Ag Chat with Bob Bosold -June 17
State farmers were busy on their computers Monday. On the first day of applying for some of the $50 million in cash assistance provided by the Evers Administration with part of the Covid-19 relief money, 3,673 applied for that help. Farmers with gross incomes between $35,000 and 5 million can apply for the payments which will range from a thousand to 35 hundred dollars. The Department of Revenue is handling the program which will end on June 29th with the checks hopefully going out in July. Under the CARES program, the governor has also designated $15 million to support food banks, food pantries and other groups helping feed those most in need during this pandemic.
It'll be a busy day on Capitol Hill for U.S.Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer today. He'll be part of "virtual" hearings before both the House Ways and Means Committee as well as the Senate Finance Committee. The main topics will be the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free trade Agreement which takes effect on July 1st, how the phase one deal between the U.S. and China is proceeding as well as how close we might be to a new deal with England since they left the European Union. Officials in England say they want a new deal finished before our November 3rd elections.
Wisconsin's two U.S. Senators, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin are a couple of the lead sponsors on a bill that try once again to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list. Senator Johnson said it's time to put the issue in the hands of wildlife experts and not the government. At the end of 2019 the wolf population in Wisconsin was estimated at almost 980 animals.
Also in Washington, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are calling on Agriculture Secretary Sony Perdue to to make changes in meat packing laws so smaller processors can compete on the national level. The Congressmen want to give small meat processors flexibility in complying with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plans, speed up the approval process for labels, encourage more states to participate in the Cooperative Interstate Shipment program and increase the flexibility and lower expenses for meat inspectors.
There's a new list available telling us how many county and district fairs have been cancelled this year-and it's not getting any shorter. Of the 75 fairs held around the state each year, over 40 have now been called off.