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Category: Agriculture

After a month of no new bird flu cases, Wisconsin lifts order prohibiting poultry shows ahead of county fair season

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Ron Kean is a poultry specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. He said the influenza virus has historically died down in summer months, so bird enthusiasts are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the summer.

“We’re hopeful that we’re through this at least for now,” he said. “Especially a lot of the small producers, exhibition breeders, things like that, I think are quite excited to be able to go back to having shows.”

How To Save Your Garden Plants During Drought and Heatwaves


Quoted: “Extended drought can lead to the total collapse of the photosynthetic machinery and it can take long time for the plants to rebuild their roots and internal mechanisms,” Vijai Pandian, a horticulture educator at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension, told Newsweek.

“This can cause long term impacts … and the drought effect symptoms often continue for [the] next few years,” he said.

Federal dairy innovation program gets a boost from pandemic relief funds

Wisconsin Examiner

A federal program will give Wisconsin and 10 other states a $20 million boost to help farmers, cheese makers and other dairy processors develop new products and new markets to help stabilize the embattled dairy industry.

The funds, announced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) Monday at a Jefferson County cheese producer, will expand the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA is giving the money to the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, a joint project of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The groups will provide grants and support programs so that farms, dairy processors and related businesses can “modernize, reach new markets and create economic growth,” said Baldwin.

Wisconsin farmers are experiencing record high milk prices, but for how long?

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Bob Cropp, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said high demand for milk is what drove prices up in 2014. But he said this year’s record prices are due to farmers cutting back on production.

“Milk production for several months, starting actually the last quarter of last year, has been running below a year ago,” Cropp said. “Cow numbers have declined and production per cow has been below normal, so we have resulted in a tightness of the supply-demand situation.”

New tool shows Wisconsin farmers financial benefits of letting cows graze

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: John Hendrickson, farm viability specialist for UW-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, helped develop the tool for the Grassland 2.0 project. Started in 2020 using a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the collaboration between researchers from UW-Madison and other universities, farmers and agriculture industry leaders is working to encourage farmers to adopt the use of grasslands.

“We want farms to be financially viable and sustainable for the long term,” he said. “But of course the Grasslands 2.0 project also has this larger look at the entire landscape and climate change and soil erosion and what can we do to have a more sustainable agricultural system on the landscape.”

‘Around the Farm Table’ explores climate change fighting grain

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: Featured in the episode is University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of agronomy Valentin Picasso. Picasso’s research team works with Kernza to help farmers develop best practices for crop growing.

“Being able to work with a large team of people to develop a crop that can bring reconciliation between food production and the environment really makes me excited and gives me hope for humanity,” said Picasso.

UW ag experts say spring planting dates still on track

Wisconsin State Farmer

Although April has been cold and wet, University of Wisconsin-Madison agronomists say farmers shouldn’t start stressing out just yet.

“Despite the fact that we are about two weeks behind where we were a year ago, we are still on track for maximum yields for corn and soybeans,” says Shawn Conley, UW Soybean and Small Grains Extension Specialist.

According to Joe Lauer, UW-Madison Agronomy Professor, “last year we were earlier than normal – in fact, it was one of the earliest planting seasons on record.”

How to help Wisconsin’s disappearing native bees in your yard

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Native plant curator Susan Carpenter with the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison said they detected the rusty patched at the Arboretum about 10 years ago. “That started us on this voyage of discovery,” she said. When the rusty patched was declared endangered, she said, “people just went crazy on that.”

UW-Madison working to bring bird flu vaccine to market amid outbreaks

CBS 58

If you’ve been paying more for eggs recently, you have the bird flu to thank, according to egg producers.

UW-Madison scientists say they are fighting back.

Across the nation, tens of thousands of birds have had to be put down in recent weeks as the bird flu ravages flocks, and farmers say while it’s already making eggs expensive, it won’t stop there.

UW-Madison scientists say this is an issue that comes and goes, which is why they’re looking to bring a vaccine for the birds to market.

“Knock on wood, we’ve been doing okay in Wisconsin. We’ve had two outbreaks here in Wisconsin,” said UW-Madison Poultry Specialist Ron Kean.

Market volatility caused by war in Ukraine has Wisconsin farmers, agriculture companies on edge

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Wisconsin producers primarily grow winter wheat, which is planted in the fall and harvested in the summer, making it unlikely farmers will plant more this spring in response to potential shortages or to capitalize on higher prices, Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said.

