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Letters-from-our-readers
Support agriculture during national crisis

To the editor:

As an agriculture and conservation/grazing specialist for the past 25 plus years and a farmer during that same time period I feel the need to share this heartwarming story.

Over my lifetime I have sold many cows, steers and feeder cattle. Every time a truck pulled in or the auctioneer put his hammer down, my heart sank. Selling your cows or steers is like selling your children. We are there when they are born, for good or for bad. Most times we have joy to watch them grow, flourish — harvesting feed and creating earth and more.

But we know the drill, we have to let them go, maybe to feed to public, people who care about food security, or to other farmers who you hope your genetics and livestock will help them stay in the farming business. Regardless, it is a hard, hard thing to do. Often you wonder, will they care for them the way I did?

A young farmer who I have worked with for many years recently sent me this message and picture that made my heart warm and made me cry knowing the hard work that it takes to stay alive in this time of dairy farming industrialization.

His message was: “Hi Mary, this was a springing heifer I bought at your dairy sale in 2009. She is coming due with twins on her 11th lactation. She has settled 1st service every time but once. Very trouble free cow. She’s getting a bit grey though.....”

I thought ... I am getting grey too and I am so glad that that heifer worked as hard for you as her mother and family line worked for me and my farm. But just think — 11th lactation — the average in the state is 2.5. That is one hardworking girl.

We are so blessed to have hardworking farmers, yet in this time of national crisis, no one is remembering where their food comes from and the hard work our neighbors do to make sure the grocery stores have food to purchase. We hear daily about the professional athletes that will not make millions for a few hours of play, or airlines that are losing money because people are not traveling and the list continues. The farmers have been in a depression for the past 5 years or so — and they feed us! To our readers. please, please support your local agriculture community.

— Mary C. Anderson, Whitehall


Letters-from-our-readers
Ethanol ruling brings relief at critical time

To the editor:

I write today regarding a problem that continues to negatively impact farmers across the state. Wisconsin is the nation’s eighth-largest producer of ethanol, but decisions made by bureaucrats in Washington have only added to our struggle.

EPA refinery exemptions have been granted to major oil corporations like Exxon and Chevron and continue to reduce the market for renewable biofuels. This causes a decrease in the demand for Wisconsin corn and adds to the uncertainty already hurting the nearly 30,000 Wisconsin families that fuel Wisconsin’s ethanol industry. Thankfully, a unanimous ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals calls for an end to the rampant abuse of these exemptions and brings needed relief at a critical time. As expected, however, big oil interests are applying heavy pressure and asking the EPA to appeal that ruling at the expense of farm communities.

2020 is a critical year for grain producers and farmers across the state. The president and his administration must hold true to their commitments to rural America and let hard-working Wisconsinites continue to benefit from competition at the fuel pump. That starts with rejecting an appeal to the 10th Circuit ruling.

— Zeb Zuehls, Montello


Country-updates
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