This week I declared a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties due to drought or abnormally dry conditions. This allows farmers to receive certain permits in an expedited manner, helping them manage the abnormally dry weather.
The declaration covers these counties: Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond Du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, LaCrosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Wood, and any county contiguous to the named counties at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and upon written notification to the Governor.
I’ve also encouraged farmers to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office.
One additional resource available to farmers is the Wisconsin Farm Center, housed in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Farm Center staff can provide referrals and information about available services, including such things as finding feed, financial planning assistance, and mediation between farmers and creditors. Farmers can call the center toll-free at 1-800-942-2474, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The center is staffed 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
I am hopeful that this emergency declaration will help our agricultural community withstand the recent hot weather. Avoiding long term damage to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry is important as we work to create the economic environment that allows employers to create jobs.
The UW-Extension also provides frequent updates on the situation through their Drought 2012 Blog, which can be accessed at:http://fyi.uwex.edu/drought2012/.