Click here for the most up to date resources for Managing a Farm During COVID-19.  This link is updated daily and has resources about finances, social distancing, farm continuation, safety, COVID-19 facts, and more. 


Please click on the links below to view past email updates sent by Liz Binversie, Extension Brown County Agriculture Educator:
- We're All In Grant Extended to Friday 6/26 at 11:59! (June 25, 2020)
- June 23 deadline, We're All In Small Business Grant (June 17, 2020)
- Sign Up Open: WI Farm Support Program (June 15, 2020)
- Apply Jue 15 for $50 million for Farmers
(June 10, 2020)
- USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments (June 4, 2020)
- CFAP Sign Up Begins Today (May 26, 2020)
- Direct Payments through FSA (CFAP-USDA) (May 21, 2020)
- Direct Payments & Last call for webinar registration (May 20, 2020)
- EIDL/PPP Q&A (May 15, 2020)
- Looking Ahead for Dairy Webinar (May 15, 2020)
- QPR Suicide Prevention Resources (May 14, 2020)
- COVID Posters and Resources for Employees in English and Spanish (May 14, 2020)
- Brown County Orders Continuation of Stay At Home Orders (May 13, 2020)
- What Farmers Need to Know About PPP and EIDL (May 10, 2020)
- EIDL and County Email Down Temporarily (May 6, 2020)
- COVID-19 Testing Sign Up Information (May 5, 2020)
- EIDL Application Instruction Video & Troubleshooting (May 5, 2020)
- URGENT: EIDL open@11am for ag only! Time sensitive updates! (May 4, 2020)
- Lowering Milk Production Resources (May 1, 2020)
- COVID-19 Update - PPP and EIDL (April 25, 2020)
- Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Webinar Recording (April 24, 2020)
- PUA and Coronavirus Assistance Program Update (April 21, 2020)
- Clarification on reopening DMC (April 18, 2020)
- Unemployment Webinar Recording (April 16, 2020)
- USDA Flexibility for Dumped Milk and Marketing Assistance Loans (April 11, 2020)
- Ag Extension Updates (April 10, 2020)
- Paycheck Protection Program (April 4, 2020)
- COVID-19 Update (April 1, 2020)
- COVID-19 Resources for Farms (March 31, 2020)
- Milk Plant Capacity and Other Concerns (March 25, 2020)


COVID-19 Resources:
- CFAP Sign-Up Information
- Coronavirus Food Assistance Act - Program sign up starts May 26, 2020
- Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Webinar Video (click for transcript of video)
- CDC Posters in English & Spanish
- Suicide Prevention Resources for Supporting Farmers
- Legal Obligations for Farms with Employees During COVID-19
- How to Prioritize Debt Payments
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) emergency loans open to farmers starting May 4
- Strategies to Reduce Milk Production
- Considerations for 3x to 2x Milking
- PPP Update 4/25/2020
- Lenders Participating in PPP as of 4/23/2020
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- USDA Will Not Reopen the Dairy Margin Coverage
- Unemployment Benefits for Farms Webinar
- Feeding Unpasteurized Milk to Dairy Cattle Guidelines and Amounts
- Feeding Unpasteurized Milk to Dairy Cattle Online Nutrient Calculator Tool
- Crop Input Resources for Low Margins
- Alternative Forages Webinar Recordings
- Milk Disposal Guidance from DATCP/DNR
- COVID-19 Clarification Email from DNR
- COVID-19: Social Distancing for Farmers
- Meat Establishment Directory
- Dairy Plant Directory
- State Dairy Market Update
- Farm Visitor Check List
- Guidelines for Farm Employers - english language
- Guidelines for Farm Employers - spanish language
- UW Extension Agriculture COVID Response YouTube Channel - Updated Regularly


Lowering Milk Production:  Extension has just released a couple resources for those considering lowering their milk production. There's also an article about ivermectin. Click here for those resources
 

Unemployment Benefits for Farmers/Ranchers affected by COVID-19:  If you own a farm or ranch and are suffering lost or reduced revenue because of COVID-19, unemployment insurance benefits may help provide income during this difficult time. Click here to watch and listen to the full presentation on Facebook.


