April 15, 2021 Issue
A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kalahari for a rate of $99. Be sure to indicate you are with MWFPA group when making your reservation. Reservations must be made on or before May 2nd, 2021.

Kalahari Resort
1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells, WI, 53965
Featured Event

Annual Summit & Scramble
June 2-3, 2021
Make plans to attend the 2021 Summit & Scramble this year at Trappers Turn!

People are anxious to get together and get outdoors, so we won't be surprised if we are back to a sell-out this year! Register today if you haven't already done so.

Please consider sponsoring or donating an item for the golfer goodie bags.
Webinar Series Continues ... Next Up: April 22nd
Manually tracking equipment and scheduling service maintenance is time consuming. It also offers more room for error. See how you can give your Operations and Maintenance teams’ access to accurate, real-time data on all your equipment – either in your plant, or at customer sites. In this 45 minute webinar, we will show you how automating field service will help you with:
  • Managing Demand
  • Planning Work
  • Enabling Technicians
  • Engaging Customers
  • Analyzing & Integrating Dashboards 
Ultimately, this will help you save time, and become more efficient. Register for this webinar to learn how your field service operations can become the proactive, revenue-driving aspect of your business you have always wanted.

Who should attend: Maintenance, Operations and Plant Managers and leaders.
Enjoy lunch on Alithya!
After attending this webcast, you will receive a $20 gift card to use toward lunch.

List of Employees with Covid-19 Remains Confidential While Businesses Appeal to Supreme Court
The largest trade association in Wisconsin wants the state Supreme Court to block the release of which businesses were investigated for Covid-19 outbreaks. The dispute dates back to October, when Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and two other chambers sued to stop the release of the information. If released, the list would contain the names of Wisconsin businesses with more than 25 employees that had at least two workers who tested positive for Covid-19 or had close contacts that tracers investigated, according to court records. Source: WMC
Biden's Infrastructure Plan Should Hit Several Needs of Ag Sector

President Biden is expected to release his $2 trillion infrastructure plan later today. A release from the White House says the plan will include modernizing highways, bridges, ports, airports, transit, water systems, utilities, and bring high-speed internet to every American including in rural areas. The plan is expected to enhance supply chains, address the climate crisis, and provide farmers with new economic opportunities through net-zero initiatives. The President is proposing the plan be funded through increased taxes, with the goal to invest one percent of the nation’s GDP over eight years in projects. More than 250 rural and ag groups have been calling for the administration to invest in infrastructure improvement projects through the Rebuild Rural Coalition, saying the scope of the investment needed is staggering. Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
Biden Proposes $100 Billion to Bring Broadband to All Americans

President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure package — “a once-in-a-generation investment in America” — on Wednesday that calls for spending $100 billion to deliver affordable and reliable broadband service to all Americans. The package also proposed a $5 billion Rural Partnership Program to support locally led initiatives to create jobs and economic growth in rural America. “It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” said Biden during a speech at a carpenters training center near Pittsburgh. It would be “the largest American jobs investment since World War II,” said the president. “These are investments we have to make.” He proposed higher taxes on corporations for 15 years to pay for the infrastructure work, which would be spread over eight years.  Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
Food & Ag Industries Play Pivotal Role in Greater Economy

The pivotal roles played by the nation's agriculture and food industries as employers, taxpayers and providers of the food and sustenance required to power the entire economy were the subjects of an illuminating new study commissioned by 33 food and agriculture organizations, including the American Bakers Association and the National Grain and Feed Association, and released on March 23. Read More

Source: CLFP
Raw Products Research Projects Approved by MWFPA Board

Here is the 2021 list of MWFPA research projects recommended by the Raw Products Voting members in March and approval by the Board of Directors for funding. Funding totals $80,000 this year for eight separate projects, the highest level of research underwritten by the Association since $89,000 was approved in 2016. Congratulations to the researchers who won this support! Our industry sure appreciates their efforts to improve our vegetable quality and quantity.

USDA Announces New Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative

After reevaluating previous COVID-19 aid programs for farmers, the USDA has announced a new, four-part Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says this new program is necessary after the department identified gaps and disparities in how assistance was distributed and the inadequate outreach to underserved producers, and small to medium operations. Read More

Source: CLFP
Not All Food Categories Have Post-Pandemic Staying Power, Report Reveals

Numerator has launched a COVID-19 Buyer Habit Index that reveals which segments showed the most "stickiness" in terms of consumer purchasing behavior, or are most likely to see long-term or permanent shifts, according to a press release. The index tracks categories including alcohol, baking and cooking, beverages, meat and snacks. Read More

Source: CLFP

MWFPA Board Approves Increase, Additional Award for Friday/Weckel Scholarships

The Carleton A. Friday and Kenneth G. Weckel Scholarships have long been offered by MWFPA through endowments at the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Both scholarships have offered up to three $1,500 awards (for a total of six) to deserving undergraduate students who are majoring in agriculture or food science within the University of Wisconsin System (Madison, Platteville, and River Falls). The MWFPA Board has approved increasing the Scholarship amount for both funds to $2,500 each and added a 7th scholarship, as funds have become available in both endowments to allow this expansion. The Friday/Weckel Scholarship application period is currently open. The deadline to apply is April 20th.

