The agriculture industry is constantly changing and Midwest Agriculture Almanac is here to walk you through the impact these changes have on your land and your life.
In The News
'Bachelor' puts goat dairy in spotlight
By Greg Hedrich
MALONE, Wis. — When people talk about Wisconsin as “America’s Dairyland,” the first thing that comes to mind is cows.
Goats? Not so much.
The fact that my parents, my siblings and I operate a successful goat dairy, LaClare Farms, in this bovine-centric landscape certainly has helped us grab our share of appearances on news, travel and public interest TV shows.
But nothing could have prepared us for our latest (and, by far, biggest) broadcast appearance: A 10-lb. wheel of our world-renowned Evalon Cheese was featured in the Jan. 23 episode of ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Read more here.
Dairy Strong focuses on future, growth
By MaryBeth Matzek
MADISON, Wis. -- Pairy farmers and agricultural professionals cast their eyes on the future and sustainable growth at Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward, a conference meant to challenge and inspire participants.
More than 700 people from across the country listened to speakers, engaged in panel discussions and explored educational programs that focused on a wide range of issues in the dairy community, honing in on challenges and opportunities. The third annual event was held Jan. 18-19 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.
Mike North, newly elected president of the Dairy Business Association (DBA), called Dairy Strong a big success. Read more here.
Focus on Dairy Strong 2017
Read all about Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward on our special blog here.
Five trends driving the future of ag
By University of Wisconsin-Extension
Tools, technology and a changing workforce are driving changes in the agriculture landscape – changes that can to have a positive impact on the agriculture industry both in Wisconsin and across the world, according to John Shutske, University of Wisconsin-Extension biological systems specialist at UW-Madison.
“The rapid increase in technology changes that has expanded our computing capability has also caused decreases in the costs to do business,” Shutske said. “Through exponential growth, we’ve engaged in warp drive and are rapidly approaching light speed when it comes to changes in technology.” Read more here.
Bremmer finds her voice advocating for ag
By MaryBeth Matzek
Although she grew up on a dairy farm, Kim Bremmer never imagined she would become an ag-vocate or that she would do anything related to farming. But while attending the University of Wisconsin, she got a job milking cows at a research farm and worked 15 years as a dairy nutritionist.
She then became involved with Common Ground, a national movement of farm women who share information about farming and the food they grow. She hasn’t looked back since. Read more here.
Banker should be trusted adviser
By Dave Coggins
All the recent publicity about dishonest and unethical behavior at a certain large unnamed bank is a good reminder to go back to the basics when it comes to your farm operation’s inner circle. That includes asking the right questions to determine if your banker is, in fact, a trusted adviser or a mere product peddler.
Often, the nudge to assess a banker results when there’s a significant change in a farm’s operations, whether it is transferring the farm to another generation of ownership or making a large investment or change. But filling out a periodic “scorecard” of sorts on your ag banker is also important because it allows you to determine if he or she is, in fact, representing your interests or if you’ve fallen into a comfort zone that’s not necessarily in your best interests. Read more here.
Wreath season short, but busy
By CJ Krueger
Dissatisfied with the pre-made wreaths she found in the big box stores, retired school teacher Barb Morgan decided to make her own. And for the past 14 years, Morgan has found a consumer base eager for her unique wreaths that she creates from a myriad of evergreen boughs harvested from the trees on her 64-acre Adams County, Wis., tree farm.
“I use a mixture of firs, pine, spruce, hemlock and cedar so they’re very full and the kind of unique wreaths people enjoy,” said Morgan. Read more here.
Austin takes farming message to the air
By Leah Call
After 40 years of broadcasting farm reports on radio and television, Mike Austin is literally the voice of agriculture in Northeast Wisconsin.
His distinct timbre and enthusiasm for all things agriculture are heard almost daily in the Green Bay area. When he’s not doing his farm show, the award-winning broadcaster and farm advocate can be found at community and ag events throughout the region and the state.
“To be a good farm broadcaster, you can’t live in the studio,” Austin said. “You have to be out in the field, at the meetings, at the conferences and you have to network." Read more here.
Feast & Famine in ag industry
FEAST: A September “report” issued by a coalition of activists opposed to large, modern agriculture revealed even they can’t hide from the truth. “The Shifting Currents Report,” a regurgitation of debunked anti-farming propaganda talking points, included such “authors” as two members of Clean Wisconsin, the head attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates and a representative from the Sierra Club. Read more here.
DNR secretary: Moves about efficiency
By Cathy Stepp
Wisconsin DNR Secretary
Let's be clear from the start - the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is not going to be allowing large livestock operations to write their own environmental permits. If you have seen or heard that we were, you have been given wrong information. We are not "giving away the environmental store." Read more here.
WI DNR takes step forward with plan
Watch closely who howls loudest in the aftermath of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s reorganization plan.
We can easily predict the major complainers: Environmental “activists,” who are fueled by out-of-state dollars and serve as a chorus of Sierra Club sycophants; deep-pocketed lawyers who make a lucrative living by filing the endless current of frivolous anti-agriculture lawsuits; and publicly paid state bureaucrats, more concerned about pursuing their own personal agendas then enforcing the laws that are on the books. Read more here.
Who's going to milk the cows?
By American Dairy Coalition
The American Dairy Coalition held an Immigration Round Table during the World Dairy Expo in early October to discuss new federal policy options and a path forward in resolving our broken immigration system. The discussion entitled “So, Who’s Going to Milk Our Cows?” focused on the dire need for a reliable, legal labor force to ensure the workforce farmers desperately need to maintain and grow their operations. Throughout the United States, even in areas that see high unemployment rates, producers remain uncertain of their future as dairies struggle to find labor that will keep their operations in business. As farmers raise the wages and benefits they offer, they continue to find that domestic laborers simply do not want these jobs. So what is a farmer to do? Read more here.
Dairy on the road to sustainability
By MaryBeth Matzek
HUDSON, Mich. — Acquiring one of Michigan’s most controversial farms and transforming it into a model of green sustainability put Milk Source LLC on the state’s agricultural map in a big way. But three years after picking up the defunct Vreba-Hoff farms — and investing more than $40 million into new technology and site upgrades — the owners of the newly minted Hudson Dairy say they will continue to seek innovations that will bolster both the economic and environmental prospects of the operation. Read more here.
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