Some in Wisconsin’s business community are calling for a change to the state slogan, “America’s Dairyland.” But when a news channel caught Kurt Bauer, head of the advocacy group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, arguing for a more “contemporary” phrase at a statewide meeting for business leaders, the public outcry was quick and loud. So much so that Bauer refused to be interviewed for a story on NPR.
Along with corn and soybeans, U.S. wheat prices reached a record high in 2013, just before the collapse of the commodity boom. The USDA projects that this year's wheat crop will end the four-year decline in prices, partly because the harvest will be nearly one-half billion bushels smaller than a year ago.
The University of Nebraska's annual Farm Real Estate Survey says the average value of farmland in the state fell by 10 percent in the past year, to $2,805 an acre. It was the third year of declines since land peaked at an average $3,315 an acre, an overall drop of 15 percent.