Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - Dec. 29th

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- 2017 is coming to a close and agriculture had some big stories develop during this past year. In Wisconsin the biggest story had to do with dairy farmers receiving letters last spring telling them that some dairy processors could no longer take their milk because of too much volume for the plants to handle. That came after Canada changed their rules and no longer would take our ultra filtered milk leaving that milk with no place to go. The matter became even more challenging later this year when some plants sent letters to their patrons telling them that their premium structure was changing and that milk hauling would no longer be partially paid for by the plants. Also this year the cropping season got off to a slow start as the weather was cold and wet causing concerns about the eventual size of the crop. But in the end, the harvest resulted in some big but not record sized crops across the state. And a third major story in the state this year was the September resignation of Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel. Brancel was our longest serving ag secretary serving both Governors Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker. Governor Walker selected former River Falls state senator Sheila Harsdorf to be our new secretary of agriculture-the first woman to ever have the job.

File image of bacon

Nationally trade issues were a big issue for agriculture this past year and they will continue to be in 2018. Shortly after taking office, President Trump opted us out of the just completed Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement as well as calling for renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico-talks that aren't going real well. The next round of those talks will be later in January in Montreal. And like in Wisconsin, the cropping year nationally got off to a shaky start but eventually yields turned out to be bigger than earlier expected. The new Administration also meant a new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the president nominated former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue who was easily confirmed for the job.

Wisconsin egg production totaled 157 million eggs during November. That was up four percent from last month and 12 percent more than last November according to the USDA Chickens and Eggs report. The number of all laying hens during the month was 6.82 million--a record high for November, which beat last year's count by 21 percent. Nationally, egg production totaled 8.72 billion during November, up slightly from last year. Production included 7.60 billion table eggs, and 1.11 billion eggs for hatching. There were 378 laying hens last month, up 1% from last November.

Tomorrow is a special day. Especially if you like bacon, because it's National Bacon Day. A recent survey of 1,000 consumers found that 6 percent of Americans say they cannot live without bacon, while another 21 percent say they would eat bacon every day for the rest of their life. 18 percent say bacon is their favorite food. And only 4 percent of Americans don't like bacon. But, there are different types of bacon. 19 percent say turkey bacon isn't real bacon, and another 17 percent say the same thing about Canadian bacon. 21 percent flat out refuse to eat non-meat bacon at all. And what thickness do we like our bacon? 33 percent say they like thick-cut the best, while 67 percent say thin-cut wins. 52 percent of Americans like their bacon very crispy, while only 31 percent say they like it not that crispy. 8 percent like it slightly cooked, and another 3 percent like it charred.

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