Rain forces farmers to push back harvest dates

ANTIGO, Wis. (WSAW)-- For farmers, the rain that is much appreciated in July becomes overkill in the October.

"We need rain for the growing season, for crops to grow. Obviously it's extremely concerning with these heavy rains," said Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf.

With all the rain, the Wisconsin harvest has become delayed and local farmers like Ben Keller are forced to wait for dryer conditions.

"We're not able to get into the field right now. It's just too wet. It's too wet to combine, the soil is too wet to carry large equipment. We're in a wait and see situation right now," Owner or Artisan Valley Farms Ben Keller said.

Rain this late in the year, means farmers are going to wait even longer for dryer soil.

"Now we're into October, it's colder, takes longer to dry out. I'm hoping we get some dryer weather here in the next couple weeks and get a chance to get it off," Keller added.

Even DATCP officials like Sheila Harsdorf understand the hardship that the weather is causing the farmers.

"This rain, the weather, has been truly challenging. The ground is saturated it's making it impossible to harvest most crops," Harsdorf mentioned.

Some farmers are able to purchase insurance for their crops in case of bad weather conditions. But since hemp farming is in an experimental stage, it’s do or die for these farmers.

"Well it’s not covered under the federal crop insurance law yet. We need to legalize it on the federal level, then legalize it on the state level. Basically we're doing studies to see how hemp productions work in Wisconsin," Keller said.

But whether you're farming hemp, corn, or soybeans. All farmers are hoping for the same thing.

"It's vital that the rain stops, and it dries up so that farmers can get the crops out," Harsdorf mentioned.