Crop loss disaster declaration in Calumet and surrounding counties

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CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) Calumet and six other surrounding counties are declared disaster areas by the Department of Agriculture.

It comes after a rain-soaked June and July caused some crops to flood.

Farmers can now apply for assistance through loans from the USDA.

This year's strawberry picking season got off to a rough start at Meuer Farm in Calumet County.

"First day we opened up for picking, we received in the rain gauge 3.5 inches of rain,” David Meuer, owner of Meuer Farm said. “But another pail had five inches along with 70 mile an hour winds."

Meuer said the rain came down so hard it forced the strawberries underneath the straw which lead to them rotting.

"But not only that, but we got the double wammy with hail to a portion of our field as well,” said Meuer.

Meuer says he lost 60 percent of his strawberries.

His durum wheat and pumpkin crops also sustained damage.

As the president of the Wisconsin Berry Growers Association, Meuer says he wasn't the only one hurt by the poor weather.

"Producers here just in the county that lost 80 percent of their berries,” Meuer said. “I mean, we were open for 12 days for strawberry picking. I know two places, one was open for three days, one was open for one day."

The Department of Agriculture is now ready to provide emergency loans.

"If my paycheck went down by 60 percent, I would have a hard time paying my family living needs,” Brad Englebert, USDA Farm Loan Manager said.”This is what's happening to these farmers. It is something beyond their control."

This year's yield not what Meuer was hoping for, but the assistance from the USDA will provide an important purpose

"So it will help us get by til’ next year," said Meuer.

Currently there are two other designated disaster areas in northeast Wisconsin, due to winter freeze, thunderstorms and tornadoes.