One potential answer to the question of “how are current conditions similar to the 1980s” is to consider net farm income. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has measured and reported those data for decades, which allows for meaningful comparisons through time. This week’s post reviews net farm income during the Farm Financial Crisis of the 1980s.

OPINION  Every year we gather around our dining-room table with our loved ones for Thanksgiving dinner and reflect on the past year. We think about all we’re thankful for – our family and friends as well as our job and an excitement for what’s yet to come. This year is different. It’s been an incredibly difficult year for so many of us as we deal with the stress, loss and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With colder temperatures and extreme weather conditions just around the corner it’s important to take note of issues affecting dairy cows during the winter season. Basic problems such as pneumonia, teat-skin damage, mastitis and frostbite can lay claim to unprepared and ill-cared-for animals.

    The Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation recently began an ornament sale and membership drive. The foundation is offering for free a Wisconsin State Fair “Stickin’ it to 2020” ornament, with any Friend of the Fair membership purchased for the 2021 fair. The ornament, which represents the perennial favorite “food-on-a-stick,” also is sold separately.

    The new Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery building on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus recently was completed. In-person celebrations couldn’t be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic but completion of the facility was observed by dignitaries on pre-recorded videos posted Nov. 6.

    What’s “old school?” Being able to make a barbwire gate ranks high on my list of capabilities that might put one in the esteemed character level I refer to as “old school.” One doesn’t need to be old to be old-school – and Bubba was proof of that. That’s right, Bubba. And I’m not lying when I say I met Bubba at Bubba’s.

    MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is providing regular updates on department activities. Randy Romanski, the agency’s secretary-designee, recently shared the department’s activities related to food security, the Tri-National Agricultural Accord, and a second case of mink testing that was positive for the SAR-CoV-2 infection.

      The fermenter market is projected to reach about $1.7 billion by 2023, growing at an annual rate of more than 8 percent, according to The market-analyst firm attributes projected growth to the increase in consumption of fermented food and beverages in developed economies. It also forecasts growth due to increasing awareness about food preservation.

      More consumers indicate they’re trying to eat more plant-based foods; that’s pushing alternative proteins into a mainstream phenomenon, according to “OutsideVoice,” a consumer-insights platform developed by Archer Daniels Midland. And makers of alternative-meat products are working to increase production and efficiency with technologies such as protein fermentation.

      Years ago I had my first exposure to weeds that had become resistant to herbicides. As my agronomy center’s first responder to complaints about underperforming herbicide applications I was stumped as to why a single weed species had survived.

      MADELINE ISLAND, Wis. – Foreclosures, natural disasters, policies that destroy markets and businesses. In recent years many families have needed to leave farms and farming – not by choice but by necessity. It’s not a new trend. It’s something that has gone on worldwide for centuries. The loss of connection to the land and the natural world is felt in families for generations. It’s a hurt felt to the quick of one’s soul. Many need a way to heal.

      These are the easiest pies I’ve made. They’re simple, fast and our favorites. Just in case anyone finds pie-making daunting, try Pecan Pie Bars. The scrumptious little bars are delightful.

      The majority of the crops have been harvested during the past two weeks in our area. With a warm spell of 70-degree weather and ideal soil conditions, harvest and tillage progressed rapidly.

      Well another year is almost in the books. The last stretch of dry weather we had was long enough that almost everyone completed their harvest. As I drive around the countryside fields with crops in them are the exception not the rule anymore. Talking to a few folks, they can’t remember the last time they were washing combines this early – and such warm temps.

      The Halloween Blue Moon ushered in the gales of November along Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore. High winds the first two days of November brought with them moderate temperatures, sun and dry weather – almost-perfect conditions for fall field work. Everyone took advantage of the great conditions to put things in order before the predicted long winter.

        Twin Springs Farm in Talladega is one of several locally owned meat producers that have seen sales go up amidst talk of a national meal shortage. 

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