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Walker seeks federal aid for Northwestern Wisconsin farmers

Gov. Scott Walker is asking U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to issue a disaster declaration for Northwestern Wisconsin farmers who were affected by July storms and flooding.In a letter dated Sept. 15, Walker wrote that farmer...

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Gov. Scott Walker is asking U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to issue a disaster declaration for Northwestern Wisconsin farmers who were affected by July storms and flooding.
In a letter dated Sept. 15, Walker wrote that farmers in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron counties suffered crop losses of 30 percent or more to alfalfa, barley, oats, corn and wheat. Ashland and Bayfield counties UW Extension Agriculture Agent Jason Fischbach said damaged roads caused hassles for producers trying to get to their fields.
"There was a vegetable producer that was totally flooded out and some hay bales that were moved around, flooded and ruined," he said. "But, generally, this was more of an infrastructure storm that took out all of the culverts and crossings here and there."
Fischbach said it’s been a challenging year for producers because a wet spring also flooded out croplands or delayed seeding.
"Ashland and Bayfield counties, I’d say there’s more damage from the spring weather than from the storm in terms of crop production," Fischbach said. "That said, fields that were adjacent to waterways, there was a lot of damage there."
He said anyone south of U.S. Highway 2 would have experienced some flooding or potential damage.
"If they had drainages or waterways running through their property, they would’ve seen either some localized flooding to their fields or damage to crossings," he said.
If the USDA secretary grants a disaster declaration, farmers would be eligible to access emergency loans for their losses.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news .

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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