South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tours peach orchards damaged by freeze

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JOHNSTON, S.C. — Freezing temperatures in late March ruined the early South Carolina peach harvest, leaving consumers waiting until July for summertime’s tasty fruit.

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Gov. Nikki Haley examines peach trees with farmer Larry Yonce (far left) and Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, who said the state lost $80 million from the early crop.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Gov. Nikki Haley examines peach trees with farmer Larry Yonce (far left) and Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, who said the state lost $80 million from the early crop.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley toured the damage Mon­day at J.W. Yonce and Sons Inc. peach orchards, a leading producer in the state’s prime peach-growing region. The orchards and packing plant were void of migrant workers who would normally be busy preparing fruit for shipment across South Carolina and the East Coast.

“You’re looking behind me at what looks like a beautiful orchard, but if you look close to the trees, there are no peaches on them. They are bare,” Haley said.

Between 38 percent and 45 percent of peach trees at the Yonce farm sustained devastating damage when temperatures dropped into the low 20s for more than four hours overnight March 26, farmer Larry Yonce said. Very few South Carolina peaches will be for sale until freestone varieties ripen at the beginning of July.

“We know that we’ve experienced a dramatic event,” he said.

The freeze damaged early-variety trees because flower petals had begun to fall off the blooms. Later varieties were in full bloom, so petals insulated the peach embryo from low temperatures.

“The great news is we’ve got fruit the end of June, through July into August,” Yonce said.

State Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said loss of the early peach market caused an estimated $80 million hit to the state’s economy.

South Carolina ranks No. 2 in the nation for peach production, behind California.

Yonce said migrant workers were furloughed or allowed to return home to visit family. Labor will return in mid-June for harvest.

The last major freeze to hit the South Carolina peach crop was on Easter morning in April 2007. Known as the “Easter freeze,” it ruined 90 percent of the state’s crop.

Haley urged residents to support local farmers and buy South Carolina products.

“When you go into your grocery store, we want you to buy peaches. We want you to buy South Carolina peaches,” she said. “Ask your grocer where and when they’re going to be there. Ask them why we have California peaches in there when July comes around.”

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nocnoc
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nocnoc 05/05/14 - 09:12 pm
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I'll support documented migrants like we had prior to 1970's

Before they got AMNESTY and were allowed to stop work, stay and draw FED $$$$.

Before they crossed the border ILLEGALLY and take work from Americans like they do now.

Like Before when the Harvest was over they return to the Country until the next season.

Before when they honored our laws.

Before they became illegals by definition.

I will not support another AMNESTY, having seen how the last AMNESTY decimated Hispanic Families & its Culture.

dwb619
104879
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dwb619 05/05/14 - 10:30 pm
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NocNoc

Absolutely!

GiantsAllDay
10562
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GiantsAllDay 05/06/14 - 09:36 am
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Enjoy your peach cobbler,

Enjoy your peach cobbler, NocNoc. Yep, every day I see white people lined up for miles begging for a less than minimum wage job to pick peaches. Darn Mexicans, STOP stealing their jobs!!! How does Nikki find the time to tour peach orchards, anyway? She is much too busy fighting the MOX shut down and marriage equality.

corgimom
38773
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corgimom 05/06/14 - 10:38 am
0
2
Forget about touring the

Forget about touring the peach orchards, FIX I-20!

corgimom
38773
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corgimom 05/06/14 - 10:42 am
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nocnoc, I hate to burst your

nocnoc, I hate to burst your bubble, but the idea of pickers staying in the country was highly promoted by then-Governor Ronnie Reagan, because the agricultural farmers in CA wanted them to stay and work the fields other than in harvest time. They wanted to be able to keep their good workers nearby and didn't want them going elsewhere. The farmers were having too difficult of a time having guaranteed labor when they needed it.

corgimom
38773
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corgimom 05/06/14 - 10:43 am
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And the program that you are

And the program that you are referring to, nocnoc, was the bracero program.

corgimom
38773
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corgimom 05/06/14 - 10:46 am
0
2
But I'm wondering how the

But I'm wondering how the last amnesty program decimated Hispanic families and culture, all the illegals were thrilled beyond belief that they got it and were able to then go back and forth legally and safely.

They were able to earn better wages and send more money home, how did that decimate anything?

GiantsAllDay
10562
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GiantsAllDay 05/06/14 - 11:55 am
2
2
Caesar Chavez started a union

Caesar Chavez started a union for migrant farm workers in California. (UFW). He is the Martin Luther King for Hispanics. But then again NocNoc has never traveled outside his little world of Georgia. So he wouldn't know anything about that.

dwb619
104879
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dwb619 05/06/14 - 12:43 pm
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Chavez

And Chavez was adamantly opposed to "illegal" immigration.

corgimom
38773
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corgimom 05/06/14 - 02:38 pm
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2
Oh yes, I lived in CA during

Oh yes, I lived in CA during the Cezar Chavez days.

I also have had the "pleasure" of being in CA during Cezar Chavez Day.

GiantsAllDay
10562
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GiantsAllDay 05/06/14 - 08:17 pm
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2
Kindred spirits you and I

Kindred spirits you and I Corgimom. :-)

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 05/07/14 - 08:02 am
1
1
"Yep, every day I see white
Unpublished

"Yep, every day I see white people lined up for miles begging for a less than minimum wage job to pick peaches. Darn Mexicans, STOP stealing their jobs!!! "
Gaint, yep, I see black people 'lined up for miles begging for a less than minimum wage job to pick peaches'. Cut out the welfare for able bodied folks and we will see black and white 'lined up for miles begging for a less than minimum wage job to pick peaches'.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 05/07/14 - 08:12 am
1
1
"nocnoc, I hate to burst your
Unpublished

"nocnoc, I hate to burst your bubble, but the idea of pickers staying in the country was highly promoted by then-Governor Ronnie Reagan, because the agricultural farmers in CA wanted them to stay and work the fields other than in harvest time."
corgimom, I hate to burst your bubble but it was nothing wrong with legal folks staying and working. Many worked and became citizens. The problem now is the illegals that the democrats want to make citizens so they can get their votes like the LBJ did for blacks folks, "I'll have the N***** voting democrat for the next 200 years". LBJ cared nothing about black people just as the lying, communist piece of garbage in the WH cares nothing about Hispanics.

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