THU AM News: Edge co-op calls for changes to milk pricing policy; DATCP announces new ag enterprise areas

— Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative is urging federal lawmakers to adjust milk pricing policy to make the current system “fairer and more equitable” for dairy producers. 

Headquartered in Green Bay, Edge is one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country with member farms across the Midwest. The organization yesterday rolled out its top policy priorities for 2023 as this year’s session of Congress begins. 

With the previous federal farm bill from 2018 set to expire this year, lawmakers will be negotiating a new package of legislation that governs various aspects of agriculture including energy systems, academic research, environmental issues, farm loans and much more. 

“Entering a farm bill year means it is critical to have dairy’s voice front and center,” Edge President Brody Stapel said in a statement. “Our members need action on milk pricing reform, updates to the Dairy Margin Coverage program and more flexible conservation practices.” 

The organization says any milk pricing policy changes should take a regional approach “to accommodate geographic differences in milk markets.” 

Stapel added other issues such as the labor shortage remain a challenge for dairy producers, urging lawmakers to find “better solutions” to this problem. Edge says farmers “need access to a practical agricultural workforce visa” to address critical workforce shortages.

The co-op argues that federal dairy policy should “serve all sizes and types of dairy farms,” helping them take advantage of sustainability programs and other forms of support. The group opposes any payment limitations and limits on program participation based on farm size. 

Meanwhile, Edge also says any climate and conservation regulations affecting the industry should be “guided by farmers, grounded in science, driven by the market and sufficiently flexible to allow for innovation at the farm level.” 

See more details here: 

— DATCP has announced two new “agricultural enterprise areas” for 2023 spanning more than 40,000 acres in Green Lake and St. Croix counties. 

Landowners in these areas can enter into farmland preservation agreements, committing some or all of their farm to ag uses and meeting soil and water conservation standards, DATCP says. Eligible participants can claim an annual farmland preservation tax credit, according to a release from the agency. 

With the latest additions, the state now has 47 of these areas covering more than 1.57 million acres. These AEAs include parts of 30 counties, 130 towns and the Bad River Reservation in northwestern Wisconsin. 

The two new ag enterprise areas include: 

*The Stanton Farmland Heritage Preservation AEA in Saint Croix county, which covers more than 23,000 acres in the towns of Cylon, Stanton and Star Prairie. A total of 24 landowners joined local officials and others to apply for the designation. 

*The Town of Princeton AEA in Green Lake County, including more than 17,000 acres in the towns of Princeton and Brooklyn. Seven landowners were involved in the petition. 

See the release: 

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— Three of former GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s appointees to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board have resigned, while President Rodney Pasch said he will consider whether to stay in his role closer to when his term expires.

“Boy, I’ll think about that when the time comes,” Pasch told

Attorney Stephen Willett is the only other remaining Walker appointee on the board. Willett and Pasch’s terms are set to expire in May. That does not include Vice President Mark Tyler, who was appointed by Walker and reappointed by Gov. Tony Evers. Willett did not immediately return a request for comment.

Dairy farmer Becky Levzow, former Republican state Rep. Mary Williams and ABC of Wisconsin Vice President Kelly Tourdot sent their letters of resignation on Dec. 29. All three had stayed on the board after their terms expired in May 2021. That paves the way for Evers’ appointees Paul Buhr, owner and operator of Rabur Holsteins; Sara Rogers of Employ Milwaukee; and Dan Klecker of ASE Education Foundation to take their seats. Their terms expire in May 2027.

See more at 

— NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes has announced a partnership with San Diego-based Inhibrx aimed at developing new cancer treatments. 

NorthStar, which is headquartered in Beloit, is developing pharmaceuticals that use radioactive isotopes for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. 

Under the agreement announced yesterday, NorthStar will be providing a material called actinium-225 to Inhibrx to support efforts to create new targeted therapies. The California business will also get access to NorthStar’s integrated contract development and manufacturing organization service, as well as support for clinical studies. 

Inhibrx has already created a set of targeting agents to deliver therapies to tumor cells. According to a release, these therapies — known as alpha-emitting radioisotopes — can precisely destroy cancer cells with “minimal damage” to nearby healthy tissues. 

NorthStar CEO Stephen Merrick says the new partnership will help advance this field. 

“We have sufficient Ac-225 production capacity to meet the demand of all of our existing supply agreements and our location affords us the flexibility to scale further as market demand increases,” he said in a statement. 

The company recently completed construction and equipment installation at its production facility in Beloit, federal officials announced late last year. 

See the release: 

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— The state’s latest respiratory virus report shows a slight decline in flu-like illness, though this measure remains well above what’s typical for this time of year. 

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– Manufacturer planning expansion in Waukesha


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