CLINTONVILLE - As southern portions of the state have been declared disaster areas, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials say farmers are in need of a solution to try and feed their animals.
And some area farmers say they have no problem helping those in need – with a little help called Farmer to Farmer, an online buyer and seller network.
"But if I have extra, I'll do what I can to help out," said Greg Paplham, a Kewaunee County dairy farmer. "The wheat just seemed to be a very good crop, so we have an abundance of straw."
Paplham's selling about 70 tons of wheat straw, which he says can be used for bedding or feed filler to stretch feed supplies.
He's selling it on the online Farmer to Farmer network.
Operated through the University of Wisconsin-Extension's website, the network connects farmers who might have extra forages, like hay, corn or straw with others who need it.
"Certain parts of the state and the country are suffering, a little bit more than we have here with this drought," said Paplham. "So, to help out the fellow dairyman and cattleman, if I have extra, I'm going to do what I can to help them out as well."
State agriculture officials say you don't have to travel very far in central Wisconsin to see the need the dairy and livestock farmers have for feed and the Farmer to Farmer network can help farmers work together instead of alone.
"So, I mean, that's, that's a pretty nice ear. It's pollinated pretty well," said Waupaca County farmer Dave Heideman, peeling back the husk of an ear of corn.
Heideman is also on the network.
He has about 100 acres of standing corn ready to sell - as well as thousands of bushels.
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel says cattle farmers that are suffering from the drought need to pursue all options of maintaining their herds.
"We don't want them to start selling cows, unless they feel they absolutely have to," explained Brancel, while on site at Heideman's farm.
"If they need to cull down on numbers and have less, for us – as the state of Wisconsin – it's much preferred than shutting the doors and turning off the lights."
While Paplham might not be hurting now, he says it's best to help out - because he knows others would do the same for him.
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