Southern Maryland, Lower Eastern Shore Hit the Hardest
ANNAPOLIS (August 30, 2011)—Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance today issued the following statement outlining preliminary damage assessment from Maryland's agriculture community resulting from Hurricane Irene.
"High winds and excessive rain caused loss of power, flooding, and tree and limb damage across most of the state. Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore, however, sustained most of the damage, primarily on drought-stricken corn fields where wind flattened the crop in many places, making it difficult to harvest. The remaining sweet corn was severely blown over and may not be recoverable, but we believe this will impact a small amount as most has been harvested.
"Overall Maryland livestock fared well with no significant loss. For the poultry industry, the Harim Group reported that the storm killed about 30,000 birds in Maryland. There were no other reports of bird loss or significant structural damage.
"Soybeans fared well and the moisture will help the crop. About 100 acres of watermelon were destroyed and another 100 acres sustained damage severe enough to be reported as a loss. About 600 acres of string beans may be unharvestable. There was no impact from the storm west of Frederick.
"USDA's Farm Service Agency will further assess damages to agriculture - crops, livestock, conservation - and we should have a better indication of those estimates later this week.
"Farmers who experienced hurricane damage are reminded to stay in close contact with their crop insurance agents. A written notice of crop loss must be given to your crop insurance agent: within 72 hours of discovering the damage or loss; 15 days before harvesting begins; within 15 days after harvesting is completes but not later than October 20 for corn insured as tonnage for silage; and December 10 for grain corn and soybeans. Maryland farmers have 6,458 crop insurance policies in place, covering crops valued at $390.5 million."