The battle lines have been clearly drawn. After what seems like months of ugly, mud-slinging and even downright false political ads, Election Day will finally be here in a couple weeks, on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Every dairy farmer I talk to is rightly concerned about the persistent low prices that force farmers out of business on a daily basis. At the same time, we family dairy farmers face another challenge that we don’t so often talk about. That challenge is the rapid move away from family-sized d…

Fall is one of my favorite seasons on the farm. From calving to harvest, it’s a time to celebrate life on the farm and the results of months of planning and tending. Fall also brings another important tradition to our farmhouse — and probably yours,  as well — the return of college football.…

Every fall, the global dairy industry converges on Wisconsin, and rightly so. Some 70,000 people from 100 countries are expected to stop by World Dairy Expo this week at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The event runs through Oct. 6, culminating with the prestigious Parade of Champions …

Any attempt to mend an injury — however necessary — doesn’t often achieve a complete restoration of what’s been damaged. Repairs never quite return things to a “good as new” status. On a personal level, all of us have some scar tissue that demonstrates this truth. From a broader, economic pe…

It’s always incredible how, in times of crisis, people, even complete strangers, will drop everything and rally around one another. The worst that Mother Nature has to dish out — hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and wildfires, to name a few — have their way of bringing out our best, and it’s …

Immigration reform has been on Congress’ to-do list for years, and President Donald Trump has not been bashful about his desire to take a tough stance on the issue. But little actual headway is being made to fix the pervasive problems regarding non-resident workers, especially in agriculture…

Glyphosate, the active chemical ingredient found in Roundup — the most widely used herbicide in the world — has taken a severe punch to the gut recently, with some potentially big implications for agriculture’s future.

It’s a well-known fact that there’s too much milk on the market. That’s been the case for quite some time, and dairy farmers feel the effects of that surplus supply every time they open their milk check.

This spring, Gov. Scott Walker signed a proclamation designating July 30-Aug. 5 as Women in Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Week. All throughout last week, the great work of female farmers in sustainable and organic agriculture was celebrated through various events.

The controversy over the use of lab-based cell culture to imitate naturally produced foods including meat has been simmering for quite some time; the burner under it got cranked up earlier this month during a public meeting hosted by the Food and Drug Administration.

Most of the year, Wisconsin’s agriculture industry quietly goes about its business, which includes generating more than $88 billion in economic activity each year and supporting 413,500 jobs in the state. But for three days every year, we get the chance to really show off, and for good reason.

There’s never any shortage of news each day to make us worry or feel less than certain about the future, and that’s been especially true lately in agriculture, between trade concerns and low commodity prices.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently directed State Agriculture Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and UW System President Ray Cross to appoint members to a new Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 as a way of bringing key industry stakeholders together to make suggestions for actions needed to maintain th…

The busy summer travel season is underway. Travelers this past Memorial Day opened their wallets a little wider than they have in recent years, paying the most expensive gas prices since 2014, according to AAA.

The news in the Upper Midwest dairy industry certainly hasn’t all been good in recent months, between oversupply concerns and more farms calling it quits due to lingering low pay prices and issues with processors.

The farmer’s share of the retail food dollar has sunk to a new low, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service’s Food Dollar Series. For every dollar consumers spent on food in 2016, farmers received less than 15 cents.

Spring has taken its sweet time coming to the Upper Midwest this year, but now that the snow is gone and the ground is finally firming up, farmers across the region are ready to play some catch-up in the fields.

While grass season has been slow to appear here in Wisconsin this year, it shouldn’t be long before we see the new crop of baby beef calves frolicking and grazing alongside their mothers on green pastures across the state — a sure and very welcome sign of spring.

