2021 Annual Recap

South Carolina Farm Bureau Government Relations

Our Government Relations Department serves as the link between our members and government officials at the local, state and national level. We work with local officials, the state Legislature, the Governor’s office, departments and agencies, congressional delegation and staff to promote Farm Bureau policy as set by our members during our yearly policy development process.

Through the yearly policy development process, Farm Bureau members direct the focus of the work of the organization towards achieving its legislative and regulatory policy goals to maintain an advantageous environment for agriculture in South Carolina.

The Government Relations team (GR Team) is tasked with developing and implementing a successful education and advocacy program to achieve the goals set by our members. To do this, the GR Team coordinates the implementation of Farm Bureau policy on both state and national levels. This includes conducting and maintaining contact in the state and national legislative arenas, as well as with regulatory entities that govern our industry.

By mobilizing the full resources of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation and speaking with one united voice, this program will carry out the policy determined by the SCFB and AFBF policy development process.

Policy Development Process

Through our yearly policy development process, members voice problems and explore issues to direct the GR team as to which legislative solutions our members would like to see achieved.

The Process: Problem Issue Solution

    1. A farm bureau member has a problem. A problem is a want or a need.
      1. Example: “I want to expand my poultry operation by 2 more houses.”
    2. During a county or district meeting, the member will voice their problem and members will discuss what issues there are causing that problem. An issue is what is keeping you from being able to get what you want or need. It is a larger systemic barrier that needs to be changed in order to solve the problem.
      1. Example: “Anyone -- even people who don’t live near the farm -- can intervene in the permitting process and hold up an application for additional poultry houses.”
    3. Members will propose a policy to add to the SCFB policy book that identifies the issue and directs the GR team to find a solution. A solution addresses the larger systemic barrier so that your problem is fixed.
      1. Example: “We need legislation that limit who can participate in the permit process to just individuals within one mile of the farm.”



Advocating for Agriculture

Farm Bureau has a proven record of legislative success both within our state and at the national level. We monitor government activity, promote sound laws and regulations, initiate and support community activities and encourage grassroots activism. We are a grassroots organization and our members and volunteer leaders serve as our guide and work together to define our goals and objectives.  It's important that our elected leaders understand the importance of agriculture to our state and nation.  One of the best ways to make this happen is to contact them and let them hear your voice. 

  • Individual Emails – Make sure to introduce yourself, what action you want to occur, and be brief.
  • Tell Your Story – Personal stories are influential with policy makers.  By telling your story, you have put a “face” on potential legislation.
  • Virtual Farm Tours – A picture is worth a thousand words, and video is more.  Virtual tours allow elected officials to be a part of the action of the farm.  Similar to emails, be clear, concise and to your point.
  • Action Alerts – Sign up to receive alerts and our weekly Legislative Update during the State Legislative session. This is the easiest way to stay updated on South Carolina agriculture issues.

We've developed a webpage to help you communicate with the lawmakers who represent you in Columbia and Washington, D.C. Use the "Find Officials" search box on our “Grassroots in Action” webpage to look up your state and national lawmakers.

  • You can then send a message directly to them from this page. You can also search for legislation.
  • When searching for legislation, be sure to select whether it's a South Carolina (State) bill or a Federal bill. 


Being a Champion Advocate

Advocacy is all about building relationships. You are more likely to help out a friend than a stranger. Building relationships starts before a person ever takes office. Farm Bureau members need to be active in elections – get to know the candidates, host a forum on agricultural issues, or send out a questionnaire to candidates. If you believe in someone and what they are doing or say they will do, contributing your time, money, or other resources to help them be (or stay) elected.

The GR team is available to assist with political education for counties. The GR Team will be able to tell you how your politician responds to agricultural issues in Columbia or the District of Columbia.

