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.
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.