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): The Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development updated their information and on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQs page, the last question addresses farmers. It very specifically says that farmers who are still working who are not affected by COVID-19, other than loss of profits are not eligible.  HOWEVER!! If a farmer gets sick from COVID-19 or they are caring for a family member who has contracted COVID-19 or meet any of these other scenarios, they may be eligible.


Milk Dumping:  Please continue to prepare your farm for these types of scenarios. It doesn't mean you're guaranteed to have the same happen to you, but it's important to have a plan in place. A lot is out of our control but this pre-planning is something that you can do at this time--not just for the possibility of dumped milk but also planning for disruptions in your labor force (which can include you and your spouse) if someone gets sick. 
 
Farm Service Agency is recommending farms keep a record of dumped milk and to sign up for the email list serve by clicking here if you aren't already a part of that.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has asked that if farmers would like to report situations where milk is needing to be dumped, please contact the Farm Center at 1-800-942-2474 or FarmCenter@wisconsin.gov. Any reports received will be kept confidential.


Grocery Store Milk Supply:  If you see a grocery store limiting dairy products, please call the Brenda Murphy, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin at 608-836-8820.


COVID-19: Social Distancing for Farmers:  Governor Ever’s Safer-at-Home declaration includes agriculture as an essential business, meaning that as many of us shelter at home, farmers and agribusiness workers are expected to continue doing their jobs during this pandemic despite the risks. OSHA’s Guidance for Preparing Workplace for COVID-19 technically classifies this sort of work as “Lower Exposure Risk” (p. 20) and has several recommendations consistent with “social distancing” (p. 8-10). This document here explains social distancing for farmers and how to incorporate it into their farm operations with three main points. First, keeping your distance from people you interact with for work. Second, more cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. Third, creating a system for service providers coming on to your farm and when you visit business.  Click here for more information.


Animal Waste Management Ordinances:
  Brown County Land and Water Conservation has stated that with the revised Animal Waste Management Ordinance, over flowing of manure storage facilities and discharges to waters of the state are violations of the State of Wisconsin's Agriculture Performance Standards and Animal Waste Prohibitions, and could be subject to citations. Mike Mushinski, Brown County LWCD director, and I recorded these videos before the current COVID-19 pandemic. Videos outline general revisions to the ordinance but nothing specific to the current pandemic.
 
Overview of Changes
Who does this affect?
Support Services
Violations
Full video (compilation of 4 videos)


Meat Processors:  There may be disruptions to the meat processors as well either due to labor issues, decrease in consumer demand, and/or increased volumes of cull animals. If you are having difficulty with processing capacity, please take a look at the 2018-2019 Wisconsin Meat Processing Directory. You may be able to find an alternative if your normal processor is unable to accommodate you.


Private pesticide applicators: Licenses expiring Jan 31-Sept 30, 2020 are extended to Oct 31, 2020 (incl. commercial applicators). For everyone else (new or past due), please contact Liz Binversie to sign up for temporary license via online training. 


Beware of scams: The government will not ask for your banking account or other personal information to issue your stimulus check. If you receive suspicious calls, emails, or even mail about this or anything else, contact Wisconsin's Consumer Protection Hotline first: 800-422-7128 or DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov


Emergency planning: Now's a great time to create/review your plans. Be sure to have protocol in place if someone gets sick. Keep a mental (or written) note of visitors each day. If someone on your farm tests positive, this will help health officials quickly reach anyone who was in contact with them. 


Please watch out for one another: Farmers are among the most likely to die by suicide, compared with other occupations, according to a January study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study also found that suicide rates overall had increased by 40% in less than two decades.  If you or someone you know is feeling this way, please remind them: 

  • That feeling of pain, despair, and hopelessness can be overwhelming and can overpower even the strongest of people. There is no weakness is asking for help; it's actually one of the hardest things to do.
  • Please talk to someone. It doesn't have to be a professional. 
  • Remember those that love and care about them and how much they will be missed and what they will miss out on (i.e. graduations, weddings, birthdays, and every day). The person's family is not better off without them, they are better off with them here. 
  • Their community needs them too. They may not realize the importance they have in their community, but I can guarantee they do. 
  • Please do not make a permanent decision for a temporary situation. Sometimes it's easier to talk to someone you don't know, if that's the case, please call:

Brown County Crisis Center Services (24/7)COVID Banner
920-436-8888
 
Wisconsin Farm Center (7:45 am to 4:30 pm)
800-942-2474
Free counseling vouchers are available!!
 
