- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

JOHNSTON, S.C. (AP) - Officials say a late March freeze that killed roughly 30 percent of this year’s South Carolina peach crop will cause statewide losses of at least $27 million, officials said Monday.

During a stop at the headquarters of the J.W. Yonce & Sons peach-growing operation, State Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers talked about the state’s losses.

Gov. Nikki Haley also visited the Johnston orchards to see the damage from the freeze that hurt early-ripening peaches in Aiken, Edgefield and Saluda counties.

Larry Yonce says the freeze wiped out about 40 percent of his family’s 2014 peach crop. The family has insurance, and Yonce says they’ll have peaches by the end of June.

“We have crop insurance, which is a federal program; and we do expect to get some money from that,” Yonce said. “But the adjusters have to come out here first and do their work, and that will be a process that takes place throughout the season.”

According to agriculture officials, revenue for South Carolina’s peach industry was $49 million last year, and there are 17,000 acres of peach trees across the state. South Carolina’s peach production ranks No. 2 in the nation, behind California.