Helping After the Hurricane
Hurricane Maria caused devastation to the island of Puerto Rico. While the island is still recovering, we are proud to say some of our own FSE employees helped save years of research on the island. The USDA facility on the island had an upcoming project that was critical to their mission, which was the planting of soybeans. However, Isabela Farm, where the soybean project is located, had no electrical power.
Walt Dennis, FSE Project Superintendent at USDA in Ft. Pierce, FL, worked with local subcontractors and suppliers to repair the crop-lighting systems and bring in emergency generators to power them. He also shipped in pumps from Pennsylvania to irrigate the soybeans and rented light towers to supplement lighting to the plots.
In addition to the soybean project, Walt provided aid to the main laboratory in Mayaguez. Working with a subcontractor, they were able to repair overhead power lines. They also purchased a pump to irrigate the cacao tree crops that were threatened. Furthermore, during the trip, the existing generator at the main laboratory failed, so Walt helped provide a rental generator to use while they repaired the existing generator. "One of our contractors is doing vegetation removal on site," Walt adds. "There were a lot of downed trees that kept us from getting around, so they brought in heavy equipment – in fact, there is so much downed vegetation that they are still working on it."
"The folks there are having a very hard time. There is massive damage and very little resources," says Walt. "It was really great to be able to help those folks in a bad situation."
We are thrilled to say that due to Walt and his team's hard work, the soybean project was able to proceed. Without help, the USDA would have lost their research, so thank you to Walt and his team for providing excellent care to the USDA!
Caption: Top shows damage to the lighting,
while bottom shows the fixed lighting.