It's important that our elected leaders understand the importance of agriculture to our state and nation. SC Farm Bureau members must stay engaged with their local political representatives. Farmers may not have the most voices in the room or even the loudest voices in the room, but the concerns of farmers are the concerns of everyone, because, as one SCFB Executive Board member is known for saying,

“A country that can feed itself has many problems; but a country that cannot feed itself only has one problem.”

Our united voices can influence agricultural policies in our state and nation.


Members of the General Assembly

The first regular session of the 124th South Carolina General Assembly convened on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.  This is the first year of a two year session.  The annual session begins the second Tuesday in January and by law must adjourn sine die not later than 5 p.m. the second Thursday in May, except when an extension is voted by two-thirds vote of both Houses or as otherwise provided. 

The General Assembly welcomed twenty-one (21) new members to the body. There are six (6) new members of the Senate and fifteen (15) new members in the House of Representatives. In total, there are 170 members of the General Assembly.  


The House of Representatives

Members elected November 2020, to serve until Monday after the General Election in November of 2022—81 Republicans, 43 Democrats—total 124. Members of the House of Representatives are elected from 124 single member districts. Each district contains a population of approximately one/one hundred and twenty-fourth of the total population of the State based on the 2010 Federal Census. First year of legislative service stated always means the session year. Before 1896 members were elected in November, and their first session year began in the same month. Since then (under the Constitution of 1895) the first session year has started in January following the November election.


Elected Officers for the House of Representatives

The Senate

There are 46 total Senators for the state:  30 Republicans and 16 Democrats. All Senators elected in 2020 will serve until the Monday after the General Election in November of 2024.

Elected Officers for the Senate

































Legislative Session Recap

This session, the General Assembly introduced 2,235 pieces of legislation; of those, 617 (28%) passed; of the 1,647 general bills and joint resolutions, which carry the force of law, introduced this session, the General Assembly passed 117 (7.1%). Of the 117 bills and joint resolutions passed, 108 were signed into law, one was vetoed and overridden (H. 3584 Oconee County Tax Assessment), and one veto pending. (There are seven bills awaiting Governor McMaster’s signature).

Because 2021 was the first year of a two-year session, the remaining ~1,600 bills and resolutions will be eligible for consideration in 2022 without having to start the process over. 2022 will be an election year, so that will also have its own influence on the movement of legislation on the calendar. The week following the November 2022 election in November, any legislation that remains is “dead.”

In 2021, the General Assembly focused on a few issues very closely: abortion, SC COVID-19 Liability, education, open carry with training and illegal transportation of feral hogs. Other areas of concern included licensure, teacher salaries, specific tax credits and left-lane driving. The General Assembly addressed an initial investment in feral swine eradication, expansion of infrastructure at the Port of Charleston, additional funding to increase broadband across the state, adding services through Clemson University Extension, critical fruit and vegetable research, and hemp testing laboratory equipment.  Also included were raises for state employees, school resource officers, and higher education tuition mitigation.  



Introduced legislation pie chartPassed legislation pie chart


Bills of Interest

Legislation Passed by the General Assembly

H. 3539 Illegal Transportation of Feral Hogs

The Feral Hog Transportation Bill, House Bill 3539, has passed the General Assembly signed into law by Governor McMasters on May 17, 2021. Feral hogs are responsible for $115 million in damage statewide each year and have been a growing problem for farmers. The Feral Hog Transport Bill gives law enforcement the tools needed to identify and prosecute individuals illegally transporting feral hogs. While it is currently illegal in South Carolina to transport feral hogs, it is very difficult to prove hogs are wild. This legislation would require individuals to obtain proper identification of the animals to prove their origin. An amendment was adopted that created additional documents that can be used for identification of hogs during transportation.  More information on this priority issue can be found here.

H. 3071 Equine Industry Support Measures Study Committee

The Equine Industry Support Measures Study Committee, House Bill 3071, was passed by the General Assembly and enacted into law April 15, 2021. The joint resolution creates the seven member committee to examine the potential growth of equine industry in the state. The committee will issue a report to the General Assembly by February 15, 2022, providing its findings and recommendations.