But farmers in the state will likely spend more time managing the wheat fields they do have planted this spring, he said.

“More fertilizer, maybe more concerned about fungicide applications if you’re looking at a problem with disease. That’s what we might see, is farmers more willing to spend money on managing the planted crop for winter wheat,” he said.

Coming together: Dairy farmers debate plans for overseeing US milk supply

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: Instead of limiting milk production, the plan focuses on reducing the negative impacts of uncontrolled expansion and sending stronger market signals to farms about whether they should produce more milk. The group worked with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to create models for what a mandatory management program could look like and how it would affect farmers’ and consumers’ prices.

Mental Health First Aid training for WI Ag Community set for April 12

Wisconsin State Farmer

There is no doubt that farming can be extremely rewarding, yet also stressful and demanding. Various risk factors including weather, economic uncertainty, as well as, ever-evolving supply and demand changes, can take a toll on farmer’s mental health.

In order to address some of these issues, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension will be offering virtual and in-person educational programs to help the Wisconsin agricultural community identify and respond to a variety of behavioral health challenges.

After detecting bird flu in Wisconsin, poultry expert discusses transmission, safety steps

Wisconsin Public Radio

After state agriculture officials confirmed the presence of bird flu in Wisconsin, one poultry management expert shared safety tips for poultry farmers and what risk exists to humans.

Ron Kean, a faculty associate and extension specialist in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, also explained what costs farmers can and cannot get covered if the flu hits their farm.

Wisconsin has fewer dairy farms. So how are they producing more milk?

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: The consolidation of farms seen across agriculture is a big part of why the state has fewer licensed dairy producers, according to Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“In many cases when farms sell out, most of their cows may go to other dairy farms. And so the remaining farms have gotten a little bit larger,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said in 2005, the average herd size in Wisconsin was 82 cows per farm, and in 2020, that average climbed to 177 cows per farm. In other words, the average more than doubled over 15 years.

Nitrogen pilot program bill passes Senate

Wisconsin Examiner

A bipartisan bill to create a nitrogen optimization pilot program to aid farmers in reducing nitrogen pollution passed the state Senate Tuesday and will now head to Gov. Tony Evers’ desk. The measure, SB-677 creates a commercial nitrogen optimization pilot program and provides crop insurance premium rebates for planting cover crops, which farmers may use  to improve soil health. The bill also creates a new state hydrogeologist position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison extension, tasked with aiding local communities in tackling areas with high concentrations of contamination.

UW Madison announces changes to Farm and Industry Short Course program

Wisconsin State Farmer

UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) announced they will alter their Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC), beginning in 2023.The program will switch from a for-credit, on-campus residential experience lasting 16 weeks, to a more flexible, non-credit format. The residential program will end this spring when the current class of Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) students receive their certificates.

Methane manure boom could be fueled by a proposed tax credit and state policies

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Methane is considered a greenhouse gas because it traps infrared radiation in the atmosphere and raises air temperatures. Livestock farming represents about 30% of the methane emissions produced from human activities in the U.S., with beef and dairy cattle as the major contributors, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension.

Wisconsin farms are feeling the squeeze of a tight labor market

Wisconsin Public Radio

As Wisconsin farms prepare for the upcoming growing season, some producers are having a hard time finding enough workers.

Claire Strader is an organic vegetable educator for FairShare CSA Coalition and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension in Dane County. Last fall, she started hearing from farmers who were worried about a potential labor shortage.

“They knew that they were going to be losing workers from their farms because those workers were telling them that as they were moving on to other opportunities,” Strader said. “Those farmers, in particular vegetable farmers, were telling us that they were in a crisis looking for workers.”

Chicago region grapples with reducing road salt as chloride levels exceed state limits in waterways, continue to rise in Lake Michigan

Chicago Tribune

Noted: A December 2021 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that the lake’s chloride levels have risen from about 9 milligrams per liter in 1980 to about 15 milligrams per liter today, primarily due to the use of road salt. Chloride levels in Lake Michigan have been rising steadily since the 19th century, when the lake’s chloride levels reached only 2 milligrams per deciliter.

Rob Mooney, a postdoctoral researcher at UW-Madison who worked on the chloride study, said that although researchers don’t have a definitive answer as to why, it could be because Lake Michigan has a much longer water replacement time — the time it takes for the water in each lake to be completely replaced — than Erie and Ontario.

