Growth in export markets has long been lauded as the measure of success in American agriculture. Last year U.S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue credited exports for being a “major driver of the rural economy, generating 20 percent of U.S. farm income and supporting more than a million U…

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You know you’re deep in the rabbit hole when bad news — say, a government report that shows steep cuts in anticipated 2019 crop yields — is good news because it will hopefully boost prices. Conversely, when good news arrives, like an unexpected week of perfect September weather, it’s actuall…

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My wife had done her research, and that research led us to an enchanted property outside of Iron River where a celebrated chicken-breeder preserves the genetic integrity of Icelandic landrace chickens (once almost extinct). Why my wife pined for Icelandic chickens with such intensity, I coul…

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has opened a comment period on proposed changes to the Livestock Facility Siting Law (ATCP 51). As an agricultural engineer, I see many red flags with the proposed changes that Wisconsin farmers should be aware of. One of…

The first rule of road trips is to never embark upon a road trip. At least not one like ours: 10 days and 2,500 miles of tent camping in the near triple digit heat.

About four years ago, with my notebook and camera in tow, I pulled into the parking lot of Dodger Bowl in my hometown of Dodgeville. It was packed — there were so many cars there you’d think there was a community event or fundraiser of some sort going on. But this was something different.

Farming in Wisconsin is under attack. As the farm economy sputters, many families have sought to expand their businesses in hopes that they can achieve the margins they need to stay afloat. As these farms grow larger, anti-farming environmental activists throughout Wisconsin have put them in…

A tiny Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle, Sommarøy (“Summer Island”), recently made the news for its “Let’s Stop Time” campaign to create the modern world’s first “time free” zone. Many of its 350 residents signed a petition to do away with clocks, deadlines and closing times durin…

Back to school ads are everywhere and it seems the last few weeks of summer are quickly passing us by. Before we know it, Labor Day will have come and gone and teachers and students will be back in their classrooms, kicking off a new school year.

Sometime in mid-August, well after fair season and just before corn silage season, my brothers and I endured the hand-me-down season on the southern Illinois dairy farm of our youth.

I’ve always loved mowing the lawn. I know as a good environmentalist, I shouldn’t say that, but it’s true. I grew up in a comfortable middle or upper-middle class family where my parents for better or worse didn’t assign me many chores. In fact, mowing the lawn is the only chore I can recall…

Tonight we’re a party of five: Dad and daughters and our husbands. Dad’s been eager to try the fish fry at Irvine, the bar where he ate every weekday lunch for his nearly 40-year career on the Soo Line Railroad. When Dad first moved to Chippewa Falls in 1947, he rented a room above the bar a…

Ag Twitter had a big sandbox to play in after the U.S. Department of Agriculture clobbered the agricultural futures markets Aug. 12 with its number-filled Crop Report and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, or WASDE.

I have a favor to ask you. Of course, the favor depends somewhat on whether or not what I’m writing resonates with you, and there is always the chance it won’t, or that, you’ll simply discard this column when you’re finished reading it, and we will go our separate ways, like two people on an…

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the yellow roses along the primrose path are dazzling distractions from what, in a matter of days, has already been a long month for farmers and ranchers.

In just a few short months, hunters will return to the woods in pursuit of the whitetail deer. In the communities of southwest Wisconsin, the deer hunting season is our opportunity to thin the herd, fill our freezers and continue the tradition of deer hunting with family and friends.

Farmers in the United States are confronted by an economic crisis that is more severe than any since the 1980s. Now the weather and continuing trade wars are causing even more concern as we look toward another distressing year in farm country. As readers know, Wisconsin Farmers Union is doin…

On the farms of our youths, the dog days of August featured actual dogs and not a whole lot of anything else.

On Sunday, June 23, Shopko’s two Chippewa Valley locations closed after almost three months of “everything must go” prices. In mid-January, Shopko Stores Inc. announced its bankruptcy and restructuring: 125 store closures. Then in February came notice that 251 would close; in March the shock…

You know it’s going to be a long, hot summer if, on the day before you assume the political leadership of the United Kingdom — as Boris Johnson did on July 23 — one of the world’s most authoritative newspapers, the New York Times, prints a column that begins with the phrase, “Boris Johnson, …

To the left of the stainless-steel elevator in Eau Claire’s Christ Church Cathedral hangs a plaque which reads: “The Frank and Miriam Carr Carriage.” I push the button and the elevator’s doors pull wide. Then, upon stepping inside, I begin my slow ascent to the church’s second floor.

