Cooperative Extension University of Wisconsin-Extension

Issues in Agriculture

Farming in difficult times

Updated August 2009

The uncertainty about the depth and length of this current recession, along with the sudden and dramatic effect it's had on agricultural markets, may provide challenges to Wisconsin's farmers.

Extension Responds with information about farming in difficult times.

You can find additional information about farming through difficult times at


Emerald Ash Borer

Updated August 2008

The Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, was found in July 2008 in southeastern Wisconsin, in a private woodlot in Ozaukee County. For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, follow these links:



Updated June 2008

With the heavy and widespread rains during earyl June 2008, Extension ANRE faculty and staff provide information on resources to deal with flooding, power outages, and general disaster assistance.


Updated August 2007

The National Weather Service reports that “recent dry weather has resulted in drought redevelopment across northern Wisconsin, but showers and thunderstorms are expected to result in some improvement in the short term.” At UW-Extension, crop specialists say that dry spots across the state may pose challenges for Wisconsin farmers.

Extension Responds to the threat of drought with information to help farmers make the most of the situation.

Weather and climate

Updated January 2007

The warm weather in December 2006 led to concerns about stored corn grain beginning to mold. Extension Responds with information to help farmers monitor stored grain for hot spots and mold.

soybean Rust

Updated April 2006

Soybean Rust, a potentially devastating fungal disease, was found in Louisiana in  November 2004. This was the first report of the disease in the continental U.S. The disease is spread by the wind. Given the right weather conditions next spring or summer, it could blow up to Wisconsin from Louisiana in only a few days. That means Wisconsin growers will need to be prepared for this possibility during the 2006 growing season. Read how Extension Responds.

Hurricane Katrina aftermath

September 2005

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, flooding New Orleans and other communities in Louisiana and Mississippi and interrupting Mississippi River traffic, she added to two already troubling problems for Wisconsin farmers. One: They have too much grain and not enough storage, and the cash price is extremely low. Two, energy prices, already high, are shooting higher because of damage to refineries.

Extension Responds with information about how Wisconsin farmers can cut their losses


updated Fall 2005

UW-Extension Biosecurity Information and Other Resources

  • Chronic Wasting Disease Updates and Information
  • Foot and Mouth Disease Updates and Information

Bovine Tuberculosis

July 2005

Recently, a cattle herd in northwest Minnesota was found to have cases of bovine tuberculosis (TB). Michigan and several other states have also had cases. Here’s what you need to know about this disease.

Driving Farm Equipment on Public Roads

May 2005

Farmers who take equipment out on the public roads are required to have them marked with a U.S. Department of Transportation number. This PowerPoint presentation and fact sheet (PDF), provided by the Wisconsin State Patrol, explain the requirement.

Driving farm equipment on public roads is dangerous. Here’s another PowerPoint presentation provided by the Wisconsin State Patrol that outlines laws and safety precautions.

Alfalfa Winterkill

April 2005

More than one million acres of alfalfa in Wisconsin have been damaged by winterkill. Wisconsin dairy and livestock farmers may find they are short of feed both this summer and into the coming winter months. Extension Responds with information about alternate forages and management tips.

Soybean Aphid

April 2005

This year's soybean crop could be under attack by an army of tiny, thirsty insects, soybean aphids.  Aphid experts  say they have good reason to expect a lot of aphids to appear in Wisconsin fields this year.  Extension Responds with information about identifying, scouting, and controlling aphids.

Dairy Herd Health

February 2005

During late winter and early spring, cattle are prone to a complex set of metabolic problems, pneumonia, and other difficulties that can lead to loss of milk production, expensive veterinary bills, and even the death of some animals.

University of Wisconsin-Extension dairy experts offer advice and information to help keep dairy herds healthy.

Winter Feed Supplies

September 2004

Throughout the state, farmers wonder if they will have enough feed to see their livestock through the winter and how the freakish weather will affect the nutritional quality of that feed. Read how Extension Responds.

BSE - Mad Cow Disease
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

June 2004

Discovery of a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the State of Washington on Dec. 9 raises many questions about the safety of our food supply, the economic implications for domestic and international markets and about the way we raise livestock. Extension Responds with information about this important issue.

Natural Gas and Nitrogen Price Increases

Updated Fall 2003

Earlier this summer, some news reports speculated that the price of natural gas, already about 20 percent higher than it was a year ago, could see another huge increase in the coming winter. Since natural gas is the most costly component in the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizer and because much of our electricity is generated by burning natural gas, Wisconsin farmers would suffer a double hit if the price rises again.

Extension Responds with information about the prospects for natural gas prices and supplies and information you can use to help farmers conserve energy and save money.

Stress and Safety

April 2003

America farm families have a lot on their minds this spring. The combination of worries and stresses and an intense work schedule may put farmers and farm families at risk for work-related injuries and for symptoms of emotional and mental distress.

Extension Responds to this issue with information for Extension agents and others about dealing with personal and financial stress.