A new study out of North Carolina State University shows that almost one in five dollars of the state gross product are directly related to the food, fiber and forest industries, with food contributing the lion's share of that total. Of the $440 billion gross state product, $77 billion came from some form of agriculture with food production accounting for $67.4 billion of that.
According to the study's author, Mike Walden, William Neal Reynolds professor and North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, almost one in five North Carolinians earns their living from agriculture, which represents 642,000 of the state's 3.8 million workers.
South Carolina is traditionally the nation's second-largest producer of peaches, trailing only California and ironically ranked just ahead of Georgia, the Peach State. The fresh fruit and vegetable industry provides an annual economic boost to state revenues of more than $150 million.
Peach production began in mid- to late May across South Carolina, but cooler weather this spring means early supplies are light and peak season will arrive just in time for Fourth of July promotions.
"Chill hours were adequate and the rain has been very good," said Michael Blume, peach commodity manager for Keystone Fruit Marketing Inc. in Greencastle, PA, which partners with South Carolina grower Watson & Sons.
That cool spring weather and adequate rainfall should make this year's crop especially sweet, with excellent sizing and heavy volume through mid-August.