SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. - Wisconsin's mink farms are growing with demand for high-quality furs in China.
Fur rancher Bob Zimbal, of Sheboygan Falls, said he had 34,000 mink at his three farms a decade ago. Today, he has 54,000 breeding females, 26 miles worth of cages and an on-site feed plant.
Zimbal was among those who struggled after pelt prices sunk to $25 each in the late `90s. He said competition from farmers producing cheap pelt overseas made it hard to get by. But today, mink pelts are going for an average of $94 each.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture report said Chinese fur processors are buying foreign pelts because the country's homegrown furs have low quality resulting from inbreeding, high feed costs and ensuing poor nutrition.
Wisconsin is the top mink-producing state.
- Poynette woman calls for action over million-dollar scam
- Warmer weather means construction starts on Capitol Square
- Family-owned business disputes child labor laws
- Memorial High all-school read sparks conversations about race, social justice
- DNR provides funding to remove lead service lines from homes
- Delavan man killed in motorcycle vs. tree crash, officials say