FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 22, 2015 Contact: Daniel Boan (803)734-3144 [email protected]
House Ways and Means Chairman Prepares Palmetto Farm Aid
White to introduce bill to help farmers affected by historic flooding
(Columbia, SC) – House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White (District 6-Anderson) today announced plans to introduce the first of several legislative responses to the catastrophic flooding the state received this October. The House Ways and Means Committee and its subcommittees have been holding hearings for two months to understand the impacts of the flood and one of the most devastating economic impacts has been to South Carolina’s agriculture industry, which sustained direct crop loss of over $375 million in the same year that two-thirds of the state experienced moderate or serious drought.
“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. Agriculture is our number one industry and our farmers are in desperate need.
Crop insurance is not true insurance and many crops are not insurable so while it will cover some of the losses, 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,” stated Chairman White.
As the specifics of the Palmetto Farm Aid bill become available, Ways and Means Chairman Brian White will continue to work with House leadership to ensure this package makes it to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible.
“South Carolina farmers have always played a fundamental role in our economy. 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,” Speaker Jay Lucas stated.
*Please see attached economic impact study of the flooding on SC agriculture.