State helps farmers connect to lessen blow from Wisconsin drought
MADISON - Government officials in Wisconsin are taking steps to help farmers assist each other in getting through one of the worst droughts in decades.
"We've got to put all hands on deck," said Governor Scott Walker on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
The state has established this web site to help farmers connect and share resources to help their farm businesses survive this incredibly dry period.
"It lists all the different things we're doing to help farmers deal with this severe, and in many cases, severe drought conditions," explained Walker.
"We're still anywhere from 3"-6" behind the normal rainfall and probably won't get caught up until October."
He explained that it hasn't just been crops such as corn and soybeans that have dramatically suffered during the heat wave of 2012.
"Where the real, longer-term concern is that a lot of our dairy farmers won't have enough feed going into the winter," said Walker. "Our big concern was the fact that you might have dairy farmers literally taking their herds to market and decide to opt to get out because they couldn't sustain milking cows."
To combat that possibility, the state has led some potato and vegetable farmers to put in crops that can yield the kind of feeds to help cows survive until the next year.
"(They've) got an opening where, before they put down other crops to help with erosion, they could put in another crop of forage. They're going to connect with dairy farmers to help with the feed they need to sustain them," explained Walker.
"By connecting more farmers, it gives them a hope and sense that there will be feed and they can make it through the winter."
This could help soften the economic blow that the drought will cause in our state.
"It's about a $60 billion part of our state economy."