Longtime agricultural teacher Mark Zimmerman dies at 56



Longtime agricultural teacher Mark Zimmerman dies at 56

Mark Zimmerman, who taught agriculture and served as an FFA counselor in the Spencer School District for the past 33 years, died peacefully at home on June 29 after a 4½-year battle with cancer.

It has been honored as a Crystal Apple Teacher Award winner, Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship award winner, and recognized by Wisconsin and the National Association of Agricultural Educators as an Outstanding Agricultural Education Program. Most recently, he received the Outstanding Agriculture Instructor Award from UW-River Falls and was inducted into the Wisconsin FFA Hall of Fame at the 2022 Wisconsin FFA convention.

He was also extremely involved with Marathon County 4-H and the Wisconsin Valley Fair. Mark was hog superintendent for over 30 years for the Wisconsin Valley Fair

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl (with whom he served on the FFA State Officers Team from 1985-1986), and his children Aaron and Ashley Crowson and their wives, Katelyn and Cortney.


4 WI Skilled Trades Teachers Are Finalists For The Teaching Award

Fifty skilled trades teachers from public high schools were named finalists today for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools for Teaching Excellence award. A total of $1.25 million in cash prizes will be awarded in October, when the field is narrowed to 20 winners.

Four skilled trades teachers from Wisconsin public high schools have been named finalists for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools for Teaching Excellence award.

This year, a record 768 nominations were received from 50 states. The 20 winners will be announced in October.

The Wisconsin finalists are: Austin Thorson, automotive technology, Elkhorn Area HS; Anthony Christian, a fabrication and metal fabrication, Arrowhead Union HS; Miles Tokheim, automotive tech, James Madison Memorial HS; Dan Van Boxtel, Automotive Technology, Kaukauna HS


Wisconsin: All milk prices hit record…again

It was a bit of deja vu as the price of all Wisconsin milk for May 2022 hit another all-time high at $27.4/cwt, according to the latest USDA report, National Agricultural Statistics. Service-Agricultural Prices.

That was 30 cents above last month’s price and $7.60 above last May’s price. The price for all milk in the United States in May was $27.30 a hundredweight, 10 cents lower than the Wisconsin price but 20 cents higher than the US price last month.

According to the report, the national price for all milk was $27.30 per hundredweight, or $0.20 more than the monthly price in the United States.


U.S. hog inventory down 1%

As of June 1, there were 72.5 million hogs and pigs on US farms, down 1% from June 2021 and down slightly from March 1, 2022, according to the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Other key findings of the report were: of the 72.5 million hogs and pigs, 66.4 million were market pigs, while 6.17 million were for breeding; between March and May 2022, 32.9 million pigs were weaned on US farms, down 1% from the same period a year earlier; from March to May 2022, US hog and hog producers weaned an average of 11 pigs per litter; U.S. hog producers plan to farrow 3.02 million sows between June and August 2022, and farrow 3.01 million sows between September and November 2022.

Iowa pork producers accounted for the largest inventory among the states, at 23 million head. Minnesota had the second largest inventory at 8.40 million head. North Carolina was third with 8.20 million head.


Supreme Court ruling upends groundwater rights

A Nevada Supreme Court ruling has set new precedent for how the state can manage groundwater in areas of severe drought. The 4-3 ruling was handed down Thursday to settle a dispute over water in a rural farming area in Eureka County, the Associated Press reported.

The court said groundwater management plans drawn up in some areas that are rapidly losing water may deviate from longstanding water rights doctrine. Groundwater is governed by what is called a “priority doctrine”. It traditionally grants senior landowners priority groundwater rights over junior landowners.

The court ruled as the West endures a 20-plus-year mega-drought. Scientists say climate change will continue to make water supplies less reliable.


America’s largest pork packer closes plant

Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest pork processor in the United States, leaves California due to high operating costs and bureaucracy.

“Smithfield Foods, Ins, announced that we will cease all harvesting and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at that time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its western regions,” the company said in a June 10 statement.

Smithfield also plans to reduce its sow herd in Utah and exit its farms in Arizona and California.


High Court EPA ruling upends Biden’s environmental agenda

The Supreme Court’s June 30 ruling limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions could have far-reaching consequences, legal experts say, that could put the brakes on President Biden’s ambitious plans to tackle climate change as well as air and water pollution, reported the Washington Post.

The 6 to 3 decision in West Virginia v. ability to tackle pressing environmental issues.

The outcome of these cases could determine whether the fight for US environmental policy shifts decisively to states, where some will weaken protections while others will continue to enforce strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions and to other forms of pollution.


Farmworker OW bill introduced in Senate

The Fairness for Farmworkers Act of 2022 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Cali.). If passed and signed into law, the legislation would extend overtime pay to all U.S. agricultural workers excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which established federal minimum wage and overtime rules.

“The discriminatory exclusion of agricultural workers from overtime pay has gone on for too long. Farmworkers help put food on our tables and deserve equal rights in the workplace,” said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres.

Currently, California is the only state that offers overtime pay to all agricultural workers after 40 hours per week


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