MON AM News: Irrigated farming moderating local environments, study shows; Farming and health care groups applauding funding boosts in state budget

— A recent joint study from the DNR and UW-Madison highlights the moderating effect that irrigated farms can have on local environments. 

According to the study focused on the state’s Central Sands region, maximum temperatures at irrigated farms were up to 3 degrees Fahrenheit lower on average over the year, compared to forests or unirrigated farms. At the same time, minimum temperatures at these farms increased up to 4 degrees on average. 

Researchers were led by Mallika Nocco, who recently completed her doctorate Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. She worked with Robert Smail from the DNR and Christopher Kucharik, also from the Nelson Institute. Their work was recently published in the journal Global Change Biology. 

“We’re finding that weather forecasts can be wrong if they don’t take these land uses into account,” Nocco said. “That will affect both farmers and plants.”  

To conduct their research, Nocco’s team installed 28 temperature and humidity sensors in a 37-mile line across the Central Sands region. They collected readings for 32 months, between early 2014 and summer 2016. They then compared those readings with irrigation data from a regional well database managed by the DNR. 

Their findings show that “saturated soils” at irrigated farms can hold more heat than dry soils, as they release heat at night, keeping minimum temperatures slightly higher than normal. And wet soils are often darker, so they can absorb more heat from sunlight. 

These factors combine with the cooling effects of irrigation and farming in general, which comes from water evaporating off the crops. 

Temperature differences were more significant while irrigation was taking place during the growing season. But the effects were felt throughout the year. 

See more: 

— Farm associations and health care provider groups are applauding Gov. Tony Evers for approving funding increases in the two-year state budget he signed last week. 

Evers approved the two-year budget Wednesday after using his partial veto authority to make changes to Republican proposals on transportation funding and vehicle fees, as well as a number of other areas. 

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte highlights increased funding for the DATCP producer-led watershed grant program. He said the program is essential for keeping farmers involved in local conversations about water usage. 

“Transportation issues continue to be a large concern for our rural residents,” Holte said in a release. “We are happy to see extra funding for our town roads and appreciate that the Governor and State Legislature understood the importance of sound infrastructure for our rural businesses.” 

Dairy Business Association President Tom Crave notes the two-year budget includes $8.8 million for the Dairy Innovation Hub, a UW System agricultural research effort. 

The Wisconsin Health Care Association and Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living say the budget includes “critical investments” in long-term care in the state, including new funds for skilled nursing Medicaid reimbursement increases. 

John Sauer is president and CEO of nonprofit association LeadingAge Wisconsin, which represents more than 200 nursing facilities and other long-term care providers. He says these members “extend their appreciation and gratitude for the increases contained in the budget.” 

“These dollars will help improve the lives of many,” Sauer said. 

See more reactions at 

— The guv said he seriously considered vetoing the entire budget GOP lawmakers sent him late last week, adding it fell short of his original plan and knocking Republicans for failing to embrace his call to expand Medicaid.

But he also said he promised voters last fall he would put politics aside as guv. And he vowed to continue pushing for the state to accept federal money under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid in the state. 

The proposal was the centerpiece of Evers’ budget, but Republicans rejected the plan and dismissed it as a push to expand welfare.

Evers vowed to continue the push by whatever means available, including going to the voters next fall and targeting Republicans he said were in “Medicaid expansion denial.”

“We’re going to get them to a better place or find better legislators to get us there,” Evers said.

Evers used his line-item veto authority 78 times, matching the average number of partial vetoes Wisconsin governors have used on budget bills over the last decade. Over the past 30 years, governors have issued an average of 137 partial vetoes, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau

Some of the vetoes: 

*wiped out a provision to spend $2.5 million to study implementing a mileage-based fee for funding roads along with another look at tolling. Evers wrote in his veto message that he objected to a study that he claimed would show his plan to boost the gas tax by 8 cents per gallon was “the most cost-effective way to collect revenue.” The Joint Finance Committee pulled that measure from the budget and Evers Wednesday called on the Legislature to “stop stalling and act to secure a long-term transportation funding solution.”

*wiped out $15 million in general purpose revenue that Republicans had earmarked for local road projects. The GOP budget provision had called for $90 million, but Evers reduced that to $75 million.

*eliminated a requirement for DOT to build a new interchange in Brown County as part of the expansion of I-41 to three lanes from two over a 23-mile stretch. He wrote the determination of whether that interchange should be built should be left to the agency, not lawmakers.

