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      Elk eating up farmers' future

      The corn at Williams farm in Cheboygan County is severely damaged. The kernals are stripped from the cobb, stalks are snapped in half, and nearly 75 percent of these plants are now ruined. All because of a hungry heard of elk.

      "As soon as I got the corn planted, they came right back and started destroying the corn and it's just been steady. I've never seen it this bad," Farmer Fred Williams said.

      Williams wishes the elk would go away and stop eating his corn. He struggles to get them to leave his land. Due to law, he can't kill the animals. Even though they have cost him around $15,000.

      "It's a big handicap. Cause I can't touch it and can't protect my livelihood. And it's cost me a lot of money," Williams explained.

      That's why state legislators visited his Onaway farm Thursday. They want to protect the elk and the farms. But they have find a balance that will satisfy both the agriculture and tourism communities.

      "We have to be concerned about his investment and his profitability to stay in business cause agriculture is a very important industry here in Michigan," Michigan State Representative Peter Pettalia said.

      "They got to put food on the table and when you lose 75% of what your thinking your going to make that year, these are real decisions that these small business people are having to make and so it's scary and that's why we are here today and it's been brought to our attention," Michigan State Representative Frank Foster said.

      B oth representatives can agree . S omething has to be done. S o far elk have ruined hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crops around the state and if they don't fix this problem soon , farmers will be out of options.

      " You know I got to pay bills, I got to keep on going and its not easy ," Williams said.