Vermont farms struggle as they recover from last year’s extreme weather that spawned floodings

(17 Apr 2024)


Montpelier, Vermont – 17 April 2024
1. The Vermont State House
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Agriculture Secretary: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++
"For the severe weather, including the flood and the persistent rain that happened throughout the summer and the fall and even into December – we were getting rains in Vermont – the losses are staggering and they’re into the billions of dollars. Whether it’s crop loss, equipment, debris that needs to be removed from the fields. So we’re entering a new growing season. So now this is the hopeful season that we’re going to have, you know, stability, the weather is going to cooperate. But they’ve got to make up for all those losses somehow."

Berlin, Vermont – 17 April 2024
3. Damp silt deposited by floods on the Dog River Farm

Montpelier, Vermont – 17 April 2024
4. The Vermont State House
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jackie Folsom, Vermont Farm Bureau President: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++
"If you go between Montpelier and Saint Johnsbury and you look at the fields by the side of the road, you will see sand, silt, cornfields that have not been harvested. There’s a couple reasons for that. The silt, they’re going to have to dig it up and move it out. And unfortunately, that’s on the farmers dime because they can’t put it back into the rivers. They can’t put it at the end of their fields for buffers. They have to remove that silt before they can plant anything."

Berlin, Vermont – 17 April 2024
6. Signage at the Dog River Farm
7. SOUNDBITE (English) George Gross, Dog River Farm Owner: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++
"So far, we’ve taken 60 dump-truck loads, 12 yards each, out of this location right here. That was after the July flooding. And now we’re back to similar volumes after the December flooding."
8. Dog River Farm Owner George Gross operating farm equipment
9. Various of garlic sprouts at the farm
10. SOUNDBITE (English) George Gross, Dog River Farm Owner: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++
"So, we had 15,000 garlic heads, bulbs, growing, here, which is a significant amount of retail dollars. And they’re all in black plastic and they’re all fertilized, and now they’re gone. They’re somewhere down along the Winooski (River) growing for foragers. But because the soil had just been tilled – because you plant garlic late fall, early winter – it was very loose, and the material just washed away."
11. Overhead view of strawberry plants destroyed by floods and silt
12. SOUNDBITE (English) George Gross, Dog River Farm Owner: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++
"So, we had our strawberries planted because you have to plant strawberries, for the following year. We lost them in July. I scrounged around. I bought all of the strawberry plants that I could find in New England. We replanted them. They were beautiful. And then the December flooding damaged most of our crop for this year, for 2024."
13. Gross driving away in a tractor

Hundreds of Vermont farms are still recovering from last July’s catastrophic flooding and other extreme weather as they head into this year’s growing season.
Dog River Farm, in Berlin, Vermont., lost much of its crops in the July flooding.
The farm removed truckloads of river silt and sand from the fields but then another round of flooding in December washed away more precious soils, wiped out the farm’s garlic crop and left behind more sand and silt and several giant holes in a field.
That’s according to farm owner George Gross.


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Author: admin