There’s plenty of gloom to go around these days in Wisconsin agriculture, and while the newly released 2017 Census of Agriculture did reveal some troubling — albeit not very surprising — trends, it also offered a few reasons for optimism.

Now that the worst of the winter of 2018-19 is behind us (we hope so, anyway), the roads are getting busier. Before long, traffic will increase even more as spring fieldwork gets underway and tractors and farm implements hit the road in the rush to get crops planted between rains.

Congressional Democrats last month rolled out what they've dubbed the Green New Deal — a sweeping set of economic stimulus proposals aimed at combating climate change and addressing "economic inequality." Sponsors include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Market, D-Mass.

This year’s theme for National Agriculture Day, Thursday, March 14, is particularly fitting — “Agriculture: Food for Life.” We all have to eat, so when it comes right down to it, few things are as important to the mere survival of the human race as agriculture.

Soil health has been a hot topic in agricultural circles in recent years. The concept of improving long-range crop yields through healthier soil — promoted by increasingly popular practices such as cover crops — frequently makes the agendas of farmer meetings and conferences.

It’s no secret that consumers, overall, are drinking less milk. The trend line has been consistent, and the statistics are startling. In the past decade, fluid milk sales have fallen about 13 percent, according to the American Dairy Coalition.

We live in stressful times. Those who earn their living in agriculture have faced an extra heaping of stress in recent years due to depressed commodity prices, and unfortunately, the toll can be too much to take.

Happy New Year to you all. I love the optimism and hope the start of a year brings. It’s a chance to press forward with renewed resolve. And who knows the importance of renewed optimism better than farmers and ranchers?

It’s no secret that the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, has been enormously unpopular among the vast majority of landowners, farmers and many others since it was rolled out by the Obama administration in 2015.

While some vehemently dispute the concept of “global warming,” there seems to be more general consensus that climate change — with more frequent weather-related extremes such as drought, flooding and runoff from heavy rainfall and wildfires — is a reality in our world.

Black Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year, the unofficial kickoff of the hectic holiday shopping season. For weeks now, retailers have been vying for consumers’ attention — and their dollars — through advertisements, fliers and “door-buster” deals. It all seems to start a little…

The always highly anticipated Wisconsin gun deer season, considered by many to be an unofficial state holiday, opens this Saturday, Nov. 17, and runs nine days, through Thanksgiving Day weekend.

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…