- 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:


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.


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 (https://gbpg.net/1syowWchttps://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.

Cooper wasn’t the baby’s father, although Cooper and Bromfield did have a romantic relationship at one time, according to his defense attorney, John Birdsall.

Birdsall didn’t immediately return a message left at his office Saturday.


Man whose Madison mother slain has forgiven killer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A man whose mother and sister were fatally stabbed by a Madison neighbor this month says he has forgiven their killer.

Chad Grossmann tells WISC-TV (https://bit.ly/RylLXyhttps://bit.ly/RylLXy ) the victims were both “just wonderful people.” He recalled how his mother, Robin, loved birds and squirrels, and how his sister, Charity, loved to laugh.

The victims were killed May 2. Chad’s teenage brother was injured and briefly hospitalized.

Madison police say Londrell Johnson stabbed the women, and still had the knife in his hand when an officer shot and killed him.

Chad Grossmann says he forgives Johnson, who was mentally ill and on medication. Grossmann says he blames the lack of funding to help support the mentally ill.

The funerals for Robin and Charity Grossmann were set for Saturday morning.



Toddler dies after being found in Wisconsin river

TOWN OF PELICAN, Wis. (AP) - Authorities in Oneida County say a toddler has died after being found in a river that runs along the child’s backyard.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call Saturday about 1:30 p.m. reporting a missing 15-month-old in the Town of Pelican.

Deputies say the mother was outside with the child and another sibling. The mother says she went inside to move laundry into the dryer, and when she came back she couldn’t find the 15-month-old.

Emergency officials rushed to the home, which sits along the Pelican River. A deputy found the toddler in the water about 30 minutes later, downstream from the home. The child was rushed to a hospital and was declared dead about 3 p.m.

Deputies haven’t released any other information, including the child’s name or gender.

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