Warming trends in Wisconsin are upending winter activities and ways of life

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: Scientists say the last two decades have been the warmest on record in Wisconsin. Among them is Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist with the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“No season has been immune to the warming trend,” he said. “Winter has warmed the most. That has been true in the past, and it’s expected to be true in the future.”

Glorious Malone’s Fine Sausage has been a fixture in Milwaukee. Its legacy continues to grow.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: In 2011, Malone was inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Hall of Fame, joining local legends such as Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcaster Bob Uecker and Oscar G. Mayer who grew his father’s company, Oscar Mayer into a powerhouse brand, and Fred Usinger, who took the Usinger’s family sausage business to new heights in the 20th century.

The Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame resides at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat Science Laboratory and recognizes the contributions of individuals who have had a significant impact on the state’s meat industry.

Report: Amount of Wisconsin land being farmed declines in 2021

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Heather Schlesser is an agriculture educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension in Marathon County. She said the state has seen many producers transition out of dairy farming, which requires a lot of land for growing feed.

“They were transitioning out of dairy, making that decision to retire because they’re getting older. Or maybe they’re still younger, but they’re switching into beef production,” Schlesser said. “You can only do that for so long before you’re like, ‘You know what, I really don’t need this land. I don’t want to deal with the renters anymore. There’s no one new coming on the farm.’ And then they’re just deciding to sell it off.”

What’s in a name? Wisconsin cheesemakers find their own way around territorial claims

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: America’s Dairyland continues to set the bar high, and some of the credit can go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Dairy Research, which just added a cheese cave and copper vats to continue helping cheesemakers develop recipes and grow.

“This is part of our new building,” said Andy Johnson, who also holds the role of program coordinator for the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program. “Outside of Europe, the ripening caves, there is nothing like it particularly for research and development. We have 10 different ripening rooms or aging caves, each with their own controlled environment. We’ll be able to make any style of cheese.”

Report: Too much manure and fertilizer is being spread in some areas at the expense of water quality

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: The report found nitrogen from manure and fertilizer exceeded rates recommended by University of Wisconsin scientists in eight of the nine counties. In four counties, nitrogen from the two sources went more than 50 percent beyond proposed rates, including Kewaunee County where it was applied at nearly double recommended levels. Residents there have long struggled with nitrate contamination of private wells.

New report: Wisconsin doesn’t have enough land for all the manure

Wisconsin Examiner

A new report by the Environmental Working Group and Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) has found that in nine counties, animal manure is over-applied to farmland, exacerbating rural Wisconsin’s water quality struggles. According to the report, four counties applied manure at more than 50% above the rate recommended by University of Wisconsin researchers to minimize pollution.

UW-Madison Joins the Midwest Climate Collaborative


If you only read the national news, you could be excused for thinking that climate change is solely a coastal problem. While hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, freak snowstorms on the East Coast and wildfires in the West grab the headlines, the flyover country in the Midwest faces its own set of challenges. Thirty local governments, academic institutions and nonprofits from the space between the Appalachians and the Great Plains have joined together to create the Midwest Climate Collaborative. The collaborative kicked off its work with a virtual summit on January 28. Here to tell us more is Missy Nergard, Director of the Office of Sustainability at UW-Madison, one of the Collaborative partners.

As Wisconsin’s climate gets warmer and wetter, beloved winter activities could be in jeopardy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Those changes can already be seen clearly by examining lake ice, said Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Climatic Research.

Scientists studying Wisconsin’s inland lakes are able to collect a wealth of information on Madison’s lakes Mendota and Monona, whose ice records stretch back close to 170 years. Lakes have ice cover for about a month less now than they did when the records began, researchers estimate.

Out of Lake Mendota’s long ice record, the five years with the longest stretch of ice cover all occurred during the 1880s or earlier, and the five years with the shortest ice cover have all been since the 1980s, Vavrus said. It “really is a very different winter climate that we’re living in nowadays compared to over a century ago,” he said.

“I think what we’re seeing is people are pushing in at the limits of the edges of the season where it is potentially more dangerous,” said Titus Seilheimer, fisheries outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Dairy industry helps offset high fertilizer costs with manure in Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Farmer

Quoted: While other states brag big dairy and crop industries, Wisconsin’s insulation from fertilizer price spikes is thanks to having more cows per acre than corn per acre, according to Paul Mitchell, a professor in the UW-Madison department for Agriculture and Applied Economics.

“About a third of our nitrogen for corn comes from dairy manure,” Mitchell said. “And we have more cows per acre of cropland.”

