Wisconsin cheese production slips in September

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 7:15 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials are continuing to monitor the coronavirus strain that has killed more than 3,400 mink at a Medford-area mink farm. The first reports of mink dying at the farm because of the same coronavirus strain that affects humans was were recorded on Oct. 8. A DATCP official said the farm has been quarantined, and that state and federal veterinarians are working to determine when that quarantine could end. The DATCP spokesman also said concerns about the safety of the state’s mink population have grown as coronavirus infections have grown among humans in Wisconsin. There has been no indication that the coronavirus has been transmitted from mink to humans or to any other animals.

Wisconsin’s cheese production slipped some during September when compared with the state’s production in September of 2019, but America’s Dairyland still produced more cheese than another state. Cheese plants produced 2.8 million pounds of cheese in September, a 1.4 percent decrease compared with the production a year ago. It was more than the 2.75 million pounds produced during August. California which was second behind Wisconsin with 2.04 million pounds of cheese produced during September, had an even larger decrease than Wisconsin’s production, with a 5.4 percent decrease compared with September of 2019. Nationally, September’s 1.1 billion pounds of cheese was a 1.1 percent increase compared with September of 2019.

The presidential election was held less than a week ago, but speculation already is brewing about who’ll be selected to serve as the secretary of agriculture and other cabinet positions under President-elect Joe Biden. Former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a moderate Democrat, is seen by many pundits as the leading agriculture secretary candidate. She also had served as North Dakota’s attorney general and is a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute. Other often-mentioned candidates are Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois.

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