South Carolina State Rep. W. Brian White (R-District 6), who also chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, recently authored legislation he hopes will help those affected in the Palmetto State by October's heavy rains and flooding.
South Carolina's farmers lost more than $375 million worth of crops — mainly soybeans, cotton and peanuts — due to the wet weather and subsequent floods. Vegetable, fruit and grain crops were also lost.
The estimated total economic loss for the state stands at $588 million.
“While the agricultural crop loss crisis is not the only need arising out of October’s flooding, it is one of the most important and time-sensitive, which is why I plan to push for a Palmetto Farm Aid bill as soon as we begin the new legislative session in January," White said. "Agriculture is our number one industry and our farmers are in desperate need."
White noted that crop insurance "is not true insurance" and many crops are not insurable. "So while it will cover some of the losses," he said, "it is an insufficient mechanism for insuring against catastrophic loss arising from a natural disaster. There may be some federal government assistance available but these measures fall far short of preventing many of our farmers from losing their farms and livelihoods. We must stand up for our farmers to prevent a pillar of the South Carolina economy from collapsing.”
White will work in tandem with other House lawmakers to flesh out the Palmetto Farm Aid bill.
“South Carolina farmers have always played a fundamental role in our economy," House Speaker Jay Lucas said. "Because of the catastrophic damage caused by the historic flood, we are at risk of losing a significant portion of our small family farms. The House stands ready to work on a solution that will offer the agriculture community the assistance they need to recover from this devastating event.”