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After the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House announced the 2019 Market Facilitation program, we noted that direct government payments were set to soar in 2019. The USDA’s most recent estimate of $19.5 billion in total direct farm payments is more than $5.5 billion more than 2018. The USDA’s initial estimated 2019 direct payments were $2.5 billion less than 2018 levels. This week’s post is an updated look at direct-payment trends and farm-level implications.

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Got milk? Increasingly, Americans don't, and that led the nation's biggest milk producer to file for bankruptcy Nov. 12.

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OPINION  Let there be no doubt – climate change is a real, immediate and growing threat to national security, public health and our economy. But this past week the Trump administration decided to turn our back on the rest of the world by starting the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

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MARSHALL, Ill. — Clark County soybean producer Don Guinnip has been cited by the Illinois Soybean Association High Yield PLUS Quality program for consistently producing soybeans that rank very high in livestock feed value.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — PurdueUniversity representatives will speak at the Hemp at the Crossroads Education and Trade Show in Indianapolis Nov. 16-17.

For a farmer who doesn't have a family member interested in continuing the farm, the biggest obstacle to farm transfer often is the ability of owners and seekers to find each other. Farm-link services have been introduced to help farmers transfer their farms by connecting them with new farmers. The need to connect is greater than ever. But there has been scarce research that explores their operations, outcomes and effectiveness.

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OPINION  The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association applauds the Wisconsin State Assembly’s unanimous approval of Senate Bill 219, which stands to expand access to capital for rural business owners including dairy manufacturers and processors.

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Wisconsin literary history was made 50 years ago; the first book written by storyteller Jerry Apps was published. His colleague, Earth Day founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson, wrote the foreword for the then-fledgling author’s first book, “The Land Still Lives.”

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Amanda Elmore, a PurdueUniversity graduate and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in women’s rowing, returned to campus for Homecoming festivities and made a presentation to an agricultural economics program.

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — October temperatures soared from record-breaking heat during the first week and fell to record-breaking cold at the month’s end in Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

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FORT MORGAN, Colo. – An onion packer based in Fort Morgan in eastern Colorado has created new labels for his consumer packages. The labels show Nature’s Ninja, a new character created by the National Onion Association to bring attention to the many “ninja-like” qualities of the onion – everything from its nutrition and health benefits to its zero-waste sustainability.

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Submissions are being sought for the Food System Vision Prize. Contestants will be tasked with imagining an inspiring “vision” that reflects views of multiple stakeholders within their food system. The vision will address six interconnected themes – environment, diets, economics, culture, technology and policy.

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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. – Pasture and soil health are a priority for Brandon and Jerry Wagner. They work together on their Black River Falls farm to have the combination right on their organic dairy.

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The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully – MEAT – Act recently was introduced to address labeling practices in alternative-protein products. The legislation was introduced by U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-1-Kansas, and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-22-New York. The legislation “codifies the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforces existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion, and enhances enforcement measures available to the U.S. Department Agriculture if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fails to take appropriate action.”

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MADISON, Wis. – Leah Hurtgen Ziemba brings technical and practical skills to her role as an adviser to the Dairy Girl Network.

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Editor’s note: This is the final article in a series featuring three finalists selected for the 2019 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award.