More than three months after Rainforest Fiona left the island, some PEI farmers are still cleaning up and rebuilding what they lost.
Andrew Smith remembers the destruction well. A potato cellar in New London had its roof ripped off, its walls collapsed, and debris littered the property.
“I’m sick, I’m just sick. This was four or five days before harvest. I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do, where am I going to put the crop?'”
Other farmers from both PEI and Nova Scotia worked together to help him find storage space.
Smith is now focused on cleaning up. He has insurance, but he said it doesn’t cover all damages. He said he could give as much as $1 million.
At least the weather is on his side.
“It’s usually -20 degrees, and we can get blizzards every two days, so if that’s the case, we’re going to have to shut it down. We’re going to tear down the old stuff and give it some protection before the concrete gets cold, and then we’re going to put it on. Let’s prepare to build when we can.”
no milk loss
Surprisingly, in the days after Fiona, no milk was lost, says Gordon McBeeth of Marshfield, chairman of the dairy farms of Prince Edward Island. of milk, all of which were recovered and processed without loss, he said.
But the decontamination is “massive,” and farmers are looking for ways to minimize damage from future storms.
“Maybe the dairy has to fill in the line from the transformer to the building, so that variable needs to be removed,” he said.
“I think small changes like that are in the long-term benefits for everyone.”
Smith plans to rebuild the wooden building with steel and cement.
But with rice-planting season just a few months away, he faces a new challenge. Finding workers to help.
“We are having a very hard time finding locals who can weather the elements and go out and work with their hands. It is hard work.”