President Biden to talk agriculture in upcoming Wisconsin visit

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:56 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The big guns from Washington will be in Wisconsin next week. Both president Joe Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plan to be in the state on Tuesday to talk about agriculture and other rural issues. Dairy is likely to be high on the list as the administration has announced more money will be coming to dairy farmers within the next 60 days.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been dealt a second setback in the Courts over his plan to excuse $4 billion in debt repayments for minority farmers. After a Wisconsin judge issued a restraining order earlier stopping the secretary’s plan, another federal judge in Florida has now issued an injunction against the plan. An injunction carries more weight in the legal system than a restraining order. There are at least 5 more lawsuits against Vilsack’s plan that are still active in federal courts across the country.

The USDA has begun sending out over 1 billion dollars to farmers who suffered natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Those payments are being made through the Quality Loss Adjustment Program and the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus. The QLA payments are going to producers who lost crops and forages while the remaining money will be for those who were hit by hurricanes, wildfires and other qualifying natural disasters.

How would you like to sell your 22,500 acre ranch and still be $35 million in the hole. According to reports from DTN, that’s what happened recently to Cody Easterday, who had to sell his ranch and farming operation in Eastern Washington. He had to sell the operation because Easterday is likely to spend the next 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud for cheating Tyson Foods out of $244 million for supposedly buying and feeding hundreds of thousands of cattle that didn’t exist. According to court documents, Easterday began the scam in 2016 and ran it until he was caught in 2020. The winning bid for the ranch was $209 million submitted by a company called Farm Reserve which is owned by the Mormon Church. The second high bid of $208 million came from an investment company owned by Bill Gates, who is the largest owner of farm land in the United States.

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