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Fred in the News

Fred Upton tours local farms amidst farmers trying to recuperate from heavy rains

Fred Upton tours local farms amidst farmers trying to recuperate from heavy rains
July 2, 2019

This summer’s weather has wreaked havoc with area farmers' planting schedules, so much so that Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer has formally requested a disaster declaration from the USDA.

Plenty of farmers planted late along Conrad Road in Cass County because of the rainy weather.

When WSBT 22 visited the farm a few weeks ago, we stood ankle-deep in mud -- not great conditions for planting. The corn is coming up now, but it’s still so short.

Other farmers never planted at all, and it’s not just crop farmers who are struggling.

Tim Hood has been a dairy farmer his whole life. He took over the Hood Farms Family Dairy from his parents.

“I was out here ever since I could walk,” said Hood, Hood Farms Family Dairy.

He and his family are attached to the cows. They’ve even given them names, all 950; this spring’s weather has been serious cause for concern.

“When you got cows and it starts snowing out, it’s a pretty bad feeling when you can’t keep them fed,” said Hood.

Hood is working to prevent that fate but it’s hard. Hood’s feed crop isn’t doing well, and he can’t buy from other states like Kansas or Nebraska.

“They’ve been under the same conditions that we have,” said Hood.

U.S. Representative Fred Upton toured Hood’s farm and many others impacted by this season’s rains. We asked him when these farmers can expect some relief.

“It’s going to be a little while,” said Upton.

Upton says the USDA needs to assess just how bad the damage is before it can make a disaster declaration, which could take weeks.

But Upton says President Trump signed a supplemental appropriations bill that will provide $3 billion for disaster relief all over the country.

“It’ll count the flooding that we’ve had, not only last year but this year as well,” said Upton.

That money won’t be available immediately either, and immediately is when a lot of these farmers need help.

“It’s hard to function," aid Hood. "This is so widespread, that it’s hard. This is unknown territory."

Farmers say these problems will have long term ramifications.

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