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When Tropical Storm Irene came through last year, the floods washed out 2,600 feet of streambank at Simplicity Farm, which is located just north of North Fayston Road on Route 100 in Waitsfield. Damage costs were estimated at upwards of $150,000.
Now, a year later, “We’ve got half the streambank repaired, but the problem is we’re running out of money,” Simplicity Farm’s owner Doug Turner said.
In addition to repairing the streambank, the farm has had to pay $19,000 to remove storm-strewn gravel, sand, trees and trash from its fields and to treat and replace cows that became infected by bacteria after eating silt-covered grass. The storm also destroyed 8.5 acres of corn, 128 round bales of hay, yards of electric fencing and gallons of milk that couldn’t be refrigerated during power outages.
While Simplicity Farm has received money from aid organizations such as the Valley Community Fund, the Vermont Community Foundation, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and more, to pay for these repairs, it will be awhile before their farm can be restored to its original state. “We have to keep working on it,” Turner said. “[We need] another $50,000 to $70,000 so we can finish protecting our property.”
That being said, “The grass is growing well,” Turner said, “and the cows are relatively healthy, I just don’t have enough of them.” In other words, “We’re holding in there.”