These peaches are referred to as "buttons" -- they never made it to maturity -- on the Dickey Farms in Middle Georgia. (Meera Subramanian / InsideClimate News)
Photo: Meera Subramanian
Photo: Meera Subramanian

Did climate change decimate Georgia’s peach crop in 2017?

MUSELLA, Georgia — Georgia’s peach industry suffered staggering losses this year — 85 percent of the crop wiped out by a winter that never get cold enough for the fruit to grow and ripen properly.

The lingering question: was this a harbinger of climate change and many warmer winters to come? Or was it just the sort of bad luck that Georgia farmers have seen come and go ever since people began tilling the soils here?

Robert Lee “Mr. Bob” Dickey, the patriarch of a family that grows a thousand acres of peaches in Middle Georgia, doesn’t hold with this talk of climate change. He’s seen every kind of weather in his 89 years and knows how unpredictable it can be. 

But, as has been said in a very different context, winter is coming. Will this one be cold enough? Read this in-depth report on the state of the Peach State, written by InsideClimate News and shared with the AJC.

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