Larry Yonce, president of the South Carolina Peach Council, and Hugh Weathers, Commissioner of Agriculture, have issued a joint statement after a meeting with South Carolina Peach Council members and others in the peach industry following the devastating blow from freezing and below freezing temperatures on Easter weekend.

From initial reports, South Carolina peach growers say they would be fortunate to have 10 percent of a crop.

Commissioner Weathers said, “The peach is one of South Carolina’s signature summertime fruits, and this one-year weather phenomenon has been a devastating blow to the industry for this year. But South Carolina growers are resilient. With the support of state and federal agencies and public and private partners, growers and their families will survive this devastating blow.”

The peach industry is valued at more than $40 million a year with a $100 million a year economic impact.

Larry Yonce said, “This is a stressful time for family farms across the state. As much as we are concerned about the peach industry, we understand this disaster extends to farmers and their communities throughout the state. We need extraordinary support during these extraordinary times.”

USDA Farm Service Agency and Clemson Extension Service are continuing to develop more detailed damage assessment reports, not only for peaches, but for all crops affected in the state.

For more information, call Julie Huffman, South Carolina Peach Council at 1-803-528-6009 or visit www.scpeach.com.