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Governor declares a state-of-emergency in 41 drier-than-normal counties

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Gov. Jim Doyle helped Wisconsin farmers Wednesday by declaring a state of emergency in 41 counties where it's drier than normal this year.

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Doyle issued an executive order that covers about the northern half of the state. It lets the Department of Natural Resources expedite farmers' requests for temporary irrigation permits, to use lake and stream water on their crops.

The permits would be granted once the DNR inspects the affected waterways within 72 hours of an irrigation request.

Normally, a 30-day period for public comments is required for such requests.

And because the drought has caused water levels to go down, the DNR's Liesa Lehmann says there might not be enough water in some streams to allow irrigation. Emergency diversions can take place through Sept. 11.

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