Weather Forecast


Doyle wants St. Croix, Polk and Dunn counties declared disaster areas

Declare St. Croix, Polk, and Dunn counties disaster areas because of drought is what Gov. Jim Doyle County is asking the Mike Johanns, U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary to do.

Doyle sent a letter to Johanns Wednesday asking that a total of 19 counties in the state be declared disaster areas because local farm officials have reported many crops are beyond help despite recent rains.

The other counties include: Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Dunn, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marquette, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn and Waushara.

According to Doyle's office, the summer's drought has cost farmers 30 to 60 percent of their corn and soybean yields, as well as up to 50 percent losses on first-crop hay, and virtually no second crop.

Farmers have already had to use stored feed that they would normally reserve for winter, deepening the effect of hay losses, according to the governor's office.

"A second year with drought conditions will have devastating impacts on the producers in these counties," Governor Doyle said. "We need a quick response from the federal government so that farmers can save their crops and protect our farm economy."

A disaster designation would allow crop producers in those counties to qualify for assistance, generally in the form of low-interest loans, if Congress later authorizes aid based on reduced yields.