More than $35 million in relief checks from the South Carolina Farm Aid grant program are on their way to farmers who were approved for crop assistance after last October’s flooding.
South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) Commissioner Hugh Weathers said over 1,200 farmers are receiving aid nearly a year after devastating floods across the state. “The smallest award was $164. The largest award was $100,000, which was the cap,” Weathers told reporters Thursday.
Of the more than 1,200 farmers who will receive assistance, 88 applicants received the maximum award of $100,000. The average award was $28,364, SCDA officials said. Farmers were able to seek up grants for up to 20 percent of their verified crop loss or $100,000, whichever was lower.
The legislature approved $40 million in May to help farms in flood-ravaged communities. “The legislation was well crafted and the grants provide a life-line for farmers, not a bail-out,” Weathers said. “It has been a challenging and rewarding experience to complete this program so timely to help our farmers.”
SCDA was assisted by the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) in reviewing the applications for eligibility. SCDOR set up a mobile office in the SCDA Consumer Protection Division Lab at the State Farmers Market. SCDA contacted every applicant when their application was received and again if any additional documentation was required.
Approaching the anniversary of the flood, I am pleased to report that less than four months have passed from the time this bill became law until farmers will have money in their hands,” said Weathers. “SCDA along with SCDOR worked diligently to administer this program effectively and efficiently.”