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Meat processing facilities argue for vaccine priority

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 8:25 AM CST
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Now that the Coronavirus vaccine is available, the next decision is who will get those shots after frontline medical personnel and senior citizens. Leaders of the food, restaurant, aviation and utility industries are all making arguments that their people should be next in line. Executives at Cargill, Smithfield foods and Perdue Farms have been busy the last few days trying to convince decision makers that workers in meat packing plants should get a high priority in order to safeguard the nation’s food supply. And in some states, like Kansas, with lots of packing plants, the message is getting through as governors are saying those workers will get some priority over other groups. The federal government says it should have enough vaccine to vaccinate 100 million people by the end of February.

It’s been a tough year for the dairy industry in 2020 and last week another Wisconsin dairy plant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Maple Grove Cheese Cooperative, which has been making cheese in Monroe for over 100 years, said it lost its contract with its cheese making partner, Maple Leaf Cheese makers, and needs time to find a new partner. The coop, which has 25 patrons, stopped taking milk last Thursday and plans to be shut down for the next 3 to 4 months. Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative has been operating since 1910.

For the last few years the national corn growing champion has been from Georgia. But this year the top grower is from Michigan. Don Stall who farms near Charlotte, Michigan, won the contest with a yield of 476.91 bushels an acre. Stall won the contest with a Pioneer corn variety. And Stall won by a lot. The next highest yields came from South Carolina at just over 387 bushels an acre. This year’s contest drew 7,844 entries from 48 states. Last year the winner had an all time record yield of just over 616 bushels an acre.

The Wisconsin State Fair was one of the best in the country again in 2020 even though the fair was limited because of the Coronavirus pandemic. At the recent 2020 International Association of Fairs and Expositions Virtual Convention, our state fair won 20 awards in various divisions and categories as well as the 2020 Judges Choice Award for their communications department. State Fair officials say they plan a live fair next August 5th through the 15th.

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