S. 698 Warehouse Guaranty Fund

The Warehouse Guaranty Fund, Senate Bill 698, passed the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor McMaster on April 16, 2021. The bill authorizes the use of certain funds in the Warehouse Receipts Guaranty Fund. These funds are derived from interest and investment revenue that will be used to pay cotton producer claims for losses until the balance is depleted to three million dollars or all cotton producer loss claims are paid in full. 


S. 147 South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act

The South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act, Senate Bill 147, passed the General Assembly and was enacted into law by Governor McMaster’s signature on April 28, 2021. The bill provides necessary, targeted, and temporary liability relief for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and other entities who have followed and continue to follow public health guidance during the pandemic.


Pending Legislation

S. 2 DHEC reform

The Senate Medical Affairs Special Subcommittee on DHEC Reform met during the session to take testimony from state agencies. DHEC, DMH, DNR, DAODAS and other impacted agencies provided the subcommittee with a potential look into how the legislation could benefit the state. A strike-all and insert amendment would restructure and create efficiencies by establishing a public health agency and an environmental department.      

H. 3500 Farm Equipment Repair Bill

House Bill 3500, was introduced and referred to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs committee for action. The bill focuses on requiring farm equipment manufacturers make diagnostic and repair documentation available to independent repair providers or owners under certain circumstances. SC Farm Bureau held a Right-to-Repair Zoom Virtual Townhall with members of SC Farm Bureau and representatives from the manufacturers of equipment where questions and alternative methods for repair were discussed. 

H. 3221 Farm Trailer Licensing and Repeal of Farm Trailer Exemptions

House Bill 3221 provides that certain farm trailers weighing three thousand pounds gross or less would be required to have two brake and turning signals, one on each side. The bill also removes licensing and registration exemption for farm trailers which are privately owned and not for hire. The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs committee for action.

H. 3291 Purple Paint as Alternative Trespassing Notice

House Bill 3291 that allows for a different method of posting notices of trespassing involving clearly visible purple-painted boundaries passed favorably out of the House and was sent to the Senate for consideration. The bill has been assigned to Senate Committee on Judiciary for further action.     

South Carolina Equine Promotion Act

House Bill 3544, was introduced and referred to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs committee for action. In summary, the bill establishes the “South Carolina Equine Promotion Act.” The Act acknowledges that the equine industry contributes billions of dollars to South Carolina through the value of the animals, the land on which they are housed, jobs, and taxes thus the Act shall promote and improve economic development of this important industry through a board funded by fees collected from the sale of commercial horse feed. (Commercial feed fee of $2/ton on all commercial feed and custom blends labeled for equine use sold in South Carolina). A subcommittee hearing was held on the bill and the committee adjourned debate on the bill, taking no action.


House Bill 3540, was introduced and referred to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs committee for action. In summary, the bill is an amendment to the Hemp Farming Act related to altering the definition of “licensee” and amend the act to remove the license requirement to handle hemp. A subcommittee hearing was held on the bill and the committee adjourned debate on the bill, taking no action.

South Carolina Farm Aid Fund

House Bill 3251, creates the “South Carolina Farm Aid Fund” to assist farmers who have suffered at least 40 percent loss of agricultural commodities as a result of a catastrophic weather event, to provide a fund that must be administered by the Department of Agriculture and to create a farm aid advisory board to make recommendations, specify eligibility and grant amounts. The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs committee for action.

Freedom of Employment Contract Act

House Bill 3078, creates the “Freedom of Employment Contract Act” by repealing the statutory authority known as the “Right to Work” laws.  The bill has been assigned to the House Labor, Commerce and Industry committee for action.   

South Carolina Opportunity Zone Enhancement Act of 2021

House Bill 3130, creates the “South Carolina Opportunity Zone Enhancement Act of 2021” that allows a taxpayer investing in a designated federal opportunity zone in South Carolina is allowed a credit against any tax due pursuant to this title equal to twenty-five percent of the total investment costs, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars. The bill has been assigned to the House Ways and Means committee for action. 

