Gov. Nikki Haley has threatened to veto a bill providing $40 million to farmers devastated by last fall’s flooding.
The governor’s threat came after senators voted 33-3 last week on legislation that would allow farmers in counties where disaster has been declared to apply for state emergency grants. The grants would cover up to $100,000 or 20 percent of their crop loss, whichever is lower. The bill now heads back to the House, which already passed it by a veto-proof majority earlier this year.
Haley said last month she feels badly for farmers, but also feels for small businesses that were also damaged in the record rainfall and floods. The governor said farmers should not be treated differently.
Agriculture officials have said October’s floods wiped out $330 million worth of crops at harvest time, plus an additional $45 million when many of those same farmers could not access their flooded fields to plant winter crops.
Supporters insist farmers should not be treated the same as small businesses, because they are not eligible for emergency loans and rely heavily on one-time harvests to pay operating costs.