Organic farmers use extra money, resources to care for livestock - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Organic farmers use extra money, resources to care for livestock this winter

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 LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is hosting the 25th annual Organic Farming Conference at the La Crosse Center Thursday through Saturday.

Organic farmers made the rounds, learning about certification and other industry goods and services.

It’s one of the coldest winters in the record books and many farmers said there's a challenge to care for their animals during this cold winter.

“This winter's been probably the most brutal,” said Lindsey Morris Carpenter, a livestock farmer at Grassroots Farm in Monroe, Wis. "I think after we have a warm-up of more average temperatures closer to 30, even above freezing after a cold spell, I feel like when it goes way down again it's just that much more difficult for the animal to readjust,” Morris Carpenter said.

With temperatures this winter dipping way into the negatives, she’s paying 15 percent more this winter for extra bedding, feed and supplemental heat.

Morris Carpenter replaces the bedding for her hogs and chickens each day. In the winter, she doesn't clean out the bedding pack to keep in heat.

She also makes sure she doesn't isolate animals so they can share body heat.

Many livestock farmers had their own winter survival story. Like farmer Sean Cayo.

"One of our roosters lost part of its comb because of frost bite. Even with a heat lamp,” he said.

Cayo works at Rebel Ruminant in Amherst, Wis. He said feeding livestock is half the price in the summer. Heating has staff running up the bills.

"It's been hard having to supplement heat for the heat lamps for the chickens and the pigs. It's been expensive,” Cayo said.

"This additional dip down is just a little worrisome,” added Morris Carpenter.

Like many organic farmers, she’s hoping the extra frost doesn't burry business for the spring that's supposedly around the corner.

Wisconsin is second to California in the number of organic farms in the United States.
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