Small farmers struggle as drought kills vegetables

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Fruit and vegetable farmers throughout the Midwest are struggling with unusual heat and a once-in-decades drought.

Chris Covelli planted 1,000 zucchini seeds on his farm in Wisconsin this spring. Only a quarter sprouted in the parched soil. A few weeks later, he planted 1,000 more and doubled his irrigation. Nothing came up.

Covelli says the only way to fight back is with hard work -- more plantings, more irrigation, different crops.

But even that might not be enough.

Bob Borchardt, of Viroqua, Wis., lost most of his greens, including chard and kale. To make ends meet until his tomatoes come in, he asked people to sponsor his fields. That raised $5,000.

Unlike farmers who grow corn and soybeans, vegetable farmers don't have insurance to cover them in case of drought.


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