What a difference a year makes. In 2011 many Wisconsin corn growers saw record prices and harvested robust yields. Anticipating another year of strong global demand, American farmers this spring planted the most corn acreage since 1937.
But as every producer knows, farming is risky business — weather and pests can easily threaten a successful season – and the current drought has many producers scrambling to survive.
In the face of the severe drought, Wisconsin farmers will do as they always have—make the best of the situation. Some may harvest crops early, many will wait for rain, and others will make plans to replant alternatives later in the season. Even as farmers continuously evaluate options, they are working to keep Wisconsin’s dairy cows healthy and productive, to deliver the grains that we consume every day, and to ensure that this season’s potatoes and vegetables are ready to be served in our schools this fall. We are grateful for their dedication.
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the drought in Wisconsin is so severe that 23 counties have been declared a federal disaster. I welcome that action and include below links that farmers can use to access information and assistance.
Producers who are working hard to adapt during this drought ought to expect the same level of effort from their policy makers in Washington. Last month the Senate passed a new Farm Bill that includes important program updates and disaster relief for areas hardest hit by extreme weather. With the current bill set to expire at the end of September, it is critical that the House of Representatives supports our farmers by passing a bill as soon as possible.
Wisconsin farmers are coping with extraordinary challenges this season, and I am grateful for their determination and resourcefulness. My office stands ready to assist in this difficult year.
USDA’s Disaster and Drought Assistance programs
University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Drought Resources
Farmer-to-Farmer Hay and Forage Marketplace
Farmer-to-Farmer Tool for Pasture Rental
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources