Ag commissioner meets with farmers impacted by Florence, takes aerial tour of damage
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers surveyed crop damage from Tropical Depression Florence on Tuesday during an aerial tour of Chesterfield, Dillon, Florence, Horry, Marlboro and Marion counties.
Joined by Congressman Tom Rice from South Carolina’s 7th congressional district, Weathers met with farmers in Dillon, Marion and Lake City before returning to Columbia.
“We had good engagement with upwards of 60 farmers who verified what we suspected: Cotton was most impacted by high wind, followed by peanuts damaged by drenched soil, and soybeans whose pods were blown from the plants,” Weathers said, according to a news release.
“No crop was a total loss; those that suffered the most were the closest to harvest.”
Weathers told the farmers at one of the stops that this has become all too familiar.
“One of the farms we visited today, I’ve actually visited that same farm two of the last three years because of natural disasters,” he said.
“Dillon, Marion, Marlboro Counties – in that order – appear to be the most severely impacted by crop damage.”
Weathers said he believes the crop damage from Florence falls between that from the 1,000-year flood ($330M-plus) in 2015 and Hurricane Matthew (55M) in 2016.
“Today we had important conversations about our path forward,” he said. “We must be certain that agriculture is at the table and included when we analyze the financial impact of Florence.
“There are no more farm disaster programs that might have come to the rescue eight or 10 years ago. Agriculture needs to be a part of the business, residential and transportation losses reported by Governor McMaster to the federal government.”