Community Garden & Hoop House Grants Available Through South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development

SCACED in partnership with USDA has available four (4) grants for the establishment of community gardens in low-access, rural communities and (1)  Hoop House Grant. Community Gardening Grants of $3,000.00 are available to (4) communities and (1) Hoop House Grant in the amount of $10,000. 

In partnership with SCACED and USDA, increase awareness of community gardening by:
• Establishing community garden in low-access, rural community
• Encouraging intergenerational experiences in agriculture and conservation
• Building new and/or strengthening existing partnerships for outreach to new markets
• Promoting the wise use of natural and human resources, thereby improving economic opportunities and general well-being of peoples in South Carolina

Garden Application

Hoop House Application

Grants are Due at Noon on June 29, 2018



South Carolina Industrial

Hemp Pilot Program

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) selected 20 farmers to participate in the 2018 SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The famers represent 15 South Carolina counties. Tom Garrison of Denver Downs Farm was selected from Anderson County.

“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 a completed application, agriculture experience, geographic balance across South Carolina, accredited college/university partner, purpose of the crop, processor experience and location, and 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 2017, 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.”

The pilot program could double in size during its second year, and applications for the 2019 program are available on the SC Department of Agriculture (SCDA) website at https://agriculture.sc.gov.

SCDA will select up to 40 farmers in the 2019 program to receive permits to grow industrial hemp. Those farmers who receive permits will each be allowed to grow up to 40 acres of the crop. “Expanding the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program will give us a greater opportunity to assess where and how this crop grows best in South Carolina,” said Hugh Weathers, SC Commissioner of Agriculture. “Ultimately, industrial hemp is about crop diversity and new business for our rural farmers.”

To qualify for a permit, applicants must:

  • be a South Carolina resident;
  • pass a state and federal background check administered by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division;
  • have a signed letter of intent with an industrial hemp manufacturer/processor;
  • have a signed letter of intent with a qualifying college or university; and
  • submit GPS coordinates for the land where industrial hemp will be grown.


What is “Industrial Hemp”? Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Industrial hemp refers to cannabis varieties that are primarily grown as an agricultural crop. Hemp plants are low in THC (marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical) (KDA).

What are potential uses? Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel.

Why is it now legal to grow hemp in SC? In 2017, The SC General Assembly passed (H. 3559) legislation which created a pilot program for industrial hemp to be grown by 20 permit holders (20 acres each) as part of a research program. In 2018, it was increased to 40 permit holders at 40 acres each.

How does industrial hemp differ from marijuana? Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species, cannabis sativa, but marijuana is the flower of the plant and hemp is the fibers, and they differ in concentrations of THC. Legally, THC levels determine whether the substance is considered an agricultural product or a regulated drug. The new S.C. law defines industrial hemp as any part of the plant with a THC concentration that does not exceed .3% on a dried weight basis. Anything above that is considered marijuana and is illegal in the state.

Does all the acreage have to be in the same place, or can it be split between a few plots of land? The land can be split, and if that is the case, all GPS coordinates need to be reported in the application.

Will the acreage have to be fenced in or have any additional security measures? The enabling legislation does not direct fencing to be required.

What is the maximum percentage of THC that the industrial hemp can have? The THC threshold of industrial hemp that is allowed to be grown is .3 percent.

For more information about the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and to download the needed forms, visit https://agriculture.sc.gov/divisions/external-affairs-economic-development/industrial-hemp/.

Completed applications for the 2019 program must be completed and postmarked no later than Friday, June 29.



COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) and the South Carolina Specialty Crop Growers Association announce the Cold Storage Cost Share Program, funded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant.

Through this program, farmers are eligible for a reimbursement of up to $750 for installing a Cool-Bot cooler system for the holding of specialty crops. This system can be used on an affordable walk-in cooler powered in conjunction with a standard air conditioning unit. The Cool-Bot system uses multiple sensors, a heating element, and a programmed micro-controller to direct the air conditioner’s compressor to cool the room to 36°, without ever freezing up.

Eligible farmers must meet and agree to the following criteria:
  • Must be a South Carolina farmer AND must grow specialty crops.
  • Attend a food safety workshop hosted by SCDA or Clemson Extension. Proof of attendance must be provided in application for reimbursement.
  • Sign an affidavit with SCDA to ensure cold storage unit will be used solely for the handling, holding, and distribution of specialty crops.
  • Provide primary source documentation for all expenditures related to installation of the cold storage technology unit.
  • Enable an on-site audit by key SCDA personnel to authenticate cold storage technology is being used solely for specialty crops.
  • Provide data, information, statistics and/or testimonials after six and twelve months of installation of the cold storage unit to SCDA for tracking project success.

While there isn’t a due date to apply for reimbursement, funds are limited. For more information, contact SCDA’s Emily Joyce at 803-734-2224 or ejoyce@scda.sc.gov.





The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) selected the 2018 ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Future Leaders in Science Award. Joshua Weaver, Clemson University, was one of 18 graduate student members who received the award in recognition of his interest and engagement in science advocacy. Award winners received a trip to Washington, D.C. on March 7-8, 2018 and were formally presented their award at a reception held during the event.  Award recipients were able to meet with their members of Congress and advocate for food, agriculture and natural resources research.

