May 14, 2020
WI Gov. Tony Evers has ordered Wisconsinites to stay in their homes to fend off the coronavirus outbreak. In response, the offices of MWFPA will be closed until further notice.
Those wishing to contact the MWFPA offices are encouraged to contact staff members via email. Those emails are:
President, Jason Culotta:
Director of Operations, Jane Algiers:
Director of Communications, Brian Elliott:

MWFPA has also created a resource page to assist food manufacturers and supply chain partners in mitigating the negative impacts of the coronavirus COVID-19. We will continue to keep our members updated on any new developments. Click here to access MWFPA's COVID-19 resource page.
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Bug Blocker Doors & Screens
House Democrats Unveil $3 Trillion Proposal For Coronavirus Relief

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unveiled a $3 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package and are planning to vote on the measure later this week.

They are moving forward without GOP support since bipartisan talks have stalled. The legislation is expected to be dead on arrival for the GOP-led Senate.

The plan, dubbed the Heroes Act, encompasses the Democrats’ legislative wish list including nearly $1 trillion to state, local, and tribal governments and another round of direct cash payments to Americans. It extends unemployment benefits to January, adds hazard pay for front line workers, and expands testing efforts.

The plan too would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a mandatory workplace health standard to address the risk of Covid-19.

Read more .
USDA Awards $1.2B In Food Box Contracts

On May 8, the U.S. Agriculture Department awarded $1.2 billion in contracts to distributors, processors and non-profit organizations to deliver fresh produce, milk, dairy products and pork and chicken directly to needy Americans.

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is an effort to both shore up commodity prices while addressing the sharp growth in food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. The contracts will cover the cost of buying and distributing the food, which is to be delivered in family-size boxes to pickup sites starting May 15.
The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, a coalition including major food brands like Mars, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever, is asking the Trump administration to give food and ag workers priority access to coronavirus testing, protective gear and eventually vaccines (after other essential workers like first responders and health care employees).

Read the coalition's letter here .

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and other senior Democrats on the panel say the coronavirus relief package unveiled this week needs to include $250 billion for COVID-19 testing and prioritize workers in food processing and agriculture.   Read More at Agri-Pulse.
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Alliant Energy
The Coronavirus Pandemic’s Silver Lining for Food and Beverage
You’ve read about the travails of food and beverage processors as they work through this COVID-19 pandemic. Most are working hard to keep plants open, production running and grocery shelves stocked. As often is the case, hard work pays off.

As first-quarter financial results trickled in, several of the biggest public companies recorded stellar first quarters as a result of increased demand for their products. Doing especially well are those specializing in pantry staples and comfort foods.

But several also warned of great uncertainty for the second half of this year.

Read more from Food Processing .
Pesticides and Safety During COVID-19

Due to increased demand brought on by COVID-19, agricultural pesticide applicators may be unable to get personal protective equipment (PPE) for the growing season.

This is especially true for respirators, particularly N95 masks. For pesticide applicators that use full or half-face respirators, it may be difficult to obtain particulate filters.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reminds you that you must follow the pesticide label that tells you what protective equipment you need to wear. This handout  can help you determine how to be safe while following program rules for applying pesticides.

This and more information related to COVID-19 is available at .
New GOA Report Raises Issues, Questions For Cell-Cultured Meat Industry

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says federal food safety agencies “could strengthen existing efforts to prepare for oversight of cell-cultured meat.”

However, the most interesting part of this latest GAO report on cell-cultured meat, which is grown in labs, is the vast number of questions the fledgling industry has to answer before it will ever reach commercial significance.

Read more at:
Temporary Rule Issued For Employers In Food Processing Industry On H-2B Workers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security  announced  that on May 14, 2020, a new temporary rule will go into effect giving employers in the food processing industry  more flexibility to hire H-2B workers who are essential to maintaining the food supply chain .
Work essential to the food supply chain includes, but is not limited to, work related to:

  • Processing, manufacturing, and packaging of human and animal food;
  • Transporting human and animal food from farms, or manufacturing or processing plants, to distributors and end sellers; and
  • Selling of human and animal food through a variety of sellers or retail establishments, including restaurants.

Recognizing the need to keep the food supply operating, DHS is doing for some H-2B employers  what it previously did for agricultural employers who rely on H-2A workers .
U.S. Department of Transportation Modernizes Hours of Service Rules

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the publication of its final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. 

The final rule includes the following four revisions to the HOS rules:
1. FMCSA will provide added flexibility for the 30-minute break after eight hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.

2. The agency will modify the sleeper berth exception to allow drivers to split their 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement into two separate periods—an eight and two hour split or a seven and three hour split (7/3 splits)—with neither periods counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.

3. FMCSA will modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours. The current rule already permits two hours of additional driving time on the 11-hour clock, so this expands the 14-hour on-duty clock by two hours as well.

