A Few Weeks Ago, Finger Lakes Farmers Were Grateful For Rain, Then The Floods Hit

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Farmers in the Finger Lakes are dealing with the fallout from last week’s flooding. 

Only a few weeks ago, farmers were grateful for any rain. Then, the floods hit. At Plowbreak Farm in Hector, they got seven inches of rain in less than twenty-four hours. Even so, farmers, Aaron Munzer and his wife, Kara Cusolito says they were luckier than many.

“We went from our ponds being completely dried up,” he said. “because we’ve been irrigating from them all season — because we’ve had drought-like conditions most of the season — to them literally overflowing their berms and having water shooting out of the overflow pipes, like, like a firehose.”

A little north in Lodi, Erik Landowne at Blue Heron Farm was not as lucky. It was already peak season when the floods hit his fields of tomatoes and cucumbers. He sounded exhausted as he described the damage their farm sustained.

“We had seven feet of water on our fields. Ya know, we have an eight foot deer fence and I’ve got picture of just the top foot sticking out of the water.”

Fellow farmers helped them quickly harvest an onion crop the next day before it could begin to rot. But, Landowne says the farm’s loss goes beyond the crops to infrastructure.

“The other major damage is the greenhouse with the eggplants in it,” he said. “There’s the financial loss of the eggplants themselves that we lost, and them, but also the structure of the greenhouse and we probably lost about 5,000 pounds of our best organic greenhouse soil.”

Landowne estimates the damage to crops and infrastructure, equipment and roads will cost them over $20,000.  

Even farms that didn’t have flood damage may still face problems related to the storms. Aaron Munzer, the farmer quoted first, says now farmers need a few days of sun to dry out the soil. It’s so saturated there’s greater risk of some plants developing diseases, which could destroy them.

The National Weather Service says more rain is possible through this weekend and into next week.

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