Gov. Walker declares drought emergency in Wisconsin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Walker declares drought emergency in Wisconsin

MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties Monday due to drought conditions.

This will allow farmers to get expedited permits to temporarily use stream or lake water for irrigation.

"Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service reports this week that most of the land in these counties is short or very short of soil moisture, and this week's U.S. Drought Monitor for the first time reported the southern tiers of Wisconsin counties to be in drought," says Walker.

Once the farmer requests the permit, the DNR must inspect the stream or lake in question within 72 hours to assure that fish and other aquatic life will not be harmed by the diversion.

Walker says, "Agriculture adds more than $59 billion to our economic output every year, and accounts for 354,000 jobs. One in every 10 Wisconsinite depends on agriculture for employment.  It's a vital sector of our economy that we need to protect."
 
The emergency 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, Marquette, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood.

The governor also encouraged farmers to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office.
 
Farmers can also turn to 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 email farmcenter@wisconsin.gov. The center is staffed 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
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