TUE AM News: Crops thrive in hot, muggy weather; Evers administration announces second round of grants to farmers negatively affected by pandemic

— Wisconsin’s five Republican congressmen sent a letter to House and Senate leaders requesting that funding for the USDA Milk Donation Reimbursement Program be included in any future coronavirus relief package.

Under the program, eligible dairy organizations partner with nonprofit organizations that distribute food to low-income individuals. Those partnerships may apply for reimbursements to cover expenses related to fluid milk product donations.

“These reimbursements not only encourage dairy producers to donate excess product to foodbanks, homeless shelters, and other organizations that provide food for those in need, but they also help dairy producers survive exogenous shocks to their industry,” said authors U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, Tom Tiffany, Bryan Steil, Glenn Grothman and Jim Sensenbrenner.

Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, said the USDA Milk Donation Reimbursement Program is going to help get more milk to consumers. 

“At a time that we’re in right now, it’s certainly difficult for all consumers and farmers to make direct connections,” he said. “The program allows more families to put dairy products in their fridges — or in their mouths.” 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/rep-gallagher-leads-effort-to-include-funding-for-critical-dairy-program-in-phase-four-relief-package/ 

Read the letter: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/200727-Milk-Donation-Program-letter.pdf 

— Northern Wisconsin dealt with hail and wind damage to crops while the southern part of the state saw little to no precipitation until the end of the week ending July 26.

But crops responded well to last week’s hot and muggy conditions, which gave farmers 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

Corn and soybeans were moving rapidly through the pollination phases and beginning to make grain. Corn silking was 62 percent, 13 days ahead of last year; dough stage was 8 percent, 12 days ahead of last year; and condition was rated 82 percent good to excellent statewide, up one percentage point from last week. 

Soybean blooming was 81 percent, three weeks ahead of last year; setting pods was 51 percent, 17 days ahead of last year; and condition was rated 84 percent good to excellent, up one percentage point from last week. 

Oats coloring was 88 percent, 17 days ahead of last year; harvested was 9 percent, three days ahead of last year; condition was rated 84 percent good to excellent, unchanged from last week. 

Small grains were being combined, cranberries were setting fruit, and potato harvest had begun. The potato harvest was 5 percent and condition was rated 89 percent good to excellent, down five percentage points from last week. 

Winter wheat harvested for grain was 34 percent, a week ahead of last year; condition was rated 79 percent good to excellent, down one percentage point from last week. 

The second cutting of hay was winding down, and the third cutting was ramping up. Second cutting of alfalfa was reported as 86 percent complete, eight days ahead of last year; third cutting of alfalfa was reported as 17 percent complete, a week ahead of last year.

All hay condition was reported 83 percent good to excellent statewide, up six percentage points from last week. 

— The Evers administration is announcing a second effort to give grants to farmers coping with losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic after the initial push resulted in $41.6 million being distributed out of the $50 million that was set aside.

When Evers announced the program in May, the administration estimated 26,500 farmers would be eligible. In all, 14,154 applied and some 12,000 received the payments of $3,500, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Agency spokeswoman Grace Atherton said the administration decided to lower the income threshold for the second round after discussions with stakeholders. The gross income limit for the first round was $35,000 with a maximum of $5 million. The cap remains for the second round of grants, while the minimum drops to $10,000. Applications will be accepted Aug. 10-24.

“I know this won’t cover all the impacts our farmers have faced, but farmers have always had our back and we have to have theirs, and I’m proud of the work that DOR and DATCP have done to support them during this challenging time,” Evers said.

A coalition of ag groups earlier this year called on Evers to provide $50 million in relief to offset the impact of COVID-19, and the original pot of money was set aside from federal CARES Act money sent to Wisconsin.

Atherton said the administration is working with the groups that helped develop the program to spread the word about the second round of grants.

Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden said that it’s “essential” to get the word now that there’s a lower income threshold because “a lot of farmers were left out in the beginning.”

Karen Gefvert, executive director of government relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, said the group sent 26,000 postcards to members ahead of the first round of grants. For the second round, the group plans to focus its efforts on social media and amplifying anything put out by the administration.

Thomas Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, said the lower income threshold for round two might catch some of the group’s members.

“Hopefully, they’ll pick up more people who either didn’t know about it or didn’t have time to apply for it,” Lochner said.

For more information on the program and to apply visit: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/TaxPro/2020/FarmSupportProgram.aspx 

— In one week, Wisconsin has added 6,336 new COVID cases to its cumulative count — or almost 13 percent of the state’s total cases. 

The month of July accounted for nearly 41 percent of the state’s total confirmed cases.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 590 new cases yesterday. But after four days of high daily case counts, the seven-day average for COVID-19 daily cases only had a slight decline — now at 914 from 930 Sunday.

The percentage of positive tests per total tests also remains above the desired 5 percent — 8.5 percent from 9.6 percent Sunday, according to DHS figures. 

The new cases bring the cumulative case count to 49,417 and active cases to 9,873 or 20 percent of the state’s total confirmed cases. Active cases are defined as those still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis.

The number of recovered patients number 38,633 or 78.2 percent, while 1.8 percent of patients have died. 

The state received 6,946 total tests yesterday; Wisconsin has a capacity for 24,156 tests per day.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=5e2a562bc9&e=63cd46885a  

— Both DHS and the Wisconsin Hospital Association warn that COVID-19 hospitalization data may look different than expected this week.

This is due to changes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made to the way hospitals report data to national entities, effective July 22. Hospitals were reporting data to both HHS and the CDC, and now health care organizations are submitting COVID-19 information to only HHS.

DHS numbers, meanwhile, suggest after a peak of 367 total COVID-19 patients on July 20, patient count is on its way back down, now at 283. 