Commissioner of Agriculture Must be Appointed by the Governor

Senate Bill 110 provides that the Commissioner of Agriculture be appointed by the Governor, upon advice and consent of the Senate. Terms served would be concurrent with that of the Governor. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary committee for action. 

Repeal SC Hemp Farm/USDA Industrial Hemp Plan

Senate Bill 303 repeals the SC Industrial Hemp Act of 2014 due to recent Federal changes with hemp cultivation making the act no longer needed. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee for action. 

Custom Poultry Processing Exemptions

Senate Bill 307 provides exemptions for poultry and poultry products sold and/or distributed to household consumers in SC and other locations within the state. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee for action. 

Home Based Food Production Sales

Senate Bill 506 allows for Home-based food produced for sale directly to a person provide specific labeling. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Medical Affairs committee for action. 

Local Limit on Stormwater Fees

Senate Bill 359 limits local government imposing a stormwater fee not to exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the assessed value of the property. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Finance committee for action.   

Regulation Updates

Please see below regulatory updates by state agencies.


Amend Regulation 61-34 Raw Milk and 61-34.1 Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products

SC DHEC provides sanitation oversight for the production and sale of raw milk that has not been pasteurized for food safety in South Carolina. SC DHEC proposes amending R.61-34 to address the further processing and sale of raw milk products, such as cream and buttermilk, and any additional consumer advisory changes that would be needed for products that receive further processing or become necessary as a byproduct of further processing (if allowed). The proposed revisions would also update raw milk standards to align certain requirements with the 2019 version of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (“PMO”). Pursuant to R.61-34.1, Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products, SC DHEC provides sanitation oversight of the production and sale of pasteurized milk and milk products for both intrastate and interstate commerce. SC DHEC proposes incorporating requirements of the 2019 PMO through amendment of R.61-34.1. The regulation is currently based on the 2013 PMO and will not meet the federal standards after this year. The amendment of R.61- 34.1 to incorporate the updated requirements of the 2019 PMO would enable South Carolina milk producers to continue to meet federal standards and ship milk and milk products for interstate commerce. SC DHEC further proposes clarification of requirements for potable water sources. These regulations are pending unless acted upon or March 14, 2022; whichever comes first.  Additional information related to these regulations can be found here.   

Amend Regulation 61-43 Standards for the Permitting of Agriculture Animal Facilities

SC DHEC proposes amending R.61-43, Standards for the Permitting of Agricultural Animal Facilities, to incorporate Act 139 of 2018, which establishes specific requirements for review and appeal of decisions by SC DHEC regarding the permitting, licensing, certification, or other approval of poultry and other animal facilities, except for swine facilities. Sets procedures for reviewing permits for poultry and other animal facilities, except swine facilities, relating to appeals from SC DHEC decisions giving rise to contested cases. The changes also include provisions regarding setback distances for poultry and other animal facilities, except swine facilities, so as to prohibit requiring additional setback distances if established distances are achieved, allow waiver of the established setback distances in certain circumstances, and other purposes. These regulations are currently in effect.

Clemson University

**NEW Regulation 27-58 – 58.8 State Crop Pest Commission – Asian Longhorned Beetle

Clemson proposes establishing regulations that will define the quarantine area and process for containing and eradicating the Asian Longhorned Beetle. In collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture dedicated staff, the described quarantine will be implemented and enforced immediately upon passage. Outreach and education efforts to inform the public about said quarantine have already ensued and will continue. Additionally, any person, business, or entity regularly engaged in the possible movement of regulated articles, such as nurseries, landscapers, and arborists, will be contacted by the ALB program and entered into a compliance agreement which will indicate their understanding of the new regulation and provide them with direct contact to program officials. These regulations are currently in effect.

