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A hail cannon stands within a ring of bales in the fields of Southern Colorado Farms in Center Thursday June 28, 2006. John Smith(cq), who founded the company in 1970, installed his first hail cannon (pictured here) in 1996. This cannon was manufactured in France and cost $125,000. Today Smith's property has 8 hail cannons (the others are manufactured in New Zealand and have a $40,000 price tag), all run on acetylene gas. The cannons send a shock wave into the atmosphere that manufacturers say disrupt the formation of hailstones in their growing phase. The cannons were used once so far this year. (DAVID M. BARREDA / ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) **John Smith(cq)

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