farming

Farmers in southeastern Wisconsin are wondering just how bad this growing season will be – or what might be salvageable. The drought in southern Wisconsin last week intensified from moderate to severe. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis visited Rob -N-Cin’s Farm in West Bend.The family-owned farm tends around 400 dairy cows and raises crops - alfalfa, corn, soybeans and winter wheat. Son Rick Roden fears this season could be devastating.

Wisconsin has long been known as the ‘dairy’ state, but it actually grows the biggest variety of crops in the nation. Farmers here are tops in cranberries, while soy is also huge, so is corn. Wisconsin is also near the top when it comes to growing and processing vegetables and meats. In this segment of our series, “Project Milwaukee: What’s On Our Plate,” we touch upon just a few of the products and related operations that link farm to market.

Organic Farming Factor

Nov 16, 2010

Wisconsin is second only to California, in the number of organic farms operating in the state.

The numbers, though, are still fairly low.

Of Wisconsin’s 78,000 farms, less than two percent are managed organically.

As we continue Project Milwaukee: What’s on Our Plate?” WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence digs a little deeper into the variety and spirit among the state’s organic farmers.

Erin Toner

In 2009, milk prices dropped so low that dairy farmers lost up to half their income. Some had to slaughter their cows because they couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. Others decided enough was enough, and sold their animals and their land.WUWM’s Erin Toner visits a family near Slinger who made it through last year, but just barely.

Erin Toner

2009 was a make or break year for dairy farmers in Wisconsin. Milk prices dropped so low that most farmers had to go deeper into debt just to survive. Some lost so much money they had to sell their farms. Today, we begin a series profiling two dairy farming families in Wisconsin. Both managed to weather the worst year they can remember, and hope to stay in the business they love as long as they can.

Dairy farming has been a part of Wisconsin’s landscape for generations. A small fraction of those operations is organic. WUWM’s environmental reporter Susan Bence visited a couple committed to organic farming and to passing on their methods to the next generation.

This is the sound of 140 happy cows grazing a few miles outside Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

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