NY Farmers Hit by Old Fashioned Irish Potato Famine

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Is this a sign of things to come?  New York farmers have been hit by the same fungus that wiped out potatoes in Ireland in 1840. Ag scientists are working on a “wondercrop” that may one day end world hunger, but that’s not going to help farmers in New York.

“…The big box stores Wal-Mart, Home Depot KMart and Lowes have issued a $1 million recall of possibly infected tomato plants and experts believe the current outbtreak could have originated there.

Meanwhile, New York shoppers and gardeners are being warned to destroy any affected plants because they could impact commercial farms.

The fungus, Phytophthora infestans, is extremely dangerous because the spores are dispersed by the wind, potentially destroying nearby commercial crops.

Once the spores arrive, there is no way to prevent the spread of the disease.

Farmers are now praying for two weeks of dry weather as the disease spreads rapidly in damp cool weather.

New York is the latest of several states to report late blight which is in nearly every East Coast state along with Ohio and Virginia.

Late blight caused the deaths of more than 1 million people in Ireland in the 19th century because it totally destroyed the potato crop. More than 1.5 million Irish emigrated in the worst case of famine seen in Europe.

“Ever since IrishCentral broke the story about the Famine blight appearing in the States, we have seen intense audience interest from survivalist sites and even from religious groups that are watching for signs of the Apocalypse,” said IrishCentral General Manager Kevin Hayes. “It’s a story that has really touched a ‘what if’ nerve.”…”

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