WASHINGTON COUNTY -- With the significant lack of rainfall this summer, southeastern Wisconsin remains under a severe drought declaration, and dairy farmers say it's hitting them hard. With livestock and dairy products affected, consumers will pay higher prices at the grocery store.
There are 2,000 dairy cattle at Sunset Farms in the Town of Addison, where the Wolf Family says milk production is down this summer, and food for the cattle is less plentiful.
The dairy cattle at Sunset Farms are milked three times daily. The Wolf Family says milk production is down at least 5,000 pounds per day.
The Wolf Family says feeding the cattle is more difficult due to the drought, which has taken its toll on crops like alfalfa, corn and soybeans, used in the feed.
"It's agonizing because you sit there and just see beautiful crops shrivel up and kind of die. You can't do nothing about it. You just have to wait it out," Dan Wolf said.
Wolf said instead of having the usual excess of corn, he'll have to search for and buy corn from areas not affected by the drought.
Federal statistics released every Thursday show southern Wisconsin to be in a severe drought status as of last Thursday, July 12th. Other areas have been hit worse, falling into the extreme or exceptional drought category.
Northern Wisconsin has been unaffected by the drought.
The heat also affects livestock and farms, as workers have to be sure to keep the livestock cool in extreme heat, using fans and misters. Younger cows have sand for bedding instead of hay, to keep them cool.
"The electric bills are going to be skyrocketed, and it costs that much more to cool the milk down," Wolf said.
Sunset Farms has crop insurance, and this year, Wolf expects to use it.