NS Farmers rely on storm damage caused by Fiona’s winds and rain

As post-tropical storm Fiona ravaged Keltie Butler’s farm near Scotsburn, Nova Scotia, she and her partner ventured outside to check out their newly installed solar power system.

« It was completely broken and bent over, and my partner Michael grabbed my arm and said we have to go back into the house. It’s not safe, » Butler said.

They prepared for Fiona the same way they did for Hurricane Dorian, when their Pictou County farm didn’t suffer much damage. They secured their structures, cleaned up loose tools and took their animals to safety.

Before checking their solar panels, they saw some of their greenhouses being torn apart by the wind.

They had four circular greenhouses with metal frames and plastic covers. The frames are more expensive to replace than the covers, so they decided to do away with the plastic. They lost two more greenhouses and many of the crops they sell on their farm were also destroyed. Butler estimates they have tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

Addictions hit hard

« There’s definitely been a lot of impact on the structures, the silos, the barns, the crops, the hoop houses, all those pieces and pieces that make a farm operational, » said Alicia King, second vice president of Federation of Nova Scotia. of Agriculture.

She said impacts from the hurricane could affect the crop in the weeks and months to come.

« It’s going to be some time before we really understand the extent of the damage. We know it’s significant, » King said.

Keltie Butler and her partner, Michael Coolican, lost two greenhouses, crops and their solar power system. They estimate that the damage will cost them tens of thousands of dollars. (Christine Whelan)

The province announced the creation of a disaster relief fund for uninsurable damage caused by the hurricane. King said she was working with the province to ensure the agricultural sector would be included in relief plans.

In the Annapolis Valley, many fruit growers worried about their crops as the hurricane approached. It appears that the area was not as badly affected as other parts of the province, but the extent of the damage has not been fully assessed.

Jordan Eyamie of Webster Farms in Cambridge, Nova Scotia, said they lost the plastic covers of six of their greenhouses in the storm.

« We’re removing the plastic. None of it’s really salvageable. It’s torn pretty much everywhere, » Eyamie said.

She said they tried to prepare as best they could for the hurricane, but ran out of time.

« Before the storm. I was just crossing my fingers hoping nothing would happen, » says Eyamie.

« And then when I arrived on Saturday and saw the damage, I was fighting pretty hard, wishing I had anticipated what was going to happen and how I could have prevented it. »

jordan eyamie
Jordan Eyamie spent Sunday and Monday assessing the damage to his farm in the Annapolis Valley. (Submitted by Jordan Eyamie)

Butler spent Sunday and Monday sorting through the debris on her farm, but she’s not working alone.

She said friends and neighbors came to help clean up, move fallen trees and drop off food.

« We’re just trying to adjust our expectations and come to terms with what happened and find a way to move forward, » Butler said.


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