Morning State News Roundup: Ag exports rose by five percent for first half of 2012Wisconsin News
-- Wisconsin’s agricultural exports rose by five-percent in the first half of the year, compared to the same time in 2011.
Wisconsin’s agricultural exports rose by five-percent in the first half of the year, compared to the same time in 2011.
State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel said one-and-a-half billion dollars in Wisconsin farm-related products were sold in over 132 nations from January-through-June. And the state’s exports of dairy-related products like milk, cheese, and whey jumped by a whopping 27-percent. Brancel said Wisconsin’s agricultural exports grew at a time when similar exports nationwide dropped by four-percent. As a result, the Badger State is now 14th in ag exports, up from 16th the year before. Canada, Mexico, China, Korea, and Japan are the top five customers for Wisconsin goods.
A UW research project will monitor some students who take the university’s online classes, with the goal of identifying students who are doing poorly early on. The Madison and Platteville campuses are taking part in the pilot project, along with the two-year UW Colleges. Madison vice provost Aaron Brower says a computer program will keep track of how long students are online during their course work, how much time is spent on certain problems, and if a student uses the discussion boards. Brower says the information will then be matched with other student data like academic histories – and the end result will be a system that can tell early in a semester whether a student is likely to succeed-or-fail in a particular course. The project is being funded by a three-year, $650,000 grant from the UW System. Brower says the ultimate goal is to run the tracking program throughout the entire university system – but it will take a few years to accomplish that.
Some crops wilted under Wisconsin’s hot-and-dry summer – but blueberries are said to be doing well. Grower Moni Jarvis of Bear Creek says her customers have been walking away with buckets of berries – and the warm temperatures did a nice job of sealing in the juices, and keeping the blueberries ripe. Jarvis says her farm uses irrigation to keep the berries moist – but there’s nothing like a good soaking rain to get that job done. She says this year’s drought will have an effect on next year’s crop. As for this year’s berries, the picking season generally goes through August.
Enbridge Energy says it’s close to finishing its cleanup work in Adams County. That’s where over 50,000 gallons of crude oil gushed from a broken pipeline almost a month ago. The pipeline was re-opened last week, after the federal government approved a plan to monitor the entire line which sends Canadian crude from Superior to refineries around Chicago. Officials say about 17,000 tons of contaminated soil have been removed near the leak. The state DNR says around 45,000 tons of soil will be taken away once the clean-up is finished. Enbridge says it hopes the majority of the work will be done by Saturday. The soil is being hauled to Veolia Environmental Services in Wisconsin Rapids. It’s being treated there, and it will eventually end up in a company landfill.