Pumpkin farmer battling against Mother Nature to save crop

BROWN DEER — Though some areas did see some rain on Wednesday evening, July 18th, one storm isn’t going to solve the big drought problem that has extended through the entire state of Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker has now declared all 72 Wisconsin counties under a drought state-of-emergency. One farmer is taking extreme measures, hoping his pumpkin crop can survive this drought.

Farmer Larry Laux and his family love Halloween, but says it is frightening what the drought is doing to his pumpkin patch.

“This is scarier than our haunted house is because you are at the mercy of the weather,” Laux said.

For the first time ever, every day, Laux attaches a giant tank to his tractor and waters his pumpkin plants row by row — fighting an uphill battle against Mother Nature. This, after working an eight-hour shift as a welder.

“I need to save my pumpkin crop,” Laux said.

Experts like UW Extension farm business educator Alan Linnebur say it may already be too late for farmers.

“We’re kind of getting to that spot where no matter what, yields are seriously diminished,” Linnebur said.

Late Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency for all 72 Wisconsin counties, and Linnebur says a national disaster declaration could follow if the rain continues to hold out.

Meanwhile, Laux says he will continue to fill up his tank up to six times a day, and give his pumpkins what they so desperately need.

“The effort is worth it when it’s growing,” Laux said.

Laux says his fear is what he will do once the pumpkins form vines that make watering with a tractor impossible.

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