One year later: New Jersey's largest dairy farm rebuilds after devastating tornado

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Thursday, September 1, 2022
New Jersey's largest dairy farm rebuilds after devastating tornado
Wellacrest Farms is thanking the community that helped it rebuild from the rubble following the September 2021 tornado.

MULLICA HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Within 48 hours, the Eachus family experienced some of the worst and best this world has to offer.

A devastating tornado ripped through southern New Jersey, leaving homes in tatters and businesses destroyed. One of them was Wellacrest Farms, considered the state's largest dairy farm with more than 600 cows to milk each day.

"It's a good life but it's a hard life, you know. We eat drink, sleep, the farm," said Marianne Eachus, who is an owner of the farm alongside her husband. "And then when the tornado hit and everything that you know is, like, destroyed, it's like a death in the family."

Eachus remembers that night clearly. Family and neighbors emerged from the tornado's wake to find toppled silos and hundreds of scared animals running wild. A handful did not survive. But still, they were back to milking cows at 1:00am.

"Just devastation was overwhelming," said Eachus. "But then, the outpour of people that have come in and supported us and helped us, that was overwhelming, too."

Members of the Amish community spent roughly 8 weeks helping to rebuild, while other agricultural organizations and food trucks stopped by to provide relief. A Go Fund Me page was created that netted the farm more than $120,000 to build a heifer barn.

"A lot of people who live in this community didn't even know that we were here, you know," said Eachus. "And now they know and the friendships that we've made through all this devastation is just amazing."

From a wasteland to a wonderland, Wellacrest Farms is now dripping with gorgeous blue paint on its freshly-built barns. With a makeover of the electrical system to boot, Eachus is hoping the farm will be able to weather many more years of business.

"I'm hoping my grandsons, you know, will be interested, you know, down the road because now they have new buildings," she said. "For the future generations, it should be sustainable for a long time."

To learn more about Wellacrest Farms, visit their website.

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