MADISON - Wisconsin's farmers and ranchers have less than a week to sign up for the federal Conservation Stewardship Program.
The voluntary program provides financial and technical help to eligible farmers and ranchers who conserve and enhance soil, water, air and related natural resources on their land.
Friday is the deadline to sign up.
The stewardship program is run by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. Participants receive annual payments for installing and adopting conservation activities and improving, maintaining and managing existing activities.
They can also get supplemental payments for adopting resource-conserving crop rotations.
More than 39,000 farmers and ranchers participated between 2009 and 2012. They enrolled over 50 million acres of farm and ranch land and received conservation payments worth $680 million a year.
ANTIGO - When the Kretz family started the Kretz Lumber Company here in Antigo in 1929, they built part of the original saw mill with hemlock that grew near the property. Now, a piece of hemlock far older than that serves as a bit of the company's rich history.
On the south side of the property outside the so-called "Cabin" stands an eight-foot-tall hemlock log. A ginseng farmer in Bryant dug it up while plowing a field and thought it looked old.
UW-Madison carbon dated the log and discovered it's 1,200 to 1,600 years old. That's from about the time the Vikings started raiding Europe.
"A lot of people go back in their mind and they try to think back through history and what it would've been like," Kretz Lumber President Troy Brown said. "So that's kind of the fun part and it brings up conversations like that."
RHINELANDER - North Brown Street is now open and parking is also available. It has parallel parking spots and angled spots. Restaurants have already noticed an increase in business after the street opened late last week.
"We had very good business this weekend. We were very glad that before Friday they were opened. They opened the roads so our Friday Fishfry was back to its normal pace," said Bucketheads server Ashley Hull.
"Last weekend when it opened up, of course it was packed out front. Everyone's using it and I think everyone's getting used to the new parallel and angled parking. I know it was a big shock for everyone that it was going to happen, but everyone's embracing it and getting used to it," said Rhinelander Café & Bar co-owner Brooke Johnson.
The Davenport Street Bridge is still closed, but it's getting closer to opening. Once that happens, downtown will be even easier to access for people coming from the west side of town.
ANTIGO - In one way, Antigo Silt Loam isn't all that special.
"The reason the Antigo Silt Loam soil was selected wasn't that it represented the whole state, or exists throughout the whole state, or that it was the most productive," said Matt Ruark, an associate professor in the Soil Science department at UW-Madison.
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