Crop Damage Estimated Around $40M after Colorado Hail Storm

August 26, 2008

Preliminary estimates from the Farm Service Administration put the crop damage from a hail storm that hit the San Luis Valley this month at more than $40 million.

The storm hit 28,000 acres of crop land in southern Saguache and northern Rio Grande and Alamosa counties Aug. 16. Damage included an estimated $31.7 million to the potato crop, The Pueblo Chieftain reported.

“A lot of money was lost that day,” said Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee.

He estimated that 4,000 acres of potato fields suffered serious hail damage. There were 57,000 acres of potatoes planted this year in the valley, which is among the top potato-growing regions in the nation.

Roughly 6,000 acres of wheat fields were hit, representing a financial loss of nearly $5.4 million, Don Greenstreet of the Farm Service Administration office in Monte Vista said. The FSA estimated that 6,000 acres of barley crops suffered a $3.8 million loss.

Greenstreet said he would continue to meet with insurance adjustors and agents to refine the damage estimates.

A spokesman for MillerCoors LLC said roughly 10 percent of its valley crop was lost in the storm. He did not estimate financial costs.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. said it suffered a 15 percent loss of the two-row barley it had contracted in the valley.

Source: The Pueblo Chieftain.

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