Despite drought, Wisconsin not receiving federal aid

WASHINGTON CO. -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving federal aid to more than 1000 counties in 26 states by offering low-interest loans to farmers. But despite its severe drought designation, Wisconsin is not receiving a dime of that money.

Gretchen Smith of the Farm Service Agency has been getting lots of calls for assistance.

"At this point in time there is nothing available except for the crop insurance that you would carry," said Smith Friday.

States receiving federal aid have been in a severe drought for eight consecutive weeks. Wisconsin reached that level only a few days ago.

Smith says if dry conditions drag on, she expects help to be on the way soon.

"If they have crop insurance they need to report to their crop insurance.  If they do not have crop insurance just keep good records," said Smith.

Farmer Bob Roden in Washington County is not convinced the low-interest loans will save farms. He says the only sure savior now will come from the sky.

"Lots of prayers and rain. I'm afraid that I don't know what could help the farmers and sad to say some of them just won't survive," said Roden.

This is a crucial time for corn crops. Right now, it is pollinating, which grows the grain. Farmers say during this stage, corn needs at least an inch of rain a week. Before Friday, it is a total we have not seen in the last month.

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