An undetermined number of cows among Hurricane Irene's victims

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When it appeared on national news Sunday morning that Hurricane Irene had started to peter-out over New York City and would lose strength as it moved further north, it gave many people a false sense of security.

Many farms in upper New York State and Vermont suffered major damage from flooding.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an undetermined number of cows drowned or were swept away by flood waters.

Officials at the New York Farm Bureau said they don't know yet how many cows died. "We don't have a firm number yet," said Alan Knight, membership marketing manager at New York Farm Bureau. There are about 10 field agents in the state trying to get as much information as they can, he added. 

One farm in Middleburgh, N.Y., lost at least three or four of its 375 cows in the flooding, according to a report today in the Albany Times Union.

Other farms reported that their corn fields were flattened. For those farms, there was a sense of relief that things weren’t any worse.

“We got quite a bit of it (the corn crop) flattened,” Lebanon, Conn., dairy producer Robin Chesmer told Dairy Herd Management on Sunday afternoon.

Irene had been downgraded to tropical storm status by the time it reached Chesmer’s farm, with estimated wind speeds of up to 60 miles an hour.

He said it was the worst tropical storm he can remember since Hurricane Gloria in 1985, when the fields were “totally flattened.”   

The same scenario unfolded at the Lester “Bucky” Jones dairy farm in Massey, Md.

“Our BMR corn is laying flat — not very pretty,” Jones said. “It’s going to be a major job (getting the corn up) and I’m glad I’m not running the chopper.”

Jones says the corn had just reached maturity, and people had started chopping it on Friday. They would have continued on Saturday if it had not gotten so wet.

Other than that, Jones said the farm appears to have gone through the storm relatively unscathed. He says none of the buildings were damaged and there were no power outages.





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Julie Smith    
Burlington, VT  |  August, 30, 2011 at 09:35 AM

For Vermonters impacted by the storm, damage should be reported according to information distributed by the Agency of Agriculture on August 29: • If there is damage to your house(s) or other dwelling in which you live, that report should be made by calling 211 and completing a damage assessment report with the operator. The operator will then forward this information to VEM. Natural Resources Conservation Services also has the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) that can help protect property that is in threat of further damage if not immediately repaired. Call 802-951-6796 for information. • If there is damage to any part of your property or business, including but not limited to barns, milking parlors, crops, fields, equipment, etc., this information should be reported to your county USDA Farm Service Agency or your county Natural Resources Conservation Services office; you can also contact organizations to which you belong such as the Vermont Farm Bureau at 802-434-5646 or NOFA Vermont 802-434-4122. These organizations should send a summary of the information to the Agency of Agriculture which will then forward to VEM. Farmers experiencing loss of crops due to flooding should contact their crop insurance agent immediately as well as USDA Farm Service Agency. Farmers are encouraged to keep in touch with USDA Farm Service Agency at 802-658-2803 and Natural Resources Conservation Service at 802-951-6796.

Joe Itle    
Martinsburg, Pa.  |  August, 30, 2011 at 06:14 PM

Good time to check your farm insurance and see if it covers death in livestock by drowning.

Schaghticoke, NY  |  September, 01, 2011 at 07:00 PM

We were very fortunate to not lose any animals or buildings. We had about 100 acres of corn submerged and our self propelled chopper was also submerged, although it was not even near any rivers or streams, it quickly had 10 feet of water over it. Nature's force is amazing!

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