THU AM News: Expert details steps dairy producers can take to manage carbon; Exact Sciences releases data on second-generation Cologuard test

— An agricultural systems expert says dairy producers can take action now to manage carbon emissions and prepare for the nascent carbon credit supply chain. 

“What’s going to matter is measurement,” said Jordan Kraft Lambert, vice president of business development for the dairy industry analytics firm VAS. “Measuring is a really good idea even if you don’t change anything right now. Measure as many things as possible — the health of your animals, soil carbon, whatever you can get your hands on.” 

She spoke yesterday during the Dairy Business Association’s annual Dairy Strong conference, held at the Monona Terrace in Madison. By starting with measuring factors that are relevant to a farm’s carbon footprint, she said dairy producers can establish baselines for future efforts. 

“When we measure things, we can manage things,” she said. “We can explore on-farm change scenarios as we learn more about how certain interventions can in fact impact the emissions and reductions that we can create. We can then make good decisions about which things we actually want to incorporate on our farms.” 

While discussions of carbon credit transfers and supply chains are still in their infancy, she argued that the U.S. dairy industry is “ahead of a lot of the other ag industries” in committing to net-zero carbon emission initiatives. 

In the meantime, she noted dairy producers can make changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cows digestive cycles, reduce emissions from manure and improve soil health and cropland to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. 

Looking ahead, she explained the industry is seeing the emergence of “a brand-new, very exciting field” called carbon counting. 

“As a result of all of these marketplaces showing up, we’re also seeing a supply chain — just like we have a supply chain for turning milk into yogurt and cheese, we’re seeing supply chains show up to connect the creators of carbon credits to the people that are going to buy them,” she said. 

Connections are being formed between farms, project developers and registries, brokers and corporate purchasers to facilitate the verification and exchange of these credits. But she highlighted a number of issues she says should be addressed for these supply chains to thrive. 

She noted the industry lacks consistent protocols for verifying carbon reductions and a shared understanding for how to measure and evaluate them. She argued trading infrastructure will be needed for high-volume purchases of carbon credits, also noting this would give banks the ability to create finance products such as options on credits. 

“Those are markers of a mature market system, and we don’t have any of those right now,” she said. 

In addition to these changes, she also pointed to the need for market safeguard mechanisms to help prevent money laundering. 

— Exact Sciences has released new data indicating a second-generation version of its Cologuard colorectal cancer test is more accurate. 

The newer version of the test was shown to have overall sensitivity of 95.2 percent for colorectal cancer with specificity of 92.4 percent for negative samples confirmed by a colonoscopy. Sensitivity measures the test’s ability to identify individuals with the disease as positive, while specificity is related to how accurately the test can identify those without the disease as negative. 

Prior study results had found the test had 92 percent sensitivity for detecting colorectal cancer in stages one through four, and 94 percent sensitivity in earlier-stage cancer. And the test was shown to have 90 percent specificity in patients with a “totally negative” colonoscopy result. 

Dr. Paul Limburg, chief medical officer for screening at the Madison-based company, says Exact Sciences and scientists with the Mayo Clinic collaborated to discover new markers that “demonstrate improved performance” over those from the first-generation test. 

“In particular, the observed increased specificity suggests that false positive screening results can be reduced, which has important implications for clinical practice and decision-making,” Limburg said in a release. 

If the second-generation version of the test is approved, the company says it could help increase screening rates while resulting in fewer unnecessary follow-up colonoscopies, as well as identifying more pre-cancerous growths before they progress.

The new data will be presented this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. 

See the release: 

— The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin has reached 18,473, but related hospitalizations have been decreasing over the past week. 

The Department of Health Services site recently added 38,042 cases to its system in a single day after an update to the state’s disease surveillance system resulted in back-logged cases being incorporated into the latest live results. The agency says it will be able to provide “the most accurate and up-to-date data” going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Hospital Association dashboard shows 2,222 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the state, including 465 intensive care patients. Both of those numbers have fallen by about 20 patients in the past seven days after several weeks of rising hospitalizations, though ICU admissions had not seen as steep of an increase. 

Just two regions of Wisconsin experienced a growing trajectory of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations between Jan. 5-18. The north central region saw hospitalizations growing by 12 percent during that period, and the Fox Valley region saw growth of 17 percent. The other five regions saw no significant change over the same timeframe. 

See the latest case numbers: 

See the WHA site here: 

— The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce is slamming the recently approved city-wide mask mandate, arguing it places an undue enforcement burden on businesses and their workers. 

