Ag Chat with Scott Schultz - April 15

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's most recent farm census report says Wisconsin's overall farm numbers dropped along with their net cash income in the five years since the previous census. The report said Wisconsin had 64,793 farms in 2017, compared with 69,754 farms reported in the 2012 census; those farms operated on 14.3 million acres in 2017, compared with 14.6 million acres in 2012. Wisconsin's net cash farm income also dropped, at $2.4 billion in 2017 compared with $3.1 billion in 2012; the per-farm average net income was $36,842 in 2017, compared with $44,058 in 2012. State farmers' receipts from government programs also decreased. Net expenses increased meanwhile, to $9.7 billion, compared with $9.4 billion in 2012.

Despite those figures, a Wisconsin agriculture leader says the census shows the state's overall agriculture foundation is strong. State agriculture secretary Brad Pfaff said, "The census data demonstrates what many of us have long known: Wisconsin agriculture is broad, diverse and strong. Each farm enterprise is unique, and our state still provides opportunities for operations of all types and sizes." In looking at the state's positives from the census, Pfaff pointed to the findings that more than 10 percent of state farmers are aged 35 or younger, and their farms have an average annual value of almost $319,000. He also said that the finding of 22 percent of farmers being new or beginning farmers shows optimism for Wisconsin agriculture's future.

U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said the USDA is implementing 2018 Farm Bill provisions as quickly as possible. Listening sessions have been held in the bill's commodity areas and he said the implementation process is moving forward. Perdue said, "At USDA we are implementing the 2018 Farm Bill as quickly as possible. We know the programs that are renewed and updated in this farm bill are critical to farmers, ranchers, and producers as they plan for the future,"

Eau Claire County Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2020 is seeking co-chairpeople for its Tent City Committee. Eau Claire County is hosting the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in July of 2020. The organization is looking for two volunteers to serve as co-chairpeople for tent city for the three-day event. The Tent City Committee is charged with laying out tent city, coordinating volunteers, organizing equipment such as UTVs and golf carts, and assisting exhibitors. Interested volunteers may contact show executive director Mark Hagedorn at the Eau Claire County University of Wisconsin-Extension office in Altoona.