After the Flood: Submerged Pastures and Suspect Hay Add to Horse Owner Worries This Fall

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The flood waters in Vermont and New York have subsided and life is getting back to normal in most places after the ravages of Hurricane Irene. Roads are being rebuilt and the leaves are turning into a blaze of color.

Now it's time to evaluate what the floods left behind, and horse owners are wondering what effect the flooding will have on their horses, even if they were nowhere near the flood zones.

Post-flood worries are not just the province of the Northeast. Many regions of the United States had unusual floods in 2011 and the effects might become most obvious next winter, when horse owners find out that getting a load of good hay could be a tall order. The floods will effect the feed for all livestock.

Flooded clover in a Vermont field has lost all its color, photo by bgblogging.

Flooded clover in a Vermont field has lost all its color, photo by bgblogging.

To understand Vermont, you should know that it is a place of hills and valleys. And hay is grown in the valleys, often alongside rivers and streams, because that is the flattest land to farm. Ironically, the river valleys were probably created by floods in the first place.

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The story of the 14-inch brook trout found alive in a cornfield in Royalton, Vermont was amusing when first reported, but now the impact of the storm is starting to be realized. It's just not over yet. We can only wonder what the impact will be on the price of organic milk, Vermont cheeses and that most coveted of all exports from the Green Mountain State, Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

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The UVM video has some great information for horse owners, no matter where in the USA you live. Even if you weren't directly impacted by the floods this year, your supply of hay may be priced accordingly, or not be available in the quality you'd like.

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Pay attention and make like the squirrels. Scurry around now and be safe and happy when winter comes!

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To learn more: Watch this video about the community's response to helping the aptly-named Hurricane Flats Farm in South Royalton, Vermont.

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