Construction crews will erect the research facility next to Exact’s corporate headquarters on 5505 Endeavor Lane inside University Research Park on the West Side. The lab and warehouse are additions to Exact’s Discovery Campus on 1 Exact Lane, which is located between Schroeder Road and the Beltline on the Southwest Side.
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.”
Aaron Olver is managing director of the nonprofit UW-Madison affiliate, which is designed to provide a space for commercializing discoveries made on campus. “At our core, we’re a real estate operation,” Olver said. “Our job is basically to create homes where innovation companies, particularly (ones) affiliated with the university, can get started and can grow and can thrive.”
A class of fourth graders from Green Bay public schools recently submitted questions about renewable energy and the environment to WPR’s “The Morning Show.”
Greg Nemet, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, joined the show to answer those questions.
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.
Quoted: At the beginning of the pandemic, the rate of inflation was almost zero and prices were falling, said Dr. Menzie Chinn, an economics professor at the UW-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs.
In response, the government passed robust support packages — including stimulus checks, enhances unemployment benefits and tax cuts — to boost spending. The spending those programs created was concentrated more on goods than services, Chinn said.
“We have kind of a weird time where people have shifted more towards buying goods and we get a lot of our goods from China and abroad,” Chinn said. “So that means you have this collision, at least in the goods sector, of enhanced demand and not quite enough supply to keep up. And what happens is prices go up. Supply and demand.”
Quoted: Recruitment and retention has always been difficult in corrections due to grueling work conditions and lower pay, according to Jirs Meuris, assistant professor of management and human resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“You have a job that’s already difficult to get people to apply to, to join and then to retain those people. And then you add a labor shortage, as well as a pandemic, that’s going to make that job even harder to do,” said Meuris.
Noted: Jeff Sindelar, associate professor in the meat and science department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, agrees 100% with the European influence when it comes to Wisconsin’s sausage skills.
It started with people with strong meat-processing skill sets putting down roots here, but having people who wanted to purchase those foods provided a sustainable market throughout the generations.
Wisconsin was also well-positioned geographically to help carry on those traditions, Sindelar said. Being located between the large population centers of the Twin Cities and Chicago, the latter with its famous stockyards, brought railways to Wisconsin.
A study released by UW-Madison economist Noah Williams says eliminating the personal income tax and raising the sales tax would jump start Wisconsin’s economy.
Quoted: The U.S. last experienced rampant inflation four decades ago. “We have very short memories,” says Steven Deller, an economist in the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. “We don’t remember what it was like during the 1970s and early 80s, so this is unusual.”
In a recent analysis, Menzie Chinn, an economist at the UW’s Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, writes that inflation averaged just 1.7% in the last decade, at times “raising concerns that inflation was too low.”
But while the current inflation might have first looked like the economy playing catch-up after prices tumbled early in the pandemic, it has since “overshot the trend,” Chinn adds. Big-ticket purchases — cars, appliances and other so-called durable goods — are showing the sharpest increases, Chinn writes on his blog Econbrowser. High real estate prices and rental costs have also been a factor.
Quoted: People are quitting their jobs at nearly twice the rate they did before the pandemic. And they’re not in a rush to come back, Michael Childers, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business professor, said.
“Workers are more selective and have that opportunity right now based on the job market. And that almost becomes self-fulfilling. It’s sort of this sustaining cycle that we’re in,” Childers said at Tuesday’s event.
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.
Casavant, 34, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, founded the company in 2012 with his UW lab-mate Erwin Berthier, 38, who is the company’s chief technology officer. They had studied microfluidics, which deals with the behavior and control of very small volumes of fluids in networks of channels, in the lab of UW-Madison professor David Beebe.
Quoted: “We’re learning that it’s pretty easy to turn the economy off. But it’s really hard just to flip the switch and turn it back on,” said Steve Deller, a professor in agriculture and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“What COVID has done is, among other things, it’s changed the risk-benefit calculation that workers do,” said Menzie Chinn, a professor of public affairs and economics at UW-Madison.
Noted: University of Wisconsin Administration: Up to $5.7 million to create a “workforce-ready curriculum” for students who are incarcerated “to teach employable skills to students while incarcerated and continue supporting them post-release through program completion and career placement.” The program will pilot at UW-Oshkosh, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, UW-Green Bay, and UW-Madison.
