Farmers continue work despite chilly temps - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Farmers continue work despite chilly temps


MARATHON CITY (WAOW) -- With wet weather over the past few weeks, the ground is still too soggy for planting. But that doesn't dampen the moods of farmers around town who find many other ways to keep busy.

"It is a little bit alarming when you look at the calendar," said farm owner Randel Wokatsch. "Last year at this time, everybody was in their fields."

Wokatsch said he's not worried. Instead of planting in too-cold soil, he tends to his animals, who seem to enjoy refrigerator-like temps.

"Dairy cows like cooler weather," said Wokatsch. "I've read that 40 degrees is kind of ideal for them."

Wokatsch also cleans seeds, a difficult business when fields aren't dry or warm enough for farmers to start for the year.

"It's bad for seed cleaning business because people aren't really thinking of planting in this kind of weather," said Wokatsch.

"The greenhouses are all brimming," said Little Red's Market store manager Ken Vanderwaal. They're too full."

With snow outside Little Red's Market in Rothschild, workers said they have to work harder to keep plants safe and warm inside the greenhouses. Vanderwaal said that in Red's 75 years of business, they've never experienced an April quite like this one. They keep thousands of plants safe inside these greenhouses until the mercury rises, but keeping the greens warm comes at a price.

"Your cost to do business increases," said Vanderwaal. "You're paying more for electricity, you have night staff having to come in three times during the night to check and make sure things aren't freezing."

But with farmers learning to diversify, they find ways to keep themselves busy, like by collecting tree sap in nearby forests.

"The maple trees are having an extended season because of this weather," said Wokatsch. "The cool nights are perfect for sap production."

Even though the tree sap season is wrapping up, there will still be plenty to do on the farm, especially when the weather cooperates.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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