Dairy Farmers Lose Cows, Dump Milk

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(Host) Vermont dairy farmers are beginning to assess their losses following flooding from tropical storm Irene.

Many have corn and hay crops that were submerged in floodwater and may now be total losses.

And Deputy Agriculture Secretary Diane Bothfeld says a dairy farm in Royalton also lost cows:

(Bothfeld) We have one specific report of around 30 cows that were lost and we have other anecdotal information that we have not been able to follow up on.

(Host) Bothfeld says a fence was washed away at the farm, so its unclear if all the cows have drowned or if they are missing.

Agriculture officials say most farmers are equipped with generators and were able to milk their cows, but Bothfeld says 15 farms were forced to dump milk because it could not be trucked out over washed out roads.

(Bothfeld) Most farms usually have about two days capacity, so that would be four milkings of the cows, and to keep that cold and stored on the farm in a bulk tank. After that time the cows keep milking, they would choose to dispose of that milk, so would choose to put it in the manure pit on the farm.

(Host) Two farms are still unable to ship milk.

The Agency is asking farms to report milk losses to the agriculture agency, which will be included in the state’s disaster assistance request. And they say losses should also be reported to dairy cooperatives.

The Agency of Agriculture is also working with the University of Vermont Extension to put together information for farmers who have crops damaged by floods.


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