24 Wisconsin Counties Designated Natural-Disaster Areas
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
GREENLEAF- Federal officials have approved natural-disaster designations for 24 Wisconsin counties where excessive rain and snow resulted in crop losses and 13 of those counties are right here in Northeast Wisconsin.
Farmers say it's been a tough start to the planting season. They're almost a month behind schedule and may never catch up, which is why they're glad the government stepped in to help.
As Frank Hutjens feeds his cows on his farm in Greenleaf he's thinking about a million other things.
"We've been busy," said Hutjens.
That's because farmers can finally get out in their fields again, they've been delayed by constant rainfall.
"You never have a chance for the sub-soil to dry out to get in there and do any work to work the soil to get anything planted," said Dennis Halbach. Halbach is the Vice President of agronomy at Agri-Partners Coop.
Some farmers have lost almost two thirds of their crops and the little they can plant is almost a month behind schedule. Corn that should be knee high right now barely hits a person's ankles.
"We'll be going into winter short of feed becuase last year we were short of feed so this winter is going to be almost worse," said Hutjens.
To help farmers out the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a natural disaster for 24 counties in Wisconsin allowing farmers to apply for low interest emergency loans as well as other programs to help farmers with their crops. Those loans applicatins are judged based on the extent of crop losses and the ability of the farmer to repay the loan.
For Hutjens he just hopes the weather cooperates until he can harvest the limited crops he could plant.
"If we get adequate moisture I thinkwe're going to be okay, but if it dries up and quits raining I think we're going to have a problem," said Hutjens.
Some farmers say if things get too bad it may trickle down to the consumer, meaning prices of food and milk could rise, but they say it's too early to know that for sure right now.