With a drought raging throughout Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday requested federal disaster relief for 23 counties across the state.
The action comes a day after Walker for all 72 counties, citing a “risk of major economic losses, especially in agriculture.”
Under Thursday’s new designation, farmers could apply for emergency loans through the federal Farm Service Agency to aid in their struggles against the ongoing dry conditions.
"Agriculture is the backbone of Wisconsin's economy. The extreme drought conditions across much of the state had a major effect on our farming community," said Walker in a statement. "The recent rainfall in some areas is not nearly enough to make up for the weeks of dry weather combined with heat and humidity. We need to do everything we can to expedite the process.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor identifies 23 Wisconsin counties suffering from extreme drought, meaning crops like corn and soybeans are affected. They are:
Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha.
Walker says more counties could be added to the list as dry conditions persist, and state officials will continue to monitor the forecast so farmers get the assistance they need.
The state’s severely arid conditions are only adding to the nation’s record-breaking dry spell. Areas larger than the state of Montana went into severe drought conditions over the past week, meaning more than 40 percent of continental U.S. is now in a “severe” drought or worse, according to The Weather Channel.
But with thunderstorms sweeping over southeastern Wisconsin on Wednesday, powerful enough to , how much rain is needed? According to Jeffrey Craven of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we would need 12 to 16 inches of rain over three months to get the region back to normal precipitation.