P.E.I. potato farmers worried excess moisture caused by Fiona may damage crops
Potato Board says three warehouses lost entire roofs during storm
P.E.I. potato farmers say they're concerned excessive moisture in the fields caused by Fiona may lead their produce to rot in storage — though they hope that's not the case.
Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, told CBC News the post-tropical storm came just as farmers were set to start harvesting and storing their crops
"Some of the potato farms had major damage to potato storages and buildings, and some of their infrastructure," he said. "Lots of trees down to contend with in fields. And then certainly the moisture."
Donald pointed out that it rained in the days leading to and following the storm's passage through P.E.I.
He said all that moisture may affect the quality of the crop, if it doesn't straight-out lead to rotting.
"We're hopeful that there won't be significant issues," he said.
"[Farmers] will pay a lot of attention to, you know, avoiding low-lying areas and poorly drained areas. But at this point we won't really know until they get into the field and dig in more. But that would be a major concern."
Donald said only a limited number of warehouses had "significant damage." He said three warehouses lost their entire roofs, and others were affected to varying degrees.
Alex Docherty of Sky View Farms in Elmwood told CBC News on Sunday that a storage building and a tarp barn at his farm were completely destroyed, while another tarp barn was severely damaged.
"We don't even have time to clean the mess up right now," he said. "We don't know what's going to happen. We're going to have to wait for insurance adjusters. It's going to be quite a schmozzle for the whole Island."
"There's been a lot of efforts in the last couple of days with discussions and to find alternative places to put those potatoes," Donald said.
"There's other needs, places with livestock and things like that that are looking at some of those warehouses. But it looks like they're going to be able to find space."
Donald said power is also a concern.
"I know the power company is doing a tremendous job, but there's still issues with power and you have to have power at a warehouse when you harvest to unload the potatoes," he said.
"We sent out a note a couple of days ago to anybody that has power and spare generators and kind of set up a little bit of a system there," he said.
"Farmers are definitely — and the community — you know, are helping each other and so those that have power are lending generators to those who need it."
With files from Angela Walker