February 13, 2016

Drought hits southern Wisconsin

Governor Walker has ordered a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties because of an ongoing drought across much of the southern half of the state.

The declaration comes as the U.S. Drought Monitor for the first time reported the southern tiers of the state are in a drought, with much of the land in those counties short of soil moisture. Much of the southern Wisconsin has seen little or no rain in almost six weeks.

State Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection communications director Jim Dick says the declaration allows farmers in those 42 counties to seek emergency permits to use stream or lake water for irrigation. Dick says farmers should contact the Department of Natural Resources, which will evaluate condition within 72 hours and determine if a permit will be issued.

Farmers are also being urged to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Services Agency office. The information could be used if the state needs to request additional federal assistance down the road, should entire crops be lost because of a continued drought.

DATCP is offering assistance to farmers who need help dealing with the dry conditions, including financial advice.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:02)

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