FRI AM News: “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Boosted Chews; Survey finds 83% of dairy farmers plan on continuing operation over next 5 years

— This week’s “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Kit Chow and Aditya Parihar, co-founders of Boosted Chews, a caffeinated chocolate startup.

Chow and Parihar, soon-to-be seniors at UW-Madison, are on the board of Transcend UW, a club that runs a “shark tank” for students. They developed the company in November 2019 after trial-and-error aplenty.

“We started with doing a caffeinated juice and realized that the juice that we wanted to make, nobody else wanted to buy,” Chow said. The duo worked with the Department of Food Science and gAlpha out of gener8tor before developing the chocolate chews.

After developing a product that fit their standards — and the market’s — they started selling the Boosted Chews in March, a week before the state’s Safer at Home order took effect. While this put a damper on their plans for in-person sales, Chow and Parihar adjusted to meet an online customer base, including a subscription option.

“We realized there were a bunch of people that would just buy repeatedly every month… We said well, if you’re just going to keep getting it, we can offer you a discount and you can just subscribe to it,” Parihar said.

Chow noted that e-commerce is meeting customers’ needs. The team has seen popularity among people working from home and from employers gifting the caffeinated treats to their employees.

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Eighty-three percent of 2,871 dairy producers said they believe their operation will still be farming in five years compared to 68 percent of 930 dairy farmers in 2010 who said they would continue dairying or expand the operation.

This is according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s 2020 dairy producer survey.

“Since the last dairy producer survey was conducted 10 years ago, Wisconsin’s dairy industry has changed,” said Krista Knigge, administrator of DATCP’s Division of Agriculture Development. “Even during COVID-19, this is an opportunity to assess the state of the industry and current demographics, and learn more about how DATCP and other partners can serve as a resource to dairy producers.”

Many highlights of the survey released yesterday were not addressed 10 years ago, such as labor shortages, environmental practices, employee housing and family income.

Another new issue is farmer mental health, although health insurance was addressed in the 2010 survey. Almost 10 percent of respondents felt the need to access mental health services in the past year due to farming challenges. 

DATCP noted that nearly half of today’s respondents said at least some portion of their family income comes from off-farm employment and that the farm’s “primary decision maker” was in the 50-64 age range.

The survey was developed in partnership with the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and distributed in mid-March, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. DATCP noted that while some producers referenced COVID-19 in their responses, the pandemic did not seem to have a significant influence on the overall results of the survey.

Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at CALS, said the 2020 survey results provide “new insight that will help the university direct research and outreach to more specifically address the practices and challenges of Wisconsin dairy producers.”

Of the nearly 7,100 licensed dairy herd owners in the state, 2,871 surveys were returned, a response rate of 41 percent. Survey questions covered a wide range of topics, including markets, labor needs, off-farm employment, conservation practices, diversification, succession and retirement planning. 

See the 2020 and 2010 surveys: 


Join and on Thursday, Aug. 27 at noon for a lunch hour virtual event: ‘Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball: Economic recovery amid a pandemic.’

Three experts will explore the pandemic-shortened baseball season and how it has affected the economic impact of Miller Park, which will be 20 years old next year. Panelists include: Rick Schlesinger, president of Business Operations, Milwaukee Brewers; Tim Sheehy, president, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce; and Kelly Jo Golson, chief marketing officer, Advocate Aurora Health.

The moderated discussion will be followed by a Q&A segment with the audience. You must register in advance to view this event and those registered will receive a link on the morning of the event to view it live.

The Milwaukee Event Series is sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin, Spectrum and Build and Bridge.

See a study on the economic impact of Miller Park from earlier this year at

Register here.


— Wisconsin added 30,500 total non-farm jobs in the month of July, bringing the unemployment rate down to 7 percent from June’s 8.6 percent, the Department of Workforce Development released today.

The state’s unemployment rate peaked in April at 13.6 percent as a result of an economic shutdown due to COVID-19. Now, Wisconsin is at levels last seen in the later half of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

“We welcome the good news that Wisconsin continues to add jobs month over month, and our state unemployment rate declined to 7 percent,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. “But Wisconsin is currently down over 216,000 private-sector jobs over the year, with the vast majority of those declines occurring in the service providing sector.”

The Badger State continues to have a lower unemployment rate than the national average by over three percentage points, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate is 10.2 percent.

Wisconsin added 25,500 private-sector jobs in the month of July and marks a labor force participation rate of 64.9 percent for July, 3.5 percent higher than the national rate of 61.4 percent.

“The way people work is changing across numerous industry sectors,” Frostman said. “DWD stands ready to help individuals transition into new employment or training programs that lead to family supporting careers.”

— July brought on 20,489 more Wisconsin Medicaid enrollments since June — a 50 percent decrease from March into April, but about 20 times higher than the increase from February into March.

July 2020 has over 119,000 more people on the program over July of last year. Records as far back as July 2008 do not show Medicaid enrollments exceeding 1.3 million, let alone the current total of 1,301,043.

The current total enrollment figures comprise essentially the number of people the Department of Health Services had on the program back in March — plus additional applicants coming onto the program.

“In a typical year, there would be people leaving our programs and people joining our programs,” explained DHS spokesperson Jennifer Miller. “During much of 2020, because of the suspension in terminations, we have only been adding new members.”

