TUE AM News: UWRF researchers studying impact of robotic milking tech; WisBusiness: the Show with Spotz CEO James Jackson

— Two researchers at UW-River Falls have been awarded a $250,000 grant to explore the impacts of dairy farms adopting robotic milking technologies. 

According to a release from the university, Luis Peña-Lévano and Shaheer Burney from UW-River Falls’ Agricultural Economics Department will be working with other specialists from the University of Minnesota, University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and Texas A&M University. 

Data will be collected through a survey of about 2,000 dairy farmers in Wisconsin in Minnesota early next year. Agricultural economics students will help develop the questionnaires and analyze results through the university’s Survey Research Center. 

“Our goal is to evaluate the feasibility of [automatic milking systems] from the financial, environmental and labor demand perspective,” said Burney, who heads up the research center. “Ultimately, we are trying to answer the question: ‘Do the long-term benefits of adopting AMS exceed the high up-front cost of installing such systems?’” 

These systems can cost more than $200,000, the release shows. Along with an assessment of the return-on-investment for farmers, the research will also study the effect of these machines on animal welfare and the surrounding environment. 

“Our goal, first and foremost, is to provide that information for Midwest farmers, but it will absolutely be applicable for dairy farmers across the country,” Burney said.  

The grant comes from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, which is funded by the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture. UW-River Falls’ research project is one of 14 nationally to receive funding out of 107 initial proposals. 

The project is expected to be completed by October 2024. 

See more project details: https://www.uwrf.edu/News/UWRF-lands-grant-to-research-robotic-milking.cfm 

— In the latest episode of “WisBusiness.com: The Show,” James Jackson of Madison-based Spotz talks about this “space-as-a-service” software company and how it is helping customers. 

The Show also recaps or previews Wisconsin Technology Council events, and Tech Council President Tom Still talks about the National Science Foundation Regional Research Innovation Engine program and proposals being generated in Wisconsin. 

Watch the show here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/wisbusiness-the-show-with-spotz-ceo-james-jackson/ 

— Harvesting of potatoes and corn for silage is lagging behind last year’s rate and the five-year average, the latest USDA crop report shows. 

According to the report from the agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, harvesting of corn for silage was 39 percent complete at the end of last week. That’s 10 days behind last year and six days behind the average. 

Meanwhile, the potato harvest was 56 percent complete — three days behind last year and two days behind the average. 

Planting of winter wheat continues, with 39 percent complete as of Sunday. The report notes that’s keeping up with last year’s rate and the five-year average. 

See the report: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/2022/WI-Crop-Progress-09-26-22.pdf 

— State officials have announced about $8 million in grants and loans for five freight rail projects around the state. 

Gov. Tony Evers said in a release the funding will support transportation activities for Wisconsin’s agriculture and paper industries. Grants come from the Freight Railroad Preservation Program, while the loans are from the state’s Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program. 

Recipients include: Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Company in Grant County, with a $1.4 million grant and $180,000 loan; Rio Creek Feed Mill in Kewaunee County, with a $1.5 million loan; Northside Elevator in Chippewa County, with a $3 million loan; McDonald Companies in Brown County, with a nearly $500,000 loan; and DeLong Company in Milwaukee County, with a $1.5 million loan. 

Funding for these projects will be used to replace and improve infrastructure, add storage and equipment, build a new terminal and tracks, and more. 

See more project details:  https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/gov-evers-announces-nearly-8-million-in-grants-loans-for-wisconsins-freight-railroad-assistance-program 

— Milwaukee’s health commissioner says she’s worried the anti-vaccination movement will lead to an outbreak of polio in Wisconsin’s largest metro area. 

Speaking during a recent meeting of the Milwaukee Rotary Club, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said the city’s overall polio vaccination rate is above 70 percent. But she noted some parts of Milwaukee have rates below 40 percent. 

“This sort of anti-vax effort … we are going to end up with children who are hospitalized with polio, which is a preventable disease and can cause significant disability and death,” she said. 

She said health department officials are working with health care providers as well as private and public schools in the area to encourage more people to get their kids vaccinated against polio. Johnson urged Rotary Club members to conduct advocacy of their own, particularly those who frequently interact with children and families. 

“I’m very nervous. I mean, you see what’s happening in New York, it’s only a matter of time before we have it here,” she said. “We have pockets of our population that are really undervaccinated — significantly undervaccinated.” 

