Thursday, October 15, 2015

S.C. Farmers and Agribusiness Suffer from Flooding

Chicken house and agriculture acres under flood waters
It’s beginning to look like the year 2015 will go down in the history books as detrimental to farmers and agribusiness in South Carolina. During the S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers' visit to Walterboro in February it was to promote growth and good news such as Crescent Dairy coming to Colleton County. But what has followed since then is a One – Two Punch consisting of a dry and hot summer growing season followed by unprecedented flooding during the annual harvest time.
Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers 
As the historic rains that fell into S.C. began turning into a longer-term flooding scenario, suddenly farmers were thrust into the spotlight. Governor Nikki Haley’s daily press conference included the number of dams that were compromised and the subsequent road closures, with other regular reports coming from General Livingston of the National Guard. But then on Wednesday it was time for Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers to speak and he announced an estimated $300-million dollar crop loss, and the threat that agribusiness in general would suffer further impacts.
Weathers flew over the state on Monday and Tuesday preparing his assessment, reporting thousands of acres of farmland under water. For video from a SCDNR flyover click here. When I spoke to Weathers on Friday Oct. 9 he told me that farmer’s understand that they have inherent risks from the weather. But when they encounter a year like this one most farmers are just hoping to make it through until the next year, and the next planting season.  He also said that harvest efforts will help to determine disaster funding requests for individual farmers.

To read my feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about natural disaster in S.C. click on Horry County Wildfire.

To view past Agribusiness blog entries click Thanksgiving Harvest - Tree Farm - Benton's Peanuts - Fresh On The Menu

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