Emergency assistance OK’d for farmers
by Don Eno, Reporter
Jul 14, 2011 | 1002 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
- SJVT photo / Don Eno
- SJVT photo / Don Eno
July 6 edition - ST. JOHN VALLEY - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved economic assistance to Maine farmers affected by recent severe weather. According a joint press release from senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, on July 1, USDA approved a $400,000 grant through its Emergency Conservation Program to help approximately 50 farmers who suffered crop damage during recent early summer storm events in northern Maine.

Severe erosion, as seen above in a field of buckwheat planted by Bouchard Farms in Wallagrass, and crop damage, associated with multiple heavy rain events, have had many farmers concerned.

“We are still finding damage where we didn’t know we had it. It was bad,” said Joey Bouchard.

Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel have been working with other USDA agencies to evaluate the damage and secure funding to repair affected farm fields. According to NRCS, some fields have lost as much as one to two inches of top soil, due to sheet erosion.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse. The soil was fluffed up from planting, and there was no plant material out of the ground yet,” said David Tingley, head of the Fort Kent NRCS field office.

Tingley confirmed that ECP monies are used to assist farmers make repairs on the land, such as collecting the topsoil now lying at field edges or clogging up diversion ditches. This soil is what was lost during last month’s storm events.

Farmers wanting more information about the ECP funding, may call 834-3311.