Freezing Temperatures Devastate South Carolina Peach Crops
GILBERT, SC (WOLO)- South Carolina Farmers are facing some of the worst crop damage in ten years after temperatures reached record lows last week.
According to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, the freeze will impact more than just the fruit, peach farms are major economic drivers in rural communities and support over 1500 jobs statewide.
The unusual winter pushed crops to bloom early
“We actually picked some strawberries in February and normally we start in the first week of April, so we’re still early even now,”Mike Keisler, owner of James Sease Farms Inc. said.
Larry Talyor, of Wayne Taylor Family Farms in Gilbert is just one of the many South Carolina Farmers affected.
“There is nothing we can do with the stage that the blossoms are in,” Taylor said. “They’re just too fragile of state that they were in.”
Taylor says he lost about 50 acres of peach crops, which is a big part of the farming operations, but not all of it.
“We’re going to start planting some vegetables tomorrow out here just to have something coming in to try to fill the void of the income that we’ve lost,” Taylor said.
Taylors acres of peach trees won’t start blooming until this time next year.
However Peach-lovers can still expect to see local peaches in July and August in limited quantities.
According to South Carolina Department of Agriculture, South Carolina is the largest peach producing state on the east coast and is second only to California nationally. The annual peach crop has a value of $90 million with a $300 million economic impact.