Warm Weather May Come at a Cost for SC Crops

South Carolina's peach crop alone has a $300 million dollar economic impact to the state. Last year most of it was killed after a March freeze.

Blythewood, SC (WLTX) - The warm weather we have had in February may come at a cost to local crops.

It is hard to believe we are in February. High temperatures Tuesday were in the upper 70s and lower 80s, but the warm weather has some farmers worried.

"I am concerned about the warm, kind of heat spell we are having, it's causing things to put out a lot sooner than usual," said Selvin Harrell.

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Harrell and his wife Edwina own Crooked Cedar Farm in Blythewood. They have been growing fruits and vegetables on their property for over 40 years.

They are worried that after this warmer than normal weather we have had, another cold snap could hurt their crops.

Harrell said, "Especially with the blueberries and with other farmers with the peaches. Everything is being forced into bloom much earlier than they should be."

Last March, after a warm February, a hard freeze wiped out most of the state's blueberry and peach crop.

But Martin Eubanks, the assistant commissioner of agriculture said, "We like to think positively though."

Eubanks said, "We are always cautiously optimistic that we will get through things fine, you just don't know. We don't know what the weather is going to bring."

South Carolina's peach crop alone has a $300 million dollar economic impact to the state, but depending on agriculture comes with some risk.

"It's almost an act of faith when they plant that seed or plant that tree that things are going to go well, and get that crop off and provide a great opportunity for South Carolinians to enjoy South Carolina products," said Eubanks.

The Harrells are hoping they fair better than they did last year, but they are ready with the frost blankets, just in case of another freeze.

Edwina Harrell said, "You have to be pretty resilient (to farm) and you have to be optimistic too."

Even with the extremely cold weather at the beginning of January, this is the 24th warmest winter on record so far. This month will likely go down as the warmest February on record in Columbia.