Farmers are posting photos of Fiona’s damage
By Diego Flammini
Farmers in Atlantic Canada are either back to work or assessing the damage after Hurricane Fiona.
The storm made landfall in Nova Scotia on Sept. 24 and continued eastward, bringing wind gusts of over 100mph (160km/h) and upwards of 50mm of rain in communities across the region.
Farmers have posted photos to social media of the storm’s effects on their operations.
In Nova Scotia, for example, one producer shared images of Fiona’s aftermath.
Greenhouses at Webster Farm in Annapolis Valley suffered extensive damage.
“We’re pulling the plastic off. None of it is really salvageable. It’s pretty much torn everywhere,” Jordan Eyamie, a fruit farmer, told CBC. “Before the storm. I was kind of just crossing my fingers, hoping that nothing was going to happen.
"And then when I drove in on Saturday and saw the damage, I was beating myself up pretty bad, wishing that I had anticipated what was going to happen and how I could have prevented it."
Farmers in P.E.I. are also assessing Hurricane Fiona’s damage to their operations.
In Miscouche, P.E.I., Oceanbrae Farms updated followers on how Fiona damaged the farm.
“Unfortunately, Fiona was very costly to our farm,” a Sept. 26 post says on the farm’s Facebook page. " Our freestall barn collapsed due to the 140+ kph winds on Saturday morning. It is a complete loss as is.
The office/milk room/parlour part of the barn sustained some damage but is functioning for now, so we have been able to milk the cows and then put them out to pasture morning and night. We aren't able to feed the ladies in the same way and they don't enjoy walking through the barn as is, so this all takes some extra time and effort.”
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering support to affected farmers.
“The Crown corporation will consider additional short-term credit options, deferral of principal payments and/or other loan payment schedule amendments to reduce financial pressures on producers affected by this disaster. It will also offer flexibility, based on the individual needs of its customers, to help them through this crisis and on the road to recovery,” FCC said in an Oct. 4 press release.
Customers in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland are encouraged to contact FCC to discuss individual situations.
The federal government is providing support to Atlantic Canada too.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced a $300 million recovery fund for people in the region.
"We are there to help people rebuild from Fiona, whether it be federal infrastructures, whether it be community infrastructure, whether it be people who are facing challenges from uninsured structural damage in their homes. We are there to help out,” he said.
Canada’s minister of agriculture is also staying up to date on the recovery efforts post Fiona.
Minister Bibeau and MP Kody Blois met with representatives from the Nova Scotia and P.E.I. ag industries, as well as the Canadian Federation of Agriculture for the latest information.
“We stand with all farmers affected and will be there every step of the way,” Bibeau said in an Oct. 4 Twitter post.
This kind of recovery could place additional stress on farmers.
Farms.com has compiled a list of mental health and suicide prevention resources for members of the ag industry.