Felton family farm severely damaged by heavy rain, fundraising to recoup losses
FELTON, Del. – Locals are rallying around a Delaware family after their Felton farm was severely damaged by flooding earlier this month.
The owners of Dittmar Family Farms say heavy rains on September 3rd and 4th brought five to eight inches of rain. They say all but four of their 45 turkeys drowned, they lost their fall crops, their hay inventory is molding and their brand new tractor has water damage. To help recoup losses, they’ve started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise almost 22-thousand dollars as they work to rebuild and improve their farm.
“It just seems to be more or less, we’ve taken the damage we’re going to take this go around and it’s trying to really mitigate the risk for the future,” says Zachary Dittmar with Dittmar Family Farms.
Zachary Dittmar says they bought the 40 acre farm in 2017 but were unable to qualify for farm insurance based on their short amount of experience, geographic location and other limits.
Jenny Dittmar says they have been researching different organizations to help them but are reaching “dead ends.” She says, “We had a meeting with Kent Conservation District and they put us on a ten year waiting list to help out with digging a retention pond. Apparently there are about 200 projects ahead of us (LOL!). We contacted DEMA to see if we qualified for a grant or cost share to assist with putting in a pond and because our insurance company does not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, we do not qualify. We have also reached out to USDA Farm Service Agency to see if we qualify for the Livestock Indemnity Program and could recoup some of the income lost from the turkeys. We are waiting to hear back, but they told us that normally that program only comes into play when there is a national or regional disaster that affects many farms.”
Their Go Fund Me has raised more than two-thousand dollars so far.
Jenny Dittmar says, in terms of other ways people can help, she recommends people support small local farmers. “Shopping at their local farmer’s market (the Historic Lewes Farmers Market is the one that we are a part of), joining a CSA and buying meat, dairy, and veggies direct from a local farmer is the best way they can help. There aren’t many programs that benefit small farms and it is a tough business to get into and to stay in, so our customers that believe in the good that we do for the environment, and not to mention the higher quality product is what keeps us going!”