The Flambeau test, rather than needing a swab from inside a patient’s nose, is saliva-based, said Dave Beebe, who is also a biomedical engineering professor at UW-Madison. That makes the test less invasive, and therefore more rapid than traditional ones.
The Entrepreneurial Training Program provides grants of up to $750 to entrepreneurs who complete startup coursework by the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs must match at least $250, and the coursework must focus on business modeling or business planning.
Jake Wood was a few months out of the Marine Corps in 2010 when a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti. On the spur of the moment, he and a few other veterans headed to Port-au-Prince and started looking for ways to help. With no organization and no supply chain, it was a haphazard response. “The only thing we got right is that none of us died,” he said.
Noted: Jake Wood is a Wisconsin School of Business alumnus and played football for the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
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.”
Quoted: “Much of that is because they themselves don’t necessarily feel like they are experts in money management,” said Melody Harvey, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies how public policies affect financial capability.
“I imagine that most parents wouldn’t want to intentionally mislead their children or give wrong information,” she said.
A decade ago, Urban and J. Michael Collins, a professor and financial security researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were part of the team that examined outcomes in Texas and Georgia after those states implemented a financial education requirement.
They looked at students’ credit reports through age 22 and found students were less likely to have a negative item on their credit report. They also borrowed more — showing they could better fill out applications for things like credit cards or a car loan — and had a lower delinquency rate on those loans than their peers in states without the graduation requirement.
“We saw that those kids who had the financial education had basically fewer mistakes in their early 20s,” Collins said.
Quoted: “I think we are in a very good position because of the number of dollars that are flowing in this direction. The federal government is now turning on the hose,” said one of Tuesday’s panelists, Barry Orton, professor emeritus, telecommunications, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I would say that for municipalities and other public entities that are looking to provide broadband to their citizens, this is going to be their window of opportunity,” Orton said.
Quoted: “Prices have clearly gone up, and we’re seeing that trend continue,” said Peter Lukszys, University of Wisconsin School of Business expert on logistics and supply chain management. “Consumption during last year was down because fewer Thanksgivings were being celebrated. This year there is more demand, and when there is more demand, it is more likely to have shortages.”
ACanadian nonprofit that seeks to sow the seeds of entrepreneurship around the world has joined forces with UW-Madison and major employers to teach startups and college students how to run a company.
By all accounts, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank brought much-needed administrative skills to an organization that had taken its share of hits.
But now that she’s headed to the top job at Northwestern University the future of the state’s flagship university — and in some sense, of the state itself — hangs on one key question:
Will the Board of Regents bring in another administrative guru or will it seek out a leader who can finally unlock the potential we all know is there? Someone who can oversee the translation of UW-Madison’s world-class technology into world-class applications for the global marketplace.
Dr. Vallabh (Samba) Sambamurthy is the Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. A leading expert on how businesses compete in the digital economy, Dr. Sambamurthy’s work has been featured in leading academic journals. Several Fortune 500 firms have engaged him as a consultant.
Interview with Peter Lukszys, senior lecturer with the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management.
Interview with Heather Kirkorian, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at UW-Madison.
Jake Dean, director of the Grangier Center for Supply Chain Management at UW-Madison, discusses why the flow of consumer products has slowed across the nation and how it is affecting Wisconsin.
Noted: Joe Lauer is an agronomy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Madison Agronomy and UWEX state corn specialist
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.
Quoted: “About 31% of preventable transportation-related manure spills are due to operator error,” said Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension conservation professional training program director. “An accidental spill is not illegal, but failing to properly report and clean it up is.”
Quoted: “There isn’t a lot of evidence in the data that people are staying home,” said Laura Dresser, an economist and associate director of COWS, a University of Wisconsin-Madison policy research center, noting the state’s continued above-average labor force participation.
Other factors, such as the continued difficulty in finding child care, are likely keeping people from working who would otherwise want to do so, she said. One reason for Wisconsin’s higher labor force participation rate is that more women are in the state’s workforce, and are likely to be disproportionately affected by the disruption in child care.
Dissatisfaction over pay and frustration with customers who angrily object to masking have given restaurant and hospitality workers reason to pursue other jobs instead, said Steven Deller, of the UW Extension’s agricultural and applied economics department. “There’s lots of little things going on here,” Deller said. “I think a lot of folks are simply saying, ‘No — do I really want to do that any more?’”
