FLORIDA (January 21, 2010)—Yesterday Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson witnessed the decimated crop at West Coast Tomatoes. Southwest Florida farmers fear they're out of business for the season after the extended cold front.
Shailaja VR of Fresh Plaza reports:
"Officials there explained 800 acres were destroyed and the losses totaled about $4-million. Click to view the video
Bronson spent part of his day there as well as in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and he says the damage is worse than expected. He estimates the damage is in the hundreds of millions of dollars statewide.
He said he's already looking into the availability of emergency low-interest loans for farmers as well as any other federal aid.
But he says unfortunately, with how widespread the devastation is, that help could be months away.
"I was hoping for more salvage than what I've been able to see for some of the farmers that have millions invested here and the farm workers that are counting on this as their job," Bronson said.
The other element is the price of veggies at the store. Bronson says he does not know how much prices will go up, but he expects it to happen in the next ten to 14 days."