Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - March 6

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Interest in growing and processing hemp in Wisconsin has grown significantly for this year. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection officials say applications are way up from a year ago. As of march 1st, the department has gotten 1,405 applications to grow hemp and 692 to process the plants. Last year there were just 247 grower applications and 100 for processors. Officials say interest jumped when the 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances list. It should take about 6 to 8 weeks to do background checks on all applicants to make sure they don’t have any drug felony convictions. All others will receive their permits in time to grow the crop this year.

DATCP is also starting this year’s process of registering and re-registering all locations in the state that have livestock. Between now and July, over 60,000 renewal forms will be mailed to current owners of land that houses livestock even if it’s not on an everyday basis like a fairgrounds. If you have even one animal that’s considered livestock, you have to register your premises. That’s by state law that was made permanent in 2006. The law is designed to allow animal health professionals to react quicker to disease outbreaks by knowing where and how many animals are in an area where an outbreak hits. All the information is kept confidential.

The next meeting of the Wisconsin Dairy Task force 2.0 is set for next Friday, March 15th in Sheboygan. At the meeting, the 31 member task force is expected to vote on 50 recommendations put together by the sub-committees of the task force. In December members approved measures that stress the need for rural dairy processors to access money for capital improvements and for increased investment in research in the University of Wisconsin system.

It’s another active week for the Cooperatives Working Together Program of the national milk Producers’ Federation. The group has approved funds to help dairy coops export over 2 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey jack cheese, just over a half million pounds of butter and 1 and a half million pounds of whole milk powder to buyers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. In the first 2 months of this year, that program has helped export 22 and a hlf million pounds of cheese, 1.7 million pounds of butter and over 12 and a half million pounds of whole milk powder.