Suicide Hotline
800-273-8255



Contact information during "Safer at Home" order:
Liz Binversie
Extension Brown County
Agriculture Educator
eybinversie@wisc.edu
920-770-2171
http://bit.ly/bcagcovid19

June 25, 2020

Release Date: July 1, 2020
Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, Public Information Officer, 608-224-5041 richard.hummell@wi.gov

MADISON – As of July 1, Wisconsin farmers facing increased stress and other challenges can access additional free and confidential counseling resources by contacting the Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

As part of a new pilot program, the Farm Center can now connect callers to a 24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline. The hotline can be reached at 1-888-901-2558. Licensed mental health professionals contracted by the department will provide immediate, in-the-moment care.

In addition to the 24/7 hotline, long-term options are available:
• Callers can schedule ongoing tele-health counseling sessions from a contracted licensed counselor based in Wisconsin, with referrals made through the 24/7 hotline or through the Wisconsin Farm Center (1-800-942-2474);
• Persons who prefer an in-person session can request to meet with a local provider through the Farm Center’s longstanding Counseling Voucher Program.
“The 24/7 Farmer Counseling Hotline is available around the clock as a welcoming ear for farmers who need to talk through a challenging time in their life,” said Farm Center Director Jayne Krull. “We hope that this initial pilot program will help us better understand whether a 24/7 hotline and tele-counseling are viable tools for our farmers with mental health needs.”

This pilot program is made possible by funding that was provided in Governor Tony Evers’ 2019-2021 biennial budget and approved by the state legislature. The 24/7 hotline and tele-counseling services are two of several initiatives developed by the Farm Center in response to increased challenges faced by the agricultural industry.

In June, the Farm Center launched ‘Rural Realities,” a podcast offering advice to farmers and farm service providers about managing stress and anxiety. To listen to the podcast, visit FarmCenter.wi.gov. Later this month, the Farm Center will begin hosting QPR trainings (Question-Persuade-Refer) for people who work closely with farmers, so they can learn how to identify the warning signs of a suicide crisis and direct the person to appropriate resources.

Since the mid-1980s, the Farm Center, part of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), has provided a variety of farmer services including financial and business consultation, farm succession planning, conflict mediation, and consultation related to production opportunities and challenges. For more information, contact FarmCenter@wisconsin.gov.

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July 1, 2020

Special thanks to Brickstead Dairy, DenMar Acres, Wiese Bros, and Zirbel Dairy Farms for participating in this year's alfalfa scissor clip program, social distance style! These four farms submitted samples and the forage quality data was shared with Brown county farmers, crop consultants, and others. Information was viewed over 400 times over the two week sampling period. This data helped farmers get a better idea of alfalfa progress in order to optimize harvest timing. Thank you!!
 
Results are available by clicking here.  The link above will either download the PDF results OR will bring up the results on your smart phone or other device.

June 11, 2020

Did you know that most of the milk produced in Wisconsin is made into cheese? Celebrate June dairy month and support one of the over 100 local Brown County dairy farmers by enjoying dairy products all month long! Look for "55-xx..." stamped on your milk to know it's from Wisconsin (just below sell by date).

June 1, 2020

One of the challenges for pricing standing hay is the lack of an established commodity market like corn or soybeans. Another challenge is multiple cuttings with different quality and yield, versus a single year-end harvest for grain crops. As a result, the price for standing hay often varies from farm to farm, even between fields. Click here for a publication and instructions on how to download the "Hay Pricing" app, developed by Waupaca County Extension Ag Agent, Greg Blonde.

Apr. 14, 2020