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Contact Information

The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers.
Visit your local county extension office.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reporting Crop Losses Due to Irene

[Excerpt from Jersey Vegetable Crops Ag Updates 8/29/11]
Wes Kline and I just participated in a conference call initiated by Secretary Fisher with NJ State Board of Agriculture members, USDA representatives and NJ Farm Bureau Executive Director Pete Fury to get a preliminary assessment of damage caused by Hurricane Irene as it passed over the state. By all accounts, it could have been a lot worse, and certainly the flooding in the northern counties is still posing significant threats to people and businesses. The hurricane was one more blow in what has already been a challenging season weather-wise, and some crops will still not show damage for several weeks. However, the consensus was that there are important steps to take in its aftermath.
  • First, farmers with crop, livestock or building damage from the hurricane should contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to report it. DO NOT DESTROY damaged crops until local reps can assess and document the damage. To locate your local FSA office, see
  • Anything covered by crop insurance should be reported to your insurance agent.
  • Crops that have been damaged by wind or excessive rains likely need some protective fungicide treatments to avoid disease spread.
  • Make note of any areas of crop fields that are flooded as water from overflowing ponds or streams, or even from field run-off, may contaminate produce with pathogens and create a food safety hazard. Avoid harvesting from these areas if possible, or be ready to take extra precautions to wash/treat this produce to reduce potential contamination.
Rick VanVranken

Storm Damage Recovery

The recent rains, flooding and wind from Hurricane Irene have caused some signifcant damage throughout the state. While attention to human needs(health, living and communications) are of utmost importance, once those are attended to, dealing with the after effects on livestock, crops, and structures will be important to farm viability. Having clean water and clean feed for livestock is a necessity(have any questionable sources tested if possible). Check structures to be sure they have not been compromised. Dont go inside them if at all questionable(leaning, sinking, etc). Try to secure from the outside first and have a second person with you(with a cell phone) if you do need to go in a compromised building. Be careful in dealing with electrical issues within the structure or in using generators. With crops, the best advice, if flodded, is to get the water off the field ASAP, then watch for diseases and other problems as the days go by. And of course, dont forget to call your insurance agent before doing anything significant to the affected livestock, buildings and crops. Many more tips and suggestions in dealing with these and numerous other issues can be found at the following Extension website:

Zane R. Helsel