Southern Wisconsin now classified as being in severe drought

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MILWAUKEE -- The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows southern Wisconsin classified as being in a severe drought. This includes the counties of Milwaukee Waukesha, Jefferson, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha.

The southern parts of Ozaukee, Washington and Dodge Counties are also classified in the severe category. The northern parts of those counties are classified as moderate drought.

The drought declaration includes 26 states, including Wisconsin.

Farmers are now comparing this drought to the one in 1988. Others say it's much worse -- and they're hoping for some relief.

"Rain would help. Any rain would help, but it's going to take a lot of rain to bring it around. Our crops are definitely hurting. No doubt about it. We've lost potential already," soybean farmer Dan Noble said.

Noble has farmed corn and soy beans for nearly 40 years. No water or rain this year means a shortage of crops.

"This country is to a point where we need every bushel we produce every year. When it's less, it trickles down," Noble said.

The map you see associated with this story is based on analysis of the data collected by the U.S.D.A., National Drought Mitigation Center, NOAA and the Dept. of Commerce.

A drought not only affects crops, but also livestock.

"I was optimistic. Last week I was worried, and this week I'm getting a little scared," dairy farmer Brian Schaal said.

Schaal said he's worried about his dairy cows and milk production due to the drought's effect on the corn crop.

"They need a lot of energy to produce the amount of milk they produce. If that energy isn't in our sillage in the form of corn, we're going to have to supplement their diets," Schaal said.

Farmers say a good indication of the severity of the drought is seen in the height of corn crops. Usually, around this time of the year, corn averages about 12 feet, and it is about half that right now.

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