Ont. orchards hit by ’09 tornado to get $45 per tree

Tree fruit growers hit by last August’s tornado in southwestern Ontario’s Grey County may be able to get $45 per tree in AgriRecovery funding to re-establish their orchards.

The Ontario Tornado Assistance Initiative, budgeted for $985,000 under the federal/provincial AgriRecovery plan, was announced Tuesday to provide eligible growers with aid based on the number of trees that died due to the Aug. 20, 2009 tornado.

Producers have until Aug. 1, 2010 to report their losses to Ontario’s farm funding agency Agricorp, which will deliver the program to eligible growers.

The tornado assistance initiative is expected to provide fruit growers with a $45-per-tree payment for all trees killed by the effects of the tornado.

Affected growers in Grey County can get more information from Agricorp toll-free at 1-888-247-4999, the governments said.

“We recognize how important these tree fruit growers are to Grey County and the province, which is why we are helping them recover from the extraordinary losses of last summer,” provincial Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell said in a joint release.

According to Environment Canada, Aug. 20, 2009 had been the first time in 24 years for Ontario to record more than two F2 tornadoes in the same day.

The federal environment department reported in early September that out of the 11 tornadoes formed by storms over the province on Aug. 20, three were rated F2, with peak winds between 180 and 240 km/h.

The three F2 events occurred at Durham in Grey County, at the Georgian Peaks ski area west of Collingwood, and at Vaughan north of Toronto. Flying debris from the Grey County tornado was responsible for the death of one person.

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