Year after drought, new challenges for Wisconsin farmers

OAK CREEK (WITI) --  Farmer Mark Verhalen doesn't need to be told how dry last summer was. It is burned in his memory. The Oak Creek native lost three acres of crops after a spark from a nearby fireworks celebration landed in his field. This year, he has new worries.

"Conditions are wet and soggy, I don't think we have to worry about fires this year," says Verhalen.

Wet fields have kept some farmers from getting into their fields to plant crops according to Verhalen. With the farmer's wheat crops due to be harvested in just a matter of weeks,  Verhalen is now hoping for some drier weather.

"Every year it is something else. Too much rain, not enough rain, you get bug infestations once in awhile. I mean there is something that goes with every part of it," says Verhalen.

While conditions are not perfect, the farmer says it could be worse. He says friends up north are still trying to get corn into the ground. The window to do that is quickly running out.

"There is people who have livestock in the dairy business who are worrying because they have to get corn planted to feed the livestock. So some of those guys are worried about really being under the gun," says Verhalen.

Verhalen says while farming is not easy, it's not a profession he'll be giving up. He says having a connection to the land is hard to give up, as well as his optimism.

"I think well have a relatively good winter wheat crop, and the soy beans look pretty good," says Verhalen.