Tuesday Trends sample: Lambeau Field rising, banks mixed and farm costs falling

Below is an excerpt from the most recent edition of WisBusiness Tuesday Trends. The full version of this weekly look at the state of Wisconsin business is now available for free to anyone who signs up for the Tuesday Trends mailing list. The full product includes several items in each of the rising, mixed and falling categories plus a look at upcoming business events across the state.

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Lambeau Field: The long-discussed expansion of the home of the Green Bay Packers is finally within reach, with the team set to break ground on a $143 million renovation on Thursday — one week before the team opens its 2011 season at home. The expansion, unveiled by team officials last week, adds 6,600 seats behind the south end zone, builds new entrances on the north and south sides of the building and constructs a terrace on the roof of the stadium behind the north end zone. The team had previously planned to upgrade its scoreboards and sound system, and said it plans to use as many local workers and contractors as possible; the project is expected to utilize 1,600 workers at a cost of some $70 million. The Packers have said they won’t use public funding to finance the project, but the team is considering another stock sale to help cover the renovations.


Banks: The latest quarterly report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation shows stabilization in the state’s banking industry, with a second consecutive quarterly profit. The second quarter’s $51 million income for banks contrasts to a $120 million loss in the same quarter last year. State officials are also encouraged by an increase in equity capital and a decrease in nonperforming assets. But bank deposits dropped in the last quarter compared to the previous year, and one in seven state banks reported a net loss in the second quarter. The FDIC also recently levied penalties against Janesville’s Mid America Bank and the Bank of Ontario in Vernon County for violating banking regulations.


Farm costs: The federal Agriculture Department reports the cost of operating a farm in Wisconsin has, on average, declined for the second straight year. Farm production spending in the state totaled $8.6 billion in 2010 — a drop of 5 percent from 2009 and 10 percent from 2008. Farm construction spending dropped more than 30 percent over the previous year, while truck and automobile spending dropped 29 percent. State farmers also spent less on labor (13 percent), chemicals (12 percent) and on feed and farm services. On average, spending per farm in Wisconsin totaled $110,385 last year, down from $115,128 the previous year. Analysts say farmers chose to keep spending down as milk prices remained low over the last two years.