Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - March 12

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- As far as agriculture is concerned, the budget President Trump has released for fiscal year 2020, needs some changes. That spending bill would cut discretionary spending at USDA by $3.6 billion—or almost 15% from current levels. And mandatory program spending would be cut by another $1.9 billion. Some of the biggest cuts in the president’s budget would be for crop insurance premiums, lowering income eligibility and reducing crop insurance underwriting gains. The overall budget proposal would increase spending next year by $21.7 billion and increase the deficit by about $9 billion to $1.1 trillion. House Agriculture Committee Chair, Colin Peterson of Minnesota, said this budget proposal “is a road map to make things worse for farmers and those who live in rural communities.”

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Not all of our agricultural exports had it tough last year. U.S. exports of distillers’ grains were the second highest ever at almost 12 million metric tons. That equates to one out of every 3 tons produced was exported. Mexico was our biggest buyer taking 17% of those exports followed by Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey. The total value of those exports last year was almost 2 and a half billion dollars—up 33% from 2017. The only downside was our sales to China—they have fallen 84% since 2017 and made up only 2% of our total distillers’ grain exports in 2018.

World Dairy Expo has released its list of honorees for this year’s show and again Wisconsin will be well represented. This year’s Dairy Woman of the Year will be Janina Siemers of Siemers Holsteins of Newton in eastern Wisconsin. And Dr. Randy Shavers, a retired University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy nutritionist, will take home the Industry person of the year award. The other honorees are from California and the Dominican Republic. This year’s World Dairy Expo in Madison runs from October 1st through the 5th.

Around here we sometimes worry about crop damage from deer, bear and other wild animals. But in parts of china they’ve got a bigger problem. In the Yunan province, officials plan to set up a special 126 acre farm to grow corn, sugarcane, bamboo and bananas—to keep wild elephants away from farms that are losing their crops to the invading pacaderms.