"Agriculture is the backbone of Wisconsin's economy and many farmers are hurting as a result of unseasonable weather over the last year," Walker said. "The hot conditions in March followed by a cold, wet April damaged many crops including Door County cherries and northern Wisconsin's maple syrup harvest."
Walker requested the Secretary Disaster Declarations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first request is for the entire state for the anticipated fruit tree losses. The extreme weather this spring impacted Wisconsin's fruit trees including apples and cherries. Unseasonably warm temperatures in March caused many trees and vines to flower early, but frost conditions in April killed many fruit buds. Agriculture officials estimate statewide losses could potentially be as high as 80 percent.
In addition, state agriculture officials report that the maple syrup losses were greater than 30 percent this spring as a result of the early warm weather in March followed by a cold April. The counties listed in the request for maple syrup losses are Barron, Door, Florence, Forest, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Pierce, Polk, St Croix, Shawano and Vilas.
Walker made the requests based on information provided by the State Emergency Board. The requests, if successful, could help Wisconsin farmers qualify for federal assistance.
Meanwhile, much of the state is on the verge of draught conditions after dry June and soaring temperatures heading into July.