DEERBROOK - Wisconsin farmers depend on alfalfa crop for feeding dairy cows.
Usually, alfalfa survives winter.
But a long, cold, and difficult winter is making things hard for many farmers.
"That's rot. The plant is green, and it's growing but it's not going to make another cutting," said farmer Jason Nagel.
This year's growing season will be a challenge for him.
"We had to scramble fast, we had to start tearing up fields that we anticipated to have hay off of," said Nagel.
450 of Jason's 510 acres are ruined, and instead of full green fields, we see patchy, crunchy, dead alfalfa.
Crop Consultant Chuck Bolte says a year of weird weather is to blame.
"Basically our issues this year were with the winter weather and last year's drought at the end of the growing season. And that's affected a lot of the alfalfa that was in the ground and we have a lot of winter kill," said Bolte "For the dairy farms of Langlade county and north eastern WI, alfalfa wise we're pretty desperate."
Winter kill affected 90 percent of alfalfa crops.
"When I walked the fields with our insurance adjuster the one day, it was the sickest feeling I've had in years. You walk out and you've got this brown stubble that's here. There's nothing there. And you have eleven hundred animals to feed," said Nagel.
Alfalfa crop from this farm goes directly into silage, which gets fed to about 600 dairy cows.
The temporary fix for feeding 600 cows means outsourcing feed, re-planting hundreds of acres and hoping for the best.
"We can do everything we think is right, we can follow the textbook, follow the research we can follow everybody's advice, but in the end it's what mother nature deals us," said Nagel.
- We take our Long Summer Weekend to Tomahawk to bring you the following stories:
We talk to the Tomahawk School District superintendent and a parent about how the district is getting input from the community regarding an application for a state grant for security upgrades in their school.
We'll show you how the Tomahawk Clay Busters youth team is teaching kids trap shooting and gun safety at an early age.
And the Tomahawk police chief is staying loyal to the Pittsburgh Steelers even here in Packer country. We'll show you how the avid Steelers fan exhibits his support for his team and talk to him about how it's being received by the community and his wife...who is a Cowboys fan.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more on our Long Summer Weekend tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live,
RHINELANDER - A scoop of frozen custard goes down pretty well on a humid day like the Northwoods saw Friday. Rhinelander's Associated Bank made grabbing a scoop an easy way to help others.
Culver's set up a mobile custard stand outside the new bank building on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fifty cents from every $2.50 cup sold went to Associated Bank's Children's Miracle Network fund.
The bank is hoping to raise $500 through its fundraisers for CMN this month.
MADISON - Wisconsin Elections Commission staff plan to hire a half-dozen new employees and upgrade software to bolster election security.
The commission received a $7 million federal grant in March to upgrade security after Russian actors tried to access a state Department of Workforce Development system before the 2016 election.
Staff told the commission Thursday that the Department of Administration has approved hiring six new four-year security positions, including an information technology project manager, an elections security trainer and a voting systems specialist.
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