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
Tom Erickson, the director of the new UW-Madison School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences, brought a message of statewide engagement with industry to a meeting of the Wisconsin Technology Council board of directors. From tourism to agriculture, and from manufacturing to transportation, computing and data is changing how those sectors perform while inventing new industries along the way.
Video: Dairy is a top industry in the Badger State, where more than a million cows produce some of the nation’s best cheese, milk and ice cream products.
Quoted: Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says Haugen’s interpretation of the internal research squares perfectly with other work done on social media, especially Instagram.
“For a certain population of youth, exposure to this content can be associated with diminished body image, or body image concerns,” Moreno says. “I didn’t feel like it was tremendously surprising.”
Many businesses are adopting sustainable principles and practices, which is changing the way business and economics are taught in higher education. We talk about how the UW-Madison School of Business is integrating concepts of environmental sustainability into its curriculum, and we learn how this fits within the new framework of capitalism.
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.”
A recent survey by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and the School of Nursing at UW Madison shows an impending nursing shortage.
Anywhere from 10-20,000 nurses plan to retire in the next 10 years, and that could cause a crisis for the state. Right now many healthcare companies are finding it hard to staff nurses, so many are offering bonuses and high salaries to professionals from out of town.
Quoted: Although Congress has come to this precipice many times before, the perception is that the two parties are more “locked-in” than before, and that has people worried, said Menzie Chinn, a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin’s La Follette School of Public Affairs and expert on fiscal and monetary policy.
“This is the first time where it may not just be [political theater] but it is actually a case where they very well may not [pass an increase to the debt ceiling], and the consequences are big,” Chinn said. “When you shut down the government, essential services still continue, but if you hit the debt limit, you have to stop payments.”
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.
Interview with Christine Whelan, clinical professor in the Department of Consumer Science
at the School of Human Ecology, about new docuseries from Amazon Prime, detailing the rise and fall of LulaRoe, a multi-level marketing company.
Quoted: “I was surprised at the level of the drop,” said Steve Deller, a UW-Madison professor of applied economics. “I would have thought that the second quarter of this year, we would have seen modest growth.”
Deller noted there was “modest growth” in terms of earnings from work, but that was offset by a drop off in “transfer receipts,” a category of income encompassing earnings from non-work sources.
But the report also suggests that in order to keep up with the country’s emergent AI industry, Madison business leaders should forge more corporate research partnerships with UW-Madison. That would further boost the use of AI, promote entrepreneurship and encourage local job retention and attraction. “Significant money is flowing into the region to support almost exclusive contracts or research and development initiatives,” explained Mark Muro, Brookings senior fellow and report co-author. “That’s very important in itself. At the same time, because federal research done at UW-Madison is also building a talent base of skilled researchers and graduate students, there’s a pipeline for future AI expansion.”
Quoted: “There’s nobody left with the necessary oversight,” said Barry Orton, professor emeritus of telecommunications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
UW-Madison economist Dr. Moses Altsech said the pinch started when upper middle class workers had more money available when they didn’t leave the house.
“You have all of this money sitting around that’s unspent. Then, the government starts sending you stimulus checks out the wazoo, which, for some people, are life-savers. For some people, they are purely disposable income they did not need because they are still getting paid working from home,” Altsech said in an interview with WXPR. “So now you can afford a brand-new car. Now you can afford a brand-new house, a home renovation. There’s money floating around. There’s huge demand. That creates an increase in inflation, of course. Prices are starting to go up.”
Quoted: National studies show people have been consuming more alcohol, especially women with young children, during the pandemic, said Julia Sherman, coordinator for the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. She said other research has found that people who increased alcohol consumption to cope with natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, didn’t slow their drinking afterward.
“And that is the big question,” said Sherman. “Will the drinking subside as this crisis fades? As we are able to get back to normal or the new normal? Will we all go back to the previous level of alcohol consumption? And based on this other reporting, it’s not as likely as we might hope.”
Despite supply chain and hiring woes, experts say retailers in Wisconsin have had a successful back-to-school shopping season.
Jerry O’Brien, the executive director of the Kohl’s Center for Retailing at University of Wisconsin-Madison, said “it’s actually been a pretty good season in spite of lots of problems.”
“Retailers are pretty happy with the sales,” said O’Brien. “They just wish some of the other issues were better.”
For months employers, politicians and economists have squared off over what role additional federal unemployment benefits had in contributing to a worker shortage in Wisconsin.
Now that an extra $300 a week in pandemic jobless benefits has ended, the question many have is whether — and when — people will return to the workforce.
