farming

The Virginia-based Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has filed an appeal, on behalf of a Wisconsin dairy farmer. In May, a state court convicted Vernon Hershberger of violating a hold the state had put on his raw milk products, a seal, indicating they should not be sold publicly.

However, the jury found him not guilty of producing milk, operating a dairy plant and selling retail food without licenses.

On the misdemeanor conviction, the judge fined Hershberger $1,000.

Sir Hectimere photo, via Flickr

Many people who live in the city or suburbs have had the somewhat romantic notion of giving up the rat race and buying a place in the country... maybe getting some chickens, growing some of your own food. It's tempting, especially after you've sat in rush hour traffic for a while.

Raw Milk
Susy Morris, Flickr

The issue of raw milk sales – is again a hot one in Wisconsin. People on both sides are crowding into a courtroom, to witness the trial of a dairy farmer from Sauk County.

Not all, that many years ago, organic farming might have elicited the rolling of eyes. Today, the practice of growing products without chemicals seems common. However, a related approach remains relatively unknown.

Called biodynamics, it involves the use of harvested plants and remains of dead animals. Advocates kicked off a five-day North American conference in Madison on Wednesday.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence set out to learn more about the farming practice that dates back to the turn of the last century.

She begins at a dandelion harvesting event outside of Elkhorn.

You many find a few descriptions “unsavory.”

Petra Duffner knew nothing about biodynamics – until 1991.

That was the year she took a break from college in her native Germany and landed on this farm in southeastern Wisconsin.



Visitors flocked to State Fair Park Thursday, where the annual fair began its 11-day run. Farmers from every county in Wisconsin are showing their livestock, in hopes of winning the Blue Ribbon. WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson found that one subject weighing heavily on many cattle owners’ minds is water.

Farmers in southeastern Wisconsin are wondering just how bad this growing season will be – or what might be salvageable. The drought in southern Wisconsin last week intensified from moderate to severe. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis visited Rob -N-Cin’s Farm in West Bend.The family-owned farm tends around 400 dairy cows and raises crops - alfalfa, corn, soybeans and winter wheat. Son Rick Roden fears this season could be devastating.

Wisconsin has long been known as the ‘dairy’ state, but it actually grows the biggest variety of crops in the nation. Farmers here are tops in cranberries, while soy is also huge, so is corn. Wisconsin is also near the top when it comes to growing and processing vegetables and meats. In this segment of our series, “Project Milwaukee: What’s On Our Plate,” we touch upon just a few of the products and related operations that link farm to market.

Organic Farming Factor

Nov 16, 2010

Wisconsin is second only to California, in the number of organic farms operating in the state.

The numbers, though, are still fairly low.

Of Wisconsin’s 78,000 farms, less than two percent are managed organically.

As we continue Project Milwaukee: What’s on Our Plate?” WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence digs a little deeper into the variety and spirit among the state’s organic farmers.

Erin Toner

In 2009, milk prices dropped so low that dairy farmers lost up to half their income. Some had to slaughter their cows because they couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. Others decided enough was enough, and sold their animals and their land.WUWM’s Erin Toner visits a family near Slinger who made it through last year, but just barely.

Erin Toner

2009 was a make or break year for dairy farmers in Wisconsin. Milk prices dropped so low that most farmers had to go deeper into debt just to survive. Some lost so much money they had to sell their farms. Today, we begin a series profiling two dairy farming families in Wisconsin. Both managed to weather the worst year they can remember, and hope to stay in the business they love as long as they can.

Dairy farming has been a part of Wisconsin’s landscape for generations. A small fraction of those operations is organic. WUWM’s environmental reporter Susan Bence visited a couple committed to organic farming and to passing on their methods to the next generation.

This is the sound of 140 happy cows grazing a few miles outside Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

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