Of all natural disasters, drought is the most gradual and hard to predict. Once it has affected crop growth, farmers and producers enter a new territory of what if's. What if it rains next week? What if it doesn't rain for a month? Alternative crops may have to be planted or crop loss assistance applied for. If feed supplies are low, herds may have to be culled and/or feeds purchased. For farmers who were already facing financial hardship, a drought can force major decisions about divers fication, irrigation, surviving a major loss or even selling the farm.
The fact that Wisconsin suffered record droughts as recently as 1976-77 and 1988 underscores the fact that droughts are a natural occurrence. Fortunately, farmers can take some actions to better prepare for and survive a drought. The key is a combination of sound farmstead planning and sound decision-making, based on advice and up-to-date information from resources like your Cooperative Extension Service.BE PREPARED
Alternative crops such as shiitake mushrooms, ginseng,
specialty vegetables, greenhouse plants, dried and/or
cut flowers, etc.
b) Alternative livestock, such as llamas, ducks, bees, deer for venison or mink.
c) Forestry, including cord wood, maple syrup, apple orchards and Christmas trees.
d) Non-production farm-related ventures such as camping, fee hunting/shooting preserves, trout ponds, farm vacations, bed and breakfast establishments, summer camps on the farm, herd sitting, boat and camper storage, and farm markets.
e) Home-based enterprises including sewing projects, crafts, catering services, upholstery, secretarial service/word processing, taxidermy, etc.
Contact your Cooperative Extension office or your Small Business Development Center for more information.DURING A DROUGHT
Your county agricultural agent
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