The meeting is scheduled for 2pm on March 9
By Diego Flammini
Top photo: NTSB
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is meeting with farmers in East Palestine this week following a train incident in the community on Feb. 3.
On that day, a Norfolk Southern train carrying 151 cars, 20 of which with hazardous materials, derailed. A total of 51 cars derailed, 11 of which were loaded with hazardous cargo.
State ag officials will meet with farmers on March 9 at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Education Building (251 S. Broadway Ave. in Salem) beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Farms.com confirmed with the ag department that Director Brian Baldridge, State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Summers and the department's East Palestine Response Coordinator, David Miran, will be in attendance.
The department is confident farmers can produce crops normally this season.
“Although the Ohio Department of Agriculture currently has no reason to believe that crops planted in soil in the area of East Palestine are not safe for consumption, the agency will host a roundtable discussion with East Palestine area farmers on Thursday afternoon to discuss concerns about the upcoming planting season,” a March 7 update from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency says.
Some farms are already feeling the effects of the train accident.
Lamppost Farm in Columbiana, about eight miles from the accident site, produces meat products and uses agriculture to teach about health and wellness.
Other farms it does business with are changing plans, which affects Lamppost’s operations.
“I just talked to a friend that I was (going to) buy cattle from who has cattle about 3 and a half miles from the derailment site and he’s canceling butcher dates out of fear of not wanting to produce (or) provide a product for his customers and I mean that’s a ripple effect all around,” Steve Montgomery, executive director of Lamppost Farm, told WOIO. “I can’t buy his cattle from him now because of that. We won’t be able to produce that for our customers.”
Norfolk Southern is supporting farmers in the area.
The Environmental Protection Agency mandated the railway come up with a soil sampling plan for farmers and residents.
Farms.com has contacted an Ohio producer who is attending the meeting and will speak with the farmer after the meeting.