Rainfall holds key to Wis. agricultural outlook - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rainfall holds key to Wis. agricultural outlook

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Agriculture experts say Wisconsin's meat and dairy farmers have reason to be optimistic this year, while farmers who grow fruits and vegetables should hope for plenty of rain.

The predictions were part of the Wisconsin Agricultural Economic Outlook Forum, which was held Wednesday in Madison.

The agriculture professors said the key factor in Wisconsin's 2013 outlook is rainfall. Last year's drought not only hurt production but also depleted underground water sources. The speakers say the state needs about 12 inches of rain to replenish those supplies, and the short-term forecast doesn't look promising.

But farmers who produce beef and milk can expect more money. That's because many farmers culled their cow herds last year when feed prices soared, cutting the beef supply and allowing for higher prices now.

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