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Farmers Examine Crops After Frost Damage

SW MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) -Farmers in South Miami-Dade have reported some crop damage from the record breaking cold temperatures of the last two days.

Many are hoping that they've avoided the extensive freeze damage which occurred last January, which cost them $300 million in losses.

As of early Wednesday afternoon most farmers were feeling they may have dodged the proverbial bullet. Early reports indicate the damage was widespread but spotty.

Farmer Tom Vick saw his crops affected by the cold weather.

"It wasn't pretty at all," he said. "It wasn't pretty."

Growers avoided what could have been a more damaging freeze by working through the night and spraying warm water on their fields.

"But we still have some product left," Vick said. "We were able to save some stuff."

Miami-Dade agriculture manager Charles LaPradd said it will take several days before the extent of the damage is known.

"We had at or below freezing for several hours, for over seven hours. Anytime you have that, especially your tender crops will face material damage," said LaPradd.

What worries most farmers is that this latest cold snap came so early; winter has not officially arrived yet. They are concerned about what the future might hold.

The agricultural industry in Miami-Dade produces roughly $3 billion a year in business. Dr. Mary Lamberts of the Miami-Dade Extension SVC. said consumers will see a different in their grocery bill.

"That will ultimately affect the price that the consumer will pay because it takes a bunch of the production out of the system," she said.

But the price will not increase nearly as much as officials expected.

To keep yourself and your family safe during this latest cold snap, it's important to remember the 'Four Ps'.
Protect yourself and your family with warm clothes.
Protect your pets – bring them inside.
Protect your plants – bring them inside or cover them up.
Protect your property – use proper precautions with space or indoor heaters.

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