Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation responded Monday to Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to not seek flood relief aid for the state’s devastated agriculture industry.
“Governor Haley’s decision to not request flood relief assistance puts South Carolina’s largest industry in jeopardy. Farmers and agriculture are the lifeblood of this state and we’ve been hit hard,” said Harry Ott, President of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.
South Carolina’s Agriculture Commissioner, Hugh Weathers, estimated the damage to farms caused by the historic October flooding to be $376 million when he testified before a special State Senate committee evaluating flood damage costs.
“I want to impress the severity of the problem and where we stand,” Weathers told the committee about the flood’s impact on South Carolinas number one industry.
Commissioner Weathers and farmers appealed to Governor Haley to request federal flood relief.
A statement from the Governor’s Office Monday criticized some farmers for being under-insured and implied farmers are trying to get special treatment: “…the governor does not believe we should treat farmers differently than any other business owners in South Carolina.”
“Farms are businesses just like any other business in South Carolina. The difference is that farms were hit harder than other industries. With some crops, one hundred percent of their income from the harvest was lost in flooded fields. No insurance policy could ever be enough to cover what Governor Haley called a ‘thousand year flood’, said Ott. “Anyone – homeowners, small business owners, farmers – who is a victim of this catastrophic event should get relief.”
“If farmers don’t get this needed relief, South Carolina’s largest industry may never recover. The future of agriculture in South Carolina is at stake,” said Ott. “Farmers need Governor Haley to stand with them in this time of need.”