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It takes a community

Weeks after storms left a path of destruction across Wisconsin, their evidence is still present in local communities. Fields are filled with flooded crops. Debris is visible from roadways. Sandbags sit idly where water was once rising.

In my travels as Alice, many people have kindly asked how my family’s farm fared in the storms. Fortunately, the position of our dairy on a large hill prevented flood damage, but the same was not true for our neighbors in Southwest Wisconsin. Word quickly spread about friends who were forced to sleep in their hay mow to avoid dangerous water. Several lost livestock, animal feed, and crops.

Those working in agriculture understand the storms did not just cause thunderous damage to finances. It was a blow to buildings built with passion, livestock loved by farmers, and crops carefully planted for fall harvest. Mother Nature can test the will of even the strongest individual, but Wisconsin farmers show persistence in the darkest of times. Agriculture is a community of neighbors helping neighbors for a common goal of providing food, fuel and fiber for the world. That community stood together in the recent string of storms and gave helping hands, offered hot meals, and helped recover what was lost. My parents, not being able to stand the thought of cows going hungry, loaded a trailer with hay and donated it to an impacted farm. Constant calls and messages were exchanged providing updates on who was taken care of and who still needed help.

As recovery efforts continue, there are programs available for farmers impacted by the flood and heavy rains. The Wisconsin Farm Service Agency offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs. Available programs include Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP), Emergency Loan Program, Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), and HayNet.

When strength is tested, passion is inspired. Storms may affect individuals, but a true impact is made when communities come together for a common cause. Thank you for the workers, volunteers and friends who continue moving Wisconsin agriculture forward.

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