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Manitowoc County farmers seeing losses after prolonged heavy rains

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 09, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — Heavy rain has left fields flooded in Manitowoc County and some farmers will be seeing lower yields this year.

  • Large amounts of rain in Northeast Wisconsin have damaged many farm fields.
  • Manitowoc's soil and water director tells me that as many as 80% of county fields are partially flooded.
  • Local farmer, Angie Ulness says they need to push through the struggle and hope for a better 2025

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

Some rain? You get beautiful acres of crops. Too much? You get this empty spot destroyed by flooding. I'm checking out what exactly all this rain means for the farmers in our area.

Angie Ulness is a Manitowoc County farmer and an agricultural educator.

"This year, it's really been challenging,” she said.

Ulness told me this wet summer has affected both grain and dairy farmers, with her first hay field yielding 30 to 40 percent lower quality than expected, due to rain.

"That's reduced quality and it effects the bottom line of dairy farmers,” said Ulness.

Field conditions that Manitowoc County soil and water director, David Wetenkamp is keeping an eye on.

Wetenkamp estimates 80 percent of Manitowoc County fields are at least partially flooded.

"They take the good with the bad,” Wetenkamp said. “So next year, this might not flood and they'd have a good crop. This year, they're going to have a loss."

A loss that unfortunately farmers are used to. One year ago, Northeast Wisconsin farmers suffered the exact opposite problem with drought-like conditions.

"Depending on where your farm is located”, says Wetenkamp. “Sometimes you just have to deal with what nature and the landscape hands you."

A process that Ulness finds very important.

"Everyday the sun comes up and, lord willing, put on our boots and get to work,” she said. “That's the one thing, just like any business owner, try to make the best of what you have."

Wetenkamp says that Manitowoc County averages 25 to 30 inches of rain a year. This year, we are already at 25 inches.