Chalmers Carr III is active in the South Carolina peach industry, as well as his own business. His efforts have been recognized by the South Carolina Peach Council, which this year named him Mr. Peach.
He’s been a leader in urging growers to become involved in genetic peach research initiatives to advance the nutritional benefits of peaches and lead to improved fruit quality in the peach industry. Carr also urges fellow growers to voice their concerns on legislation affecting their industry. He has devoted a lot of time to the H-2A program, where rule changes this year increased his labor costs some 28 percent—more, if you count all the side effects (see “H-2A provides dedicated workers”).
Carr serves on the board of the National Clean Plant Network. Working with Dr. Simon Scott at Clemson University, he maintains 38 mother blocks of virus-tested, variety-certified trees at his farm from which three, large Tennessee nurseries take budwood each year to propagate new trees.
“When plum pox came into the industry, we got pretty concerned about propagated material,” Carr said.
Growers pay five cents per tree royalty and an additional two cents per tree directly to nurseries for each new tree planted. Those seven cents help fund Simon’s testing program, which involves peach growers in South Carolina and Georgia, Chalmers said. Nothing goes to the growers who contribute the budwood.
Chalmers is also on the advisory council for the RosBREED program, which has received a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative to deliver improved plant materials more efficiently and rapidly. He was a big influence in getting the peach breeding program restored at Clemson University and gives high marks to the new breeder, Dr. Ksenija Gasic.