Eau Claire County added to list of counties under gypsy moth quarantine

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 7:14 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program surcharge on state fertilizer and pesticide businesses is being waived. This is the fourth consecutive year the ACCP surcharge is being waived by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The fertilizer and pesticide businesses normally pay the surcharge to help fun the cleanup of agrichemical spills; that surcharge is waived when the fund-balance remains about $1.5 million.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union has a new Farmer-Led Watershed Council coordinator. Farmers Union officials announced last week that Tara Daun has been hired to the position; she will work directly with farmer-led watershed councils in Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties. In that role, she will work to expand participation in watershed-protection incentive programs, coordinate water testing and programming and generally work to foster conservation practices in the Mississippi River Watershed. Daun previously worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.

State gypsy moth survey traps have shown the pests present in Eau Claire County, so the county has been added to the list of Wisconsin counties under a gypsy-moth quarantine. State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials announced the quarantine last week. Gypsy moths are invasive pests that feed on the leaves of more than 300 tree species. The movement of wood products is affected under the quarantine, with plant nurseries, Christmas tree growers and lumber mills the most affected because of the wood-movement restrictions and inspection requirements. Logs and nursery stock must be certified free of gypsy moths before they can be transported into non-quarantined counties or states. Fifty-two of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have been placed under quarantine, with the greatest gypsy moth pressure being in eastern-Wisconsin counties.

Teachers are hot commodities Wisconsin and across the nation, as we continue to see rising retirements and openings in the profession. Jeff Hicken, agricultural education consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and Wisconsin FFA advisor, said the state’s agriculture educators are a part of that “hot” list and schools are facing plenty of vacancies before the fall term. Hicken

said Wisconsin so far this year has 23 openings and seven retirements in agricultural education. That represents the loss of about 200 years of experience in the classrooms; there’s a call for young teachers to try and fill that gap. Even the remaining agriculture teachers are still under stress, meaning many still might be considering retirement or a change of career direction. Hicken said UW-River Falls and UW-Platteville have indicated enrollments are up in their agricultural education programs, and there was a high number of student teachers in the field in both semesters this year. He said that reflects needs seen in all career and technical education positions. Despite the stress on staffing demands, some schools are adding agriculture education programs where they don’t exist. Nekoosa and Hayward High Schools are among those considering starting new programs, according to Hicken.

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