Each student needs to complete only one application and required financial forms to apply for both the Carleton A. Friday and Kenneth G. Weckel scholarships. 
MN House Green-lights 5 Cent Gas Tax Hike for Road/Bridge Repairs
A Minnesota transportation committee on Thursday, April 8, advanced a plan to gradually raise the state's gas tax by 5-cents per gallon over the next four years and would tie increases to inflation after that. Read More

Source: MN Chamber
WI Supreme Court Hears Arguments in That Could Decide DNR's Authority to Protect Water
The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a pair of cases that could decide whether state environmental regulators have the authority to place limits on farming in Wisconsin to protect groundwater. In the first case, environmental group Clean Wisconsin and Kewaunee County residents contested the DNR’s approval of a wastewater discharge permit as part of Kinnard Farms' request to expand its concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) by adding a second site and more than 3,000 dairy cows. In the second case, Clean Wisconsin and the Pleasant Lake Management District challenged the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' approval of eight high-capacity well applications made by farmers in the Central Sands region between 2014 and 2015. Read More

Source: WMC
What You Need to Know About Covid-19 Recordkeeping
It's a scenario that no plant manager wants to encounter, yet it has unfortunately become one we've had to prepare for: an employee on the production line tests positive for COVID-19 or informs you that they've had a known exposure. Read More

Source: CLFP
Cold Storage Construction Surges in Minnesota
According to Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen, Minnesota had a backup in meat processing that the Department of Agriculture was looking at before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March. In January 2020, Petersen assigned the Ag Department's assistant commissioner to set up meetings around the state to address local meat processing backlogs. Read More

Source: MN Chamber
Manufacturers are Getting Down to Business with Plant Proteins
By most measures, consumer interest in plant-based diets, and by extension in plant proteins, is booming. The benefits of long-established protein ingredients are fine-tuned and generally well understood. Emerging plant proteins are now finding their own spot in the marketplace. Evidence of plant protein popularity is found in consumer research to industry trends. Read More

Source: CLFP
Illinois Lawsuit-Friendly Environment Costs $1,000 per Resident
A new report estimates Illinois’ judicial system, often criticized for outsized settlements and what’s known as “rocket dockets” that whisk some cases through faster than others, costs each Illinois resident more than $1,000 per person. Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, a national nonprofit that says “frivolous lawsuits are cutting jobs and clogging the courts,” releases a bi-annual report that estimates the direct and indirect costs of the issue. In Illinois, the nonprofit estimated that enacting suggested reforms would lead to the creation of more than 140,000 new jobs and $9.6 billion in new wages. In total, they estimate the reforms would save residents and businesses $13.3 billion. Not doing so is where the group got the estimated cost of $1,068 per Illinois resident. Read More

Source: Illinois Manufacturers Association
Bill Aims to Expand Farm Exports
Republicans and ag groups have rolled out legislation aimed at expanding the state’s farm exports by at least 25 percent in coming years. State Rep. Tony Kurtz of Wonewoc and Sen. Joan Ballweg of Markesan in a press conference promoted the bill as a means to help raise ag prices and protect farmers by expanding and diversifying market demand. “Now more than ever it is important that we do everything we can to ensure the vitality of these markets into the future,” Ballweg told reporters. The bill would require the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to develop a plan to boost dairy, meat and crop values by at least 25 percent in the next five years. It would require DATCP to spend $5 million on the effort and request that the Joint Finance Committee allocate the agency funding for the program. Read More

Source: WMC
Two Key Areas of Cybersecurity Vulnerability in Manufacturing
According to “2021 Cybersecurity: Assess Your Risk,” a new report from PMMI Business Intelligence, the first and most important step a manufacturer can take to improve their cybersecurity preparedness is to gain a thorough understanding of their operation’s vulnerabilities, and how those vulnerabilities can be exploited. Modern manufacturing’s expanding scope of integrated technology is a ripe target for cybercriminals, as is the widespread adoption of cloud and edge computing. Read More

Source: Illinois Manufacturers Association
Quality, Functionality to Drive Snack Trends
With the pandemic spurring an increase in snacking, 70% of consumers are prioritizing premium quality and flavors this year, according to an IRI study. The popularity of fruit flavors and chocolate pairings, which grew in 2020, is likely to extend into 2021, while the study also found 56% of consumers are seeking snacks with health benefits.  Read More

Source: CBA
Study Shows Consumers View Ag as Part of the Solution to Climate Change
When it comes to climate change, consumers view agriculture as a part of the solution rather than the problem. Among participants in Cargill’s recent global Feed4Thought survey, those who indicated climate change as important to them also rated livestock and agriculture lowest in negative impact compared with other industries generally regarded as significant contributors. More than one-third of respondents expressed confidence in the industry’s ability to limit its contributions to climate change.   “Farmers are critical to feeding the world sustainably and responsibly,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, who leads Cargill’s animal nutrition & health business. “With a growing population and rising consumer interest in climate change, they are also part of the solution to address some of the toughest environmental challenges. At Cargill, our focus continues to be advocating for farmers by supporting and amplifying efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, methane emissions and, in turn, climate impact.” Read More

