California farmers grow about 85 percent of the peaches that are canned in the United States annually. But with the market in the pits, the Agriculture Department is offering $7 million to Golden State growers to cut down their trees.
About 25 percent of California's canning peach growers applied for the government's offer of up to $1,700 per acre of trees taken out of production. Participants in the program must promise not to plant replacements for the next ten years.
By the name the next harvest begins in June, growers will have removed more than 4,000 acres of orchards, bringing total canning peach acreage down to 26,250 acres -- its lowest level in 50 years.
Over the past decade, imported peaches have nearly doubled their market share and now account for more than 10 percent of domestic sales.