As we enter mid-summer, many of our favorite foods are ripe and ready for harvest. There’s fresh corn, fruits and vegetables, peas and beans, and more — all ready to be picked and enjoyed now or preserved for later.

Consumers from around the world enjoy agriculture products that come from our state’s farm fields and agriculture processing firms. Wisconsin is consistently one of the top exporters of dairy-related products in the nation. As milk production in the United States continues to increase, it is…

Often when I come home from work my retired husband, Bruce, reports on his daily news from Lake Hallie. Today he tells me about a teen fisherman who called out to him from a paddle boat as Bruce sat inside at our kitchen counter: “There’s a chipmunk caught in your net.”

Call it what you will — coincidence, chance or just bad luck — but on the very day that President Donald J. Trump defended his administration’s almost indefensible record on the environment, the Washington, D.C., metro area was deluged by rainfall not seen since Noah.

Some people claim that raising livestock through FFA and 4-H hardens the hearts of our industry’s young people. Yet, if you have been involved in these organizations, you know it does just the opposite. Raising livestock awakens the soul and gives young people a purpose. It gives them a reas…

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports that the wolf population has grown from 14 wolves in 1985 to more than 900 in 2018. This remarkable comeback is due in part to education, legal protection and habitat protection efforts through the DNR. This is an exceptional success stor…

Writers write and readers read and, always to this writer’s pleasant surprise, readers often write. Most letters and emails are either complimentary or inquisitive. More than a few, however, come nowhere near complimentary and some, in fact, are quite, ah, declarative.

When we first moved out to the country, about eight miles south of Eau Claire, roughly between the sprawling metropolitan areas of Cleghorn and Brackett, there were three dusk-to-dawn high-pressure-sodium lights scattered around our property on various poles and outbuildings. Our acreage was…

Wisconsin Farmers Union applauds the Joint Finance Committee vote recently to fund the University of Wisconsin Dairy Innovation Hub. This important investment in our land-grant universities is essential for Wisconsin to remain a leader in the dairy industry.

I’m no stranger to the country life. I grew up on a dairy farm near Northfield in Jackson County, where neighbors helped each other out without being asked and children became best friends with the kids in the coulee. My three brothers and I milked cows, fed calves, cleaned calf pens, baled …

It started with the stars, dozens of which are stuck to the particle board in the crawlspace beneath the stairs of our Eau Claire home. I’d have never noticed them were it not for my young children, who took it upon themselves to transform that crawlspace into a clubhouse, populating it with…

Most American farmers spent the last week of May and the first week of June either driving through mud or stuck in it. Their two farming partners, Mother Nature and Uncle Sam, were little help; one brought threats of more rain and mud, the other threats of more tariffs and bailouts.

In Wisconsin, our natural resources are an essential part of who we are as a state. We value our outdoor traditions, and the stewardship program has helped Wisconsinites preserve natural areas and expand access to recreational activities, all of which are beneficial.

One sign that spring has arrived is when I realize that no matter how many hours I try to squeeze into the day it just isn’t long enough to finish my work.

Now that spring is maybe here to stay and summer isn’t far behind, my husband and I have decided it’s a good time for a “lifestyle change” (my preferred term for “diet,” which has the connotation of temporary change and isn’t something we’ll stick to).

From the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0’s early meetings, members highlighted the need for research and innovation to maintain Wisconsin’s world leadership in all things dairy. Across the 51 recommendations that members have developed and approved in the past seven months, there is a consist…

No one I know has ever witnessed a train wreck as it happened. As such, when a friend or colleague says or writes that an event “was like watching a train wreck happen,” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t like watching a train wreck happen.

Approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA 2.0, also known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement) will do little to reverse the problems of the NAFTA agreement of 1994. Nothing in the proposed replacement agreement will prevent job outsourcing, nor is there any part of the agre…