National Agriculture News

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Editor’s note: This is part two of the Martin story. The first part ran in the June 25 issue of Agri-View.

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MADISON, Wis. – Karen Nielsen recently was named program coordinator for the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance. The alliance is a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. It’s a result of the 2018 farm bill, which created the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative to help dairy farmers and processors create new revenue streams through increased diversification and creation of greater-value dairy products. Nielsen has been busy coordinating the alliance’s grant program, which solicits, reviews and approves proposals from dairy farms and businesses.

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The worst of the coronavirus-induced plunge in the dairy economy may be finished. The sharp decrease in dairy-product prices in April – prompted by the pandemic – has been followed by a strong recovery in cash-market prices in May that’s continuing into June. Cash cheese prices rebounded dramatically from $1 per pound in the first half of April to record levels in less than eight weeks. Cash butter prices, to a lesser extent, have also rebounded from April depressed prices.

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Summer is here! To me it seems like it would be more appropriate to have the first day of summer closer to June 1. Likewise the first day of spring should be closer to April 1 because rarely is any fieldwork done before April 1.

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This past week has seen a turn in our weather from a fairly dry stretch to heavy rains. We had 3 inches around Cuba City the weekend of June 20. Fields were just starting to dry Thursday with a quite a few wet spots remaining among the dryish spots. As I write this June 26 it has been a downpour for about 20 minutes.

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ROSHOLT, Wis. – Some people are motivated by money. Other people are motivated by love. Spend a little time with Peg and Randy Urness and it’s easy to learn what motivates them.

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Some farmers inland from Lake Superior had a visit from Jack Frost the morning of June 13. Temperatures at some farms fell to the upper-20s. Jack’s icy fingers touched plants producing for farm-market trade as well as corn and bean fields. That same morning the coldest temperature along the south shore of Lake Superior was 41 degrees.

A reader recently asked if it was possible to look more closely at the demographic data covered in our early post about off-farm income. That was a good question because the largest category, “commercial farms,” were those with more than $350,000 in gross cash farm income. This week’s post digs deeper into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s typography segments for a close look at demographics of farm household income and debt.

The feeding sector of the cattle industry has seen a lot of adjustments in response to the coronavirus outbreak. David Anderson, professor and Extension ag economist with Texas A&M University, says those adjustments are ongoing.

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Central-Wisconsin farmers have experienced a broad range of weather conditions the past two weeks. Temperatures bounced from less than normal to spikes of heat in the upper-80s.

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OPINION  As we move through a year that has already been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we think ahead to when we can resume normal activities, be part of community gatherings and celebrate holidays like Independence Day.