Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has caused quite a stir in farm country with his proposal to allow $4 billion in debt relief to minority farmers. Non-minority farmers feel the secretary’s plan is discriminatory and have gotten a temporary injunction against Vilsack’s plan from a U.S. District judge in Eastern Wisconsin. Judge William Griesbach said he will make a permanent decision soon on the plan that would put on hold loan repayments to the Farm Service Agency from about 16,000 minority farmers. At least 7 federal lawsuits have been filed around the country against the USDA plan. Vilsack has called out the white farmers who have mostly filed those lawsuits by saying “it’s pretty clear why they’re not included in this program — because they’ve had access to all USDA programs for the last 100 years and it’s time to acknowledge the cumulative effect discrimination has had on Black, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native farmers and Asian American farmers when it comes to farm program payments.”
Milk cows across the state and nation just keep doing their jobs. The latest numbers from the USDA show May milk production across the country reached almost 19 billion pounds—up nearly 5 percent from a year ago. In Wisconsin, May milk output totaled 2.73 billion pounds—up 6 percent from a year ago. Production per cow was the main driver of the increase. Nationally, in the 24 top milk producing states, production per cow reached 2,107 pounds per animal—up 63 pounds from last May. In Wisconsin, production per cow reached 2,145 pounds — up 85 pounds from a year ago. California, with 3.74 billion pounds of milk in May, continues to lead the nation in milk output with Wisconsin second, Idaho third, Texas fourth and New York in fifth place.
Law enforcement officials in California’s Central Valley have caught the Pistachio thief. Ag Day is reporting a man was arrested for the theft after a major Pistachio company did an audit and found out they were short 42,000 pounds of nuts. It turns out that a member of the trucking company contracted to haul the nuts filled an extra semi with Pistachios, loaded then into 2,000-pound sacks and was getting ready to sell them to a wholesaler. Law enforcement officials in that part of California, where lots of nuts are grown, had to create a new agricultural crimes unit because thefts have increased so much in the past 20 years.