Mar 31, 2017
USDA issues letter on claims advisory for blueberry growers

Severe freeze events in the Southeastern United States on March 15-16, 2017, have resulted in significant and varying crop damage, particularly for blueberry and peach growers in Georgia and South Carolina.

Some reports indicate the freeze event may have damaged 80 percent of the blueberry crop in southern Georgia and 85 to 90 percent of early and mid-season peach varieties in both states. Crops that advanced early, due to an unusually warm January and February, were damaged by the March freeze.

Damaged perennial crops require producers to act quickly to spray recommended fungicides to help prevent infection; heavily prune to remove dead tissue and promote new, healthy growth; and take other recommended steps depending upon crop type and variety and frost protection.

Take action

Producers with insured crops impacted by the freeze should immediately contact their crop insurance agent to report their loss.

Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) should begin appraising the impacted crop as soon as possible and releasing the acreage, as appropriate, so that producers can follow recommended good management practices to prevent disease and mitigate reduced production in the bushes or trees for future years.

If producers elect to prune blueberry acreage by mowing to the ground, refer to the applicable Crop and Special Provisions statements.

To read more about how to issue your claims, view this bulletin from the USDA.

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