REGION — At one of the busiest times of year for farmers to begin with, many are now dealing with the aftermath of the Monday, May 1, flood.

Producers impacted by the flooding may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program [ECP] administered by the Franklin County Farm Service Agency [FSA]. For more information about ECP, contact the Franklin County USDA Service Center at [207] 778-2788 x2 or visit The FSA director in Farmington could not be reached for additional information for this article.

A washed out road is seen after the Monday, May 1, flooding in Franklin County. This road provides access to a field managed by Randall Bates of New Vineyard. The town repaired the road itself, as seen in the lower part of the photo, but access to the field was not fixed. Randall Bates photo

“We thought we were going to get one and a half inches of rain, took a chance and planted an acre of corn,” David Pike of Farmington said. “A lot of it won’t make it, we had four feet of water [on the field].”

The seeds got soaked prior to germination, he noted. Some spikes are showing but he doesn’t know yet what the loss will be.

After the Sandy River flooded, debris and three inches of silt were left, most of which carries weed seeds, Pike said. He lost five to 10 feet of the bank.

The river didn’t get as high as it did in 1987, was about three feet lower, Pike stated. He couldn’t get around the field with his four-wheeler for a few days because it was so slimy, he added.


Henry Hardy has a dairy farm on Weeks Mill Road in Farmington. While he isn’t located near a river or major stream, he did have a couple of roads wash out. While not serious, he needs to use one road this weekend.

A field is seen underwater following the Monday, May 1, flooding in Franklin County. This New Vineyard field is managed by Randall Bates. Randall Bates photo

In New Sharon, Jim Davis had 225-250 acres near the Sandy River under water. A tractor left in a field was almost lost, he said.

“Our cousin swam out to get it, he said the water was pretty cold,” Davis noted. “A bunch of good hay ground had three foot sand drifts on them. We had to hire Vinings to scoop it off because it was too much for our bucket loaders to handle.”

Another field across the river had corn planted on it last year, alfalfa on it this year, Davis stated. Harrowing and other work already done there will have to be done again, the field will need to be reseeded, he stated.

“All the manure we had spread was lost, a lot was hen manure that is hard to come by,” he noted. “There were a lot of expenses we weren’t planning on.

“A little land washed out, we got lucky there. It didn’t cut into the bank too bad. We were worried about that.”


Davis said 24 hours was spent picking up debris on the fields. Water backed up on the other side of the road behind the barn, taking out all the fencing that had just been readied for this year’s pasturing, it will all need to be redone, he noted.

Seen are sand deposits and debris left after the Monday, May 1, flooding of Wilson Stream in East Wilton. James Black photo

For Davis, the biggest issues were the debris and sand deposits. “We got right out there,” he said. “We didn’t want any hidden issues when we start mowing.”

Jill Bates and her husband Randall operate a dairy farm in New Vineyard. One of their fields has no access after the road washed out due to high water from Greenwood Stream. The town fixed the road, nothing was done for the road to the field, she said.

“It is quite deep,” Bates said. “Debris, rocks have been left on the fields that were under water. We can’t spread manure, it’s too wet. We are going to wait to turn the cows out to pasture.”

Bates remembers a July 4th storm in the late 1990s that dropped five inches of rain. “We got more than eight inches in this storm,” she said. The farm uses rain gauges, she added.

Some wood is seen on a tractor bucket after the Monday, May 1, flooding of Wilson Stream in East Wilton. An uprooted tree was also found on the field managed by Black Acres Farm. James Black photo

In Kingfield, Andrew Chase farms along the Carrabassett River. “I had about 10 different hay fields flooded, either partially or wholly,” he said. “Four pastures were flooded, it took out fences.”


Erosion wasn’t a big issue, Chase noted. The flooding is inconvenient due to the need to fix fences, deal with the debris, he stated. The sand and gravel can get in equipment and hay, the hay won’t be as good as it could be, he added.

“A woodlot owner in Avon, whose road blew out and is now impassable can’t get in there to do their conservation practices,” Natural Resources Conservation Services District Conservationist Amanda Burton wrote in an email to the Franklin Journal. “Waterbars and culverts failed due to the amount of water, which caused water to run down the road and form deep gullies. It is near Dickey Brook, but I think it was more the tributaries to Dickey Brook that were the problem.

Burton heard second hand about a farmer in Temple with a hay field along Temple Stream that had scouring/erosion/peeling back of the sod where the field meets the stream, and deposition of sediment and other debris in his field.

In Wilton, James Black and his family have a diversified farm on Black Road and also manage fields on Main Street near Wilson Stream in East Wilton. “We lost a lot of banking [on the former Tyler farm] on the Route 2 side,” he stated. “My brother John lost 30 to 40 feet of bank where it washed away behind [the former] Backus Garage. Anywhere a river bends or curves, you tend to lose land.”

Intervale ground is usually impacted by flooding, James noted. He also reported issues near his home and washed out culverts at the farm.

This crayfish was found while clearing farmland following the Monday, May 1, flooding in Franklin County. James Black of Wilton said he found the crayfish sitting on a two by four in the middle of one of the fields in East Wilton. James Black photo

James had shared photos on his Facebook page of East Wilton farm clean up efforts, with one featuring a crayfish. “It was on a two by four out in the middle of the field,” he said. “It shows how high the water got.”


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