Agriculture Archives for 2017-12

Snow cover important to farmer's fields future crops with extreme cold


By Paul Schmitt


Snow cover in fields this time of year is crucial to a successful harvest for farmers down the road especially with extreme colder temperatures and winds forecasted for another week.  Rich Olson from Olson Family Farm in southern Door County explains why a blanket of snow in the fields is important.

 

 

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Farmers, residents together help make strides addressing water quality


By Tim Kowols


The coordination involved in addressing water quality in Kewaunee County both in the public and private sector is the biggest takeaway of 2017 for Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson John Pagel. In 2017, the Kewaunee County Board passed a manure irrigation ordinance giving uniform regulations across the entire area instead of specific townships. Pagel says different workgroups like Peninsula Pride Farms, UW Discovery Farms, and Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms Network working together with the Department of Natural Resources and the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department also gives him hope that they are on the right track.

 

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Winter brings new health precautions for farm workers


By Aerica Bjurstrom, Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator


Winter has settled in to stay, and now is the time for some cold weather safety reminders. While working outside, it may be easy to ignore signs of cold stress on your body. Be aware of signs of hypothermia. Signs of mild hypothermia may include being alert, but shivering. During moderate hypothermia, shivering may stop and body temperature will drop. More severe hypothermia may include the loss of coordination with items in the hand, and being confused or disorientated. Severe signs include the inability to walk or stand, dilated pupils, slowed breathing and pulse.

 

Some farm workers have never experienced a Wisconsin winter before. Employers should train workers to recognize the workplace conditions that can lead to cold stress; to learn what the symptoms of cold stress are and how to prevent them, and what to do for those affected; and how to select proper work attire for cold conditions. Remind employees to use caution around ice as well. People and cattle can easily fall and hurt themselves on ice covered concrete.

 

Employers should also monitor employees and offer more frequent breaks in warm, dry areas; schedule works during the warmest hours of the day, encourage the buddy system; provide warm, sweet non-alcoholic beverages; and provide radiant heaters if possible.

A good way to determine what you will need to keep you and your employees warm is to make a list of all the tasks that will be worked outside or in other cold environments, and discuss with your workers any safety concerns you, or they may have. Be prepared for winter storms that may inhibit work, or employees from leaving work. Post reminders about cold weather safety and share them with your employees.

 

Discussing cold weather safety and plans for winter storms will help prepare everyone for a safe winter.

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Natural Resources Board pumps brakes on new manure spreading rules for sensitive areas


By Tim Kowols


The Natural Resources Board will take more time to discuss potential new rules concerning manure spreading in areas like Door and Kewaunee County affected by karst topography. Thin soil depths and fractured bedrock in some areas of the two counties are to blame for poor groundwater quality. During hearings at the county level, some farmers of smaller operations told officials the new rules could drive them out of business because of the additional time and financial costs of compliance. Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy owner and Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chair John Pagel says the delay could help get more issues get sorted out before the new rules are approved and implemented.

 

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Industrial hemp could offer new opportunities, challenges for farmers

By Tim Kowols


With industrial hemp now legal to grow in Wisconsin, agriculture agents in the UW-Extension are working to see what it could mean for their counties. Currently, the UW Extension need to make sure discrepancies between federal and state policies are handled since they get funding from both entities and industrial hemp farming is only currently legal in 31 states.  Door County UW Extension Agriculture Agent Annie Deutsch says farmers are interested because of low crop prices and diversification, but there is a lot that needs to be done before seeds are planted.

 

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