The National Corn Growers Association sends its collective prayers to farmers affected by Hurricane Irene this past weekend, which devastated many farms along the East Coast just as harvest begins.

With some growers experiencing more than 20 inches of rain in an extremely brief period, the storm highlights the unpredictable role that the weather plays on farms every day.

"We extend our heartfelt prayers to everyone affected," said NCGA First Vice-President Garry Niemeyer.

"Over our lifetimes, farmers experience a vast array of difficult weather conditions. We pray that our fellow growers' safety and that they are able to recover from this tragedy quickly.

“Despite such catastrophic conditions, we know farmers will draw upon their innate resilience and strength of character to weather this storm and great the next crop year with renewed dedication."

Hurricane Irene affected several members of NCGA top leadership. Former Corn Board member Jamie Jamison, of Dickerson, Md., was fortunate, experiencing only two total inches of rain. Unfortunately, others suffered greatly.

A current Corn Board member who farms in North Carolina is reported to have received more than 20 inches of rain, which may have flooded or otherwise damaged a large portion of his corn, cotton and soybean crop. As of press time, the member was still without power and could not be reached for further details.

"In light of this tragedy, we also rededicate ourselves to educating our legislators and regulators on the incredible importance of crop insurance and risk management programs," said Niemeyer.

"These tools provide critical emergency assistance to farmers experiencing devastating losses due to conditions well beyond their control including adverse weather, crop disease and volatile markets. While we always pray for a smooth, safe growing season, it is imperative that we protect one another and ensure our ability to plant again the next year."