- Associated Press - Saturday, May 10, 2014
More Wisconsin farms become extended family affair

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The federal government released new farm data this month in the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which helps illustrate changes in how the nation’s food is produced. Here’s a look at some interesting trends in Wisconsin:

FAMILY FARMS

Advertisers and retailers use the phrase “family farm” to conjure images of small, idyllic homesteads run by a nuclear family. Some Wisconsin farms still fit that mold, but a growing number are run by extended families, with siblings, cousins and other relatives working together.

Most of Wisconsin’s 69,754 farms are family-owned, but nearly half - 48.6 percent - are run by more than one person.

Farmers say there are two main advantages to working together: They can focus on individual areas of expertise and take breaks. Partnerships are particularly appealing in the dairy industry, where cows need nearly around-the-clock care.

Karen Hughes oversees milking and care of the 900 cows on a farm near Allenton started by her father and his three brothers in the 1970s. Cousins and friends also have come on board with expertise that improves the farm’s operation, specializing in things like manure management, crop rotation and machinery.

“When the skid loader breaks, I don’t have to worry about fixing it, I can call a guy who knows exactly how to fix it, and he’s fast at it because he knows how to do it,” said Hughes, 29.

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Illinois man convicted in Wisconsin strangulation

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) - A jury in northeastern Wisconsin deliberated for less than three hours before convicting an Illinois man this week of killing a pregnant woman in 2012.

Brian M. Cooper, 37, was found guilty Friday of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, the Door County Advocate reported (http://gbpg.net/1syowWchttp://gbpg.net/1syowWc ). He’ll face life in prison when he’s sentenced July 24, although the judge will have the option of allowing for the possibility for parole.

Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Cooper was charged with killing 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield, who was six months pregnant. She was strangled in August 2012 at a resort in Wisconsin’s Door County.

Cooper and Bromfield, who were both from Plainfield, Illinois, were in Door County for the wedding of Cooper’s sister.

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