Governor tours drought-stricken farmland - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Governor tours drought-stricken farmland

DODGEVILLE (WKOW) -- From the air and the ground, Governor Walker toured drought-stricken farmland in southern Wisconsin Friday, promising a coordinated effort from state government and stakeholders to try to help farmers.

At a Dodgeville farm, Walker surveyed fields of stunted corn first from a helicopter and then on foot.

Walker stressed his request Thursday for a federal disaster declaration for 23 counties in southern Wisconsin could lead to low-interest loans to farmers with sub-par crop yields.

Walker also said state officials are looking at a program in Nebraska to implement here, where land in public rights-of-way are planted and cultivated, as a method of addressing grain shortages.

Walker said officials are brainstorming to develop a package of measures to help agriculture cope with the drought, including relaxing weight limits to allow for the movement of more feed for livestock.

Walker conceded conditions created by the drought and recent, extreme heat, represent significant challenges for the agriculture industry.

UW-Extension agriculture agent for Iowa County Gene Schriefer sad this week's rain was at least a small boost to a struggling corn crop. "That is going to salvage what potential we have left."

But dairy farmer Kyle Levetzow of Dodgeville, who hosted the governor at his farm said even  this week's break in the dry weather was a mixed blessing. Levetzow said rainfall was accompanied by high winds. Levetzow said faltering corn stalks were flattened before had he had the chance to cut them and realize some value from them.

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