Farmers grapple with massive crop loss

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Farmers across our region are grappling with massive crop losses due to this week’s flooding. That includes dozens of farm operations at Burlington’s Intervale, who are picking up the pieces as they face a difficult road ahead.

“For us. it is kind of over until we can replant,” said Hillary Martin with Diggers’ Mirth Collective Farm. She says the flooding was a total crop loss for everyone at the Intervale and that her farm has already lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. “We have just totaled what we lost that was in the field -- about $250,000 in produce. That does not include what we can not plant for the next month.”

Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts says many farmers are in the same situation statewide. “It will run millions of dollars. It will be extraordinary because of just the crop losses,” he said.

June Farm co-owner Braden Lalancette said Thursday was the first time he was able to access his Intervale fields since the start of the flooding. “I think people are just trying to get stuff washed, processed, and all of the pre-harvest stuff out, sell what we can. He says the financial toll is hard to grasp. “It is kind of a whole year’s worth of income. Ask me again in a couple of weeks. Hard to say at this point.”

Martin says the damage has also dealt an emotional toll in addition to financial losses. “It is so painful to lose our livelihood. We are hopeful we can get going but we know there are people that lost more,” she said. Martin says she hopes farmers at the Intervale will be able to plant new crops soon and have a fall harvest. “In a little while we maybe could have salad greens and herbs to sell by September. So, that is kind of the best-case scenario for us.”