Hay, Wisconsin steps up.
While the news headlines have been dominated by terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Spain and racial conflict over Civil War statues and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., a much-less covered story has been the severe drought that has strapped farmers in the Dakotas and Montana.
The touch of good news to that story is Wisconsin farmers and those in Michigan are setting out to pitch in by donating forage — mostly hay — to those states where livestock are in need of feed.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker last week eased the transportation of relief forage by signing a 30-day emergency declaration that relaxes some commercial driving restrictions and fees.
Michigan farmers have already committed to sending 10 to 12 semi-trailer loads of forage and a collection and distribution site — with a lottery system to allocate forage — is being set up at the North Dakota State University campus in Fargo, N.D.
News reports this month showed 44 percent of North Dakota, 25 percent of Montana and 6 percent of South Dakota are experiencing extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst categories. Hay prices in the region have gone up as much as double.
“Wisconsin farmers are generously offering to donate their forage to help out farm families in these states, and this order will allow them to transport their donations through the state more easily while still maintaining safety,” Walker said, “Wisconsin farmers want to do their part to help their neighbors and the state is going to do its part, too.”
The weather also took a recent turn in the Dakotas with rain in Mitchell, S.D. and two inches in Sioux Falls, S.D. — and that, too, is welcome news.
In a world full of controversy and conflict, news of good neighbors helping each other often gets short shrift. Wisconsin’s farmers — and the state government — deserve some credit for stepping up and showing there are still good things happening in the face of difficulty thanks to old-fashioned good neighbors.
Too often, we forget that.