FRI AM News: Wet weather slowing down Wisconsin farmers; WisBusiness: The Podcast with Shannon Lory of Arch Virtual


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-- Unusually soggy weather has been a drag on Wisconsin agricultural production.

"Basically, the spring was cool and wet, so farmers were delayed at getting crops in the field," said Greg Bussler, state statistician for the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Wisconsin.

He says the wet conditions throughout the growing season turns out to be too much of a good thing, as frequent showers and high moisture levels can change the quality of the soil for the worse.

"In some cases, the soil becomes hard, crusted due to wetness when it dries out," he said. "When this happens at planting, some seeds can't sprout up above the ground, so some farmers had to replant."

The spring was challenging for farmers because it started out cold during planting season, then the state saw a burst of warm weather which drove hay crops to mature overly quickly, according to Kathy Schmidt, director of the Wisconsin Farm Center at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

"Farmers were trying to finish planting while hay was ready to be harvested -- there's a shortage of labor then; you're split," Schmidt explained. "Since the hay was ready to harvest earlier than expected, and planting season took longer than is typical, that created a squeeze."

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-- This episode of "WisBusiness The Podcast" features Shannon Lory, a partner in virtual reality firm Arch Virtual.

He discusses the company's role in getting clearance for the Spark Building, future home of StartingBlock Madison. He also gives his take on how VR is disrupting other industries and providing more diverse opportunities for innovation.

Listen to the podcast here:

See a full list of podcasts here:

-- Comply365 recently received an investment from San Francisco-based investment firm Luminate Capital Partners.

According to Kerry Frank, CEO and co-founder of Comply365, the company "needed another round to put into additional products and additional growth."

"With new innovations in our software coming out, it will allow us to go to that next level of growth for our customer base," she told

Comply365's software platform is widely used by the aviation industry; its "electronic flight bag" provides pilots with flight manuals and up-to-date notifications. Over 75 percent of North American airlines use its solutions, and the company says it plans to "double its international footprint" this year.

Frank said the company is now working on incorporating mobile maintenance manuals, which could save mechanics time and energy by better organizing the information they need.

Another new solution is digital briefing for pilots, which the company launched about two weeks ago. This replaces the paper-based briefing that's often used, reducing the amount of documents pilots have to carry around.

And as for pursuing future investment, Frank says she's not sure yet if that will be necessary to sustain the company's growth.

"At this point, you never know when you will need to grow at a different pace," she said. "This investment is going to last us quite a while -- hopefully this is my last round."

The amount invested was not disclosed, due to a Luminate Capital Partners policy. The private equity firm looks mostly at software and software-enabled services companies.

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-- Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are now available for small business, agriculture cooperatives, small aquaculture companies and private nonprofit organizations in the state.

These loans are being offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration to offset damages from the freezing temperatures between January and May of this year. The loan program is available to certain entities that suffered an economic loss as a direct result of the weather.

Though available to aquaculture operations, the loans are not available for agricultural producers, ranchers or farmers.

"When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Loan amounts can range up to $2 million with 2.5 percent interest rate for nonprofits and 3.125 percent interest for small businesses, with terms of up to 30 years.

The disaster declaration covers the following counties: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond Du Lac, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Shawano, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca and Winnebago.

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-- PyraMax Bank, a federally chartered mutual savings bank with nine locations in southeastern Wisconsin, is committing $1 million of portfolio mortgage money to fund home purchases and rehabilitation efforts for the Harambee neighborhood in Milwaukee.

This money will support loans for families that want to buy a home, or for those that need to rehab the building before moving in. The neighborhood is also supported by the Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative, which was created nine years ago with the goal of revitalizing the northern part of the area.

PyraMax Bank CEO Richard Hurd and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will officially announce the initiative on Tuesday at the home of Harambee homeowners, the Noth and Graves families, at 2659 North 1st St.

The bank will also hold a Harambee Homeownership Initiative Open House on July 15 at the bank's Third Ward Office at 318 N. Water St. Interested parties can learn more about loans and apply for pre-approval at this event.

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Noise complaints prompt Madison proposal for $300 karaoke license

UWM attains national accreditation for its school of public health

Assembly leaders say Foxconn could bring 10,000 jobs to Wisconsin

411 office building sale in downtown Milwaukee sets new high

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- Milwaukee Art Museum hires Google branding strategist as new marketing director

- Farmers struggling with wet fields, yellowing crops

- Knee high? Not in all areas of the state!

- State dairy herd count now totals 9,046

- Zilber Family Foundation issues $2.2 million in neighborhood grants

- National DHIA scholarship applications now being accepted

- PDPW webinars focus on weather-related stress on dairy animals

- Inside MillerCoors' Fort Worth facility where millions of barrels of beer are brewed every year

- Physicians Realty Trust earns $391 million from public offering

- Rogers Memorial opens adolescent recovery program at West Allis hospital

- Tammy Baldwin likely a 'yes' on single-payer health care, but waiting for bill

- Democratic proposal would make BadgerCare available to all Wisconsin residents

LEGAL ^top^
- Summerfest sues Red Lobster over chain's promotions

- Caterpillar campus in South Milwaukee is for sale

- GOP Assembly leaders say Foxconn project would bring 10,000 jobs

- Zilber Family Foundation awards $2.2 million in grants

- Vos says iPhone manufacturer eyeing southeastern Wisconsin

- 411 Building fetches nine figures in recent sale

- Jeffers adds to portfolio with downtown Milwaukee office building purchase

- Dick's store could open in former Sports Authority space in Greenfield

- 833 East lands 10th floor tenant from Oklahoma City

- Jeffers buys historic downtown building for restoration, lays broader plans for Broadway

- Downtown 411 building sells for $124.6 million

- FSA acreage reporting deadlines approaching soon

- Wisconsin tribe withholds state payment over casino dispute

RETAIL ^top^
- The Village Cheese Shop in Wauwatosa opens

- Dick's Sporting Goods eyes former Sports Authority space in Greenfield

- Village Cheese Shop open in Wauwatosa

SPORTS ^top^
- See what 45% of an arena looks like from the air: Slideshow

- Platteville seeks help moving, restoring 150-year-old former hotel

- Zanotti named president at GO Riteway

- Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: Card skimmer bill aimed at stopping gas pump scam

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Keller, Inc.: To build for Northwoods Dentistry
Madison Metropolitan Sewage District: Businesses encouraged to apply for chloride reduction rebates
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PyraMax Bank and City of Milwaukee: Announce Harambee Mortgage Initiative
Schenck: Presents Excellence in Leadership Foundation series
SEEK Professionals: Purchases Technical Employment Services
Wilde East Towne Honda: Delivers one of the first Civic Type R's in Wisconsin
Wisconsin BioFuels Association: WBFA releases statement on the EPA's proposed 2018 renewable volume obligation
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: Issues statement on Gov. Walker's proposed transportation budget compromise