Department of Agriculture Selects Hemp Growers, 20 farmers to begin pilot program
COLUMBIA, Dec. 21, 2017 /Weed Wire/ – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) has selected 20 farmers to participate in the 2018 SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The farmers represent 15 South Carolina counties.
“The Industrial Hemp Pilot Program creates a new opportunity for South Carolina farmers to increase crop diversity,” said Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. “Interest in the program was strong, and the Department of Agriculture worked diligently to select a broad representation of growers.”
The 20 permit recipients were chosen from 131 applications. Selection was based on several key factors, including:
- Completed application
- Agriculture experience
- Geographic balance across South Carolina
- Accredited college/university partner
- Purpose of the crop
- Processor experience and location
- Ability to secure needed equipment and financing
Five accredited universities will work with pilot program participants: University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Clemson University and USC Beaufort.
Governor Henry McMaster signed H.3559 into law in May, making it legal for 20 South Carolina farmers to grow up to 20 acres of industrial hemp in 2018 for research purposes, in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill.
“This is a new industry for South Carolina, and we’re hopeful that these first 20 growers will lay a strong foundation for an expanded 2019 program,” said Weathers. “Ultimately it’s about growth and expansion for our farmers and our economy.”
For more information about the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, visit https://agriculture.sc.gov/divisions/external-affairs-economic-development/industrial-hemp/.