Farmer: Drought ramifications to last far beyond summer

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WAUKESHA -- Time spent on a tractor in southeastern Wisconsin this summer is called "hot" and "dry" -- along with "financially challenging." To this end, Gov. Scott Walker asked that 23 Wisconsin counties be given "federal disaster declarations." Wednesday, July 25th, federal officials made that declaration, making farms in 23 counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans.

Waukesha County's Cozy Nook Farm has been dealing with the ramifications of this summer's hot, dry weather. The season of swelter has meant cooling off 130 bovine -- raising the electricity bills due to the 24/7 running of fans. The dairy cattle produce less milk in high heat, and feed used is more expensive because the cost of ingredients used to make it have risen.

"We will probably lose as much money as we will make in two good years. We're off about 15% on a daily basis (of milk)," farmer Tom Oberhaus said.

Oberhaus said this is the second most difficult summer he has experienced.

Oberhaus lives in one of the 23 counties the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a natural disaster area. The declaration allows farmers like Oberhaus to be eligible to borrow money with an interest rate of 2.5%.

"If there are some low-interest loans out there, we will certainly be taking advantage of them," Oberhaus said.

Oberhaus says the cash crunch won't catch up until long after the summer sun.

"That's life in small business," Oberhaus said.

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