AG Rural News

More than 120 members of Congress are asking the Health and Human Services Secretary in a letter to immediately provide financial relief to rural hospitals, saying many are just days away from going broke. Emergency funding for rural hospitals is part of the CARES act passed by Congress and signed by the president last week. The lawmakers say many rural hospitals have stopped performing elective procedures and are no longer seeing non-urgent patients because of the  COVID-19 emergency but those actions threaten rural hospitals’ financial viability. ...
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Mike Drinnin is a cattle feeder from Clarks, Nebraska and immediate past president of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s organization. In this interview with Brownfield, Drinnin discusses challenges facing his operation, and the cattle industry in general, in light of recent events. Audio: Mike Drinnin ...
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Covid-19 has been dominating all of the news channels, but there have been questions about how the virus could impact the ag sector. Dr. Jim Lowe is a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois and is an expert on infectious disease management for animals. He says while there is no direct threat to animal health, there are concerns for the entire agriculture sector. Following a recent farmdoc webinar, Dr. ...
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The digital divide is causing headaches for rural workers required to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Jeff Johnston, lead economist with CoBank, tells Brownfield the increased daily demand for broadband is causing some carriers to slow data speeds which hampers video calls, for example.  Big carriers like Verizon can invest more capital to increase capacity, says Johnston, “But for small, rural operators that are already working in thin margins to begin with and need a lot of government support in order to even make that business model work could be very problematic.” And then, Johnston says there are rural workers who...
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Ag News

Another dairy processor is calling on its farmers to drastically reduce production. Mitch Breunig Mitch Bruenig and his family operate Mystic Valley Dairy near Sauk City, Wisconsin.  He says, “They’re kind of looking for 20% but they’re at this point, they’re just saying hey if there is anything you can do to dry up cows or sell some cows, we really need you to do that to cut back.” Bruenig tells Brownfield for him, that would mean either drying up or culling about 80 cows, making it hard on the bottom line. ...
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Milk dumping has begun.  West Bend, Wisconsin farmer Chris Elbe operates Golden E Dairy, where they supply milk to Dairy Farmers of America for fluid consumption.  He tells Brownfield the first truckload went in the lagoon Tuesday night. “I was contacted by the section area manager and told that I need to start dumping as soon as possible, so I started dumping at eight-o-clock last night.” Elbe says he’s milking 24-hundred cows and producing about 220 thousand pounds of milk every day. ...
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Ethanol production hit a six and a half year low last week, the first week truly reflecting the impact of COVID-19 related stay at home and social distancing orders on the industry. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says production averaged 840,000 barrels a day, a drop of 165,000 on the week, the largest weekly decline on record. The slowing demand for blending pushed stocks to a record high of 25.707 million barrels, a week to week increase of more 1.577 million barrels. ...
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Dairy Farmers of America has been named the winning bidder for most of the Dean Foods operations.  Dean Foods issued a statement saying DFA will acquire 44 of the Dean Foods fluid and frozen dairy facilities for 433-million dollars as part of a bankruptcy sale. Illinois-based Prairie Farms Dairy was the high bidder for eight dairy facilities, two distribution branches, and other unnamed assets for 75-million in cash. Mana Saves McArthur, LLC, will acquire facilities in Miami, Florida and Producers Dairy Foods will buy the Reno, Nevada plant. ...
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