4. Finally, the agency will change the short-haul exemption available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the driver’s maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

The final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming week and will be effective 120 days after publication.
The latest information, declarations, and resources on FMCSA’s response to the COVID-19 are available here .
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Proactive Solutions USA, LLC
WI Supreme Court Strikes Down ‘Safer At Home’ Order

The WI State Supreme Court overturned the state’s stay-at-home order Wednesday on a 4-3 decision, calling it “unlawful and unenforceable.”

The emergency order was first put in place in March by Wisconsin’s Department of Health and Human Services under direction from Gov. Tony Evers. It was then extended until May 26.

Read more .
WI Attorney General Withdraws Prior High-Cap Well Opinion

WI Attorney General Josh Kaul issued a letter on May 1st informing Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Preston Cole that he is withdrawing a 2016 Attorney General Opinion about high-capacity well permitting.

In that prior opinion, then Attorney General Brad Schimel countered a 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court case, known as the Lake Beulah decision, that ruled the WI Department of Natural Resources(DNR) has the authority to consider when high capacity wells might harm state waters. Schimel argued that a 2011 law known as Act 21 , which was passed shortly before the Supreme Court ruling, limited the regulatory authority of state agencies to what's expressly written in state law.

The withdrawal of Schimel's opinion could have a potential impact on current or future permit applications for new wells.

MWFPA applauded Schimel’s opinion when it was released noting that it was “very important in that it further clarifies Wisconsin law regarding a state agency’s ability to act beyond the scope of the authority given to it by the legislature.” 

MWFPA has long appreciated the need for regulatory certainty for farmers who rely on high-capacity wells to irrigate their crops and hydrate livestock. Our producers rely on high capacity wells for irrigation of land in order to produce a steady supply of raw product for fresh and processed consumption.

In a special election on Tuesday, voters picked state Senator Tom Tiffany (r) to fill the WI 7th Congressional District seat vacated by Sean Duffy last September. Tiffany, a Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Tricia Zunker.

Tiffany, publicly endorsed by President Donald Trump, has served on the WI State Senate since 2013. Prior to that, he spent two years in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

He defeated fellow Republican and Menomonie native Jason Church by 15 percentage points in the primary last February.

Tiffany is not guaranteed to hold the seat long, however. This election was only to fill out the remainder of Duffy's term which ends in January 2021. If there is more than one candidate on each side of the aisle, there will be a primary in August, and the seat will be up for grabs in the November election.
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by AFE Advanced Food Equipment LLC
Walz Says MN’s Stay At Home Order To Lapse, Other Restrictions Remain

MN Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that he will extend the state’s peacetime emergency until mid-June, but he will allow the stay-at-home order to expire next week.

Retail stores may reopen on May 18, but they must have safety plans in place, and operate at 50% capacity.

Bars, restaurants, salons, and gyms can reopen on June 1 with certain restrictions in place, which Walz says will be announced by next Wednesday.

Read more .
IL Lawmakers Set To Return Next Week

Illinois state lawmakers are returning to Springfield next week. House Democrats learned about their return during a virtual caucus meeting Wednesday morning.

House Speaker Mike Madigan's staff says members will meet at the Bank of Springfield Center while the Senate resumes session in the Capitol. Leaders from both chambers are telling lawmakers they will be in session from May 20-22.

It is expected that legislators will focus on proposals relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, state budget, and economic recovery. Republican want to pass a financial plan to help local governments and taxpayers suffering during the pandemic.

Lawmakers will also highlight legislation for the 2020 General Election. Democrats hope to pass a plan creating a statewide mail-in ballot opportunity before November.

The governor wants lawmakers to focus on passing a balanced budget. However, he adds the state will need help from the federal government.
MN House Approves Omnibus Supplemental Ag Finance Bill

The MN House Tuesday passed the omnibus supplemental agriculture finance bill touted as providing aid to farmers, producers, processors and grocers grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the bill's provisions:

  • increases 2021 funding by $200,000 for assistance to farmers and value-added agricultural businesses whose markets and operations were negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, giving preference to meat and poultry processors;

  • appropriates $125,000 in fiscal year 2020 for grants to grocery stores and other food handlers to develop safety procedures, update and retrofit locations, purchase personal protective equipment for employees and educate the public on the need to follow safety procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Forward Food Solutions
MWFPA HR Committee Selects Scholarship Winners

The MWFPA Human Resources Committee has selected 20 applicants to receive this year’s MWFPA Scholarships. Each scholarship winner will be awarded $1,000.

