Local News

Drought makes for slim produce pickings

BANGOR, Wis. -- It's no secret the drought is hitting farmers' crops hard this summer.

The heat and lack of rain is a recipe for disaster, but some farmers say if you have a diversified farm, your chances of surviving are much better.

One of the owners of Old Oaks Family Farm says despite the drought, subscribers will still see full boxes dropped off as part of the Community Supported Agriculture or CSA program.

The big difference is subscribers may see fewer types of certain vegetables, if any at all.

It's an exciting time of the week for the Hippert family.

"Every week we get a box and my kids know the CSA program as our farmer," said Christine Hippert, a CSA subscriber with Old Oak Family Farm.

Christine Hippert says paying nearly $500 at the beginning of the season for her community supported agriculture or CSA subscription with Old Oak Family Farm is well worth the risk of a bad crop season.


"For us the benefits outweigh the risks because we know exactly where the food comes from," said Hippert. "Old Oak Family Farm is working to mitigate the problems of the drought. I commend the farm because for us, what we see is we're actually getting a lot of great stuff,"

Kyle Zenz is one of the owners of Old Oak Family Farm and says the drought is taking a toll on her crops.

"The best way to describe this season is stressful. It's stressful on the plants and stressful on the farmers. The combination of super hot weather and lack of rain is stressing out the plants a lot," said Zenz.

Zenz says she's able to keep the CSA boxes full but with less variety.

That's because some crops are handling the heat better than others.

"We're growing over 60 vegetable and typically not all 60 are going to fail. With a CSA, there's typically a guarantee that some of them are going to make it.

The CSA program makes up about 35 percent of the farm's business, something Zenz says is key to surviving the drought.

"We have a very diversified farm. We grow vegetables for CSA boxes for direct sales. We have cattle and chickens. We grow crops to feed them," Zenz said.

Hippert says it's a business she's happy to support.

"Farming is risky business. The weather, you never know what's going to happen with the weather. You never know what's going to happen with the earth and so we wanted to support that kind of endeavor," said Hippert.

Zenz says she'll have to wait until the end of the season before she can tell just how much of a financial hit her farm has taken as a whole.

But for now, she's thankful to be able to fill those boxes and keep her stand full here at the farmers market.

There are about five different farms in our area that drop off CSA boxes to subscribers in the La Crosse area.

Top Videos

Latest News

This Week's Circulars