From Utah to Maine
On a National AgrAbility conference call this noon, a bunch of us who are the marketing committee began the meeting by talking about our local weather. From Utah to Maine, much the same. Rain, rain, rain. It has been such a gray and rainy spring here in Vermont, as with other places all over the county, it is hard to find something uplifting to write about. Seems like spring has been stolen from us and the only reason I know that it is truly spring is that the black flies are out and biting.
I have had a number of farmers either come into the office or call looking for help with washed out roads or other flooding issues that are preventing them from getting to their fields. After doing a bit of searching, I got a hold of Mark Bosma, Public Information Officer and was able to find the Governor’s response to the flooding. So here is some good news:
The FEMA teams assessing public infrastructure damage for a possible Public Assistance declaration have completed their work and found more than $3 million in damages statewide. Those teams have also found that the counties of Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleans, and Washington have shown enough damage to qualify for a disaster declaration.
“We have shown significant public infrastructure damage and I’m confident we will be granted federal funds to help rebuild roads, bridges, and other public property,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Now we need to show private property damage. I encourage everyone who suffered flood damage to their homes to call 2-1-1 so FEMA can get an accurate picture of damages.”
The process of obtaining an Individual Assistance declaration is just beginning and will likely take time as many homes are still under water. Vermont must show a significant impact from the flooding to be considered.
The Small Business Administration will also be in the field on Wednesday. The SBA could offer low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and businesses damaged by the flooding. If you own a small business injured by the floods in the form of physical damage or lost business please call your city or town to report that damage. Agricultural operators who suffered damage to their farms should contact the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Information Officer
Vermont Emergency Management
I know it does not seem like much, they might not be able to help you to fix the access road or dry out your field or bring forth the sun, but at least if you contact the agency of Agriculture or Mark over at the Department of Vermont Emergency Management, there will be a better understanding of the extent of damage in local agriculture.
The old adage of the tide (or in this case the river) rises for all of us holds true. If you know of a farmer closeby who might benefit from this information, please do them a solid by printing off the contact information and giving to them. Thanks, here is hoping the weather gets a bit better.