Vermont dairies scramble to find feed after Irene

By LISA RATHKE | January 11, 2012 | 3:05 AM EST

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Some Vermont farmers are struggling to get through the winter after Tropical Storm Irene swamped the state in August, damaging corn and hay they were growing to feed their livestock.

The timing of the destruction couldn't be worse. Feed prices have risen nationwide amid a hay shortage caused by drought in the Southwest.

Flooding from Irene damaged only about 6,000 of the 92,000 acres of corn grown for feed in Vermont. But the water was concentrated in certain areas, hitting some farmers hard.

Doug Turner says he had to mow down a third of his corn and hay after the flood. He bought 63 bales of hay at a good price of $40 each but he needs to find 75 to 100 more to keep his 45 dairy cows fed.