In a letter dated, September 16, 2016, Governor Scott Walker asked U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, to declare Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron counties as agricultural disaster areas, as part of a Secretarial Disaster Designation.
These three counties in particular, lost at least 30 percent of their alfalfa, barley, corn, oat, and wheat crops.
Heavy and prolonged rainfall on July 11 through July 12, 2016, led to flooding, followed by recurrent rain through July 21, 2016. As a result, many fields remained oversaturated or underwater for an extended period of time, killing crops, or dramatically reducing crop yields.
"Wisconsin producers are in need of assistance form USDA to help them deal with their losses," Governor Walker wrote. "I ask that you respond quickly with the designation so that the affected producers may obtain relief."
A disaster declaration would make farmers in these counties and adjacent counties eligible for a variety of federal assistance programs.