“They will, but at a very small margin. Particularly for low wage jobs,” predicts economist Steven Deller from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on providing workers better wages, consistent schedules and stronger benefits, including accessible health care. That’s according to a new report from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The report from COWS, formerly the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, indicates Wisconsin still has 114,000 fewer jobs available as of July than it did before the onset of COVID-19. Leisure and hospitality in particular have been affected, losing 49,600 jobs. According to the report, that has disproportionately affected women and people of color.
Laura Dresser, the associate director of COWS, said the problems in Wisconsin’s job market came about well before the pandemic.
“Many of the problems that the State of Working Wisconsin has documented for more than two decades were really exposed and exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and its impact on work,” said Dresser. “The very workers that have faced the worst wage trends, faced the hardest conditions in their jobs were the workers who were either unemployed, lost their work through the pandemic, or who faced exposure in their jobs and could not be protected from exposure.”
When UW-Madison oncology fellow Johnathan Ebben founded Nano RED in 2015, the startup’s focus was to conceptualize cancer treatments.
More jobs, but not a full recovery. Better wages, but fewer unions — and, as a consequence, weaker protections for workers. And gaping inequalities by race and ethnicity.
That’s the picture painted in the 2021 edition of the State of Working Wisconsin, an annual assessment that COWS, a University of Wisconsin research and policy center, has been producing for more than two decades.
COWS Associate Director Laura Dresser acknowledges a widespread urge to get “back to normal” under those conditions.
“But ‘normal’ for low-wage workers has long been unsustainable, leaving too many families struggling to get by,” she writes. “Adding jobs is important, but ensuring strong job quality and supports for low-wage workers is equally important.”
Quoted: Steve Deller, an applied economics professor with University of Wisconsin-Madison, said for some businesses, not leasing office spaces has allowed them to bring down operating costs.
“I think three things are happening: a lot of businesses are embracing telecommuting as an alternative to maintaining office spaces; businesses are allowing greater flexibility for some of their workers to continue to telecommute; and finally, some workers are still uncomfortable returning to the office,” Deller said in an email.
But Deller said it’s “too soon to tell” whether shifts to remote work will continue in the long term.
As more mask requirements return, like Dane County reinstating a mask mandate in all indoor public spaces, people are heading to Amazon or other stores to stock up on masks. A group of engineers from UW-Madison wants to remind the public about the Badger Seal.
Quoted: University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor Timothy Smeeding said the rise in wages for low-income workers means it’s a good time to reassess their jobs and find a better one.
“For those reasons, the job market is in favor of workers right now and turnover is good,” Smeeding said. “When people voluntarily leave jobs, economists think that’s good, because that meant they found something better.”
Noted: Stephen Young is a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor who studies basic income programs in the United States and worldwide. Young said universal basic income is not a “magic bullet solution” but an idea that has gained traction in the past decade to “address structural unemployment and poverty.”
Quoted: “I think that there was some concern that inflation would continue to accelerate,” said Tessa Conroy, an assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Producers haven’t been able to respond with supply as enthusiastically as consumers have responded with demand as the economy has sort of opened back up.”
Conroy said the new numbers indicate the current accelerated inflation is a temporary trend brought on by supply shortages.
“I think that’s hopeful for a lot of consumers in particular, that as some of the short-term problems resolve themselves, prices will stabilize,” said Conroy.
Quoted: According to Noah Williams, director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy, the state’s labor force participation has been declining for decades as the state’s demographics shift over time.
“The way I think about it is there’s long term trends and then on top of that there’s been the shorter term issues,” Williams said, “The population is aging; it’s aging more rapidly in Wisconsin than in the rest of the country.”
Quoted: The overall job numbers showed “a strong contribution from education hiring, as more schools than normal retained teachers through the summer and ramped up hiring for a planned return to instruction in the fall,” said Noah Williams, an economist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning think tank.
The upward trend, however, is threatened by the virus spread, Williams added.
A new study out of Madison, Wisconsin shows that building dense, amenity-rich market-rate housing in vulnerable neighborhoods leads to higher evictions.
While there are significant differences between Madison and San Francisco, the data has implications for new local attempts to encourage more dense housing into existing residential areas that may be threatened by gentrification and displacement.
The author, University of Wisconsin Professor Revel Sims, looked at areas where five-unit or larger buildings were constructed in areas with older buildings and lower-income residents.