Deep Freeze May Have Caused Significant Damage to Almonds, Tree Fruit
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director
Editor’s note: Photo shows freeze damage to almonds ovule. On right is healthy ovule. On left, ovule died due to deep freeze. (Photo: Kern County Farm Bureau.)
While possible freeze damage is still being calculated, we know that many areas of almonds and tree fruit have been damaged from recent hard freeze across the state, with temperatures as low as 23 degrees.
Daniel Jackson of Family Tree Farms, based in Reedley, reported that at least one block of peaches on sandy ground was lost.
“The sandy ground could not hold water to protect the roots from the freeze,” he said.
Jackson explained that the five-generation operation is waiting to see if more damage was suffered by the trees.
Significant almond damage could be widespread as the freezing temperatures struck the trees in full bloom. If there is significant losses, it could result in higher almond prices around the world.
A report from Joel Nelsen, President 0f California Citrus Mutual, based in Exeter, noted no damage to the state’s citrus crops.
With California growers, ranchers, producers, and rural landowners experiencing recent freezing temperatures sweeping the state, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has multiple agencies that provide financial and/ or technical assistance to recover from natural disasters, such as freeze.
Listed below is an overview of applicable programs provided by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
- Tree Assistance Program: Provides financial assistance to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. Forests are not eligible.
- Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): Provides compensation to producers who grow uninsurable crops and have purchased NAP coverage by the crop signup date.
- For more information, visit http:// difsa.usda.gov
Please contact your local FSA County Office as soon as possible. Your local FSA specialists are available to assist you with the programs listed above and more.