June Is Dairy Month!
June is Dairy Month in Wisconsin! In the month of June, many counties host dairy breakfasts across Wisconsin to showcase life on a dairy farm. There are events every weekend in June throughout the state. As someone who grew up on a dairy farm, there is nothing better than enjoying breakfast with your neighbors and friends while discussing agriculture.
The changes we have witnessed in the dairy industry over the last 50 years have had a major impact on the communities of the 17th Senate District. In 1954, there were 39 farm patrons for the cheese factory in the valley where I grew up in Spring Green. Today, there are no dairy farmers in that same valley.
All over the state, we see fewer farms, but bigger farms. Technology and science have changed the way we farm and the capacity of our farms to produce. Our cows are more productive. Our operations are more efficient. The farming lifestyle is different.
As a kid, I remember leaving picnics, parties and wedding receptions at 4:30 p.m., just as things were getting going, to milk cows. Today, larger operations and technology, have changed the lifestyle of the average dairy farmer.
The creativity of today’s dairy producers extends beyond the science of herd management to out-of-the-box business practices that build unique selling points in competitive markets. Cows that are culled from herds today would have been kept in the past. The growth in technology and creative marketing enables farmers to grow revenue and increase streams of income. One farmer I know employs a Jewish Rabbi so that his farm can offer certified kosher milk. This a very creative and out-of-the-box way of building a unique selling point in the dairy market.
There are almost 10,000 licensed dairy farms in Wisconsin, with 1.28 million dairy cows. 96% of these farms are family-owned. Wisconsin generates almost 14% of all milk in the United States. Dairy means more to Wisconsin than citrus to Florida or potatoes to Idaho, generating a whopping $43.4 billion to the economy of Wisconsin every year. Dairy is also the largest segment of Wisconsin’s total agriculture industry of $88.3 billion annually. In 2015, Wisconsin set a record for milk production at just over 29 billion pounds!
The production of cheese is also an important part of the state economy. Wisconsin produced over 3 billion pounds of cheese last year in 138 licensed plants across the state, which is 26% of all the cheese produced in the country. The best cheese in the world is clearly produced in the 17th Senate District, based on the many awards given to our local producers at the recent World Cheese Championship!
The economic impact of the dairy industry continues to grow. It has risen nearly 65% in the last five years. Wisconsin dairy exports brought almost $1 billion to the state in 2014, more than triple the amount just five years earlier.
The Dairy Breakfasts and other events give local farmers and agricultural organizations the opportunity to show members of the community the importance of the dairy and agricultural industries in Wisconsin. As the most agriculture-dependent senate district in the state, it is up to the members of our communities to provide an opportunity for people who otherwise would not have a chance to visit a dairy farm to learn about the importance of dairy. Please consider attending a breakfast near you.
As your State Senator, I am looking forward to visiting most of the local breakfasts to enjoy the delicious meal, friendly conversation and a tour of each farm I visit. I encourage you to take the time to attend your local dairy breakfast to learn more about this vital industry.
For a full listing of breakfasts and other dairy events held throughout the state, please visit the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s website: www.dairydaysofsummer.com.
Enjoy FREE Fun This Weekend
This weekend, June 4-5, 2016, is FREE Fun Weekend in Wisconsin! The following outdoor activities are free for Wisconsin residents and visitors:
· Free entry to state parks and forests
· Free fishing
· Free DNR trails
· Free ATV/UTV riding on public trails open to such uses
Visit the Wisconsin DNR website for maps of parks, trails and fishing opportunities throughout the state.
Watch Out For Deer!
May and June are critical months to watch for deer on our roadways. Second only to the rut in October and November, May and June are the months when young deer are leaving their mothers and establishing new patterns. This new behavior means we need to be vigilant and watch out for deer as we travel in our rural communities.
It is also fawn season in Wisconsin. State wildlife officials remind outdoor enthusiasts the best way to enjoy Wisconsin's whitetail fawns being born now through early July is from afar because their mother is nearby even though you don't see her.
Dianne Robinson, Department of Natural Resources wildlife expert who chairs the Keep Wildlife Wild program, says spring is when well-meaning people discover fawns alone, mistakenly believe they are in trouble and take unneeded action that may harm the animal. A fawn's best chance for survival is with its mother.
"Wild deer moms care for and protect their young differently than human mothers," Robinson said of the state's official wild animal. "It is normal for wild deer mothers to leave their fawns unattended for long periods of time. Keeping fawns hidden and alone is actually an adaptation to protect them from predators."
Robinson says her best advice to spring callers concerned about fawns is simple: "Leave it where it is. Do not touch the fawn as scent is one of its natural protectors."
Photo from the WI DNR, Carissa Freeh
In The 17th Senate District
Howard Marklein was invited to speak at the Blue River Memorial Day ceremony
on Monday, May 30, 2016. Sen. Marklein is pictured above with several of the
other presenters from the program - Autumn Noble (Badger Girl 2016), Pastor
Jeanne Jones (Blue River United Methodist Church), Brian Matthews (Badger Boy
In The Capitol
Benton Elementary visited the State Capitol on Friday, May 27, 2016.
Southwestern Elementary School visited the State Capitol on Thursday, June 2, 2016.
Wisconsin Local Employment and Unemployment Estimates
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for metro areas, major cities and counties in Wisconsin. The estimates include local unemployment rates for April 2016.
Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% while adding a significant 39,600 private sector and 42,000 total non-farm jobs over the year ending in April 2016. Wisconsin's total employment remained at a record high in April, growing by a statistically significant 61,100 year-over-year, the highest one-year gain in employment since September 1995.
The following table shows the local unemployment rates from April 2015 and April 2016 for the counties in our district. Click Here to view a PDF of all of the data available from the Department of Workforce Development.
Local Unemployment Rates
*Source: Department of Workforce Development
Senator Howard Marklein is pleased to
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State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703