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H. 4717 - S.C. Farm Aid Bill
The historic flood of October 2015 caused unprecedented damage to our state and its people, with particularly devastating statewide impacts on South Carolina farmers and the state's agriculture industry.
For many farmers, the flood came at the worst possible time-harvest. Farmers’ entire year’s investment was in the field only to be washed away by 20-30+ inches of October rainfall.
SCDA, Clemson University and USDA estimated direct crop loss at $376 million with estimated crop insurance only covering about one-third of the total crop loss.
The federal crop insurance program wasn’t designed to cover a 1,000 year flood event, and even the maximum amount of coverage, upwards of $30,000 per year in premiums, still leaves some farmers facing possible bankruptcy.
Palmetto Farm Aid, H. 4717, was introduced in response to the catastrophic agricultural losses suffered from the historic flood of October 2015. H. 4717 sets up a state funded assistance program for farmers who experienced significant losses due to the October flood.
- Assistance will go to only the hardest-hit farmers
- Financial stability will be brought back to South Carolina’s top industry
- Capped assistance will prevent potential abuse
- Grant program limited to crop production expenses and losses
- Anti-Fraud Measures: Farmers must verify their significant loss of at least 40% agricultural commodity.
- Farm Verification: Farmers must have a farm number issued by Farm Service Agency.
- Crop Loss Verification: Crop loss must be verified by the Department of Agriculture and the farmer must sign an affidavit.
- Farming Intent: Farmers must demonstrate intent to continue their operation.
- Sunset: Two-year sunset in place.
- The South Carolina Department of Agriculture shall administer the program.
- With recommendations from the Farm Aid Advisory Board, a seven-member board representing different sectors of the agriculture industry will lead the efforts.
- The South Carolina General Assembly will provide oversight of the board.