Source: MBS
Meat Sales Jumped in 2020 as New Products Hit the Shelves
The pandemic spurred a 19.2% increase in grocery meat sales in 2020 with beef driving the most growth, online meat buys increasing 90% and consumers having a more favorable view of case-ready meats, according to the 2021 Power of Meat survey. New products arriving included Jimmy Dean Breakfast Nuggets and Simply Roasted Chicken Breast Strips from Tyson Foods, while meat snack brands presented a wider array of flavors and plant-based and zero-sugar options to boost sales in the convenience channel. Read More

Source: CBA
Barometer: Farmers Discuss Potential Payment Rates for Carbon Sequestration

Farmer interest in getting paid to sequester carbon continues to rise, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. Jim Mintert is director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture. “There is so much interest among producers about what’s going on with carbon sequestration,” he says. “Between 30-40 percent of the people in our surveys are saying they’re aware of at least some opportunities to receive a carbon sequestration payment.” He tells Brownfield among the small amount of producers who reported carbon sequestration payments that were offered…”just seven percent indicated they’ve had some discussions with companies about possible payments on their farming operation. Just one percent report that they’ve signed a carbon sequestration contract. Among the people who have had some discussions, we asked them what rates are being discussed on a per-acre basis and a little over 80 percent said the payment rates were $20 per acre or less. Those responses were split pretty evenly between people saying the rates offered were less than $10 an acre and people saying the rates were between $10-$20 per acre.”  Read More

Source: MBS
Sale of Lodi Canning to Idol Brands
Effective March 26th, Lodi Canning Company Inc. has been acquired by Idol Brands LLC. All employees will retain their positions and all production will proceed as planned in 2021.

Logistics Costs Eat into General Mills Margins

General Mills says rising freight costs are cutting into its profit margins this quarter. Read More

Source: WSJ Logistics Report

White House Issuing Reports on States' Infrastructure Needs
The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability. The figures in the state summaries, obtained by The Associated Press, paint a decidedly bleak outlook for the world’s largest economy after years of repairs being deferred and delayed. They suggest that too much infrastructure is unsafe for vehicles at any speed, while highlighting the costs of extreme weather events that have become more frequent with climate change as well as dead spots for broadband and a dearth of child care options. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon with Republican and Democratic lawmakers and can use the state summaries to show that his plan would help meet the needs of their constituents. Read More

Source: WMC

CFO: General Mills to Cut Outsourcing

General Mills will likely scale back its use of contract manufacturing as the pandemic subsides, its CFO says. Kofi Bruce told the Wall Street Journal that the company added about 50 contract manufacturers to the 200 or so it already used to meet increased demand for its breakfast cereals and other products during the pandemic lockdown.

Conagra Posts Q3 Sales Growth

Conagra Brands' net sales grew 8.5% for the fiscal third quarter ended Feb. 28 and exceeded analyst expectations thanks to the continued increase in at-home consumption, said CEO Sean Connolly. The growth was buoyed by 11.7% and 10.8% increases in sales for frozen foods, and grocery and snacks, respectively.

Summit Reception Sponsor
Lakeside Foods

Gold Sponsor
Lyco Manufacturing

19th Hole Sponsor
Seneca Foods Corporation

Silver Sponsors
Crown Cork & Seal
Silgan Containers Manufacturing

Scholarship Hole Sponsors
Seneca Foods Corporation
Trivium Packaging

Bronze Sponsors
Oxbo International
Syngenta Vegetable Seeds

Lunch Sponsors
JP Cullen
ProEx Food

Hole Sponsors
Crown Cork & Seal
Gallatin Valley Seed
Lubriplate Lubricants
Pearl Engineering
Plainfield Trucking
Seminis Vegetable Seeds
Summit Refrigeration
Syngenta Vegetable Seeds
Mark Your Calendar
April 22 - Field Service Automation

A 45 minute webinar that will show you how automating field service will help you with:
  • Managing Demand
  • Planning Work
  • Enabling Technicians
  • Engaging Customers
  • Analyzing & Integrating Dashboards 

Presented by Alithya

June 2-3 - Annual Spring Summit & Scramble
June 2nd - SUMMIT: The Board of Directors, AMO/Convention Committees and Raw Products Committee will be meeting in-person at the Kalahari Convention Center the day prior to the golf scramble. (Request for RSVPs at a later date.)

June3rd - SCRAMBLE: Back by popular demand, the highly anticipated annual in-person golf outing! Trappers Turn, Wisconsin Dells
November 30-December 2 - Annual Convention & Processing Crops Conference, Kalahari Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells

Exhibitor Registration Opens July 1


May 6 - Elements of a Great Leader
Presented by Russell Associations (REGISTRATION OPENS SOON)

May 20 - Presentation by Clean Water Tech

June 10 - Presentation by JJ Keller