COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Agriculture is one of the state’s largest industries, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable. The industry is at the mercy of the weather we experience in the state.
Over the summer, several counties experienced extreme drought and we’ve also seen major flooding in the past few years.
These extreme weather events have had a major impact on the agricultural industry, where some farmers have lost crops to flood and drought. These impacts are the reason South Carolina lawmakers are looking to create a fund to offer assistance.
It’s called the “South Carolina Farm Aid Fund.” The act creates an account that would offer financial assistance for farmers who lose more than 40% of their agricultural commodities as a result of a catastrophic weather event.
The funding would issued in the form of a grant that can’t exceed $100,000 or 20% of the farmer’s loss. The lawmakers who represent these rural, farm area say the fund is needed.”
“Especially in the Dorchester area, heading towards Charleston it’s a very low lying area. And equally in Berkeley, which is towards Georgetown. So we are low land, so we are going to receive our portion of flooding and what have you so we need to do whatever we can to help our farmers,” explained Representative Joseph Jefferson, one of the cosponsors of the bill.
The bill passed in the House with a vote of 99-4 and is now heading to the Senate.
In order for these grants to kick in, the governor and U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to declare a disaster in those counties where the farms are located.