Holy Catastrophe, Batman! What’s next?
Dealing with Mother Nature in the North East, is certainly something that we just accept and live with, but earthquakes, hurricanes, and topical storms all in a few weeks—I think someone is testing us. The ground shake that Californians are so use to, did not vibrate any apples off the tree, but maybe it was a warning of what was about to happen a few days later!
As you know, Irene stormed up the East coast just about the time that apple growers were placing bins in the orchards and commencing the 2011 fall harvest. For our western friends that live in the high desert, imagine 14 inches of rain in less than 24 hours! Many of our eastern orchards felt that during Irene. Fortunately most orchards are on high ground, and orchard flooding was not that common, but that amount of rain did have serious implications on harvest and fruit drop. Of course the damage to roads, homes, and communities across the NE was enormous.
If Irene was not bad enough, the next hit was from Lee, a tropical storm that settled in around Labor Day and it parked itself over the North East and just unloaded vast amounts of moisture for a number of days. Some places received more rain from Lee than from Irene, and since it was later, more apples were mature, and more apples were affected by dropping from the trees. Rivers overflowed their banks, towns were flooded and perhaps the greatest amount of loss and damage was to the vegetable growers of Eastern and Southern New York. 1000’s of acres of onions, potatoes and corn were totally lost to flooding. And finally, just in case our industry had room for more disaster, bad news and destruction came again.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the E-Verify provision with no Ag Exemptions! Everyone that has anything to do with US agriculture, including US Apple, United Fresh, Acer, and the list goes on, have worked tirelessly to persuade Chairmen Lamar Smith and his committee, that E-Verify without addressing Ag labor, would devastate American Agriculture. BUT, as feared, no one listened! So the storms keep coming, either named Irene, Lee or The House of Representatives! I guess what we need is crop insurance that covers the actions of our Government, as well as against the fury of Mother Nature!