KEWAUNEE COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in more than half of Wisconsin's counties. It's an effort to help growers deal with this year's lack of rain.
Local 5 first introduced you to Roger Buresh back in early June. The dry summer was causing concern for his crops. And today, not a lot has changed.
"It kind of reminds me of 1988," Buresh commented. "We had a dry spell."
The Kewaunee County farmer grows hay and corn to feed his cattle. He doesn't have an irrigation system, so Buresh relies solely on Mother Nature. While his corn crop is creeping higher and higher, that's mostly thanks to some extra time and money spent.
"We added extra nitrogen for the corn to give it that extra boost," he explained. "And that seems to help a little bit but it'll help more once we get that rain to break that nitrogen down."
Farmers across the state are in the same boat. That's why Governor Walker has declared a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties, 11 of which are right here in northeastern Wisconsin. The declaration will allow the DNR to expedite requests from farmers to divert water from streams and lakes for irrigation.
The governor is also urging farmers to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Service Agency Office. That data will help decide what low-cost federal emergency loans could be made available to farmers.
Buresh said the industry can use all the help it can get, because what started out as a promising early season, is quickly drying up.
"We came into spring so nice and warm," added Buresh. "I was looking for quite a crop this year. Now, we wait and look at the sky and wait for the dark clouds to come rolling in."
Farmers can also turn to the Wisconsin Farm Center, housed in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The Farm Center staff can provide referrals and information about available services, including such things as finding feed, financial planning assistance, and mediation between farmers and creditors.
Farmers can call the center toll-free at 1-800-942-2474, or email email@example.com. The center is staffed 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. weekdays.