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Ag Briefs: Barn fire causes $200,000 in damage

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs

WATERTOWN, WI

Barn fire causes $200,000 in damage

A fire that caused $200,000 in damages to a Watertown barn remains under investigation.

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, fire departments responded to the blaze during the morning hours on Oct. 30. No animals or workers were inside the structure at the time of the first.

Fire departments responding to the fire include Waterloo, Sullivan, Lake Mills, Clyman, Johnson Creek and Ixonia.

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, IL

Brazilian soybean profits to reach historical heights

 Brazilian farmers are on a trajectory to have the highest soybean return in history for the 2019/20 marketing year. Soybean prices have reached highs in recent months, caused by low domestic supplies and the depreciation of the Brazilian real (BRL) relative to the U.S. dollar (USD).

Exchange rate movements have reduced the price of Brazilian products sold in foreign markets, thus making Brazil’s soybeans more competitive relative to U.S. soybeans, according to FarmDoc Daily.

The increase in soybean price in Brazil is directly related to the depreciation of the BRL to the USD. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil’s currency depreciated further as its economy slowed.

Besides currency changes, high premiums relative to Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) prices exist in Brazilian ports. In September and October this year, port premiums have been between $ 1.90 and $2.00 per bushel above CME prices.

Brazil’s agricultural competitiveness led to record export soybean sales of almost 70 million tons in the first seven months of 2020. Soybeans were responsible for 39% of all Brazilian agribusiness exports.

OTTAWA, CANADA

Canadian farmers to recoup losses from trade deals

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is committed to honoring past promises to compensate dairy farmers who have suffered losses due to trade deals.

According to the Canadian Press, Dairy Farmers of Canada representatives say they have received a multi-year commitment for $1.75 billion in compensation from the government for losses they have incurred due to Canada’s trade deals with Europe and with Pacific Rim countries.

Farmers have yet to be compensated for a third trade deal for losses stemming from the USMCA trade deal which went into force on July 1.

KANSAS CITY, MO

USDA tackles Citrus Disease with $45M in research grants

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently awarded 12 grants totaling over $45 million for research to combat Huanglongbing (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening disease.

Although citrus greening is a serious threat to the citrus industry worldwide, significant progress has been made to coordinate a multipronged approach for citrus greening management and suppression of the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that carries and spreads HLB, through expanding partnerships with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health inspection Service, states, universities, and private partners, a news release said.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Parts of MN, WI see record snow for October

A record-setting October snowstorm dumped heavy snow in Minnesota and parts of northern Wisconsin and the eastern Dakotas, causing slippery driving conditions.

It was the heaviest snow this early in October for many Minnesota locations and some in northwestern Wisconsin. According to the National Weather Service said Lakeville and some other southern Twin Cities suburbs got around 9 inches of snow on Oct. 20 in the region's first significant snowstorm of the season, while the western Minnesota town of Sedan got 10.8 inches.

In Wisconsin, an American Eagle flight from Chicago skidded off the runway and got stuck in the snow while trying to land at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee on Tuesday night. No one was injured. But snowy road conditions and speed were blamed in a crash that killed one person in the Dunn County village of Wheeler on Tuesday afternoon.

PELLA, IA

Lely North America breaks ground on new campus

Following its announcement to expand across North America, the company held a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 22 at the company's new location in Pella, IA.

According to a news release, company officials expect to open the new facility in the first quarter of 2022.

The company's new campus spans nearly 60 acres at the intersection of IA-163 and 250th Ave. / Adams Ave. in Pella, Iowa. The company plans to move all its current operations from existing facilities under one roof upon completion.

The new facility includes approximately 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and professional space, as well as a state-of-the-art training facility for use by employees and Lely’s distribution partners throughout North America.

The current production activities include manufacturing of the Lely Astronaut A5 robotic milking system and Lely Luna cow brushes, but the new facility adds the ability to manufacture additional products in the Lely portfolio.

SHAPLEIGH, ME

4 sickened after consuming raw milk products

Maine officials are investigating four cases of people becoming ill from consuming raw milk products. 

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said four cases of cryptosporidiosis connected to raw milk were reported starting Oct. 4, according to an Associated Press report.

The people who were sickened said they had raw milk products from Roux's Farm LLC in Shapleigh, which is state inspected and licensed. All four people live in York County, officials said. 

DENVER, CO

Potato sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020. According to Potatoes USA, total store potato sales increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years.

Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides; however, the category decline slowed compared to the previous three months.

Fresh potatoes sales increased 16.4% in dollars and 10.6% in volume, despite the consumer price increasing. Medley, petite, and yellow potatoes all had a volume sales increase over 20%. While consumers still purchased more five-lb. bags than any other package size, ten-lb. bags saw the largest increase in dollars and volume sales by 22% and 20.4%, respectively.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands

Bird flu fears: Dutch farms ordered to keep poultry indoors

The Dutch government is ordering poultry farms to keep their birds indoors after six wild swans were found recently dead and tests on two of the birds came back positive for a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu.

The order was set to come into force at midnight Thursday, Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said in a statement to the Associated Press.

She said experts believe the H5N8 strain of avian influenza likely was brought to the Netherlands by birds migrating from Russia and Kazakhstan because the same strain circulated there over the summer. 

The order to keep birds indoors on farms is intended to prevent the infection, which often kills affected birds, spreading from wild birds to farm poultry.