Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee may be out of mainstream news. But their after-effects are still being struggled with by farmers in eastern New York State and Vermont.
New York chapters of Fellowship of Christian Farmers International have been coordinating flood relief efforts to ravaged farms in Schoharie County, N.Y. As noted in the March issue of American Agriculturist, many farms in the fertile valley lost most of their crops when Hurricane Irene swept through on August 28. Some lost cattle, and had their barns and homes damaged by flood waters up to eight feet high. "Thanks to a first-page article in American Agriculturist, the need for forage is being met," reports Bill Brown, Northeast FCFI coordinator from Marcy, N.Y. "Loads of hay and baleage from other parts of New York are being transported to those most severely affected."
The first week of March saw trailer loads of second- and third-cutting baleage, donated by Ed Scheffler, Groton, N.Y., and a trailer load of large square bales from Stone House Farm in Hudson, N.Y., delivered to the Todd Van Aller and Tony Preston Farms in Middleburg, N.Y. Previously, a load of second-cutting alfalfa found its way from Roland Fish of Grant, Mich., to the Van Aller Farm.
In early February, FCFI spent a couple of days assessing the continuing flood relief needs of the local farmers. With spring still a couple of months away, the need for more forage was very evident.
Farmers on the list for the next loads of hay included Prokop Farms and the Lloyds of Maple Down Farms. Since then, three more tractor trailer loads have been donated to help fill the needs of those farms. Truckers also are lending their services at a much reduced cost to get the hay where needed most.
These farms and others have suffered losses in the millions of dollars in crops and in clean-up efforts. Some normalcy has returned to the valley. But there's still much in the way of flood relief to be done, adds Brown.
More help is still needed for trucking, hay and other financial needs. And, farmers still need help in cleaning up debris in fields in preparation for planting, rebuilding homes and restoring their lives.
If you'd like to help, contact Brown at (313 -736-5964). To help in the hay relief efforts, call Pastor Jim Wolford of the Gallupville (New York) Gospel Church, (518) 466-8654)