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MADISON – Wisconsin farmers were able to harvest hay from 6,265 acres of state land under emergency haying provisions the Department of Natural resources put in place earlier this summer as part of the agency’s drought relief initiative. The agency issued 286 emergency haying permits and an additional 5 emergency grazing permits for 63 acres for grazing.
The special harvest ended on August 31. This allows time for adequate regrowth of the grass to provide habitat for wildlife and hunting cover to sportsmen and women in the fall.
“Overall, I’d say it was a super-human effort on the part of the many field people that dropped what they were doing to answer phone calls, meet with farmers, and issue permits,” said Alan Crossley, DNR public lands wildlife management specialist. “By any measure I think we should deem the effort a success.”
“Farmers really appreciated the hay, couldn’t believe it was free, and in many cases property managers were able to achieve some level of needed habitat management on land that at least some years is hard to get to,” said Kurt Thiede Division of Lands Administrator. “Win-wins can sometimes be hard to come by. This was clearly one of them.”
The last time the DNR issued such permits was during the drought of 1988.