CHESNEE, S.C. (WSPA)- Farming is South Carolina’s number one industry. However, for many farmers, population growth is leading to loss of land.
Governor McMaster and the agriculture commissioner addressed issues like that at a forum in the Upstate Monday.
The governor spent the afternoon checking out local produce and speaking with the people who grow it, talking about problems the agriculture community has been facing.
South Carolina has 25,000 farms with more than four and half million acres of farmland.
“Agriculture is the only industry that is an absolute necessity of life,” farmer in Greenville County Jason Wright said.
For farmers in the Upstate, they’re concerned that their land will be become scarce because of excessive development.
Wright said, “We give up all our land to build anything on it. Homes, industry or whatever, and then we’ll be at the mercy of someone else for our existence because we have to have food.”
Governor McMaster said, “What we have to do is sit here and think about what we can do to make it better.”
As farmers talked about their worries, the governor, with pen in hand, wrote them down.
Farmers also expressed concern about who will take over their farms when they retire, since fewer younger people are entering the field.
“People in the schools and the counties don’t know what we do,” one farmer at the forum said.
Governor McMaster vowed to address these concerns.
“It is of great interest that we do all we can to support farming and farmers in our state, that we preserve and protect the land,” McMaster said.
Tuesday is Farmers Day in South Carolina and the governor is asking people to take time to show appreciation to local farmers in your town.