Farmer-to-Farmer network brings hope to drought areas - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Farmer-to-Farmer network brings hope to drought areas

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For farmer Perry Keyes, even a drop of rain would be a welcomed sight.

"It's getting very difficult," Keyes explains.

For weeks, even the slightest moisture in the air has been a rarity.

"The pastures have dried up and we're not sure where we're getting our feed from."

That's why state officials are putting out a call for help. It's a program called Farmer to Farmer. A network that links those farmers looking for feed, to those who have extra.

"If we all work together, if we use the resources we have, we're going to help a lot more people stay in business," Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel said.

So, how does it work? Let's say a farmer is looking for hay. They log on, type in their location and find the list of what's available. The web site is free, and the transactions are handled between the buyer and the seller.

"Our farmers are stressed out," Governor Scott Walker said during the official announcement in Adams County Friday. "Anything we can do to show them we will get through this."

Richard Pavelski owns Heartland Farms. He says his farm will plant more than 1,000 acres of feed to help those who have lost their harvest.

"The land is here, the irrigation system is here," Pavelski said.

Those like Keyes, who say without a program like this his farm might not survive.

"Someone is finally taking the initiative to do something," Keyes said. "It is definitely a good step in the right direction."

At least, until it rains.

The Farmer-to-Farmer web site can be found by going to http://farmertofarmer.uwex.edu/.   

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Governor Scott Walker was in Adams County announcing a new program to help farms deal with the drought. 

The Farmer-to-Farmer network allows farmers to buy and sell hay, alfalfa, corn grain and several other products directly on the UW-Extension web site.  The web site has no charge and transactions are handled between the buyer and seller.   

Gov. Walker described the website by stating, "The Farmer-to-Farmer Network is a way to bring everyone to the table, so the farmers who have the ability to provide feed, know what they need to do, and those who need help, know where to get it." 

"Agriculture adds $59 billion into our economic output every year, and accounts for 354,000 jobs," Governor Walker said.  "Recent rains in southern Wisconsin are not enough to repair the damage done by weeks of extreme hot and dry weather.  For those who depend on farming for their livelihood, this recovery is far from over, and we will do everything we can to help."  

The Farmer-to-Farmer website can be found by going to http://farmertofarmer.uwex.edu/.   

 

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