For Immediate Release: July 24, 2012
Contact: Rebekah Sweeney, (608) 266-3790
Jorgensen’s Journal: Help for Those Devastated By Drought
You can take the kid off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the kid.
And that’s why, for the past two months, this Wisconsin farm kid has watched the forecasts and fields with growing concern. The lack of precipitation, combined with extreme heat, has the Southern half of the state experiencing a severe drought at a critical time for corn crops. It’s devastating to see field after field of stalks that the experts say may be worthless.
If they’re right, we’ll all pay for it.
You see, when livestock farmers can’t afford or don’t have access to enough corn-based feed for their pigs and cows, they send the animals to slaughter. That may drive prices at your meat market down in the short term, but costs will soar when there’s a shortage of livestock in the months ahead.
The bottomline is, we all should cross our fingers, say our prayers and hope for the very best. We need more rain, and soon.
Of course, for some, even a downpour won’t make a difference. Those farmers whose corn missed rain at the pollination window already know their crops are a loss.
If that is your situation, my heart goes out to you.
As a three-term member of the Assembly Committees on Agriculture and on Rural Economic Development and Rural Affairs, I was pleased to see the state request that the federal government designate 23 counties, including Dane, Jefferson, Rock and Walworth, as drought disaster areas. This designation would allow farmers to apply for much-needed loans through the Farm Service Agency. If you have questions about this request or the timetable, don’t hesitate to give me a call, toll-free, anytime at (888) 534-0037.
You may also find the folks at the Wisconsin Farm Center to be of service. They can help farmers find feed or suggest strategies for struggling crops. You can call the Wisconsin Farm Center toll-free at 1-800-942-2474 or email the experts at email@example.com
. Office hours are weekdays, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
And, ReadyWisconsin, which is an arm of Wisconsin Emergency Management, has set up a special website with links to drought resources. It provides information on where to report crop damages, guidelines for emergency irrigation, and facts about crop insurance. Check it out at www.readywisconsin.wi.gov/drought
. (Even people living in cities and towns may find this of help, as it also lists tips for water conservation, fire prevention, and health and safety in the heat.)
As I drive past the corn fields in the next couple weeks and stop at area farms to check in on friends and neighbors, I – like so many others – will be keeping a weather eye out for rain clouds. I’ll also be looking for resources to help those affected by this summer’s drought, and keep farmers posted on my progress.