Simplicity Farm

Impact of Irene

On August 28, 2011, we, like much of New England, were impacted by flooding from Hurricane Irene. Vermont has not experienced flooding of these levels since 1927.
    The farm lost 6,000 pounds of milk at a value of $1,700.00. This was due to loss of power and damaged roads in the region. The tanker truck that picks up our milk arrived just after the power failed. Without power, the milk could not be pumped from the tank. Also, without power, the milk is not cooled properly and warmed to the point where it was unsafe and had to be dumped.
  We lost 128 wrapped, round bales of hay, a value of $8,400.00.
We lost 14 acres of organic corn. This is roughly 294 tons of feed. Only 5 farms in Vermont grow organic corn and to replace this feed would cost over $58,000.00 or around $200 per ton.
The flood damaged roughly 2000 yards of river and stream bank. Estimates to repair this damage reach $110,000.00. These fields and banks must be repaired ASAP. Currently there is no protection for our land because the banks that acted as a buffer are gone. The next high water will eat into our fields directly and, if not repaired rapidly, it would destroy 30 acres of land.
We lost 3 miles of electric fence wire, insulators, fence posts and gate handles. Debris removal for the farmlands and fields has exceeded 400 man hours so far. 
We had 18 cows become ill from eating contaminated grass. Three of them died. We had no choice but to graze the cows on the fields, even though the land had been flooded. There just wasn't enough feed for any other alternative.
   Insurance also covers the lost milk (minus the deductible of course) but not the property damage. The corn was covered, for about $3000.00 and the hay is covered for 75% of the loss, paid next year.

So in total, Irene has impacted:
        $55,000 in lost organic corn used to feed the cows
        $6,300 in lost hay used to feed the cows
        Up to $110,000 in repairs to protect and save our land 
        3 Cows lost to feeding on contaminated fields

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