Background

In October 2015, the state of South Carolina was hit by historical levels of rainfall, with some areas receiving nearly 25 inches of rain. In addition to the damages facing homeowners and businesses, another very important group was also seriously affected: South Carolina farmers. In the days following this natural disaster, the shocking impact of the rainfall on farms in the path of this storm was evident-thousands of farm acres under water, farm buildings standing as islands in the water, and farm roads washed away.

The Need

Conservative early estimates place direct crop losses at over $300 million, with crop insurance only covering about a third of the costs. This leaves farmers with over $200 million worth of losses. As those in the agricultural industry are well aware, when farmers take a loss on one season, it has a ripple effect. In addition to simply providing an income, farmers count on a successful crop to cover that year’s loan payments, as well as seed costs for the next season. The devastating results of this catastrophic, unprecedented rain damage will not evaporate quickly.

The Fund

This is why Plant it Forward SC, a relief fund for South Carolina farmers, has been established. Plant it Forward SC is housed by the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture, a 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to improving the marketing and promotion of South Carolina agricultural products and the industry of agriculture. Established in 2005, the Advocates have a proven record of supporting South Carolina’s agricultural industry through contributions to programs such as SC Commissioner’s School for Agriculture, SC 4-H, and SC FFA. For more information on Advocates, visit scadvocates4ag.org.

Assistance

Plant it Forward SC will reimburse farmers for a percentage of their seed costs used to plant crops destroyed during the 2015 rain event. Plant it Forward SC will also pay livestock producers for a percentage of their hay losses due to the 2015 rain event. The amount of funds distributed to producers will be based upon a predetermined formula and contingent on the amount of donations received. All assistance is subject to availability of funding, and amount awarded may capped per applicant.

Eligibility

Producers will be required to complete an application and present such information as proof of crop/livestock loss specifically attributed to the 2015 rain event, farm identification number, and seed/hay records.

Contact Information

For more information contact Stefanie Kitchen at 803-734-2210 or skitchen@scda.sc.gov. Partners involved in Plant it Forward SC include the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Clemson University, South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, and Palmetto Agribusiness Council.