Governor responds to beef, dairy farmers' concerns - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Governor responds to beef, dairy farmers' concerns

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HANCOCK (WKOW) -- The extreme drought isn't only affecting corn and soybean farmers. Dairy and beef farmers are suffering too as they struggle to find enough feed for their cattle.

That is why Gov. Scott Walker is encouraging farmers less affected by the dry conditions to replant crops and make them available for feed by posting on the UW-Extension website: http://farmertofarmer.uwex.edu/

It is something Heartland Farms already has plans to do.

Walker visited Heartland Farms in Hancock in Adams County on Friday. It's a fifth-generation potato and vegetable farm.

The farm has fared better than most in southern parts of the state during the drought.

That's because of its irrigation system.

While most corn and soybean growers are suffering... "That has a direct impact on dairy farmers, which then has a ripple effect in other areas as well with cheese production," says Gov. Walker.

"It's getting very difficult. It's been a very, very dry summer here," says Perry Keyes, a beef producer in Adams County. "The pastures have dried up and we're just not sure where we're going to get our feed from."

The secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says he's heard of farmers traveling as far as Nebraska and Canada for feed.

But UW-Extension's Farmer-to-Farmer Network aims to connect local farmers, making buying and selling a little easier.

"Our decision is to make it available at whatever it costs us, just basically our replacement cost to whatever we have in input costs in growing the additional forage crop," says Heartland Farms CEO Richard Pavelski.

Between his farm and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, they hope to plant 20,000-25,000 acres of forages in the next two weeks.

"The land is here, the irrigation water, the irrigation pivot systems are here, the tillage equipment, the planting equipment are all here. So, we can react to an emergency quickly."

You can also visit this website for more drought-related information and resources: http://ready.wi.gov/

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