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Farmers Alfalfa Crop Deals with Hard WinterSubmitted: 05/23/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas


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.


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SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.

Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.

Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.

Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.

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"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.

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The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.

Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.




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