Farmers in Pickens, Oconee counties can apply for Farm Aid grants


Staff Report



PICKENS COUNTY – Farmers in Cherokee, Pickens and Oconee counties can apply for South Carolina Farm Aid grants through Sept. 6 to help offset losses due to the October 2015 flooding.

On July 20, the federal Farm Service Agency informed the S.C. Department of Agriculture that the three counties qualify along with the previously announced 42 counties.

“When we heard this news, we immediately went to work to make farmers in these counties aware of their eligibility,” said Hugh Weathers, S.C. Department of Agriculture. “Our goal is to help as many farmers as possible recover from the devastation we saw in October.”

The application and more information is available at http://agriculture.sc.gov/SC-farm-aid/.

“Agriculture is very important to Pickens County. During last October’s excessive rain and flood events, the farmers of South Carolina experienced one of the worst disasters seen in their industry,” said Rep. David Hiott, chairman of the S.C. House of Representatives Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee. “However, because of the SC Farm Aid program, qualified farmers will have an opportunity to seek relief, and I highly encourage farmers from Pickens and Oconee Counties to submit an application to help recover uninsured crop losses.”

The S.C. General Assembly approved $40 million in state aid to help farms in flood-ravaged communities. Farmers can receive grants covering 20 percent of their crop loss up to $100,000.

“While this won’t make our farmers whole, we hope through this relief funding, they can begin to recover,” Weathers said.

To be eligible for the grant, farmers must have experienced a verifiable loss of affected agricultural commodities of at least 40 percent as a result of the October 2015 flooding; have a farm located in a USDA disaster declared South Carolina county; and have a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency issued farm number.

Applicants will also be required to sign an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, certifying that loss information is accurate.

Producers who have already submitted an application, but have additional farms in Cherokee, Pickens, or Oconee counties, should contact SCDA.

To help farmers apply for assistance, the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and SCDA will conduct regional educational workshops in Cherokee, Pickens and Oconee counties. For workshop details and registration information, visit agriculture.sc.gov/sc-farm-aid/educational-sessions/.

For complete application instructions and to access the application PDF form, visit agriculture.sc.gov/SC-farm-aid/.

For more information about Farm Aid or to be put in contact with Farm Aid staff, call Megan Heidkamp with SCDA at 803-734-2210.

Staff Report

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