Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon showers with a high of 85. Sunrise is 5:37 AM and sunset 8:25 PM, for 14h 47m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.5% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1990, Greg LeMond, an American road racing cyclist, wins his third Tour de France after leading the majority of the race. It was LeMond’s second consecutive Tour de France victory.
Recommended for reading in full —
Summer Sewell reports Small farms vanish every day in America’s dairyland: ‘There ain’t no future in dairy’:
With the Wallenhorst dairy farm gone, there’s only one left on the seven-mile stretch from one side of town to the other; there were 22 when Ron was growing up there. “We worried no one would show up because dairy farms are just disappearing in our area, so there were fewer and fewer small farmers to buy from us,” Ron said.
The license plates for Wisconsin say “America’s Dairyland” beneath a picture of a red barn. The state has the most dairy farms in the country. But it lost 826 dairy farms in 2019, or 10% of its dairy herds – the most dramatic loss in the state’s history, and part of a downward trend which saw the state lose 44% of its dairy farms over the last decade. Last year, for the first time in state history, the number of dairy farms dipped below 7,000.
At the same time, milk production in the state has increased every year since 2004, and has set a new annual record each year since 2009, according to the US Department of Agriculture. In the last decade alone, Wisconsin has increased milk production by 25%. The number of operations declines, just as the number of cows per operation goes up – 3% of Wisconsin farms now produce roughly 40% of the state’s milk. Milk produced on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), or farms with more than about 700 cows but often housing thousands, is increasingly making up the state’s overall milk production.
Steven Greenhouse reports Wisconsin workers fight factory move to Mexico: ‘Anxiety is through the roof’:
For most of her 36 years at the Hufcor factory in Janesville, Wisconsin, Kathy Pawluk loved working there, at least until a private-equity firm took over four years ago. There were Christmas parties and summer picnics, and workers could listen to the radio as they built accordion-style room partitions for convention centers and hotel ballrooms.
“They treated people like they were family, not a number,” said Pawluk, 62. “We had the best health benefits. We had HR people who really cared about us.”
But Pawluk said things deteriorated soon after OpenGate Capital acquired Hufcor, a family-owned company founded in Janesville 120 years ago. “They basically told us ‘We don’t want to get to know you’ in so many words,” Pawluk said.
In late May, things took a turn for the worse. The company announced it was shuttering the sprawling plant and moving operations to Monterrey, Mexico, wiping out the jobs of 166 workers.
“They told us, ‘We can make a lot more money in Mexico. The labor is too high here. Parts cost too much here,’” Pawluk said “They’ll get away with paying dirt wages in Mexico.” Until she was laid off last week, she earned $20.92. Union officials now estimate that Hufcor’s workers in Mexico will make less than one-fifth that.
“I wasn’t so worried about myself. I’m close to retirement,” Pawluk said. “I’m more worried about the others. The rest of us are like family. We know each other’s kids. We know each other’s grandkids. Some friends have 30 years in, and they’re now forced to find another job. That sucks.”