The House Agriculture Committee released and, in short order, passed its long-awaited draft version of the 2018 Farm Bill, and farm and taxpayer groups have begun to pick through it in earnest. Surely, we’ll all be hearing much more about what the critics like and don’t like in the weeks ahe…

This certainly isn’t an easy time for anyone whose livelihood depends on agriculture. Between painfully low milk prices, the partisan politics that always seems to surround and, more often than not, set back a new farm bill and ramped-up concerns over trade, there’s no shortage of things to …

It’s too early to say what the real consequences of President Donald Trump’s proposal to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum would be, but this attempt to protect American jobs and tip the scales of unfair trade in favor of the U.S. is looking like it could prove ill-fated, with a…

Times have been tough lately for dairy farmers, on many fronts. Milk prices this winter have sunk to levels that make it all but impossible for most producers to pencil out a profit. With milk processors at capacity or ramping up milk quality requirements, a handful of producers have nowhere…

President Donald Trump’s recently released 2019 budget called for deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to the tune of almost $214 billion, or about a third, over the next decade. Tucked inside that proposal, as a way to reduce program costs and the number of people on …

In many ways, a new report on family farms from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service didn’t reveal much that most don’t already know about this overwhelmingly large and important segment of the agriculture industry; anyone involved in agriculture knows how much of a…

Rural communities have long lamented the steady loss of young people to more heavily populated areas offering higher-paying jobs, career advancement and more amenities such as shopping and entertainment. Small towns have watched with dismay as their best and brightest young people have left …

With all the various claims being made by food companies about their products — from free of genetically modified organisms to sustainably grown to all-natural and more — there probably has never been a more confusing time to be a consumer. In the dairy industry, specifically, there also are…

We often hear that what Wisconsin’s rural communities and agriculture industry need more than anything else are strong leaders with vision. One program with a long-standing tradition of developing leaders for rural Wisconsin is Leadership Wisconsin (formerly Wisconsin Rural Leadership Progra…

By most accounts, 2018 is expected to be a more trying year for farmers. Agricultural commodity prices are on course for a fourth year of declines, and milk prices are estimated to average a little more than $15 per hundredweight for the year unless demand picks up.

By many accounts, the newly passed tax bill came as a welcome early Christmas gift for U.S. farmers at a time when, with the dim outlook for commodity prices including milk and corn, they could use some holiday cheer.

When I wrote my first story for The Country Today in October 1983 — on a typewriter — I had no idea I would have a run of more than 34 years with the newspaper.

When it comes right down to it, there may be nothing more important to the future of U.S. agriculture than making it feasible for generations to come, but with affordable land often hard to come by and money tight, the odds are stacked high against them.

When reading the news releases before and after the passage of Assembly Bill 353 earlier this month, a person might have thought that two different bills were on their way to the governor’s desk.

If you want to feel good about the future of agriculture, attend the National FFA Convention. Surrounded by young people, all proudly clad in blue corduroy jackets and fired up about farming and related careers, one can’t help but feel a renewed sense of optimism about this industry in which…

The executive director of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce is proposing that something other than “America’s Dairyland” grace Wisconsin license plates, but the business leader might as well save his breath.

Rural people in Wisconsin might grow tired of hearing dairy industry and government people talk about how important dairy is to the state, but now that another successful World Dairy Expo is in the books, some of the statistics might be worth repeating.

It’s no secret that the number of farms in the U.S. has been stagnant to declining in recent years, but big gains are being seen in the organic sector, both in terms of the number of farms and how much they sell.

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey blazed its terrible trail of destruction across Texas, CBS News aired a wonderful piece by broadcast journalist Steve Hartman about how Mother Nature’s worst brings out human nature’s best. This has been proven true time and again throughout our history.

The stalemate over the the state biennial budget has been somewhat of a nightmare for school districts and others trying to make plans for the fiscal year that began July 1, but it appears as if there will be a happy ending for farmers and others who depend on conservation funding.

It’s hard to imagine a time when most of us won’t pick up the lion’s share of our food from brick-and-mortar grocery stores, but the recent closure of the more than $13 billion acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon, a huge e-commerce company based in Seattle, brought us one step closer to tha…

The first phrase of a famous quote by 1800s Scottish novelist Walter Scott starts with, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave,” and he could just as well have been talking about the seemingly never-ending reorganization of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.