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Palisade peach freeze prompts Colorado governor to declare emergency

The emergency declaration enables farms to access assistance programs including loans with flexible repayment terms

A box of fresh peaches at Kokopelli Farm Market located off I-70 north of Palisade. (William Woody, Special to the Colorado Sun)

GRAND JUNCTION — Colorado’s governor announced he is seeking federal aid for farmers impacted by a freeze that wiped out significant portions of the state’s peach crop.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said he sought the aid as a result of an April 14 freeze in Colorado’s Western Slope region, The Daily Sentinel reported Saturday.

Polis and state Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg said in a statement they requested a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

MORE: A bitter freeze and coronavirus have sprouted big problems for Palisade’s peach season

The emergency declaration enables farms to access assistance programs including loans with flexible repayment terms.

Peaches account for 75% of fruit production in the state, with the peach industry typically producing 17,000 tons (15,422 metric tons) of fruit with nearly $40 million in revenue, according to figures released by Polis.

Bruce Talbott of Talbott Farms in Palisade said the freeze likely wiped out as much as 80% of normal production at the peach farm.

Dennis Clark of Clark Family Orchards, another peach grower in Palisade, believes relief assistance would help some businesses.

“I’m sure all growers would look into it if there’s something available,” he said.