COW97 Ag News from Brownfield

Trotter promoted to CEO of Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmers Cooperative

Trotter promoted to CEO of Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmers Cooperative

Trotter promoted to CEO of Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmers Cooperative

Tim Trotter moved from Executive Director to CEO of the two dairy organizations earlier this month. In this Brownfield interview, Trotter explains why the changes took place, and he discusses other issues important to the dairy industry and his membership including the supply chain, input costs, and a package of Wisconsin Legislature bills addressing meat and dairy labeling.

DBA & Edge Dairy Farmers Cooperative CEO Tim Trotter discusses several issue with Brownfield’s Larry Lee at the 2022 Dairy Strong Conference

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Dairy farmer echoes input cost concerns

Dairy farmer echoes input cost concerns

Dairy farmer echoes input cost concerns

A Wisconsin dairy farmer says his crop input costs for this spring are up considerably. 

Tom Kunkel from Cuba City in southwestern Wisconsin grows most of his own feed, and he tells Brownfield the chemical expenses for the 2022 crop took the biggest jump. “Last year, I paid like $10 a gallon for Roundup, and this year I was quoted a price of $59 a gallon.”

And fertilizer prices for his 260 acres of corn, 40 acres of oats, and 100 acres of alfalfa doubled, but he’s grateful seed prices didn’t go up as much.

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Pompeo shares farmers concern about ag regulation

Pompeo shares farmers concern about ag regulation

Pompeo shares farmers concern about ag regulation

The former Secretary of State and Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo says it’s partly true that agriculture is not being heard when it comes to forming regulations impacting farmers. He says, “Groups like this, Dairy Strong, the ag community, Kansas Farm Bureau was in my ear constantly, right, so there are places, but there are other places where it’s not true, other states.”

Northeastern Wisconsin dairy farmer Lee Kinnard says he’s concerned regulation might prompt the next generation to leave the farms.

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Risk management advisor says DRP or LGM-Dairy choice may depend on geography

Risk management advisor says DRP or LGM-Dairy choice may depend on geography

Risk management advisor says DRP or LGM-Dairy choice may depend on geography

A risk management specialist says dairy producers need to know how Dairy Revenue Protection and Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy compare for their farms before choosing one over the other. Mike North with ever.ag says, “Neither tool is better than the other. They each have their place.”

North tells Brownfield both DRP and LGM-Dairy have benefits and some disadvantages, and he says the rules do not allow DRP and LGM Dairy coverage in place during the same quarter, so farmers and their risk management agents must figure out which program is the better fit while looking ahead about 15 months into the market.

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker explains how federal COVID relief has a negative impact on other legislation

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker explains how federal COVID relief has a negative impact on other legislation

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker explains how federal COVID relief has a negative impact on other legislation

There are some little-publicized requirements that come with the millions in federal coronavirus relief money, including one that is slowing down legislation supported by Wisconsin Farmers. 

The Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly Robin Vos says there’s a downside to Wisconsin getting federal coronavirus relief. “We are really hampered by the ability to spend state dollars because it creates this maintenance-of-effort requirement for us to spend money in other areas of the budget.”

Vos says for the first time in history, the state has one person who has been able to use federal dollars like a private checkbook with no legislative oversight. 

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Expert says review programs and crop insurance before signing up

Expert says review programs and crop insurance before signing up

Expert says review programs and crop insurance before signing up

An ag risk manager says farmers should carefully review their options before signing up for programs and crop insurance this year.

Travis Glaser with ARM Services in Barron, Wisconsin tells Brownfield farmers need to know what programs are also available outside of federally subsidized crop insurances and how those programs work with crop insurance. “For example on the crop side, we have the PACE program, which people are calling the split-applied nitrogen. It is the post-applied nitrogen program.

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Iowa State evaluates weed seed destroyer

Iowa State evaluates weed seed destroyer

Iowa State evaluates weed seed destroyer

An Iowa State researcher says two mechanical technologies can help reduce the number of weed seeds in fields.  Prashant Jha tells Brownfield a chaff liner limits the weed seeds to a narrow and more manageable row behind the combine.  The other method his team evaluated is a Redekop seed destroyer attachment that fits certain John Deere combines. “Weed seeds we are capturing, we are knocking down close to 90 or 92 percent of those and with the almost-like 88 or 90 percent of those weed seeds we are getting pulverized or severely damaged so they are rendered non-viable.”