The suspension in terminations will continue until at least Dec. 1 — the earliest date that DHS would resume its normal policy and start ending benefits when people no longer meet the program rules. That date may be extended again if the national public health emergency is extended further.

The only decreases are for people who ask to end their benefits or move out of state.

Miller told that despite the appearance of the figures, Wisconsin’s Medicaid new enrollment numbers are not actually fluctuating much beyond what is normally seen from week to week before 2020.

DHS currently receives up to 6,000 new applications per week for health care benefits, she said.

“These figures only represent applications and do not reflect the number of people who are eligible for the program on a weekly basis,” Miller said. “These figures are not substantially different than what DHS saw at this time last year.”

— DHS took on 31 more facility-wide investigations this week. It’s now conducting 1,200 statewide.

Non-health care workplaces account for 479 of the current investigations, followed by 320 in “other” settings. 

Two hundred and ninety-two investigations are in long-term care facilities, which are reporting 403 deaths due to COVID-19 and 38 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. That’s 12 more deaths since last week. These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes.

There are 99 active nursing home investigations.

Over 88 percent of confirmed COVID-19 patients who have died in the state were age 60 or older.

Fifty-nine of the investigations are in group housing facilities including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes, which have seen 47 COVID-19 deaths, or 4 percent of the state’s total.

Three hundred and twenty-one deaths are categorized as “unknown,” meaning they may or may not have occurred at these facilities. According to DHS, the unknown category exists because relevant information has only been collected since April 8.

The state is also conducting 50 investigations in health care facilities. A majority of the investigations are taking place in Milwaukee (201), Waukesha (174), Brown (97), Dane (96) and Kenosha (91) counties.

There have been a total of 2,138 investigations, with 938 investigations closed. An investigation is considered closed and removed from the DHS listing 28 days after the last positive case was confirmed.

Click here to see the nursing homes with active public health investigations and a breakdown of investigations by county.

— Wisconsin reported 740 new COVID-19 cases and seven new deaths.

The seven-day average of daily confirmed cases dropped to 718 from 747 and the seven-day average for percent positive tests rose to 7.8 from 7.7 after the state received 9,871 tests.

The new cases bring the cumulative case count to 68,233, with 59,076 recovered. Meanwhile, 1.6 percent of patients have died with the death toll now at 1,067.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (474), Racine (85), Waukesha (70), Kenosha (60), Brown (57), Dane (39), Rock (26), Walworth (25), Washington (25), Winnebago (19), Ozaukee (18), Grant (16), Outagamie (16), Waupaca (16), Marathon (13), Clark (8), Fond du Lac (8), Sheboygan (8), Jefferson (6), St. Croix (6), Dodge (5), Marinette (5), Eau Claire (4), Forest (4), Pierce (4) and Richland (4).

Barron, Door and Sauk counties report three deaths each. Adams, Buffalo, Calumet, Columbia, Kewaunee, Langlade, Monroe, Oconto, Polk, Taylor, Trempealeau and Wood counties report two deaths each.

Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Green, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marquette, Rusk and Waushara counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

Click here for a list of community testing sites: 


# Students, families try to make decisions about coming back to college despite endless questions

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# Lost Packages And Late Ballots: Wisconsin’s Postal Woes Predate Trump Administration Shakeup



– More cases of crop diseases reported in Wisconsin 

– Weekend ‘State Fair Necessities’ Events Called a Success 

– Warrens Cranberry Festival Earns Prestigious Recognition 

– State Milk Production Rises for First Time in 9 Months 

– Farmer’ Union; Farmers Thank DATCP — and Support Hazard Pay for Workers 


– Johnson Bank to close six branches


– Wisconsin’s job recovery slowed in July as state approaches recovery of half of lost employment 


– As Neighboring Universities Go Virtual, UW-Madison Tries To Reassure Campus Community 


– UW System And Federal Government Competing For COVID-19 Test Supplies 


– Hartland manufacturer expands services with acquisition of Illinois firm 


Tammy Baldwin Focuses On Health Care, But Not COVID-19, During Convention Speech

– Elections Commission Votes To Keep Kanye West From Wisconsin’s Presidential Ballot 


– ND Packaging’s new Mount Pleasant box plant starts filling jobs 


– Milwaukee-area health officials credit mask mandates with improving Covid-19 metrics 


– One restaurant issued first citations under Milwaukee mask mandate, totaling $1,500 in fines 


– PGA’s Stadler leads courses, golfers through Covid era 


– Trucks were ready for unloading in Milwaukee when Biden, DNC changed plans 

– Milwaukee hotel occupancy rate levels off as entire industry faces harsh realities 

– DNC Wraps In Milwaukee With Outdoor Viewing Party 


– Mitchell airport’s restaurant operator may lay off more than 100 workers 

– Airports brace for deep cost cuts as America’s travel pullback shows no sign of abating 


– Two Takes On Trump’s Plan To Open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge For Drilling 

– State Regulators Extend Utility Shutoff Moratorium Another Month 


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

– Scale Up Milwaukee: SPARC business accelerator program open to business owners throughout region 

– WHEDA: Expands financing options for homebuyers 

– Fox Cities Chamber: Hosts virtual regional recruitment events for businesses