Winter weather threatens Georgia blueberry, peach crops


Georgia fruit farmers face the potential loss of millions of dollars in crops as a late-winter freeze threatens the state, top agriculture officials said Tuesday. 

State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said blueberry and peach farmers in particular are at risk. 

“They’re telling me this morning that 60 percent of the rabbit-eye blueberries and then even some portions of the highbush could get pounded tonight,” Black said. 

Georgia leads the country in blueberry production. Most of central and north Georgia will be under a freeze warning from 11 p.m. Tuesday until 11 a.m. Wednesday. 

MORE: Gusty winds could pose a threat to drivers

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McCall, R-Elberton, said peach farmers, too, are concerned. 

“Farmers north of Macon had been preparing a bumper crop and were almost naming their own prices,” McCall said. 

Now, those farmers could see fruit freeze overnight, while farmers south of Macon have struggled with not enough cool weather, he said. 

Black said it remains to be seen if the state’s Vidalia onion crop is impacted by the freeze. 

“Onions are a little more resilient,” he said. “I’m not ready to comment on that. We’ll wait and see.”

There’s not much that can be done to help farmers, Black said, except pray for warmer weather. 

“We’re going to be joining several groups, there are prayer meetings all over South Georgia,” he said. “We’ll be asking the Lord to protect us.”

RELATEDHere’s how to protect your spring flowers from frost in Atlanta


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Politics

Georgia governor to consider adding diversity on Stone Mountain’s board
Georgia governor to consider adding diversity on Stone Mountain’s board

Gov. Nathan Deal said he was open to appointing a black member to the board that governs state-owned Stone Mountain amid new scrutiny into the nation’s largest monument to Confederate war dead. Deal said he hadn’t realized that each of the 10 members of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association board was white, and he said “we&rsquo...
Opinion roundup: Donald Trump’s gift; Armstrong-Georgia Southern merger; what’s in your child’s school lunch
Opinion roundup: Donald Trump’s gift; Armstrong-Georgia Southern merger; what’s in your child’s school lunch

A roundup of editorials Monday includes a look at the ‘powerhouse’ that could be born from the merger of Armstrong State and Georgia Southern, a tribute to Georgia World War II veterans, school lunch programs, and other issues. Here are some opinions from the Right and from the Left. From the Telegraph: President Donald Trump has given...
Georgia will change policy after complaints over notice sent to voters
Georgia will change policy after complaints over notice sent to voters

Georgia election officials have quietly reversed themselves over address confirmation notices being sent to voters who have moved within the same county they were already registered in. After the ACLU of Georgia filed suit last month against Fulton County over the issue, officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the state will no longer send...
Exclusive: Secret Service depletes funds because of Trump's frequent travel, large family
Exclusive: Secret Service depletes funds because of Trump's frequent travel, large family

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump's family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast. Secret Service Director...
Your Monday political roundup: Trump to address the nation; Confederate flags come down at Six Flags
Your Monday political roundup: Trump to address the nation; Confederate flags come down at Six Flags

Here's what's trending in politics in Georgia and around the nation. 1. Trump to speak to the nation about AfghanistanPresident Donald Trump will give a nationally televised address outlining plans for the U.S. strategy to win the war in Afghanistan. The speech is set for Monday night. 2. Can a Trump presidency survive?The president continues...
More Stories