Jha says combines can spread thousands of Palmer amaranth seeds from only four plants over a wide path, leaving a difficult-to-control problem for future growing seasons.  He tells Brownfield crushing the seeds during harvest reduces the need for chemicals and slows weeds like Palmer amaranth from developing resistance as quickly.

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Agribusiness group applauds Supreme Court vaccine ruling

Agribusiness group applauds Supreme Court vaccine ruling

Agribusiness group applauds Supreme Court vaccine ruling

An agricultural group is applauding Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Biden administration’s COVID vaccine mandate on private employers.  Biden planned to use OSHA to enforce the mandate on all private employers with more than 100 employees, but the court ruled the mandate overstepped OSHA’s workplace realm.

Tom Bressner with the Wisconsin Agribusiness Association says the court made the right decision. He tells Brownfield, “To mandate a company and say you are going to have to make them get vaccinated or you’re going to have to test them each week almost makes those employees want to say, well, why shouldn’t I go to work for a company (that’s) smaller that has less than 100 employees?

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Corn silage down in 2021, sorghum silage up

Corn silage down in 2021, sorghum silage up

Corn silage down in 2021, sorghum silage up

Corn for silage production decreased in 2021, while sorghum silage increased.

The USDA says corn silage production of 130.317 million tons was 5% below 2020, with the yield 0.4 lower at 20.1 tons per acre and harvested area 230,000 acres lower at 6.481 million acres.

Sorghum silage was 5.083 million tons, with a 2.3 ton per acre rise in the average yield to 15.4 tons per acre and 92,000 acre jump for harvested area.

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Hay production down on year

Hay production down on year

Hay production down on year

Hay production declined from 2020 to 2021.

The USDA says production for all types of hay was 120.196 million tons, down 5% on the year, with the average yield decreasing slightly to 2.37 tons per acre on harvested area of 50.736 million acres. In 2020, production for all types of hay was 126.812 million tons with an average yield of 2.43 tons per acre and harvested area of 52.238 million acres.

The total included 49.246 million tons of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures, 7% below the previous year, while all other types of hay combined for 70.951 million tons, a decline of 4%, with both seeing fractional decreases in yield, at 3.27 and 2 tons per acre, respectively, and lower harvested area because of lower planted area.

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USDA reports 2% rise in winter wheat acreage

USDA reports 2% rise in winter wheat acreage

USDA reports 2% rise in winter wheat acreage

The USDA says producers planted more winter wheat in 2021 than in 2020.

The total of 34.397 million acres was up 2% on the year, with a 1% increase in hard red winter to 23.8 million acres, a 6% jump for soft red winter to 7.07 million, and a 2% rise for white winter wheat to 3.56 million acres.

Drier than normal and drought conditions are a concern for parts of the hard red winter and white winter growing areas, while excessive moisture is an issue for some of the soft red winter crop.

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Secretary appreciates flexibility in new Wisconsin ag export funding

Secretary appreciates flexibility in new Wisconsin ag export funding

Secretary appreciates flexibility in new Wisconsin ag export funding

Wisconsin’s ag secretary says the trade promotion dollars from the Legislature and the Governor give the state more flexibility when promoting Wisconsin exports.

Randy Romanski tells Brownfield until now, promoting agricultural exports meant using funds from the federal government and business donors, and going along on a federal trade mission featuring products from multiple states. “We are really fortunate that we have funding that comes to us from outside organizations that allows us to go on missions to particular locations.

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USDA: record soybean production in 2021

USDA: record soybean production in 2021

USDA: record soybean production in 2021

U.S. farmers produced a record amount of soybeans in 2021.

The USDA says production of 4.435 billion bushels was up 5% from 2020, with a fractionally higher average yield at 51.4 bushels per acre and a 5% rise in harvested area to 86.332 million acres. In 2021, U.S. soybean production was 4.216 billion bushels with an average yield of 51 bushels per acre and harvested area of 82.603 million acres.

Corn production was 15.115 billion bushels, an increase of 7%, with a record large average yield of 177 bushels per acre and a 4% jump in harvested acreage to 85.388 million.

