Cold, Lost Cash! Freeze Costs Florida Farmers $50 Million

Cold weather equals hard times for farmers

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    OKAHUMPKA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 24: Icicles cover ferns and anything else in the range of the sprinklers at Uniflora Nursery January 24, 2003 in Okahumpka, Florida. The sheets of ice keep the plants at a constant 32 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside air temperature is in the 20s. The state was hit with a hard freeze that is expected to grip the region for much of the weekend. (Photo by Chris Livingston/Getty Images)

    The cold snap that hit South Florida a few weeks ago did more than make us break out those ugly Christmas sweaters and dodge iguanas falling out of trees.

    It was hell on the economy. Farmers lost an estimated $50 million in crops that were damaged by the frigid temperatures, according to the state Farmworkers Association, which is trying to get Gov. Charlie Crist to kick in a few extra bucks to fill in for the loss.

    The loss means many farming families will be out of work.

    This is the second year in a row Jack Frost snatched cold, hard cash from farmers. The group estimated they lost $100 million during a cold front in the winter of 2008. That's a lot of lettuce, or rather, a lot of lettuce being destroyed by cold temperatures.

    Crist has surveyed some of the damage and declared the cold snap a state of emergency for farmers as temps dipped near freezing, causing tomato, citrus and other crops to literally freeze over.

    The lost fruits and veggies could also drive up prices at the grocery store since South Florida produces the bulk of the nation's winter produce.