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Big Losses for Small Crop Farmers After Freeze

Even when temperatures warm up, the damage has already been done to some Fresno County crops.

Several nights with freezing temperatures have left small crop farmers in Fresno County dealing with big losses.

The freeze is affecting the thousands of farms across Fresno County.

At Fong Tching's farm on Highland and McKinley Avenues, several nights of below freezing temperatures have damaged about 80 percent of his crop--a loss Tching equates to about $20,000, accounting for the crops lost and the time it will take to plant new vegetables.

"It makes me worry because everything I depend on my crops--my food, and everything, it's all in my crop," Tching said.

He's one of 1,300 Asian farmers in Fresno County who harvest small crops like his to sell their products in farmers markets.

Every year, freezing temperatures are a concern. Farmers take precautionary steps, such as using plastic to cover their plants. But this year, it wasn't enough.

"It works when the temperature gets down to 30, but then the last couple nights, we had temperatures down to 26, 27, and even though with a plastic, it didn't seem to help," said Michael Yang, a small farm agricultural assistant with the University of California's Cooperative Extension.

Splitting open some vegetables, Yang showed how some of the vegetables were frozen within, making the product unmarketable.

"They have to be uprooted because you can't wait, they have to replant, put new crops in here," Yang said.

The process to uproot, replant and harvest can take about 60 days, Yang said.

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Fresno, CA

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