Amend Regulation 27-190 General Certification Standards – Federal Seed Act

Clemson proposes to add language to clarify and update the Seed Certification Standards for South Carolina. The proposed changes to the regulations will update regulations to align with current technologies within the seed industry, allow for flexibility to certified seed growers when deemed necessary by the Department of Fertilizer Regulatory and Certification Services, as well as adding needed standards for industrial hemp. These regulations are pending unless acted upon or March 16, 2022; whichever comes first. 

SC Department of Motor Vehicles

Amend Regulation 90-100 Truck Driver Training Schools

SC DMV proposes amending R.90-100-186, Truck Driver Training Schools, which is amending Article 2 on Truck Driver Training Schools and Article 3 on Driver Training Schools regarding how these entities conduct business in the State of South Carolina and are regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The intent of these amendments is to combine Articles 2 and 3 into a single article addressing driving schools as a whole regardless of what type of driver’s license for which the school trains. These regulations are currently in effect.

Budget FY 22 Appropriations

The General Assembly developed and adopted a state budget appropriations of more than $521M “new” recurring dollars, $1.27B non-recurring dollars, and $176M from the Capital Reserve Fund. Their actions also adopted the federal dollars totaling more than $9.5B and other funds exceeding $11.6B. The total recommendation for FY21-22 is $31.8B, as adjusted for statutory and constitutional mandates. 

Budget Highlights

Forestry Commission: Firefighter Equipment $2M ($1M recurring, $1M non-recurring)

Forestry Commission: Information Technology and Security $560k

Department of Agriculture: Hemp Farming Compliance $1.1M plus

Department of Agriculture: Hemp Testing Equipment $425K

Clemson PSA: Sandhill Rec Research and Extension Building Repair: $900K (non-recurring)

Clemson PSA: Statewide Extension Program: $1.1M

Clemson PSA: Critical Fruit and Vegetable Research: $1.4M

Clemson PSA: Pee Dee Research and Extension Building Repairs $2.0M (non-recurring)

SC State PSA: Small Business Recovery Assistance and Training $350k (non-recurring)

SC State PSA: Targeted Research and Extension Program Development and Implement $1.13M

DNR: Agency Relocation, Law Enforcement Officers, Overtime, and Compliance: $5.3M

DNR: Marine Res, Ocean Research, Waterfowl, Boar Ramp, and Boat Landing Repair: $5.2M

DNR: State Water Plan Pee Dee and Broad River Basins $2.95M (non-recurring)

State Conservation Bank: Conservation Grants: $2M (recurring) plus $7.5M (non-recurring) Rural Infrastructure Authority: Rural Infrastructure Fund: $2M (recurring) plus $2.1M (non-recurring)

Rural Infrastructure Authority: Water and Sewer Regionalization Fund: $5M (non-recurring)

Transportation and Regulatory Agencies

State Ports Authority: Permitting for Jasper Terminal $2M (non-recurring)

State Ports Authority: Intermodal Container Transfer & Waterborne Cargo Infrastructure: $200M (non-recurring)

ORS: Statewide Broadband $3M (recurring)

ORS: Broadband $10M (non-recurring)

ORS: Power Grid Study $500K (non-recurring)


The U.S. Census Bureau announced earlier this year that it would provide redistricting data to states by September 30, 2021. This will delay states and their redistricting efforts until the information is received. In South Carolina, congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by the state legislature. These lines are subject to veto by the governor.

Redistricting is the redrawing of legislative districts. By federal law, redistricting must occur following a census for two reasons. First, new districts must be drawn when a state gains or loses congressional districts as a result of the apportionment of congressional districts to the states. Second, even if the number of districts does not change, governments must redraw districts so that the districts have equal populations. These are the reasons why redistricting must occur.

Population data released from the US Census revealed that South Carolina added almost 500,000 new residents over the 10 year period. Total population of South Carolina now tops more than 5.1 million residents. Since 2010, that’s an increased growth rate of 10.7%. 

As a result of the 2020 Census, South Carolina maintained its seven (7) congressional seats.