Gov. Tony Evers’ agriculture secretary pick, Brad Pfaff, must have done something horrible to become the first cabinet official since at least 1987 — and possibly ever — to be rejected by the state Senate.

Several years ago, when Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Tom Friedman was asked to choose which rising Asian nation, China or India, he’d bet the farm on, Friedman didn’t hesitate to pick India.

Take a moment to imagine living on a small family farm. Waking at dawn to a rooster crowing and cows mooing. You head down to the barn to get the cows milked, collect chicken eggs, clean out stalls and feed all the animals before going back into the kitchen to grab breakfast for yourself.

If China agreed to purchase “$40 to $50 billion” of U.S. farm goods in “the next two years,” as President Donald J. Trump announced Oct. 11, the futures market — where market reality is quickly sorted from political talk — literally wasn’t buying it.

Every week when I go to the grocery store, I pay close attention to the labels on the food products I purchase. It can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you need or want. I consider myself lucky to be a farmer because I am intimately connected to the food I eat and the milk I drin…

The first obvious sign of the season-long flood is a perfectly level, three-foot high ring of dried mud on the machine shed’s siding. Nature put it there and, in time, will likely wash it away.

It’s altogether fitting that the recent Cap Times article penned by Bill Berry appeared two weeks prior to Halloween. In his story Berry paints farmers who own large livestock operations and the organizations that support them as villains who prey on unsuspecting Wisconsin citizens by forcin…

Not two miles from my central Illinois home, a farmer’s next crop — a dozen rolls of eight-inch, black plastic drainage pipe — wait to be planted several feet deep in this year’s browning corn stubble.

There has been some anger and confusion in farm country regarding Secretary Perdue’s comments, during World Dairy Expo.

This is not meant to be a complaint, but a reflection of the reality facing our dairy sector. “We” means all of us.

In an Oct. 1 meeting with reporters at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue tied the current dairy crisis to economies of scales, telling reporters, “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out.”

The internal memo only confirmed what unofficial Washington had been saying for more than a year and what official Washington had been downplaying for even longer: The White House plan to move two U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies to Kansas City will severely cripple USDA data collecti…

Two longtime Iowa politicians, Sen. Charles Grassley and now dairy industry lobbyist Tom Vilsack, held a press conference recently touting the gains for farmers from President Donald Trump’s newly negotiated NAFTA, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. We’re family farmers and we’ve hea…

Some years ago, I wrote a column on how farm groups sternly preached the value of what they reverently called “sound science” but, in fact, usually endorsed only “science that sounds good” to the groups.

I’ve spent a good amount of time on the road during my last six years as President of Wisconsin Farm Bureau. I feel like I have spent equally as long talking about transportation issues in our state.

In the early morning fog the other day, I heard a claw hammer’s tap, tap, bam, bam, bam, boom drive a nail into its place for who knows how many years. A moment later, another six, clear, sharp notes cut through the fog and another nail was set for, maybe, a century or more.

My family and I recently returned from our annual week at Peninsula State Park in Door County. It was a wonderful trip. The weather was nice, the food was delicious and the campground was in good shape.

In the early morning fog the other day, I heard a claw hammer’s tap, tap, bam, bam, bam, boom drive a nail into its place for who knows how many years. A moment later, another six, clear, sharp notes cut through the fog and another nail was set for, maybe, a century or more.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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.

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, …

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…

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…

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.”

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.

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.