UW agriculture expert on current dry spell: 'Let's hope it rains'
MADISON - An agriculture professor in the University of Wisconsin says that farmers are experiencing some level of anxiety over the lack of rain so far this spring and summer.
"Yeah, there's definitely some nervousness out there..a little over half the crops are very short of rain," explained Dr. Paul Mitchell, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin, on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"Let's hope it rains."
He says that Wisconsin hasn't reached drought conditions yet, but if there's no rainfall in the next week and a half, that could change.
"If we don't get rain this week, I wouldn't be surprised if they declare us abnormally dry. If it's another week of that, I have a feeling they'll call us a drought, the lowest-level of a drought."
He says that some farmers will be able to financially bear the burden of a potentially low, drought-stricken crop if that should happen this year - if those farmers are insured.
"Most of the grain crops are insured," said Mitchell.
"From a dollars and cents perspective, if they're insured, they will be compensated after they pay their deductible."
If a drought happens, financial problems could really come for forage farmers, the kind that both produce crops and work with livestock.
That, of course, involves one of the products that most famous in Wisconsin: dairy.
"The big group that isn't covered is the forage production. If you have a low yield, the farmer bears that cost," explained Mitchell.
"That crop is, in terms of dollar value, more valuable than soybeans in this state."