The recipients and the companies with which their parents or guardians are employed, as well as their home city are as follows:

1. McKenna Bell (Can Lines Engineering, Brillion, WI)
2. Faith Buhrandt (Seneca Foods, Gillett, WI)
3. Hallie Case (Seneca Foods, Beloit, WI)
4. MacKenzie Challoner (Seneca Foods, Fall River, WI)
5. Teresa Dold (Can Lines Engineering, Menasha, WI)
6. Allison Geerdts (Bonduelle USA, Fairwater, WI)
7. Brett Hirst (Seneca Foods, Wisconsin Dells, WI)
8. Andrew Hopp (Bonduelle, Brandon, WI)
9. Courtney Isselmann (Lakeside Foods, Two Rivers, WI)
10. Alexis Kwak (Chippewa Valley Bean, Ridgeland, WI)
11. Jason Licht (Urschel Labs, Hebron, IN)
12. Isbella Marchetti (Urschel Labs,Inc., Chesterton, IN)
13. Cassandra Mattila (Del Monte Foods, Brandon, WI)
14. Hayden Metzger (Harris Moran, Salem, OR)
15. Michelle Saganich (Baumer Ltd., Riverside, IL)
16. Abigail Scherwitz (Seneca Foods, Janesville, WI)
17. Adam Timm (Seedway, LLC, De Pere, WI)
18. Adrienne Waibel (Metzger) (Harris Moran, Phoenix, AZ)
19. Madelyn Wehe (Seneca Foods, Faribault, MN)
20. Ethan Yanda (Lakeside Foods, Manitowoc, WI)

Letters have been sent to each recipient notifying them as to their selection. Those who were not awarded scholarships are also being informed of the Committee’s decision.

Where appropriate, each recipient’s high school will be informed of the award.

Thanks to the HR Committee for all their time and effort in reviewing the various applications and selecting the winners. Thank you also to all our applicants and congratulations to those receiving an award!
AFFI Finds Frozen Food Sales Rose Significantly At End Of April

 Frozen food sales rose significantly the final week of April, according to new research by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), 210 Analytics, and IRI.

The +50.3% increase was the highest since the height of mid-March stockpiling by consumers, when frozen food sales peaked at +94.4% compared to 2019 sales for the same time period. The +50.3% increase translates to $1.3 billion compared to $442 million in 2019.

Read more .
MWFPA Associate Member Hays Companies Hosts COVID-19 Live Stream

MWFPA associate member Hays Companies is hosting the 9th installment of its COVID-19 Live Stream series this Friday, May 15th at 1:00 pm Central time. Experts will cover Economic Considerations Concerning COVID-19 plus Medical Response & Return to the Workplace
If interested, you can register at  or via this informational flyer .
 Misssspleings and Old Informcion
Is Your Company Profile Up to Date for the Member Directory?

The 2020-2021 Membership Directory is going to print soon. Just a reminder, if your organization’s 2020 dues haven’t been paid your company will not be included in this publication.

Review your company’s listing using the member portal Infohub and make any updates necessary. You can also check to see if your dues are current in the member portal, and make payment directly using your credit card.

Please check for accuracy in the contact information and be sure categories and a company description are included in your profile. Contact Jane Algiers with questions or concerns.
Mark Your Calendar: MWFPA Events You Won't Want To Miss
May 27, 2020: Raw Products Committee. Videoconference.

May 27, 2020: AMO & Convention Committees meet via videoconference, 8 am.

July 2, 2020: Raw Products Committee – Waseca pea trial. University of MN’s Southern Outreach Center, 35838 120th St., Waseca, MN.

August 13, 2020: Raw Products Committee – Hancock trial. UW Hancock Ag Research Station, 7547 County Rd. V, Hancock, WI.

September 8, 2020: Raw Products Committee - West Madison Agricultural Research Station, 8502 Mineral Point Rd, Verona, WI

October 14, 2020: MWFPA Sporting Clays Challenge, Game Unlimited Hunting Club, 871 County Rd E, Hudson, WI.

December 1-3, 2020:   MWFPA 116th Annual Convention and 93rd Processing Crops Conference.  
Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

December 10, 2020 (tentative): MWFPA Accident Investigation Seminar, Wilderness Resort, 511 E Adams St, Wisconsin Dells, WI, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: $95 per person. Should you have any questions, please contact Jan Algiers or telephone: 608-255-9946.

January, 2021: MWFPA Sanitation Seminar , tentatively rescheduled for January 2021 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI – date to be determined.
Other Educational Opportunities
September 22-24, 2020: FDA Better Process Control School. Pyle Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI. This training provides the canning industry with qualified personnel to meet FDA and USDA regulations. Through in-person lectures with industry experts, the Better Process Control School at UW-Madison has successfully trained industry personnel for more than 40 years. Participants value the personalized instruction that leads to successful completion of the course.

A link to online registration and more information is here: Registration deadline to guarantee a spot is September 1, 2020. Participants are encouraged to register early so that they can adequately prepare for the training (participants will be sent the course manual for review/study prior to attending).
Brian Elliott | Midwest Food Products Association | Ph: (608) 255-9946 | Fax: (608) 255-9838