Michigan farmers struggle with drought


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — U.S Secretary of Arigulture Tom Vilsack and some state leaders heard from Michigan farmers today, and this drought was on the agenda.

For the past few months, Michigan farmers have been dealing with a severe drought.

“That was what on the drought monitors considered abnormally dry. For the last couple of months, it’s obviously increased it’s worsened,” said Theresa Sisung, Field Crops specialist at Michigan Farm Bureau.

Sisung says rain fall in the spring is less than normal.

“It does start to concern you as we get less rain in the spring. Typically we like to see that rain in the spring to build up that subsoil moisture so that once we get the plants in the ground and they’re up and growing those roots can go down and get to the moisture that’s in that subsoil,” she said.

Now the subsoil is not getting that moisture because of the low amount of rain we’ve been getting.
“We just need more widespread rains across the whole area,” she said.

Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski, who’s also a farmer himself says growing wheat crop in these conditions is difficult.

“The wheat yields have already been diminished tremendously, and we’re looking at not only the yield but the quality. If July 1st comes around and we’re still in this position it’s going to really start affecting all the other crops,” said Bednarski.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says outside of crop insurance, there’s federal funding coming.

“We provide research dollars to provide drought resistance crops and a lot of that work taking place with Michigan State. We just announced the 40 million effort on our equipped program to provide farmers the ability to do things on the farm perhaps to mitigate the consequences of drought,” said Vilsack.

For now, Carl says the only other thing they can do is…

“We wait on mother nature there’s not a whole lot you can do unless you have an irrigation system but to majority of the farmers in the state do not,” he said.

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