The mandate was approved Tuesday by the Milwaukee Common Council and is set to expire March 1. Anyone aged 3 and older will be required to wear masks in buildings open to the public with some exceptions. 

But Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson says staff don’t have the capacity to enforce the mandate. In a statement, the MMAC says the mandate requires employees to act as “mask police” and will have “no real effect” on stopping the spread of the virus. 

Ald. Bob Bauman, one of 12 council members who voted in favor of the mandate, calls it a “non-mandate mandate,” as it doesn’t include any fines for businesses that violate it. 

Still, the MMAC notes the mandate “carries the threat of an arbitrary and drastic enforcement provision,” that a business in violation may not get its operating license renewed. 

“There are no clear guidelines on what actions would threaten a revocation of a business’s license to operate,” the group said. 

See the MMAC’s statement here: 

— All 13 of Phillips-Medisize’s Wisconsin locations are now part of the Department of Natural Resources’ Green Tier program, the agency recently announced. 

The latest sites to be added are the company’s Oaklawn and St. Croix Meadows facilities. While the Oaklawn facility in Menomonie creates components for the pharmaceutical industry, the St. Croix meadows facility in Hudson makes products for life sciences and health care. 

The program provides businesses and other groups with recognition for efforts to improve environmental performance through an environmental management system. Both of the sites already have such a  system in place, the DNR release shows. 

In joining the program, the Menomonie location has set a goal of reducing hazardous waste and electrical consumption by 5 percent and cutting landfill waste by 10 percent. And the Hudson facility aims to reduce overall waste by 4 percent while reducing their environmental impact.

“As each facility strives to reduce their environmental footprint, they prove they are leaders in their communities and Wisconsin by managing operations to protect our shared natural resources into the future,” Dave Siebert, an administrator with the DNR, said in the release. 

See more: 

— The AT&T Foundation is providing a $10,000 grant to UW-Green Bay’s Institute for Women’s Leadership to support a new workforce development certificate. 

Through the grant funding, 100 candidates will be able to earn the certificate for free, according to a release. The certificate is designed to help recipients who are “displaced, underemployed or underserved” to gain valuable skills. 

The university says the certificate can be recommended by human resources divisions or recruiters for entry-level workers or those who are reentering the workforce after being unemployed. 

Teri Zuege-Halvorsen, the institute’s executive director, says the certificate “bridges the equity gap by providing workforce skills training to underserved or overlooked individuals, while equipping them with key foundational skills necessary in all work environments.” 

See more in a release: 


# Delays in Dane County’s emergency rental assistance program leave some residents in need

# DATCP plans first farm financial workshops in Hmong language to increase access to farm grants, loans

# Froedtert & MCW to close Mequon urgent care indefinitely



– PDPF raises nearly $127,000 during 2020-21


– How did Wisconsin Dells become ‘the waterpark capital of the world’?


– Wisconsin Holstein Association scholarships available

– Ag in the Classroom mini-grants available to teachers

– MATC emphasizes meeting employer needs with adoption of new planning tool

– Milwaukee-based Brookby Foundation gifts $1 million for new UWM research vessel


– Wisconsin braces for blast of ‘bitter cold’ arctic air


– FaBcap food and beverage business accelerator now a national program

– The Pink Bakery seeks to raise the bar for allergen-free dessert options


– New SSM Health clinic to open on Madison’s South Side next month

– COVID-19 hospitalizations down slightly in Wisconsin

– With fewer COVID-19 precautions at school and no mandates from their health department, some Waukesha County families feel stuck

– Milwaukee may be nearing Omicron peak


– Rebecca Mitich named Husch Blackwell Milwaukee managing partner


– Rite-Hite to open first phase of solar-powered Milwaukee campus by summer


– Public hearing held Tuesday on ‘colby cheese’ bill

– Vice President Harris plans Milwaukee visit next week

– Bill would end $1M threshold for small architecture, engineering firms

– GOP workforce plan would scale back unemployment insurance, Medicaid


– Kohl’s reaffirms strategy in face of shareholder call for change, or even a sale

– Sprecher transitions beer to cans, Lakefront Chapel returns: Beer Biz MKE


– Firm building Topgolf-like soccer business opens tech-enabled training facility in Madison


– Telkonet acquired by Italian company


– DOT eases test requirements for potential school bus drivers


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

UW-Green Bay: The Institute for Women’s Leadership & AT&T Foundation fund workforce development training

Zizzo Group Engagement Marketing: Announces vision to create a gateway between Walker’s Point and Third Ward with new headquarters