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As Connecticut River overflows from heavy rain, nearby farms are getting flooded

Floodwaters from the Connecticut River, swollen with submerge crops in Glastonbury field.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
Historic levels of flooding from the Connecticut River covers rows of crops are submerged in Glastonbury. The state Department of Agriculture is estimating 2,000 acres of Connecticut farmland are underwater.

Farms along the Connecticut River are experiencing losses from flooding this week.

The river surpassed its flood stage on Tuesday and continued to rise Wednesday. The river flooded due to heavy rainfall earlier in the week that hit Vermont with historic levels of damage.

In Connecticut, the damage has been much more subdued. Still, a number of farms along the Connecticut River have been affected.

"It's been a crazy season," said Bryan Hurlburt, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture. "We're only in the second week of July. We experienced a moderate winter, very late frost-freeze, a drought. And, now, we're in pretty substantial flooding."

Hurlburt said he met with farms up and down the Connecticut River Wednesday morning and that his agency flew a drone over the damaged areas. About 2,000 acres of farmland are underwater, the agency estimates.

The timing of this event is particularly bad, Hurlburt said, as farmers have spent the last several weeks preparing their fields for harvest and dumping all of their money into seed and labor.

"All of your expenses are accruing till you know, just a couple of weeks ago, before you can actually start making money," Hurlburt said. "A flood event like this wipes out all of that work."

He says any affected farms should report their losses to their local Farm Service Agency office.

"We're trying to do an assessment of the complete data collection on the loss — how many acres — so that we can continue to work with USDA, and the governor's office on a disaster declaration," Hurlburt said.

The CT DOT ferry landing in Rocky Hill, CT, is submerged under flooding from the Connecticut River on July 12, 2023.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
The CT DOT ferry landing in Rocky Hill, CT, is submerged under flooding from the Connecticut River on July 12, 2023.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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