Late freeze damages Georgia's agriculture

Late freeze damages Ga. agriculture

The warm winter we had this season mixed with a late freeze this week wreaked havoc with Georgia's crops. 

Friday, State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and other state leaders toured some of the hardest-hit areas. 

Their tour brought them to Fort Valley and Lane's Southern Orchards where they checked on the peach crop.

Lane Southern Orchard CEO Mark Sanchez knows what it takes to grow the perfect peach. It includes cold weather, but at the right time.

That didn't happen this winter. 

A mild February saw peach blossoms pop out early. Then came the cold.

"Two nights ago, we had a record-breaking freeze for this time of year, and it has caused some damage to the peach crop," says Sanchez.

State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black flew into central Georgia Friday to check out the frost damage to Lane's. 

He calls the damage to crops statewide "heartbreaking."

"We started in northeast Georgia today. It's a pretty serious situation up above Gainesville, some of our peach and strawberry producers up there," says Black.

Black says farms across the state took a heavy hit. 

"It's a pretty tough day for Georgia agriculture. Some of our family farmers will be in a pretty tough situation because of this weather," Black says.

But Sanchez tells consumers there will be plenty of peaches to go around.

"We will have some peaches this year. The Georgia peach will still be on the shelves. There will probably be some times where they're a little bit short supply, but we'll have peaches this year," says Sanchez.

According to Gary Black, though a majority of crops were damaged, blueberries were the hardest-hit. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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