MADISON -- Farmers say they're thankful lawmakers are standing up for the agricultural community during the "severe drought." This, as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker asked Thursday that 23 Wisconsin counties receive federal disaster declaration, and help from the federal government -- on the same day it was announced Wisconsin's drought level has been elevated to "severe drought," the fourth level on a five-level scale.
Southeastern Wisconsin did receive some rainfall this week, albeit not enough to officially end this drought. However, Kenneth Kohlwey is working hard to make the most of it.
"The corn got green. It was so shriveled up yesterday. It was terrible. It seems like leaves are up and wanting to catch more rain," Kohlwey said.
With a pasture full of dry hay and alfalfa, Kohlwey -- a dairy farmer, isn't getting what he needs from Mother Nature to grow the crops he needs to feed his cows and fuel his business.
"The hay is getting low. Another two weeks and we'll have to start buying hay. I don't know where to get it from -- have to ship it in and transportation costs too. It's a vicious cycle," Kohlwey said.
Gov. Walker is trying to get help for farmers like Kohlwey, through a federal disaster designation. This would allow farmers to apply for emergency loans.
Meanwhile, other state leaders are wondering what else they can do on their end. Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald worries the extreme drought could prove catastrophic.
"I heard a figure the other day that 30 percent of all of the crops in Wisconsin are not insured, so if one of those dairy farmers falls into that category or somebody doing a cash crop, it might be far worse than we ever imagined," Fitzgerald said.
Unfortunately, Kohlwey is one of those farmers without insurance. He may apply for an emergency loan if it's an option, but without it, the future looks bleak. Kohlwey doesn't have access to irrigation for his farm.
Gov. Walker has extended the drought emergency to cover all 72 Wisconsin counties, as of Wednesday, July 18th. That allows farmers to tap into water supplies without the hassle it would normally take to get through that process.
- Gov. Walker requests fed. disaster declaration for 23 counties
- Some farmers say crops not ready for farmer’s markets due to drought
- Wisconsin leaders looking for solutions amidst “severe drought”
- Gov. Walker to tour drought-stricken parts of Wisconsin
- Southern Wisconsin now under “extreme drought” conditions
- Pumpkin farmer battling against Mother Nature to save crop
- Gov. Walker declares drought emergency in ALL 72 WI counties
- Farmers dealing with drought cannot relax at Waukesha Co. Fair
- Obama calling on Congress to provide drought assistance
- Consumers could face steeper grocery bills due to drought
- Farm’s crops suffering from drought despite irrigation system