Agriculture Archives for 2018-01

Collaboration celebrated as Peninsula Pride Farms hosts its second annual meeting


By Tim Kowols


A panel discussion featuring farmers and other agriculture and conservation professionals will highlight the second annual meeting for Peninsula Pride Farms this Wednesday in Luxemburg. Farmers Tony Brey, Don Niles, and Randy Ebert, Steve Richter from The Nature Conservancy, Davina Bonness of the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department, Nick Guilette of AgSource Laboratories, and Dennis Frame from Timber Ridge Consulting will discuss the role agriculture has to protect its environment through innovative and collaborative means.  Niles says the annual meeting is not just for farmers, but for those wanting to learn more about what Peninsula Pride Farms is doing through its Natural Resources Conservation Service demonstration network and other initiatives.

 

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Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Committee to distribute remaining funds in March


By Tim Kowols


March will be when the Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Committee will release thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants to local individuals and communities following a successful 2017 event. The announcement made during Tuesday's Kewaunee County Board meeting comes months after the committee donated over $100,000 to local groups that volunteered during the three-day show. Executive Secretary Aerica Bjurstrom says there are no specifics yet, but the committee has decided how the funds will be divvied up.

 

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Ice and thawing in fields can damage future crops


By Paul Schmitt


The recent rain and ice storm was not only bad for the conditions of area roads, but was not good news to area farmers concerned about their fields and the potential to negatively affect future crops.  Jim Wautier from Church Site Farms in Brussels explains the worse case scenario.

 

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Farmers worried about the effects of immigration reform


By Tim Kowols


Uncertainty in immigration reform still weighs heavy on area farmers dependent on the labor. According to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, more than half of dairy workers nationally are immigrants, with farms employing them producing 79 percent of nation's milk. While the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is getting the headlines, Dave Jauquet from Jauquet Farms in Luxemburg is worried about some of his employees and their families that may not fall under the program. His employees have the proper I-9 forms filed, but Jauquet would still like to see a permanent solution reached while finding a middle ground.

 

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Grants pivotal to Peninsula Pride Farms' stewardship progress


By Tim Kowols


Peninsula Pride Farms continues to earn grants to fund their programs aimed at helping farmers become better stewards of their land. The latest received by the farmer-led initiative is a $10,000 Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The grant helps farmers willing take on conservation efforts with the financial support needed to make changes. With farmers taking on new practices and new equipment as commodity prices continue to tumble, Peninsula Pride Farms President and Dairy Dreams owner Don Niles says every dollar matters to make sure they stay sustainable.

 

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Potential for Kewaunee County herd expansion moratorium hangs with Natural Resources Board decision


By Tim Kowols


Kewaunee County will wait on the Natural Resources Board's decision on new manure handling rules for sensitive area before discussing instituting a moratorium on herd expansion. The modified rules, known as NR-151, would limit where and when manure could be spread in areas like Kewaunee County where the fractured bedrock and thin soils makes the region susceptible to groundwater contamination. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee took up the issue at its Tuesday meeting after recent  permit hearings renewed the call for operations to stop expanding until the county can get a grasp on its water concerns. Committee member Lee Luft requested the discussion and says they want to see what NR-151 changes and its own recently passed ordinance do for improving water conditions first before instituting more rules.

 

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Number of farms continue to decline in state


By Paul Schmitt


Wisconsin is continuing to lose dairy farmers in the state.  According to the numbers from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Wis-DATCP) reported by Wisconsin Public Radio, there are 500 less dairy farms than last year.    Jim Wautier of Church-Site Farms in Brussels says he believes the decline in small dairy operations is attributable to lower milk prices and challenging debt faced by some farmers.

 



 

According to the WDATCP, just over 8,800 dairy farms were shown licensed in the state at the start of 2018.  That reflects a more than 20 percent drop of dairy farmers in the past five years.

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Farmers tighten up as milk prices expected to continue its slide


By Tim Kowols


Farmers are being reminded to keep an eye on their expenses in 2018 as another year of low milk prices is expected.  According to Dairy Herd Management, the United States Department of Agriculture has lowered its milk price projection for 2018 by 80 cents down to $15.80 per hundredweight as oversupply continues its effect on farmers' pocketbooks. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator Aerica Bjurstrom says one thing helping farms is other costs associated with milk production are also down.

 

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Dairy industry becoming more appealing to women


By Tim Kowols


From animal science classes across the state to farms in Kewaunee County, the dairy industry is seeing more women becoming an integral part of it.  According to the Associated Press, women are making up the majority of animal science major applicants at schools like UW-River Falls and others are heading back to the farm after giving a different career a try. Julie Siegmund from Siegmund Farm in Kewaunee started working full-time on the farm in 2013 and says some jobs like caring for calves just come natural to women.

 

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