Vt. Agriculture Sector Rebounding From Damaging Wind Storm

The power is back on across Vermont, following last week’s prolonged outages caused by a ferocious storm that saw winds of 60 miles per hour and even more intense gusts.

Despite the restoration of electricity, though, there are still lingering challenges from the storm, including in Vermont’s agriculture sector.

Christmas tree farmer Andy Aldrich was cutting up a large poplar Tuesday that toppled in last week’s blasts of wind, damaging a field on his Richmond farm and some of his Christmas tree plantings for future holidays.

“Farming and Mother Nature: she can be real nice or real mean to you,” Aldrich sighed.

Deputy Vermont Agriculture Secretary Alyson Eastman said she heard a number of problems like greenhouses destroyed in high winds or barns that suffered roof damage.

Eastman also said she heard several reports that Vermont’s iconic maple syrup industry was hit hard.

“It looks like they’ll be spending quite some time out in the woods repairing pipeline—a lot of downed branches and downed trees,” Eastman said of maple syrup producers.

At Adams Turkey Farm in Westford, there was gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving.

Facing days without power after the storm, Judy Adams reached out to the Vermont Agriculture Agency in Montpelier for emergency help.

“We were out of options,” Judy Adams recalled.

Adams said she was deeply appreciative for the agency’s support in lending a generator large enough to keep the farm’s equipment running through her busiest time of year.

The generator was critical, Adams explained, to ensuring processed turkeys stayed at safe temperatures until electricity returned.

“We saved Thanksgiving,” Adams beamed, noting without state agriculture officials’ help, her farm might have experienced significant financial losses.

Eastman said The Vermont Farm Fund is currently offering no-interest loans to assist farmers in recovering from natural disasters, including last week’s wind storm.

The loans, which are a maximum of $10,000, are repayable over two years, Eastman explained.

For more information, visit the Vermont Farm Fund

Eastman said she is constantly impressed with the Vermont farming community’s hard work and commitment to rebounding when adversity strikes.

“Farmers are very resilient,” she said.

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