Johnson explained kids should be “all the way caught up” with their polio vaccinations by the time they start school. 

“But again, over the past two years I think we’re also at more risk because kids just haven’t been going to the doctor because of the pandemic,” she said. “So we have a gap of kids who have not seen their primary care providers, and are not caught up on their vaccine.” 

The statewide polio vaccination rate for young children in 2021 was about 84 percent, according to data from the Department of Health Services. The agency last month said polio was last seen in Wisconsin in 1979, when three cases were reported. 

See the DHS data: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p02003a.pdf 

Watch a video of her remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Pf5I84t5Q 

— SSM Health Ripon Community Hospital recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new mental health center.

According to a release from Gov. Tony Evers, the guv joined hospital leaders yesterday to celebrate the new Day Stabilization Services unit, set to open this fall. The hospital says the new unit will provide help for up to 23 hours to people going through mental health crises. 

SSM Health received a $158,000 grant from the state’s Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Grant Program to establish the new unit, Evers’ office announced earlier this year. It’s meant to “offset the high demand for psychiatry and outpatient mental health services” that often have long waitlists of eight months or more, the release shows. 

“We know folks across our state need these mental and behavioral health services perhaps now more than ever, and I am proud the state could help support SSM Health to bring this unit to fruition for the folks in Fond du Lac County and the surrounding area,” Evers said in the release. 

See more: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/gov-evers-joins-ssm-health-ripon-community-hospital-to-celebrate-new-mental-health-day-stabilization-unit 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.</i>

Sign up here: http://forms.gle/o8FtqTLviGJPja8C9

— The Capital Times will host a “Power Breakfast” Oct. 12 with featured speaker Generac CEO Aaron Jagdfeld. 

The event will be held at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison. Doors will open at 7 a.m. with the hour-long discussion starting at 8 a.m. 

Mark Richardson, president of Unfinished Business Consulting and CEO of GigBlender, will moderate the event series. 

See event details: https://captimes.com/events/cap-times-ubs-announce-new-quarterly-power-breakfast-event-series/article_9c335d82-2f87-11ed-b9cd-df37c7959883.html 


# Nursing home complaints rise in Wisconsin, staffing is cited


# As Madison region grows, a new area code is coming to south central Wisconsin


# Aurora St. Luke’s hospital a national leader in using implant to monitor heart failure, give patients added freedom




– DATCP to host Global Dairy Symposium at World Dairy Expo


– October is Cooperative Month in Wisconsin



– Miron will lead construction for FPC Live venue in Milwaukee

– Beloit to reconstruct fire station with money from Neighborhood Investment Fund

– FPC Live names Miron, JCP as contractors for proposed Deer District venue



– $1.5 million grant to UW-La Crosse fuels the McNair Scholars Program



– Southern Wisconsin’s ‘second’ severe weather season fired up on Sunday



– Madison’s Food Fight to operate rooftop restaurant in The Trade Hotel


– This new distillery and tasting room is planned for downtown Appleton



– DHS ramps up suicide prevention efforts after suicide rate in Wisconsin surpasses national rate


– Hospital system to pull emergency room services out of Kenosha



– Eagle Park Brewing acquires Milwaukee Brewing brand and beers


– Eagle Park Brewing buys Milwaukee Brewing Co. brands

– Heavy lifters: Doral Corp. is one of the region’s fastest-growing companies, and one of Milwaukee’s best-kept secrets

– Noble Roots Brewing’s new brewhouse allows the Green Bay brewery to expand



– From citrus to herbs, Wisconsin writer is devoted to dehydrating



– ABC Supply closer to opening first Milwaukee distribution center



– Milwaukee estimates Northridge Mall repair at over $6 million just to remain vacant


– Kunes Auto & RV Group acquires RV dealerships in Lake Mills, Wisconsin Rapids


– 3 former Wisconsin men’s basketball players make NBA training camp rosters



– Legislators, Spectrum tout broadband expansion in Chippewa Valley



– Italian restaurant Il Cervo will be on Trade Hotel’s rooftop in Deer District


– Janesville businesses embrace Hispanic heritage with festival



– $8M coming for railroads projects across state


– Opinion: Why are companies charging more? Because they can



<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

WHEDA: Shreedhar Ranabhat to serve as WHEDA director of commercial lending

Spectrum: Celebrates its state-of-the-art broadband expansion in Eau Claire, Dunn and Chippewa Counties