Hay from some state-owned land available for harvest

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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) – Farmers can now harvest hay from certain state-owned properties in areas where the state declared a state of emergency, or the feds declared a natural disaster.

The Department of Natural Resources announced the move today. Eau Claire and Chippewa County are among the areas available to Wisconsin farmers. Farmers can also graze cattle on state-owned land, but they have to set up temporary electric fencing and watering tanks. Each farmer is limited to 20 acres, and there’s no charge for the hay. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Harvesting for cool season grasses has to be done by August 30, and the deadline for prairie grasses is August 10. The time limits are to allow for regrowth of the grass to provide habitat for wildlife and hunting cover to sportsmen and women in the fall.

Participating farmers have to agree that they’ll use the hay for livestock and won’t sell it.

You can find more information at the DNR website under the keywords “hay harvest” or by calling DNR customer service toll free at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463), seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials are taking the unusual step of allowing farmers to harvest hay and graze cattle on some state lands.

The DNR will let farmers take free hay and let cattle roam on certain state properties in 32 counties where Gov. Scott Walker has declared flooding-related states of emergency and federal officials have declared natural disaster areas due to winter-kill and excessive rain and snow. A complete list of counties and properties is available on the DNR's website.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says the agency made the move to help farmers dealing with feed shortages resulting from extreme weather. Farmers will have to sign an agreement specifying hay taken from the properties will be used to feed livestock and not sold.

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