Farmers Escape Much of Hurricane Damage

Farmers along the Eastern Seaboard appear to have avoided the worst of the damage from Hurricane Sandy, which touched down in the Northeast earlier this week and wreaked havoc in New York and New Jersey.

Many farmers feared a repeat of 2011’s Hurricane Irene, which devastated farms from New York to Vermont. In some places, farmers are still recovering from the damage (financial and infrastructural) caused by Irene.

With Irene in mind, farm organizations and state agriculture departments spent the week prior to Sandy warning farmers to harvest crops early, protect vulnerable equipment, and prepare for potentially long stretches without water or electricity.

The preparation, along with the fact that unusual summer weather has prompted many farmers to harvest early, appears to have helped blunt the worst of Sandy’s damage. In New York’s Hudson Valley (where much of Irene’s agricultural damage was concentrated), for example, little crop damage was done (largely because harvesting was nearly complete when Sandy struck). In the words of one New York Farm Bureau official, “We were largely spared.”

In New York City, however, urban farms are reporting a different story. While many of the urban structures withstood the high winds, the wide scale flooding has hit urban growers hard, largely due to the damage done to crops by pollution in the floodwaters.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer