Fewer dairy farms as milk production rises

U.S. milk production is projected to top 220 billion pounds this year as a long-running structural shift puts production in the hands of fewer, but larger, dairies. At the same time, the USDA said there were 34,187 dairy herds licensed to sell milk in 2019, a drop of 9 percent from the previous year.

Majority want more oversight of CAFOs, poll finds

A majority of Americans say they want more stringent oversight of large scale livestock operations, according to a national poll by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future released Tuesday. The polling follows a recent recommendation from the nation’s leading public health association to temporarily halt the creation of new concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and increase their oversight and regulation.

A battle brews in rural Wisconsin over factory farms

A community divided. A local official accused of self-dealing. A top political appointee ousted from his job. In Wisconsin, a state where the footprint of agribusiness is growing, the question of how to regulate factory farms is a pressing topic from the town hall to the statehouse.  The issue …

Dairy farmers may have to get big to survive, says Perdue

In a state losing two dairy farms a day, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that it’s hard to make a living with a small herd of cows. The “economies of scale having happened in America—big get bigger and small go out,” Perdue said at a dairy show in Wisconsin, in comments …

GOP hoots ‘elitist’ as Democrats question USDA’s plan to relocate researchers

Hoping to dissuade Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, farm-state Democrats in Congress asked for a cost-benefit analysis that would justify moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington. Two senior Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee ridiculed the opposition to the relocation as elitism and knee-jerk obstructionism of President Trump.

Madison looks at former meat factory for wholesale food market

Madison, Wisconsin, was hit particularly hard by the 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz and its accompanying layoffs. Now, the city is assessing whether the former meat processing site could be repurposed into a food terminal for regional producers. If the terminal is approved, the city will join others who are building infrastructure for medium-scale regional food distribution.

Family farming on a precipice, Wisconsin farmers warn

Corporate consolidation and low commodity prices are posing an existential threat to small, family farms, farmers warned at an event hosted by the Wisconsin Farmers Union in Madison last week. Several producers, from small organic growers to commodity milk farmers, shared stories about how tough farming has become.

Wisconsin Republicans push for wetlands deregulation

In Wisconsin, legislation is moving through the statehouse that would roll back the state’s wetlands development regulations, according to The Cap Times. The bill was proposed by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and in its original form proposed opening up one million acres of wetlands to development.

Cheeseheads fight to keep Wisconsin’s ‘dairyland’ reputation

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.

Organic Valley starts project to run on renewable energy only

Wisconsin-based Organic Valley, the largest U.S. cooperative for organic farmers, launched a project to become the largest food company in the world to get all of its electricity from renewable sources. The co-op will be part of a "community solar partnership" that will install 12 megawatts of solar power in the state.