Some farmers say crops not ready for farmer’s markets due to drought

SOUTH MILWAUKEE — Even if you’re not a farmer hoping rain will save your crops, the drought will affect us all. As of Thursday, July 19th, Wisconsin is under a “severe drought” declaration, the fourth on a five-level scale. Most have predicted an eventual rise in prices for some items in grocery stores, as a result of the hot, dry weather we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Some farmers have yet to show up to the South Milwaukee Farmer’s Market so far this season. They say their crops aren’t ready. Others say the drought’s affect on their crops will affect the general public’s bottom line.

Farms like Geneva Lakes in Burlington have been hit hard by the drought.

“It’s been pretty difficult lately. We’ve been irrigating like 24/7, trying to keep everything as much as possible. I know a lot of stuff has been damaged. We don’t have any lettuce,” Rachelle Bergersen said.

Down the road at B.S.W. Farms, they say the drought’s affect on the corn crop has affected their chickens, which has affected the production of poultry and eggs for consumers.

“The price is going to go up. The older (chickens) aren’t laying, and they’re going to have to go,” Karen Stardy said.

While farmers say they see an eventual price increase on some items at the grocery store, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture says that won’t likely happen until next year, later in 2013.

One consumer expert says by spring of 2013, we can expect higher prices for milk, poultry and eggs.

The Wisconsin Corn Growers Association says it’s too early to make predictions.

“I think it is safe to say there will be an impact. The extent of that impact, we maybe don’t know today. We don’t know how much of the corn crop this year is salvageable, if any at all,” one expert said.

With the USDA estimating this will be the lowest corn yield in nine years, it most likely won’t be a good thing in an already dry economic time. Experts say the biggest impact on food prices is the cost of gasoline to manufacture and transport food, and fortunately, that is down.

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