Northeast farmers try to recover as storm damage tallied

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The cascades of water from back-to-back tropical storms swept across farms in the Northeast and washed away crops, buildings, soil and livestock. The storms left dairy farmers hard pressed to feed their animals and vegetable growers without fall produce.

Then came fire. Sodden hay bales began to ferment, generating enough heat to spark blazes that destroyed seven barns in New York alone.

Dairy farmers were hit especially hard. Their stands of feed corn were contaminated, alfalfa crops destroyed and piles of hay left molding. They expect to struggle through next year to feed their animals, buying grain on a market that's seen prices rising along with the expense of fertilizer and fuel.

Officials in New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Pennsylvania continue to tally the agricultural damage from Irene and Lee.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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