Posted Thursday November 29, 2012 --- 5:41 p.m.
The sun has set on this year's harvest for many farmers in South Central Wisconsin. Fields are empty and all that's left are the remnants of a difficult growing season. The growing season may be over, but the drought marches on, threatening farmers next season and possibly your grocery bill.
" Hopefully we get a normal year in precipitation. "
Kathy Schmitt is the Bureau Director of the Wisconsin Farm Center in Madison. Her organization provides farmers with financial resources, mediation help, referral and counseling services. Each year her office gets about 2,000 calls. So far this year has been about average. But that could change soon.
" Their ability to get through the winter in good shape is going to be quite a challenge for them. "
Schmitt says right now things are especially tough for farmers with livestock like cows. There is a shortage of feed in the state that Schmitt estimates could be as high as 50%. That's driven up the price of feed. Schmitt says the drought is to blame.That lack of feed could force farmers to make some tough decisions.
" You either have to figure out whether or not you can afford to make the purchases to see you through the rest of the year or do you decrease your cattle number? "
In some cases farmers are saying good bye to the business.
Schmitt says, " We had a couple that said you know I'm in my late 50's or into my 60's and I have been through this before and I just don't want to do another one. "