Vt. farmers hit by rains, urged to report damageBy LISA RATHKE
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | July 12,2013WILLISTON — In his 40 years of dairy farming in Vermont, Don Pouliot has never seen weather like he has this spring and early summer.
His fields of feed corn on the Browns River in Westford and Essex have been under water five or six times this year. Typically, they flood once a season and dry out, but the onslaught of heavy rains has left them in water and wet silt for long periods, killing or rendering much of the crop to feed his cows useless. Pouliot estimates he’s lost 75 percent of his crop.
Two years after Tropical Storm Irene flooded crops and carried away farmland, Vermont farmers are getting drenched again with unprecedented rains.
“It’s affected every single sector of the ag economy: our dairy farmers trying to grow silage, trying to grow hay, grow feed; it’s affected our berry farmers, our vegetable farmers, our beef and meat farmers. There’s no one who’s escaped some damage,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin as he and Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross visited a dairy farm in Williston on Thursday.
They urged farmers to document the damage with photographs and records for possible future aid. They also advised reporting damage to federal Farm Services Agency offices — there are nine in Vermont — that are collecting data on the weather’s impact and are expected to seek an emergency disaster declaration after harvest. A declaration could make loans available to farmers.
Farmers who have crop insurance should contact their insurance agent about the damage and those with coverage through the noninsured crop disaster assistance program should report crop losses or potential losses to their local office, the officials said.
Since the end of June, Vermont has had a near-constant barrage of thunderstorms that has caused flash flooding in many communities. The heavy rains have hit all parts of the state.
In the worst case scenario, Lorenzo Whitcomb of Whitcomb Farm in Williston estimates he’ll lose 25 percent of his corn crop for his dairy cows. Of his 300 acres of corn, about 50 acres were directly affected by high water or rain and 10 acres of that is likely dead.
Whitcomb is now trying to maximize what he has, adding fertilizer to the fields and hoping the crop will be of high nutrient value.
Pouliot is replacing his damaged corn with sorghum.
With a drier weather in the weekend forecast, farmers plan to be busy in their fields. To give them a boost, Ross urged fellow Vermonters to buy locally produced food and lend a hand in the fields or drive a tractor.
“We always in this business have to be optimistic,” Whitcomb said. “This year, we just have to try a little bit harder to be optimistic.”MORE IN Vermont NewsThe progress to get the historic Robinson Sawmill up and running again in Calais is slow going,... Full StoryMONTPELIER — A cold winter and trees still weary from last season’s massive apple crop have... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Vasco da Gama leaves Calicut, India, to begin his return voyage to Lisbon, becoming the first European to complete a voyage by sea from Europe to India; on this day in 1949, Soviet Union successfully detonates its first A-bomb.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Scientists call for more research on the temporal and lasting effects of nuclear fallout on plants and animals in proximity to Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station where changes at the molecular level were found.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 410 CE, Visigoths sack Rome and it isn't the first time, either; in 1859, Titusville, Pa., the first commercially viable oil well comes in; in 1918, the only World War I battle fought on U.S. soil in Nogales, Ariz.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Archaelogists uncover artifacts proving that late neolithic Egyptians, pre-dating the Pyramids of Giza, practiced mummification to prepare their dead for the afterlife, far earlier than presupposed.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE:Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing that pollute ground water and the air we breathe come under scrutiny by researchers who find at least eight fracking chemicals toxic to mammals.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: The craze for Omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement in its most popular form, fish oil, has led to depletion of fish stocks in oceans throughout the world. Is this the beginning of the total collapse of global fisheries?