Ag Chat with Kristin Smith - Feb 13th

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Cheese sales increased by 23 percent during the month of December compared to the rest of the calendar year. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board helped boost Wisconsin cheese sales at retail with seasonal specific marketing programs. The December sales resulted in an extra 70 million pounds of cheese moving off grocery store shelves, an equivalent of 700 million pounds of milk. WMMB capitalized on anticipated December cheese purchases by releasing Grate.Pair.Share. online magazine, targeting local and national media, and building custom promotions with key retailers. In addition, the New York Times featured Deer Creek's The Blue Jay from the Artisan Cheese Exchange, based in Sheboygan. And WMMB partnered with Sam's Club during the holiday season to highlight six brands of Wisconsin dairy products through video presentations.

The American Farm Bureau Federation along with the Texas Farm Bureau have asked a federal district court in Texas to issue a nationwide stay blocking the Obama administration's illegal 2015 Waters of the U.S rule from taking effect on farms and ranches across the nation. This comes about after the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that the U.S. Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction over legal challenges to the 2015 rule, resulting in the imminent lifting of a nationwide court order that has blocked the rule since October 2015. AFBF filed the request for a preliminary injunction to avoid widespread uncertainty and legal risk for farmers and ranchers while the agencies move forward with possible permanent changes.

The USDA estimates farmers will plant less winter wheat for the 2018-2019 marketing year than they have in 109 years. This is based on an 82,000 farmer survey. Seeding for 2018/19 is expected to reach 32.6 million acres, just under this year's 32.7 million acres. According to the USDA, the projected planted acres increased in both Kansas and Texas, but it's not enough to offset reduced acres in other states. The current projection for 2018 is down less than 1 percent from 2017 and down 10 percent from 2016. Hard red winter wheat is projected at 23.1 million acres-down 2 percent from 2017. Soft red winter is forecasted to increase by 4 percent year over year to about six million acres.

Every farmer has had it happen when their in the barn, and the ear tag is missing, they ask, what cow is that? Now, Cargill may be able to help as they have taken a minority stake in Cainthus, an Irish startup that uses facial recognition software to increase the productivity of dairy cows. Cainthus uses machine-learning and imaging technologies to identify cows and the animal information, such as feed intake, water intake, heat detection and behavior patterns. The technology uses digital cameras for the software and monitors activity without wearable devices. The software can then alert farmers if a problem arises.

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