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McKinney expects no change to stepped-up basis

McKinney expects no change to stepped-up basis

McKinney expects no change to stepped-up basis

The former USDA Undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs expects Washington will not make devastating tax law changes that would hurt farmers and ranchers. Ted McKinney says, “If stepped-up basis was going to be included in that attempt to find money to pay the bills, it would have been in the first round, which is Build Back Better.”

McKinney says there was a lot of resistance to changing the tax code to help pay for President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation but, “You never say never in Washington, but I think stepped-up basis, which is sacred, I think that’s probably a good word, maybe it and insurance are sacred.

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Young ag leaders share spotlight at AFBF convention

Young ag leaders share spotlight at AFBF convention

Young ag leaders share spotlight at AFBF convention

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s national convention takes place this weekend in Atlanta, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Kevin Krentz says the national event is not all policy discussion.  He tells Brownfield it’s also great for training our next ag leaders. “We have a number of young farmer contestants going down there to compete both in the Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture at a national level. That’s a great thing to really continue to give that experience and that leadership experience to our young members.”

Wisconsin’s Young Farmer and Agriculturalist Program is being represented by Kellie Zahn from Shawano County in the Excellence in Ag competition and Julie Wadzinski from Rice Lake in the national discussion meet.

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Milk, cattle, beef price issues expected to be a hot AFBF discussion topic

Milk, cattle, beef price issues expected to be a hot AFBF discussion topic

Milk, cattle, beef price issues expected to be a hot AFBF discussion topic

The president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation says farm gate prices will be the big topic of discussion at the national conference in Atlanta this weekend.

Kevin Krentz tells Brownfield the Wisconsin delegation is actively working on dairy price issues, as much of the industry has asked USDA to reopen the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. “We do have a pretty good marketing system within this country, but they definitely need to be improved and definitely need to be modernized, so at the end of the day, we need to advocate for transparency within our dairy markets and that could include a number of things.”

Krentz says he expects a lot of discussion about prices in the cattle and beef sectors.

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Drought a problem in southern Wisconsin

Drought a problem in southern Wisconsin

Drought a problem in southern Wisconsin

Dry weather continues to be an issue in parts of Wisconsin.

The USDA says long-term drought is having an impact on southern portions of the state, with little relief from the mid-month storms.

Those storms did cause some damage to fences, buildings, and irrigation equipment.

Warmer than normal temperatures have limited ice damage to alfalfa and winter wheat, but some areas need more snow cover.

The USDA’s next state update is out later this month.

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Counselor says managing farm stress has changed

Counselor says managing farm stress has changed

Counselor says managing farm stress has changed

A mental health counselor says dealing with stress on the farm has changed in the past few years.

Jessica Beauchamp from Off the Couch Counseling and Consultation says, “It’s probably always existed. People are just reaching out more now.”

Beauchamp is one of many counselors who work with farmers referred by the Wisconsin Farm Center.  She tells Brownfield that many traditional styles of counseling just don’t work well for farmers. “A lot of times, I will hear feedback from farmers that they’ve been told by another counselor or somebody else ‘work-life balance’ which if you know farming, that’s pretty much impossible so let’s not even go there.

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Wisconsin potato & vegetable growers support well remediation law changes

Wisconsin potato & vegetable growers support well remediation law changes

Wisconsin potato & vegetable growers support well remediation law changes

Wisconsin’s potato and vegetable growers would like to see the state’s well remediation program expanded.  WPVGA’s Executive Director Tamas Houlihan tells Brownfield he testified in favor of State Senate Bill 678.  He says the existing well program doesn’t meet the need. “It only allows folks to apply for the well remediation if they have levels of nitrate greater than 40 parts per million, and there are not that many wells that qualify, and it also has a livestock component in that the contamination must be due to livestock issues.”

Tamas Houlihan

Houlihan says nitrate contamination is also found away from livestock and he says state and EPA guidelines don’t match, so his farmers would like the law updated.

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USDA maple syrup grant aims to expand Wisconsin production

USDA maple syrup grant aims to expand Wisconsin production

USDA maple syrup grant aims to expand Wisconsin production

A new Extension program will help expand maple syrup production in Wisconsin.

Jeremy Solin is a natural resource professional, and small business owner whose children are fifth-generation syrup producers in the Stevens Point and Antigo areas.  He says it’s great to see the University of Wisconsin Extension get more directly involved with help from a 470-thousand-dollar USDA grant.

Solin says farmers with sugar maple trees on their land can benefit from producing syrup.

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