After Irene: Farms Being Reached in Northeast

September 2, 2011 04:47 AM

Essentially all dairy farms have now been reached to pick up milk in the service area of Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) in New York and New England. But logistics are far from normal, reports Karen Cartier, DMS spokesperson.

With roads and bridges washed out, milk haulers have had to go to smaller sized trucks that can navigate seasonal roads and even farm and field lanes, she says. The hardest hit area in New York is Schoharie County, southeast of Albany. A New York State Department of Transportation map also shows numerous road closures and problems.
 “It will take months, even years, to get infrastructure back,” she says. “There are roads that are no longer [there].” DMS is working with local officials to navigate the destruction. The National Guard is also providing aid.
Getting the milk out is one thing. But many farms now are to the point where they need  re-supplies of feed and fuel as well. DMS is also working to get more back-up generators into the area to supplement or replace older generators that have broken down.
Cartier did not have an estimate on the amount of milk dumped over the week from farms that could not be reached. “We’re asking our farmers to keep track of that, and we’ll try to help them on the backend,” she says.  
Major roads were re-opened Wednesday so processed milk and dairy products are now again moving to metropolitan markets.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation reports that it has restored emergency access to 12 Vermont communities that had been cut off as a result of Irene. A google map shows the location of bridge and road washouts. The restored roads are for emergency access only, and are not yet open for use by the general public.
The VAT also has a listing of the status of State Highways and town road segment that is five pages long. Many remain closed, though some have one lane open. The listing includes 25 bridges that remained closed as of 4 p.m. yesterday.

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