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State allows hay harvesting & grazing on public lands in 32 counties


MADISON Wis. (WSAU) - Farmers in areas declared natural disasters or where Wisconsin officials declared a state of emergency can apply to cut hay on state-owned land.

The Department of Natural Resources handles the permitting process, and says farmers can also graze cattle on state-owned land, but they have to set up temporary electric fencing and watering tanks. Each farmer is limited to 20 acres on a first-come first-served basis, and there’s no charge for the hay.

Farmers have to agree to use the hay for livestock, and cannot sell it. There are harvesting deadlines. Cool season grasses have to be done by August 30, and prairie grasses have to be harvested by August 10.

The state has opened up land in thirty-two counties for emergency hay cutting. Farmers interested in specific information or hay harvest permits can apply online. If you have questions about the program, contact the DNR Service Center toll free at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463), seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.