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NEWS STORIES

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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/30/2015

- Find out how a local group is trying to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly population.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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VILAS COUNTY - Earlier this month, legislators put a proposal into the state budget that would take away a county's ability to make its own shoreline zoning regulations. Here in the Northwoods, two counties have come out against that proposal.

If the state budget went through as it's written right now, individual counties and lake associations could lose their power to set zoning regulations. That's a big issue for many in the Northwoods. Vilas County alone has 1,300 lakes. The proposal has caused great concerns.

"The concern was that the proposal had the potential for doing great damage to the environment, had the potential for causing a severe problem as far as assessment procedures, and generally was opposed by the citizens-the residents-of this county," said Chuck Hayes, a Vilas County supervisor.

Vilas and Oneida counties both held board meetings last week. Both counties voted to ask for removal of zoning changes from the budget. They argue the issue of shoreline zoning was never given any time to be discussed.

"At the very least, I think the public should have had a chance to weigh in on this issue that affects the environment," said Hayes. "The counties, the municipalities and individual residents, their opinion wasn't sought on this. It was simply put in."

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group wants to protect an endangered butterfly. The Monarch March works to save the beautiful monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is in danger because people remove milkweed from their yards. Milkweed is also removed from public ground spaces as well.

Monarchs need milkweed for food and a place to lay their eggs.

"That's the problem with the monarch; it only survives on milkweed," said Paula Larson, founder of Monarch March. "So every time you cut down milkweed, every time the highway mows down all the milkweed on the sides of the roads, they are killing hundreds of caterpillars."

A major part of the work done by Monarch March is to collect eggs and raise them until they become butterflies. The process takes about four to five weeks.

Leaders of the group believe everyone can do simple things to protect the butterflies.

"Do not cut down milkweed; plant milkweed. It's really good for gardens to become a butterfly habitat," said Larson.

The new butterflies should hatch in about two weeks. An exhibit with the caterpillars can be seen at Curran Professional Park in Rhinelander.

For more information, check out Monarch March on Facebook.

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MADISON - Republican state senators are met behind closed doors Tuesday to talk about the three main issues that have held up passage of a Wisconsin state budget for the past month.

State Sen. Paul Farrow said Tuesday that senators planned to talk about roads funding, changes to the prevailing wage and the $500 million Milwaukee Bucks stadium plan.

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FERGUSON, MO - A Justice Department report summary has found across-the-board flaws in police's response last summer to the protests in Ferguson, including antagonizing crowds and violating free-speech rights.

The Associated Press obtained the summary, which cites "vague and arbitrary" orders to keep protesters moving that violated their rights of assembly and free speech.

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COLUMBUS, OH - A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg by an Ohio policeman firing at a dog is recovering after surgery as her family questions how the officer responded.

Columbus police say Ava Ellis was hit accidentally June 19 when an officer fired at a charging dog at a home in suburban Whitehall. Police say another relative had flagged down the officer for help after Ava's mother cut herself on glass.

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RHINELANDER -

An expert will now decide if 17-year-old Ashlee Martinson is mentally fit to stand trial for allegedly killing her mother and stepfather in their home east of Rhinelander in March. Martinson plead not guilty by reason of mental defect Monday.




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