ALTOONA, Wis (WEAU) -- Farm groups and politicians on both ends of the political spectrum are voicing approval of yesterday's U.S. Senate voted to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact. Senators voted 89-10 for the ratification hours after three Senate committees voted to move the pact for a floor vote. Both of Wisconsin's senators voted for the ratification. The House of Representatives had ratified the agreement 385-41 in December after negotiating fine points with the Trump Administration. The USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump scrapped soon after taking office. Canada and Mexico are the numbers one and two export purchasers of U.S. agricultural goods; those two countries in 2018 purchased $39.7 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products. U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said that, among other benefits for U.S. farmers, the pact eliminates the Canadian Classes 6 and 7 milk-pricing programs he said undercut U.S. dairy producers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking input about creating a Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program designed to help expand the availability of American ethanol. Such a program would provide incentives for the expansion in sales of renewable fuels.
A new director has been hired to lead Wisconsin's Agriculture and Farm Center. State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection leaders yesterday said Jayne Hull has been hired to fill the role. The position oversees a staff that works to provide support to farmers in business and financial planning, transition and succession planning, production concerns, starting or exiting farming, conflict resolutions, and counseling services. She also will manage the state's Something Special from Wisconsin program; the Alice in Dairyland program; the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program; agricultural marketing programs; and the cultivated ginseng program.
The UW-River Falls Forage Bowl team won first place during the recent national competition in Greenville, S.C. This is the second consecutive year the team has won the national championship. Team members are Kyle Hilger of Bloomer; Anthony Neitzke of Egg Harbor; Leanna Schneider of Foley, Minn.; and Mark Kortbein of Tomah. The second team included Molly McIlquham of Chippewa Falls; Sara Behling of Cumberland; Sarah Anderson of Antigo; Kolby Beehler of Foley, Minn.; and Kira Jacobson of Cannon Falls, Minn.