However, manure isn’t easily accessible. It’s difficult to transport due to its high water content and therefore large volume, so it can’t usually go beyond it’s own farmland or crop farms neighboring dairy farms.

But it’s lack of transport ability shouldn’t dissuade you from seeking it out, according to Matt Ruark, a professor of soil science at UW-Madison and soil nutrient expert.

“We think of [manure] as a waste stream, but it is has relatively high nutrient value in terms of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Those are big three nutrient inputs into our corn production systems,” Ruark said.

A rural Wisconsin syrup producer wants more to tap into the business

Wisconsin Public Radio

Jeremy Solin’s earliest memory from his family’s longtime syrup business is with his grandma, sitting at a kitchen table, pounding a nail through the top of a metal Folgers coffee can.

They wound a piece of wire through the can so they could hang it from the spout on a tree.

“We just used whatever we had, right?” he said.

Solin is a fourth-generation syrup producer with a farm just north of Antigo. He’s the maple syrup project manager for the University of Wisconsin-Extension and he runs Tapped Maple Syrup in Stevens Point.

UW-Madison researchers studying more targeted alternative to pesticides

Wisconsin Public Radio

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are digging into a different, more targeted method of controlling crop-attacking pests, a tactic that could prove to be less harmful to the environment than traditional pesticides.

Russell Groves, professor and chair of the university’s entomology department, recently joined Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Larry Meiller Show” to explain the present and future of RNA interference.

Road salt threatens Michigan lakes and rivers. Can an alternative take hold?

Michigan Radio

Quoted: Last month, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University released results of a study revealing that society’s reliance on rock salt is salinating Lake Michigan.

Even small increases can trigger unknown ecosystem changes and secondary effects such as drinking water pipe corrosion, said Hilary Dugan, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology and lead author of the study.

Lake Michigan is still “extremely fresh” water, Dugan said. “There’s no cause for alarm. But I think people should be aware that it is rising and that is fully because of human-derived salts.”

UW researchers working to show perennials are profitable through new $10M project

Wisconsin Public Radio

Valentin Picasso, an agronomist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said researchers in his field have known for a long time that planting perennial crops in farm fields has a long list of environmental benefits.

The plants’ year-round presence protects the soil from erosion and helps absorb nutrients that would otherwise runoff into lakes and rivers. The forages, which are used for livestock feed, also create an environment for increased biodiversity and can even help fix carbon into the soil, mediating the effects of climate change.

“We’ve shown, in looking at long term research here in Wisconsin, that the more diversity we have in a cropping system, the more resilient it is to weather extremes like drought. And we’ve also shown that the more perennials in the system, we have more stability in production,” Picasso said.

Food prices have gone up in the last year. But Wisconsin producers aren’t necessarily being paid more

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Jeff Sindelar is a meat specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. He said most of the price increases have been in fresh meat products, with more processed items like hot dogs or lunch meat seeing small price growth or none at all.

But Sindelar said the meat industry is “too dynamic” to clearly point to the factor that is driving up prices.

He said farmers are facing increased costs to raise animals. But price changes are more likely to come from the processing companies, which have a greater influence on what consumers pay for products. Sindelar travels the state to work with all sizes of meat processors, and he said they’re seeing higher production costs, too.

“Regardless of where I go, I get the same response: they can’t hire enough people, they have open positions. When they’re trying to produce products, it’s taking them seven days to produce five days worth of product,” Sindelar said. “So 20 to 25 percent more resources to produce the same amount of product as they once did.”

Mark Stephenson, UW-Madison’s director of dairy policy analysis, said mixed market signals for dairy farmers could be keeping prices from increasing as rapidly as other food groups.

“Our future markets are showing that we would expect higher (commodity) prices over the next several months. But we’ve also had a few reports that are kind of pulling back on those reigns a little bit. One of them are the stocks reports,” Stephenson said.

Despite drought in southern Wisconsin, crop researchers say average yields are expected this year

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Joe Lauer, agronomy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reviewed historical weather data at the UW Research Station in Arlington to see how dry 2021 was. The statistics date back to 1963.

He found this summer was similar to some of the driest years the station had on record, including 1988 when the station saw some of its worst corn yields.

“In the southern two tiers of counties in Wisconsin, we had some pretty dramatic drought conditions that farmers were experiencing. And it really didn’t let up until probably the end of September,” Lauer said. “We were dry most of that time. But having said that, we seemed to get a little bit of rain … that allowed the crop to keep going.”

