Summer drought leaving wells dry for farmers in the Northland

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Many farmers throughout the Northland have had a rocky growing season from this year’s drought. The summer drought leaving wells dry for not only crops, but in day to day living.

While most farmers rely on wells for their crops, others farmers’ wells are struggling. Jane Aleckson, the co-owner of Stars and Seeds Farm, said many farmers hoped for more rain after last summer’s drought.

“With the big pile of snow that we had last winter that was as tall as the buildings,” Aleckson said. “The snow that fell, we thought, ‘Boy, this will be a great! Plenty of water to start out with.’ But very quickly, it was not raining at all.”

Aleckson said even though they didn’t plant any root vegetables this year, the summer drought leaving wells dried impacted their every day living situation.

“Three weeks ago we ran out of water in our well,” Aleckson said. “But, one of the things that we have been doing all along is catching water off of all of the roofs of the buildings. And the water going into great big stock tanks. So we have water for all of our animals.”

Igna Weis, the other co-owner of Stars and Seeds Farm said other farmers in the local area struggled with having well water. The cause of not having enough well water is both from too much sediments in the soil, and from the drought.

“There’s so much rock. So for our well to work, we have to crack the lost rock,” Weis said. “Then that didn’t work at first, so we had to , crack it again. And that can really add up and become costly. And then the well might not even work.”

Even though this summer’s season led to many fruit farmers feeling frustrated, the Stars and Seeds farm still plan on planting root vegetables.

“There’s still hope to grow some things over the winter because root vegetables can grow a lot better than the cold,” Weis said. “However, when we water plants, we use the rainwater anyway. We have rain powder, rainwater catchment systems outside of each of our greenhouses and each of our buildings. So for whatever we needed to listen to.”

Many farmers have turned to other forms of making a profit from low summer crop yields. Stars and Seeds Farm are using their land for Flea Markets and their barn as a music venue.

“I think another goal for next year is that we’d be hosting a lot of different art classes here,” Weis said. “Mom has her set of classes, and I have mine. She wants to teach clay classes because we’re living on clay, so why not make use of it. It’s like our most readily available product.”

For more information about Stars and Seeds Farm events happening you can read more here. For other stories happening in Northwestern Wisconsin you can read more here.