers’ year-round staffing needs, highlighting the importance to quickly move the AG Act forward.

Continue reading “Dairy marketing cooperative backs proposed guestworker bill”