Hail damages south Jersey crops, farmers struggling

August 12, 2008 3:32:15 PM PDT
Sunday's golf ball sized hail cut and shredded acre after acre of Anthony Castellini's farm, destroying everything from pumpkins and beets to his Swiss chard and squash. Next door at Tom Pontano's, the top layer of this delicate basil was ripped off and flushed by rain into the mud.

Pontano took to his tractor Tuesday in an effort to save his remaining Basil. Still, he says he's facing heavy losses of upwards of 100-thousand dollars. At nearby Victoria Farms, workers scrambled to save peppers. Farm owner Wayne Groetsch says, with escalating fuel and fertilizer costs and now a six-figure crop loss, he may just quit family farming.

Agricultural Inspectors were in New Jersey fields Tuesday assessing the damage. State officials are considering asking for a disaster declaration, which might give farmers some money for their related losses.

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