— DHS reported one more COVID-19 death yesterday in Dane County, bringing the total to 893.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (427), Racine (72), Brown (50), Kenosha (50), Waukesha (43), Dane (34), Rock (25), Walworth (21), Washington (19), Ozaukee (16), Winnebago (16), Grant (14), Waupaca (14), Outagamie (12), Clark (7), Fond du Lac (6), Dodge (5), Sheboygan (5), Forest (4), Jefferson (4), Marathon (4) and Richland (4).

Barron, Door, Eau Claire, Marinette and Sauk counties report three deaths each. Adams, Buffalo, Calumet, Polk and St. Croix counties report two deaths each.

Bayfield, Burnett, Columbia, Green, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, LaCrosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marquette, Monroe, Rusk, Trempealeau and Wood counties report one death each.

— The Evers administration has yet to hear a response from President Trump on extending federal funding of National Guard coronavirus response efforts from Aug. 7 to the end of the calendar year.

This is after Evers told reporters in a DHS briefing that he expected to hear back from the president last week. In the meantime, Evers said the administration is weighing its options for financial resources to keep the Guard working in the state’s response to COVID-19.

If the federal declaration ends, CARES Act funds could be used for costs associated with the Guard activation. 

As of July 27, the state collected 873,322 total tests with the National Guard collecting 288,044 of those.

The Guard has been establishing mobile testing sites since early April at locations ranging from correctional facilities to health clinics and private businesses to community-based testing sites.

Nearly 1,100 citizen soldiers and airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are currently serving in direct support of the state’s response to COVID-19. 

See a map of community-based testing sites here: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=18141cd551&e=63cd46885a 


# Medical College of Wisconsin’s 700 furloughed employees returning to work 


# Wisconsin to be added to city of Chicago’s quarantine list 


# As Other States Mandate Masks, Wisconsin’s Path Remains Unclear 




– Wisconsin wheat crop good, but dockages common https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/wisconsin-wheat-crop-good-but-dockages-common/ 


– Northwestern Mutual pauses bringing workers back to office http://click.bizjournals.com/ldWFL000xCYfbY2P2080x0U 


– DNR monitoring contaminated water spill in Marinette



– Questions linger as opening day for PPP forgiveness platform nears https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/questions-linger-as-opening-day-ppp-forgiveness.html 

– State Still Working To Clear Unemployment Backlog https://www.wpr.org/state-still-working-clear-unemployment-backlog 


– WI nursing homes worried about PPE shortages as coronavirus cases climb https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2020/07/27/wisconsin-nursing-homes-worry-ppe-shortage-coronavirus-climbs/5474751002/ 

– Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina plans to step down https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/stefano-pessina-is-stepping-down-as-walgreens-ceo.html 

– Wisconsin among 27 states on Washington, D.C., quarantine list https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/dcs-self-quarantine-order-includes-wisconsin.html 

– Despite More Awareness Of Opioid Addiction, Prescription Rates Still High https://www.wpr.org/despite-more-awareness-opioid-addiction-prescription-rates-still-high 

– Wisconsin Nursing Homes Receive Faulty PPE From FEMA, Face Shortages https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-nursing-homes-receive-faulty-ppe-fema-face-shortages 


– Milwaukee County DA: Federal Agents Will Be Investigators Not Agitators https://www.wpr.org/milwaukee-county-da-federal-agents-will-be-investigators-not-agitators 


– 4 things to watch in Harley-Davidson’s second-quarter report http://click.bizjournals.com/LpD2YW00BbPHiUnTy0x0P08 


– GOP’s legislative committees outraise Democratic rivals


– UW students push voting during pandemic with masks, TikToks



– Manufacturing and corporate office development planned in Richfield business park https://biztimes.com/manufacturing-and-corporate-office-development-planned-in-richfield-business-park/ 


– Organizers of DNC plan for daily Covid-19 tests for all attendees http://click.bizjournals.com/hxyCsDW0bU000pPl8i20YFT 

– Madison police union: No-confidence vote the result of ‘many months’ of frustration


– Green Bay Officials Receive Threats Over Mask Ordinance https://www.wpr.org/green-bay-officials-receive-threats-over-mask-ordinance 


– Marcus Theatres waits to reopen more theaters as major releases are postponed https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/as-blockbuster-movies-continue-to-postpone-dates.html 

– Target joins Walmart to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving this year https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/target-will-keep-stores-closed-on-thanksgiving.html 


– Republicans unveil stimulus plan. Here’s what’s in it for small businesses. https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/republicans-stimulus-ppp-sba-for-small-businesses.html 


– UW sports facing revenue losses of more than $100M due to Covid-19 https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/27/badger-athletics-facing-100-m-revenue-loss.html 


– Milwaukee leaders recall Bo Black’s impact on the city http://click.bizjournals.com/ZW82f0CNP0b00F0Yz20xYUd 

– VISIT Milwaukee, MMAC distribute 50,000 free masks https://biztimes.com/visit-milwaukee-mmac-distribute-50000-free-masks/ 

– Wausau Tourism Head Took Payments From Expedia Meant For City https://www.wpr.org/wausau-tourism-head-took-payments-expedia-meant-city 


– The Fair Must Go On http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=798&yr=2020 


<i>See these and other press releases: 

http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82 </i>

– Arch Electric: Awarded as a top solar contractor in Wisconsin https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/arch-electric-awarded-as-a-top-solar-contractor-in-wisconsin/ 

– Wisconsin National Guard: 27 July update: Continues statewide COVID-19 testing this week https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/wisconsin-national-guard-27-july-update-continues-statewide-covid-19-testing-this-week/