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Tornados tear through New Jersey’s largest dairy farm

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In the span of about three minutes, Wellacrest Farms in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, was nearly destroyed. Silos were toppled, grain bins crumpled, roofs were stripped from buildings, and, according to The Associated Press, several cows were killed and about 100 were still missing as of this week. 

A storm system that ripped through the dairy farm last week sparked an EF3 tornado — many other twisters were reported throughout the state and in neighboring Pennsylvania. Overall, 13 people were killed in the storms, but none at the dairy farm.

The Associated Press said that Marianne and Wally Eachus took over Wellacrest Farms, which was established in 1943, about 20 years ago. The site produces more than 17 million pounds of milk annually and works with other farmers to share and sell crops. There are reported to be about 1,400 cattle on the property — nearly half of them are cows involved in milking.

The couple is hoping to rebuild, but it is a monumental effort ahead of them. A new barn to house much of the milking operation is among the most pressing needs to keep the business going. But operations have already begun, and milk is being produced.

On Facebook, one Wellacrest supporter sent a message to Mike Rowe, hoping that the popular TV personality would feature the farm as a symbol of resilience amid difficult times. The post said, in part:

“I know people on this page understand what type of job a farmer has and if one does not have a clear picture in mind then listen to Paul Harvey’s – So God Made a Farmer. The Eachus’ Family exemplifies the very definition of a farmer.”

Also, on social media, bar and grill Merryman’s Pub showed its support for Wellacrest by having a Tornado Relief Day and giving 10 percent of each table’s toward the rebuilding of the farm.

For those looking to donate, there has been a GoFundMe page set up. It can be found here. As of this writing, it has raised more than $80,000 toward its $1 million goal.

“I don’t know how we will rebuild,” Eachus told the AP. “We have no choice. We have to. Or all this is for nothing. Will we just walk away? We can’t, this is our home.”

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