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Wisconsin farmers receive $80 million in COVID relief

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 8:44 AM CST
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Nearly $80 million in emergency coronavirus pandemic relief has been allocated to Wisconsin farmers, food banks and other eligible nonprofit organizations. State agriculture secretary Randy Romanski last week said the funding was part of federal CARES Act money allocated by Gov. Tony Evers. The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection last week issued a report summarizing its activities so far in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The report also cited DATCP efforts to communicate with the public, farmers and other agri-businesses, administrative changes to give flexibility in serving DATCP-regulated entities, and bridge-building between state farmers and consumers.

Some people say there’s nothing that says love more than cheese. Wisconsin’s dairy farmers are making that point this year with the promotional entity Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin sending complimentary heart-shaped boxes of cheese to selected people through its Wisconsin Cheese program. Nominations are being taken by the organization for 500 such boxes to be sent to those selected. Those nominations may be made by visiting wisconsincheese.com/fortheloveofcheese. The nominations will be taken until Jan. 31. As they say, if you’re feeling bleu, there’s no cheddar way to celebrate a gouda Valentine’s day.

Nominations are open to find the next recipients of the Leopold Conservation Award. The $10,000 annual award, presented by the Sand County Foundation and Wisconsin Farm Bureau, honors achievement in conservation and in inspiring others to practice good conservation measures. It’s presented in the name of Aldo Leopold, the famed Wisconsin conservationist who promoted the land ethic and authored the classic “A Sand County Almanac.” Applications for nominations, open until Aug. 5, can be found at the Web site sandcountyfoundation.org.

USAgNet and Forbes are reporting that Bill Gates, the world’s fourth-richest person, has quietly bought 242,000 acres of farmland across the country to make him the owner of the most private farmland in the nation. The Land Report said Gates, who has a net worth of nearly $121 billion, has built the farmland portfolio spanning 18 states. His largest holdings are in Louisiana, 69,071 acres; Arkansas, 47,927 acres; and Nebraska, 20,588 acres. He also has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, which is being developed as a new suburb.

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