September 4, 2013
By SC Department of Agriculture 7:45 pm

South Carolina farmers hit hard by excessive summer rains will soon get some relief. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack notified Governor Nikki Haley today that he approved her request for a Secretarial disaster declaration for South Carolina counties that suffered losses due to excessive rains that began March 1, 2013.

The declaration comes a little more than a week after Governor Haley and Commissioner Hugh Weathers joined other agriculture leaders for a tour of one of the state’s hard hit areas, Dorchester County.

“I am pleased with Secretary Vilsack’s quick response to South Carolina’s request. The agriculture industry contributes greatly to the state’s economy, and this unusually wet summer has impacted the work of our farmers. I am grateful that Governor Haley recognizes the value of our industry and that she took the time to see what our growers face given the excess rains,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.

Secretary Vilsack has designated the following 36 South Carolina counties as primary natural disaster areas:

Aiken Calhoun Darlington Greenville Marion Saluda
Allendale Charleston Dillon Hampton Marlboro Spartanburg
Bamberg Cherokee Dorchester Horry Newberry Sumter
Barnwell Chesterfield Edgefield Jasper Orangeburg Union
Beaufort Clarendon Florence Laurens Pickens Williamsburg
Berkeley Colleton Georgetown Lee Richland York

The following counties have been designated as contiguous disaster counties:

Abbeville Chester Greenwood Lancaster McCormick
Anderson Fairfield Kershaw Lexington Oconee

A Secretarial disaster designation means farmers in both primary and contiguous counties can apply for USDA Farms Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans. Farmers in those counties have eight months to apply from the date of the Secretarial Disaster Declaration. Interested farmers can contact their local FSA offices.