farming

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President Donald Trump says Canada has "outsmarted" the U.S. for a long time, but he won't put up with it. He made the comment on Tuesday while imposing sizeable tariffs on all softwood lumber that Canada sells to the U.S., apparently in retaliation for Canada's decision to close its market to ultra-filtered milk that originates on dairy farms across Wisconsin.

LaToya Dennis

Some Wisconsin dairy farmers could soon be forced out of business. In less than two weeks, Grassland Farms Dairy Products will stop purchasing what’s called ultra-filtered milk from about 75 dairy farmers in Wisconsin. 

The milk was being sold to Canada, but that country recently changed its pricing structure making the Canadian-produced equivalent cheaper. The immediate challenge is to find processors willing to take on new clients, but long-term, there’s too much milk.

steuccio79 / fotolia

Update, Wednesday, April 5 at 9:30 a.m.:

The Senate voted Wednesday morning along party lines, 19-13, to move the bill forward. It exempts existing high-capacity wells from review of the Department of Natural Resources if the well needs to be repaired, replaced or sold.

Ashley Irvin

The vote of the Republican-controlled Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform split 3-2 along party lines.  The committee chair opted for a paper ballot vote, rather than convening face-to-face.

Earlier this month a large crowd gathered for a public hearing, which stretched  from morning into the evening. Tuesday's vote advances the bill to the full Senate, which is likely to take it up next week.

Original Post - March 16, 2017:

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

The Trump Administration appointed former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture, but for some in the agriculture business the announcement came too late.

The appointment was announced long after every other cabinet member had already been announced, a perceived slight to a community that had overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump during the election. 

Susan Bence

For decades at this time each summer, Wisconsin farmers have gathered to talk technology. Wisconsin Farm Technology Days began back in 1954 with a simple hay baling contest in Waupaca County.

This week a farmer south of Geneva Lake hosted.

Kyle Scott came to check it out. He works for a crop farmer northeast of here. He and his wife also farm their own five-acre parcel.

Mitch Teich / WUWM

A lot happened in the life of a young duck named Phillip before he ended up at the Autumn Farm Sanctuary in Cedarburg.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, is being touted as the most sweeping reform from the regulatory body in the last 70 years. This fall, the FDA will start enforcing some of the new regulations.

These regulations hold food manufacturers and suppliers to higher sanitary standards. The move is meant to shift the industry to a prevention model, instead of reacting to outbreaks caused by contaminated food.

When it comes to milk production, Gigi the cow is queen.

"She's the diva of all divas," says Robert Behnke, a Brooklyn, Wis., dairy farmer and Gigi's owner.

And she's earned that diva status: Earlier this year, she produced more milk in one year than any other cow had done before — just shy of 75,000 pounds of milk, roughly equivalent to 8,700 gallons. That's triple the national average for a dairy cow to produce in a year.

Lindsay Eyink / Flickr

Recently, the Urban Ecology Center held its annual meet your farmer event here in Milwaukee. It featured different Community Supported Agriculture programs. CSAs allow growers to directly reach their consumers. 

CSA programs have been growing in popularity since the 1980's, and now more than 1,700 farms are involved with them. But despite their popularity, the concept of a CSA program can be a bit confusing for some consumers. 

Martin Cathrae, flickr

Here’s something you probably did not know…in Wisconsin, it is illegal to sell homemade cookies and baked goods. While there are a few exceptions – such as occasional church bake sales, some farmers say the law is having a negative impact on them. 

A few are working to change the law on a couple different fronts.

Across the U.S., small farmers have been struggling for years with low commodity prices and rising production costs. Even for organic farmers, who can justify higher prices, making a profit is tough.

But throughout the Midwest, a new farm-to-table strategy is giving a boost to some farmers.

antoniamurphy.com

In the modern day rat race of our constant and busy lives, few people actually act on the common thought of leaving the city behind and heading out in search of a simpler lifestyle.

Antonia Murphy was brave enough to actually do it. Murphy is an American whose primary experience with farm life came from an ill-fated effort to care for her father's chicken.

The People Remember Project

Margaret Klessig wouldn’t have expected to spend her life on a Wisconsin dairy farm.

Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: Wednesday night, a Bayfield County Board vote of 8 to 5 brought the adoption of a one-year moratorium. It creates a study committee made up of six county elected and three community members; the latter will be selected through an application process. The moratorium applies to all facilities with over 1,000 animal units, unless the operation has established vested rights. It remains unclear whether the Iowa-based Reicks group falls in the "vested rights" category, because it submitted applications to both Bayfield County and the Wisconsin DNR before the February 18 county board decision.

ORIGINAL STORY: Wisconsin has plenty of cow CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), but an Iowa-based company wants to start the first huge hog operation in Bayfield County.

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