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Gov. Walker Declares State of Emergency for Drought Conditions

Farmers can receive expedited permits to use streams and lakes for irrigation.

It might not come as a surprise, but 42 counties in Wisconsin are officially considered in drought, including Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties.

Gov. Scott Walker declared Monday a state of emergency because of the dry conditions. The declaration allows for expedited permits for farmers to temporarily use stream or lake water for irrigation, according to a news release.

The lakes and streams must be inspected within 72 hours of the request to ensure that fish and aquatic life will not be harmed by the diversion, the release states. Farmers are encouraged to report crop conditions to the U.S. Farm Service Agency office.

"The lack of rainfall since May in the southern half of the state has hit hard in a crucial part of the growing season," Walker said.  "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.”

Locally, the dry condition has impacted local farmers. A handful of vendors attending the didn’t come to the market last Saturday because of a lack of produce, according to John Ward with the Waukesha Business Improvement District. It was the first time that occurred this year.

“It hasn’t been too bad yet, but we will see as it keeps going,” Ward said.

The farmers’ market , which means there were still many vendors last Saturday. The ones that stayed home on Saturday will be back depending on the weather conditions; others are coming back no matter what, according to Ward.

Agriculture accounts for $59 billion to the state’s economy and 354,000 jobs, Walker said in the release.

“It's a vital sector of our economy that we need to protect," Walker said.

Also from the release: 

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. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

James R Hoffa July 10, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Romney has shown time and again that he is able to wear different pants, appropriate for the job that he's undertaking at the time. Yes, let's hope for rain soon!
Chris Larsen July 10, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Farmers on Braun Road have been sucking water out of Pike's creek for a couple of weeks now, way before this came down.
James R Hoffa July 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Hoffa has been graced with the power and insight of divinity ever since his immaculate conception! Schmitzy may have a legion of fans, but Hoffa has worshipers! Is that enough of the commentary from my ass? As to the issue of global warming, I don't think that any of us have personally studied it enough to intelligently comment as to such! Even in science, it's only just a theory until concrete enough to become a law. Theories are proven wrong every day. It's in properly testing these theories that we learn. And the learning is more important than the eventual law that we arrive at. "Imagination is more important than knowledge"
Mark Czerniec July 10, 2012 at 07:23 PM
The arctic ice cap will soon be gone.
Gregory Kluck July 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM
On climate change, yes, the climate goes through cycles. It's been doing that since time began. The 30s blizzards and dust bowl drought was brought up. I've seen those photos of cities under many feet of snow and people shoveling pathways taller than themselves from their homes. My grandparents told me the stories of the time. Ivé seen and studied books about the dust bowl years and the migration of many unemployed to the West. As far as being able to do anything about it? I don't think we can. Some say to end dependence on fossil fuels, others say downsize industrial centers. Oh yes, we can have all our stuff made elsewhere but it is still the same planet and climate cycles travel the globe. Someone here stated that cities are naturally warmer because of the reflective ability of steel, glass, cement and pavement. Short of tearing cities down and covering them with dirt, I do not believe people can force the climate to change for the worse or better in the current time. A volcano erupting causes more strange weather than the cars and factories of man. Even electric cars require a plant to produce its energy and to manufacture them.

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