February 15, 2024 Issue


USDA Figures from 2023 Show MN First in Green Pea Production and WI First in Snap Beans Yesterday, the Midwest Food Products Association issued press releases touting the recent USDA data released showing Minnesota and Wisconsin leaning the nation in Green Pea and Snap Pea production with additional information other significant crops harvested in the Midwest region including sweet corn. The complete reports may be found on the USDA NASS website at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications.

Forecasters: Budget Gap to Top $1.6T this Year, Growing Another $1T Over Next Decade

The federal budget gap is expected to top $1.6 trillion this year and grow by another $1 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. In its latest 10-year outlook for the federal budget and the economy, the federal forecaster said the widening deficit, or the difference between how much money the government spends and takes in, is largely driven by a greater share of federal spending on net interest costs, an aging population, and higher spending on mandatory programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. MORE


Source: IMA

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The US Economy Added 353,000 Jobs in January, Starting off 2024 with a Bang

The US economy added a stunning 353,000 jobs last month, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday, registering a stronger-than-expected gain to kick off 2024 and underscoring the resilience of the US economy in an election year. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% from the month before. It’s the 24th consecutive month that the nation’s jobless rate has been under 4%. MORE

Source: IMA

ITC Removes Duties on Tin Mill Steel

Today, in a unanimous vote, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled there will no longer be duties on tin mill steel from Canada, China, and Germany. It also voted to terminate the antidumping duty investigation against South Korea as there were too few subject imports originating there. The other four countries in the original case (Taiwan, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) were already removed due to the 0% margins set by the Department of Commerce in January. This ruling is wholly separate from the 25% Section 232 tariff on tin plate steel imposed by Trump Administration. To read more about this tariff and a plethora of other issues impacting the American food and agriculture sector, check out this previous blog from Constitution Partners.

Source: Constitution Partners

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Understand the Farm Bill Timeline

Just because you don’t receive crop program payments from farm programs for the ’23 crop year doesn’t mean the 2024 Farm Bill debate isn’t important. That was the key message Brad Lubben brought to farmers at the Purdue Top Farmer Conference. Lubben is director of the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center at the University of Nebraska. “Farmers should be aware of the timeline and the key issues that will drive debate on the new farm bill,” Lubben said. Instead of passing a new farm bill in 2023, Congress extended the existing farm bill for one year. MORE

Source: Constitution Partners

Gallagher Won’t Run Again After Refusing to Impeach Homeland Security chief 

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a key Republican Congressman who has spearheaded House pushback against the Chinese government, announced Saturday that he won’t run for a fifth term. The announcement comes just days after he angered his fellow Republicans by refusing to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. MORE

Source: WisPolitics

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‘We Are in For a Bumpy Time’ With Prop 12, Says Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told state agriculture directors to fasten their Prop 12 seat belts on Wednesday because “we’re going to have to get to a point where … chaos becomes really prevalent” in the meat market before there’s a decision on who regulates interstate trade. “We are in for a bumpy time,” he said. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12 animal welfare law last May, with Justice Neil Gorsuch writing in the court’s primary opinion, “While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list.” The pork industry wants Congress to override the decision. A pork processor has filed suit against a similar law in Massachusetts in hopes of winning a reversal in court. MORE

Source: MBS

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California Climate Laws Challenged

Agriculture and business groups in a lawsuit filed Tuesday say two California state laws mandating climate disclosures violate the Constitutional right to free speech and will lead to increased costs to businesses including farmers and ranchers. California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 7, 2023, signed into law state senate bills 253 and 261, which compels thousands of businesses across the country and the world doing business in California to publicly state their opinions regarding the risks associated with climate change, to post those opinions on their websites and to disclose businesses' greenhouse gas emissions. MORE

Source: Constitution Partners

DFLer Erin Murphy Picked as New Senate Majority Leader on Cusp of Session Start

Sen. Erin Murphy will lead the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus during the 2024 legislative session, members of the 34-member group decided Tuesday. Democrats selected Murphy, of St. Paul, as the top figure in the caucus days after Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic announced that she would step down from the role to battle a recurrence of ovarian cancer. MORE

Source: MN Chamber

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WI DATCP Announces Adam Brock as Division Administrator

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Randy Romanski has appointed Adam Brock as the Administrator of the Division of Food and Recreational Safety. Brock currently serves as the Vice President of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and has experience working with partners across the supply chain to ensure safe, high-quality products are available to consumers. MORE

Source: DATCP

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Republicans Pass Evers’ Legislative Maps as Redistricting Saga Nears Possible Finish Line

Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly have passed new legislative district lines that are identical to those drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in their latest attempt to enact new maps before the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s liberal majority does it for them. The maps passed the Senate by a vote of 18-14, as five Republicans joined most Democrats in voting against the maps. Hours later, they passed the Assembly by a 63-33 vote, with all Republicans in favor and all but one Democrat voting against. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, introduced Evers’ maps as an amendment to a bill shortly after session began Tuesday. MORE

Source: WisPolitics

WMC and WMC Litigation Center Celebrate Court’s Decision to Strike Down Illegal Transportation Tax

[A] Court of Appeals struck down the Village of Pewaukee’s transportation utility fee, confirming the charge is an illegal tax. WMC celebrates the ruling as a victory for taxpayers and the business community. “The Court of Appeals’ ruling against Pewaukee is an important win for taxpayers and the economy,” said WMC Litigation Center Executive Director Scott Rosenow, who handled this lawsuit against Pewaukee. “This victory helps combat a recent trend by local governments in Wisconsin: creating unlawful property taxes and calling them fees to try to avoid limits on property taxes.” MORE