Lilacs in bloom: Abnormal weather is impacting Wisconsin plants, animals

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Madison’s freezing temperatures are arriving about a month behind normal, said David Stevens, curator of the Longenecker Horticultural Gardens at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.

Wisconsin’s unseasonably warm fall has had an impact on animal and plant life, including the arboretum’s lilacs, which usually bloom in the spring.

“While it’s not uncommon to see a few flowers pop on these common lilacs in late summer, early fall, this year was pretty extreme,” Stevens said. “We’re seeing quite a few flowers throughout our collection that we normally would not see.”

Wisconsin apple orchards seeing a shortfall this year

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: For many growers and researchers, this points to one thing.

“That is definitely the expression of climate change,” said Professor Amaya Atucha, a fruit crop specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She said increasingly extreme variability in temperature and precipitation is making it difficult for fruit trees to thrive.

A World Without Soil


For today’s show, Monday host Patty Peltekos speaks with Jo Handelsman about her new book, A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet.

The Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Science Festival are co-presenting a book event with Jo Handelsman this Thursday, October 21 at 6 p.m. in the Discovery Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. More information available at the Wisconsin Book Festival website.

Jo Handelsman is the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2014 to 2017. She is the author of A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet (Yale University Press, 2021).

Fall armyworm population wreaking havoc on Wisconsin crops


Noted: This year in Wisconsin, a fall armyworm population is present unlike anything most entomologists have ever seen. The pests are doing damage to alfalfa, winter wheat and other cover crops around the state. Bryan Jensen, UW-Extension Pest Management Specialist, shares that this warmer fall weather has helped to create a perfect storm for fall armyworms to thrive. Fall armyworms are different from the normal armyworms seen during late spring. The good news, according to Jensen, is they will most definitely not over-winter here in Wisconsin: they are a warm weather species, and will not survive the winter

Evers announces $4.5M in state tax credits for new, automated cheese plant

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Steve Deller, professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he thinks the new technology makes the plant a worthwhile investment for state tax credits and will hopefully help the state’s dairy industry move into the future.

“This is a pretty good shot in the arm for the Wisconsin dairy industry,” Deller said. “Any time we see new investment like this is a positive sign because a lot of the growth in the dairy industry has really not been occurring in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Cranberry Research Station Offers New Opportunities To ‘Move The Industry Forward’

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Amaya Atucha, fruit crop specialist for UW-Madison, said she and other researchers are grateful to the cranberry growers that let them host projects on their marshes. She said worrying about the crops was a common issue that held back progress.

“When we want to study things related to an invasive insect or a disease in which you really have to let that disease take over your marsh or your production bed, you’re not going to do that in a grower’s commercial marsh, because the grower makes their living out of the fruit,” Atucha said.

Environmental, Ag Experts Warn Drought Conditions Sign Of What’s To Come With Climate Change

Wisconsin Public Radio

Much of southern and western Wisconsin has continued to experience abnormally dry conditions this year, with far southeastern Wisconsin seeing severe drought earlier this summer.

But agronomist Chris Kucharik from the University of Wisconsin-Madison said lower precipitation hasn’t had as much of an impact on the state’s crops as he was anticipating.

“I’m a bit surprised at how well the crops have been doing,” Kucharik said. “Honestly, once the crop is in the ground, (farmers) are kind of at the mercy of what happens during the growing season with the weather.”

Charts show 2020 was not as bad a year for the dairy industry, but the crisis continues

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Even though the situation in the industry remains tough, Mark Stephenson, head of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said “2020 was not as bad a year for dairy farmers.”

Milk prices had been low since 2015 — “for a longer period of time than we’ve seen in quite a while,” according to Stephenson. Farmers did their best to cut costs, and waited for demand to increase and boost prices with it.

Dairy market reports show optimism, but uncertainty, for higher prices, slowing production

Wisconsin State Farmer

Industry experts Mark Stephenson and Bob Cropp say they see optimism in price and supply for the coming months, according to the latest episode of the Dairy Markets and Policy podcast.

Cropp, professor emeritus of UW-Madison’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said cold storage reports bring both bad and good news to dairy farmers: American cheese stocks are slowly decreasing at 2% this month, but butter stocks have gone up 14% in the same timeframe. Stephenson, director of the Center for Dairy Profitability, said cheese stocks will continue to see rising price support.