This year's late freeze destroyed more than three million acres of farmland across New York State, and Tuesday's hail storm just added insult to injury.
Now, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are asking for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make disaster funding available to farmers whose crops are left in ruin.
Gillibrand and Schumer are requesting that the USDA Secretary declare 34 New York counties, including a few in the Capital Region, as federal disaster areas.
That would make federal funds available to local farmers like Larry Devoe, who owns Devoe’s Rainbow Orchard in Clifton Park.
“You can’t do a thing about mother nature,” Devoe said. “She loves us.”
The sarcasm is strong, but Devoe said he has kept his spirits up.
“This is a ten acre block here and this is the only one that's got any apples on it at all,” Devoe said.
The orchard has forty acres of apple trees. The freeze knocked that number down to ten. When those apples got hit hard with the hail storm, Devoe guessed he's lost about 90 percent of this year's crop.
“Here is a hail mark on this one already,” Devoe said, as he pointed out a rotted spot on one of the small apples.
But Devoe said he’s just glad there are any apples at all.
He showed us another row of different trees that faired better than the others.
“This is more what a crop should look like,” he said.
Back in 1958, Devoe said his family’s farm was one of the first in the Northeast to install a wind machine.
Now, Devoe said it saved his crop.
“If it wasn't for that wind machine, there wouldn't be an apple on these trees not one,” he said.
Devoe's Orchard has expanded over the decades. Through five generations, the farm stand has started to sell more than just fruit.
“When you look around you see mulch, firewood, flowers, and all that,” Devoe said. “We've gone into those things to diversify to get through because if we were just doing apples we couldn't survive.”
Devoe said after Irene and Lee, a warm winter, a late freeze, and a strong hail storm, this will be one of his toughest years yet.
When asked if the farm stand would still remain open, Devoe didn’t hesitate: “Oh yeah, we've got to, we've been around too long.”
Devoe said the hail storm will also double packing expenses because each apple needs to be hand checked, which takes a lot more time.
He said he won't know the full extent of the damage for another few weeks.
For more information on the effort to get federal funding for local farmers, CLICK HERE.