Source: WMC

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33 Wisconsin Associations Urge Worker’s Compensation Reform

WMC was joined by 32 other associations from across the state on Tuesday urging lawmakers to tackle ever-increasing medical costs in the worker’s compensation system. The letter from the Worker’s Compensation Employers Coalition follows a similar letter signed by more than 100 Wisconsin employers, showing momentum for the issue in the state’s business community. Forty-five other states have reined in costs by implementing a medical fee schedule. Wisconsin’s costs for professional health services outpace other midwestern states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois, by more than double. MORE

Source: WMC

Russell "Russ" L. Kittell Jr. Obituary

Russell Louis Kittell, age 80, passed away on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at Bellin Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. He was born on October 30, 1943, to the late Russell and Charlotte (Rezek) Kittell. On October 27, 1962, he married Judith Knutson, she preceded him in death on January 20, 2020. Russ enjoyed spending his time outdoors. Gardening, hunting, ice fishing, fixing tractors, raising chickens and golf cart rides. When he was indoors, he enjoyed making wine, playing cards, and watching Gunsmoke. Russ worked as a milk man and field man most of his life. He especially enjoyed his co-workers even after his retirement. He was an avid NASCAR and Green Bay Packers fan, he also enjoyed watching wrestling on Thursday nights. Russ loved spending time with his family and will be greatly missed.

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General Mills’ North American Foodservice Exec to Retire

General Mills has announced that Shawn O’Grady, group president, North America Foodservice (NAF), will retire early this summer after more than 35 years with the company, a release from General Mills said. Until his retirement, O’Grady will move into a senior advisor role, and effective Feb. 16, Jon Nudi, group president, Pet and International, will add NAF to his oversight. Meanwhile, Pankaj Sharma, president, U.S. Meals & Baking Solutions operating unit, will become president, NAF, and will report to Nudi in the role. MORE

Source: FoodProcessing.com

General Mills Eyes Efficiencies Via Generative AI

General Mills aims to elevate innovation and collaboration and unlock "newfound efficiencies" with MillsChat, its new generative AI-powered assistant, said Jaime Montemayor, chief digital and technology officer. MORE

Source: CBA

The Benefits of Modularization in Food Processing

The food industry's fast pace coupled with fluctuating consumer demands require food companies to be adaptable and responsive to changes. Food processing modularization supports these aims by allowing facilities to buy specialty equipment that is easy to install and supports a company's growth. MORE

Source: CLFP

March 5th Webinar Hosted by alliantgroup

Topic: Unveiling Tax Relief Incentives: Empowering the Food Processors Industry for Growth and Sustainability 

Join this informative session to learn more about Section 41, which rewards food processors for their everyday activities. This incentive gives companies the resources they need to increase company value, invest in new equipment, attract, and retain technical talent, and continue innovating. Join Former Congressman Rick Lazio and alliantgroup Managing Director, Tracy Lustyan as they discuss the on how to stay updated on the latest tax relief strategies that are shaping the future of food products industry. Register

Event: Smart Manufacturing for Food & Beverage March 27, 2024 Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel, Chicago Manufacturers are yet to fully realize the potential of manufacturing technologies. Unite with industry 4.0 leaders in Chicago to uncover key trends, strategies, and solutions to accelerate your smart manufacturing journey and improve food safety, overcome workforce shortages, and meet increasing demand. As a MWFPA subscriber, click here or below to save 15% on your pass by using our discount code MWFPA15

Where does your food come from?

The grocery store. The refrigerator. A restaurant. All are “correct” answers, but how does our food get there?

The Food + Farm Exploration Center is here to teach everyone just how our food does make its way to us. [E]xhibits take you on a journey from the fields all the way to your plate. After learning in the exhibit space, you can have a hands-on experience exploring agriculture. See the machines that bring your food to you, up close and personal in the Farm Tech Shed. Get your hands dirty in the Demonstration Fields. Take the knowledge you have learned and experience it for yourself.

Wisconsin is known as the “Dairy State,” but do you know about all the vegetables grown in Wisconsin? We ranked in the top 5 nationally for crop production for multiple crops. In 2022, Wisconsin ranked 1st in snap beans and beets for canning production. Third in potatoes, carrots, sweet corn, and peas production. In addition, Wisconsin produced the 4th most cucumbers. In our Wisconsin Farmers space, you will find our “What’s Growing Here” interactive exhibit. As you study the map of Wisconsin, you will find the different crops outside of the map. Simply touch the crop and you will see the map light up where the crop is grown. It will surprise you just how close to home these crops are grown.

Source: Food + Farm Exploration Center Newsletter

Save the Date! 2024 Meetings & Events

View 2024 MWFPA Sponsorship Opportunities - HERE

April 1 - MWFPA Scholarship Applications due

April 11 - Sanitation Seminar hosted at Food + Farm Exploration Center - Register!

May 1 - Friday/Weckel Scholarship Applications due

June 5 - MWFPA Spring Summit hosted at Kalahari Convention Center

June 6 - MWFPA Annual Scramble hosted at Trappers Turn

October 8 - Sporting Clays Classic hosted at Woods & Meadow in Warrens, WI

December 3 - Processing Crops Conference

December 3-5 - MWFPA Convention & Expo

Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells




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