Doyle issues state of emergency because of drought
Just as bands of heavy storms and sheets of much-needed rain pounded the far-western region of Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle issued an executive order that declared a state of emergency across the state because of drought conditions.
The order will allow the Department of Natural Resources to expedite requests by farmers for temporary irrigation permits which allow them to use water from streams and lakes for irrigation.
Under Doyle's order the irrigation permits would be good until Aug. 18.
"Agriculture is the backbone of Wisconsin's economy, generating about $51 billion a year and accounting for one in five jobs in Wisconsin," Doyle said. "We will do everything we can to help our farmers get through this drought emergency, save their crops, and protect our farm economy."
The last statewide drought emergency was declared in July 2005.
The Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service reports that soil moisture conditions across the state are declining significantly due to the dry, hot weather.
Doyle's actions were commended by the ranking member of the Assembly's committee on agriculture, Rep. Barbara Gronemus, D-Whitehall.
"I thank and commend Governor Doyle on his affirmative response and action on my request to issue an Executive Order that would expedite water diversion for farmers to assist them in the crisis they are facing to save their crops in the existing heat conditions in our state," Gronemus said.
On July 14 Gronemus sent Doyle a letter urging him to issue the order.
Gronemus represents the 91st Assembly District which is a large rural district stretching from just east of Ellsworth to La Crosse County and includes approximately half of Pierce County and most of Pepin County.