Ag Chat with Scott Schultz - July 6

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 9:11 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin agriculture lost upwards of $685 million by mid-April because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation released its Wisconsin Tomorrow report, which includes data concerning the coronavirus-related losses. The losses mid-April losses were led by $200 million in the beef industry, $144 million in the corn industry, $100 million in soybeans, $66 million in dairy and milk, and $31 million in cranberries. Some of the key ag-related recommendations in the report included the needs for investment and innovation to expend farmers' processing capabilities and to help assure food safety and accessibility to across the supply chain. State agriculture secretary-designee Randy Romanski said last week that it's important to remember that agriculture is a cornerstone of the state, its economy and its residents' well-being Romanski said, "It has a $104.8 billion economic impact on the state. About one in nine jobs in Wisconsin is related to agriculture."

The Wisconsin Farm Center has created a new crisis line that will be available for farmers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Farmer Wellness Hotline is open to increase farmers’ access to free and confidential counseling services. The service may be accessed by calling 888-901-2558; I’ll repeat that number in a moment. Licensed mental health professionals contracted by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will provide immediate and in-the-moment care. The telephone number, again, is 888-901-2558.

The positive roles agriculture can play in slowing climate change has been recognized in a recent House of Representatives climate-change action report. The report recommends including an expansion of conservation programs and increasing funds for climate-related research involving farms and ranches. It also recognizes ethanol use as a means of reducing climate-altering emissions.

The Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association has rescheduled its statewide fundraiser in support of Wisconsin’s dairy farmers. The organization will hold drive-through frozen macaroni and cheese sales July 11, from 10 a.m. until supplies last. The western Wisconsin drive-through will be at Blain’s Farm and Fleet on Highway 16 in Onalaska; there also will be one at Midwest Shooters Supply in Lomira.

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