See more on Evers’ vetoes: 

— Four of the six largest investment deals made in Wisconsin last year went to medical technology companies, according to the latest investment report from the Wisconsin Technology Council. 

The Wisconsin Portfolio shows the state’s early stage companies raised more than $280 million last year. The number of total deals was down from 127 in 2017, to 121 in 2018, but the average deal size grew significantly, the report shows. 

The top deals of last year were SHINE Medical Technologies, with a $24.8 million round; Propellor Health, with $20 million; Engineered Propulsion Systems, $16.8 million; Titan Spine, $16.7 million; Midwestern BioAg, $15 million; and Healthmyne, $15 million. 

The report found the life sciences and information technology sectors covered about 70 percent of all deals. And it shows investors from out of state played “a much more significant role” in funding Wisconsin companies last year. Investors from New York, California, Boston and Chicago participated in about 49 percent of deals for which the investors were known. 

In a statement, Tech Council President Tom Still highlights the continued growth in both deal sizes and the state’s investor network, with new funds and more capital becoming newly available.  

See the report: 

See a story from a recent Tech Council luncheon, where Still previewed the report: 

— The state’s construction unemployment rate hit a record-low 1.3 percent in May, the Associated Builders and Contractors group  says. 

That’s down 0.9 percent from May 2018 and 2 percent from April 2019, according to the release. 

ABC used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for its analysis, which found the May rate hit an all-time record low for any month on record. The previous record was 1.7 percent in May 2017. 

See the release: 

— Of the $1 million in state tax credits that Sub-Zero Group can earn through its recently announced deal with WEDC, $750,000 is linked to job creation. 

That’s according to a contract provided to under the state’s open records law. It shows the tax credits for job creation are calculated based on 10 percent of wages the company pays to eligible employees. 

The company is planning a $70 million research and development facility in Fitchburg with tax credit support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. 

The contract shows the other $250,000 can be earned through capital expenditures, calculated at 3 percent of the company’s expenditures in personal property and up to 5 percent of expenditures in real property. 

Aside from creating the new jobs, Sub-Zero must also retain 1,759 existing jobs. 

If the company defaults on the terms of the contract, WEDC can give the company up to 120 days at most to begin the process of fixing the issue, the contract shows. 

See the contract: 

See the release: 


# $5 million funding for Cleveland-to-Chicago hyperloop passes U.S. House

# Big farms find easy ways around Trump trade aid limits

# Business owners tout proposed trade deal with Mexico, Canada

# While honey production continues to decline, wild honey bees appear to be thriving



– Farm Bureau names YFA, Excellence in Ag Award finalists


– First Citizens Bank to open Wauwatosa branch

– Cornerstone Community Bank opens Slinger office


– Humane Society of Sheboygan County pushes to raise final $2 million for new shelter


– Metro Milwaukee economic trends inch higher in May

– Wisconsin exports decline further in start of Q2

– Holiday travel gets a boost from Wisconsin economy

– Northeast Wisconsin business owners tout proposed trade deal with Mexico, Canada


– State FFA students selected for new century farmer program

– High-quality child care centers across state to get bonus


– Blue-green algae blooms frequent on Madison’s lakes this summer


– Top meat products to be auctioned off at State Fair

– Let’s Eat: Frannie’s Franks in Lodi makes hot dogs for hot weather


– Wisconsin startups raised record $280M in 2018 while deals to women-led companies shrunk


– Arvato Digital Services to lay off 95 in Pleasant Prairie


– Q&A: ‘Wisconsin Foodie’ host Luke Zahm puts small towns on the small screen


– Developer to add more units, balcony to timber apartment tower plans

– Hammes Partners pays record price to Irgens for medical office building in Phoenix area


– Updated: Madison yoga studio’s abrupt closure leaves students and instructors confused


– Farmer Appreciation Day at Miller Park is August 11


– Ten-story Ferris wheel debuts in Green Bay


– Flying Delta from MKE to LaGuardia? Here’s what you’ll find there this fall

– Great Lakes ports seek to improve tracking of greenhouse gas emissions


– Cash for comfort: Utilities looking to smart thermostats to shave costs and balance loads

– Solar flare-up: Utility blocks Iowa firm from harnessing the sun in Milwaukee


– Former Crystal Ridge Ski Hill becomes so much more


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Health advocates: We must build on Wisconsin’s successful smoke free air law

Infinity Supercritical LLC: Introduces the SDR2000 for large volume hemp processing 

UW-Madison: Irrigated farming in Wisconsin’s Central sands cools the region’s climate