Ag Chat with Scott Schultz- March 2

Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 7:25 AM CST
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Increased amounts of bio-diesel and other alternative fuels will be used in U.S. Department of Agriculture vehicles. U.S. agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday issued a memo directing the USDA to acquire alternative-fueled vehicles when replacing the USDA’s conventionally fueled vehicles. He said the USDA has one of the federal government’s largest fleets, and the move to vehicles that can use E85 or bio-diesel will increase efficiencies and performance. The action is expected to increase the USDA’s annual consumption of E15 by about 9 million gallons, E85 by 10 million gallons and bio-diesel and renewable diesel blends by up to 3 million gallons. The USDA also is making $100 million in grants available this year for the new Higher Blends Infrastructure program. Ethanol and bio-diesel fuel products rely on products such as corn produced by American farmers.

Many in the Wisconsin dairy industry, including the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, are thanking Gov. Tony Evers and the state Building Commission for supporting a Center for Dairy Research/Babcock Dairy Hall building project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The commission last week unanimously approved a $25.7 million increase in funding for the $72.6 million project. The funding will be through UW-Madison, gifts and borrowing. Donors have so far have contributed $18.5 million to the project. The facilities date back to the 1950s; a 2012 project was estimated at $32 million in 2012, and adjusted in 2018 to $47 million.

The world’s top cheeses, including many from cheesemakers in this area, are in place for the World Championship Cheese Contest judging tomorrow through Thursday. The contest, held on even years, is at the Monona Terrace in Madison.

Exhibits are being put into place for the annual Eau Claire Farm Show, which will run tomorrow and Wednesday at the Eau Claire Exhibition Center. The event will include the presentation of Aggie Awards to two area agriculturalists who’ve made major contributions to the area’s ag industry.