Wisconsin Corn Growers to host drought meetings

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association is hosting a couple of producer meetings Monday, July 23rd in Janesville and Waunakee to help growers deal with the drought. WCGA president Brian Long the program will be the same at both sites and will cover how to evaluate and handle corn and soybean crops, question and answer sessions on marketing, insurance and government program information. Speakers are Mike North, First Capitol Ag; Shawn Conley, UW Soybean Specialist; Joe Lauer, UW Corn Specialist; representatives of insurance companies and the Farm

Services Agency.

The Janesville meeting will be 8:30 to 11:30 Monday morning at the Holiday Inn. The Waunakee meeting will be 1 to 4 in the afternoon at Rex’s Innkeeper.  Further details are available here:

AUDIO:Long talks about the drought 6:17 mp3

An even bigger challenge for organic producers

The drought presents a particular challenge for organic livestock and dairy producers. Organic standards require a portion of the ration to include pasture and when pastures have dried up that is a problem. Another problem is while the price of conventional corn and soybeans hits record-highs, the price of organic corn and soybeans is even higher. Harriet Behar is Outreach Coordinator for MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service), she says like many, the real challenge for organic producers lies in the months ahead.

AUDIO:Behar talks about the situation 7:40 mp3

Helping their customers get through this


Quirk & Immel

John Quirk and Mike Immel are with Rural Mutual Insurance, John in Madison and Mike in Fond du Lac; they talk about the drought damage they are seeing in their areas, what options farmers are considering and how they are helping them get through this.

AUDIO:Quirk and Immel talk about the situation 4:18 mp3

More than just an “eye-catcher”

As you walk through any farm show there are always a few items that catch your eye and at this year’s Wisconsin Farm Technology Days one of those is the new Massey Ferguson 9560 combine. Kevin Cobb says the special Stars & Stripes graphic is in tribute to the tenth anniversary of AGCO production in Hesston, Kansas. Under the graphic is a completely new combine featuring a new, more efficient system along with a new 7-cylinder engine with innovative cooling system.

AUDIO:Cobb talks about the new combine 6:55 mp3

Geothermal possibilities

Just like everyone else, farmers are always on the lookout for more energy-efficient equipment for their operations…and that includes the house. Joe Dutton is the ClimateMaster product manager for Milwaukee Stove and Furnace Supply Company. It’s a geothermal heat pump which can pull heat from the ground to help heat your home in the winter time and reverse to pull heat from the home in the summer. There are different types of system, a vertical well, a horizontal loop, a pond loop or an open loop all dependent upon the customer’s situation.

AUDIO:Dutton talks about geothermal 8:45 mp3

Cheap lighting isn’t always the best value

Lighting is a very important factor in today’s dairy operation. Not only from the perspective of providing the level of illumination needed for the people operating the dairy but also long-day lighting for the cows and the efficiency of that lighting. George Bureau is Director of Agricultural Sales for Orion; he says buying the cheapest light fixture at some building supply store is not the most economical choice in the long run. Every application is unique and that is why Orion visits the farm and designs systems specific to the application. He also cautions about the enthusiasm over those new LED lights.

AUDIO:Bureau talks about the lighting systems 4:34 mp3

Wick Buildings have evolved

It’s no longer a “one-size-fits-all-package”. Wick has been constructing buildings for a long time, Brad Baldschun says the company has evolved into finding out what the customer is going to use the building for and then custom building to meet that need.

AUDIO:Baldschun talks about the buildings 3:56 mp3

The increasing viability of solar and wind energy

While solar energy collection has been around for a long time, the technology is constantly improving. Chris Merklein is with Arch Electric; the company started out as a traditional electrical contractor but moved into the renewable energy side. He notes every site and location is different and that is why the will do a full analysis of that site to determine if solar, wind or other energy sources are viable. “We’re a very low-pressure operation; we just lay out the facts and let the customer decide.”

One note to take into consideration is that the federal government is very “friendly” towards renewable energies with various incentives and tax credits available which makes these projects even more attractive.

AUDIO:Merklein talks about energy alternatives 9:38 mp3

Ag lenders ready to help

The drought is certainly going to put some farmers in some very difficult financial situations in the months to come. Dave Coggins with Investors Community Bank says that every situation is unique, there is no “one-size-fits-all solution” and that is why it is so important to work with an experienced ag lender.

AUDIO:Coggins talks about getting through this 9:00 mp3


Secretary Brancel talks drought, trade and the siting law

The drought in central and southern Wisconsin is certainly on the mind of Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel. He says while the department is limited in what it can do, they can help direct those in need to the right people. Brancel says the biggest challenge is facing livestock producers who need to find feed.

Beyond that, the Secretary says the ethanol industry is cutting-back tremendously due to high corn prices and low oil prices so that means fewer distillers grains for the feed supply as well.

Brancel has been actively working to increase Wisconsin’s agricultural exports with trade missions to China and Vietnam earlier this year, while exports may be trimmed due to reduced production in the short term, in the long term he is confident Wisconsin farm production will bounce back and the export market will grow.

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled last week that local municipalities cannot exceed state standards when permitting a livestock operation. The ruling basically upholds the State’s Livestock Facilities Siting rule and State Ag Secretary Ben Brancel says that should close the book on challenges to the law.

AUDIO:Hear Brancel’s comments here 7:47 mp3