Lack of rain drives local food prices up

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by Vanessa Murphy

WEST ALLIS --- The lack of rain was on many minds at the farmers market Saturday afternoon. Some farmers described the need for rain as critical.

Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm in Sun Prairie said that there was less than an inch of rain since May on her farm, and two inches of rain are needed a week for plant growth.

"This is my living. This is what I do for a living," Jensen said.

Farmers told CBS 58 that they are worried about tomatoes, beans, and especially corn. Jensen said since corn is used for feed, she raised the price for chicken by eight percent. She also described the around the clock work on her farm.

"We are irrigating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When people ask me what that means, someone in my house is up every two to three hours, just like having a new baby," she said.

Longtime farmer Leona Robran said the fields on her family farm are too far apart to irrigate, and a bean crop has already been lost this season.

"In the 55 years, I don't think we've lost as much as we've lost already this year," Robran told CBS 58.

Robran and Jensen both said they are praying for rain, while Joe Erlt of Grandpa's Place, a family farm in Racine County, said he is surprised he has any crops to sell at all.

"If you or I were out in the field for three weeks or a month without any water, we'd have been dead a long time ago so I guess the good Lord is taking care of that part of it for us," Ertl said.

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