Joshua Weaver is a first year Ph.D. candidate in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department at Clemson University. Weaver is in the Turfgrass Science program focusing on biostimulants under the direction of Dr. Bert McCarty.

ASA (www.agronomy.org), CSSA (www.crops.org) and SSSA (www.soils.org) are scientific societies based in Madison, WI, helping their 10,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop, soil sciences, and related disciplines by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.





Michael W. Banks of Anderson, District Conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, was recently named recipient of a ‘15 over 50’ Outstanding Leadership Award presented by the Anderson INDEPENDENT MAIL.

The INDEPENDENT MAIL recognized 15 individuals in the upstate area who are 50 years of age or older and who have experienced success in their professional careers, are active in philanthropic and community service organizations, and are helping shape young leaders of the future.

Banks, a native of Chester and a 1977 graduate of Clemson University with a BS degree in Agricultural Economics, has served as District Conservationist in Anderson County since 1994. He has been named the Outstanding District Conservationist in South Carolina twice by the State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service during this time. He has also received the Honorary State FFA Degree by the SC FFA Association.

A dynamic leader in conservation, Banks serves as the professional advisor to the Anderson Soil & Water Conservation District and to the land owners and users in Anderson County. He also serves as a member of Clemson University’s Advisory Committee on Soils and Sustainable Crop Systems and is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Anderson County Extension Service. He regularly assists agricultural educators with FFA soil judging competitions at the local, regional and state levels. A respected mentor to student trainees preparing for a career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, he is a successful trainer of new conservationists employed by the agency.

Among his many long-term impacts in the community, Banks is widely recognized for his assistance to the Anderson Soil & Water Conservation District and Anderson County in the design, layout and construction aspects of the William A. Floyd Amphitheater. The outdoor facility is among the largest in South Carolina and can seat 15,000 people.

Banks was nominated for the ‘15 over 50’ Outstanding Leadership Award by John W. Parris of Columbia, retired Executive Director of the former SC Land Resources Commission, presently serving as director of the SC Agri-News Service.




Soil Health Lessons in a Minute

There are two new video demonstrations featuring NRCS’ Ray “The Soil Guy” Archuleta and Jon Stika (NRCS North Dakota). These videos, titled "Have you discovered the cove?" and "How should healthy soils look?" are part of NRCS’ recently launched Soil Health Awareness and Education effort.

Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: Discover the Cover 



 Soil Health Lesson in a Minute: How Healthy Soil Should Look



Feral Hogs and Agricultural Crops


Figure 1. Farmer in a millet field where feral hogs have caused problems. Photo courtesy of Jack Mayer.

Agricultural Crop Depredation

Feral hogs can cause very costly damage to almost any commercial crop. In the United States, this damage equates to millions of dollars in losses annually. Most damage is from feeding, chewing, trampling, or rooting by foraging hogs (Fig. 1). Some studies indicate the majority of damage in agriculture fields is from trampling, with only 5-10% due to actual consumption. Rooting around the base or root mat of trees or shrubs (e.g., apple trees) can undermine root systems and weaken trees.

Feral hogs will travel great distances to reach crops that have ripened or matured. They will feed on most life stages of an agricultural cropfrom seeds through mature plants. Feral hogs are known to root straight down a row of newly-planted corn field and consume the seeds, but most reported damage occurs when the crops are nearly mature. They will also feed on grains stored in wire-mesh silos or bins if hog-proof fencing was not erected.


Article courtesy of extension.org




DNR Works in Partnership with PalmettoPride Anti-Littering Campaign



It doesn’t matter what you call it, trash, litter, debris, or junk – it’s dangerous to our safety, our wildlife, and our economy. That's why the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proudly works with PalmettoPride anti-littering initiatives around the state.

PalmettoPride is a legislative initiative founded by Sen. David Thomas to fight litter and help beautify South Carolina. DNR appreciates the foresight and vision of Sen. Thomas in creating PalmettoPride in response to citizens’ concerns regarding the amount of litter in South Carolina. PalmettoPride has been on the front lines in the fight against litter for over 10 years.

One of the most effective tools to combat litter is the Litter Buster's Hotline. DNR received over 5000 phone calls in the first year of the program (2006) with many thousands reported since: 2007- 4819; 2008 – 5073; 2009 – 2992; 2010 – 3294; 2011 – 3173 and even 130 calls this January. Call 1-877-7-Litter the next time you see someone unlawfully discarding trash, litter or debris. The Litter Buster's Hotline rings directly into the DNR statewide radio dispatch headquarters in Columbia.

In addition to other initiatives aimed at littering, PalmettoPride also awards a series of grants to law enforcement around South Carolina. DNR Law Enforcement has benefited from these grants (nearly $10,000 for 2012) with night vision cameras and other equipment to assist in making littering cases.

The PalmettoPride non-profit 501(c) 3 organization is a true public/private partnership comprised of state agencies, concerned citizens, corporate sponsors, and community and civic organizations with the stated goal of encouraging “behavioral change” in our citizens about litter. Surveys suggest that over 80% of people who litter do so intentionally. Changing this intentional behavior isn’t going to happen overnight.


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