Laws are complicated and we don’t expect everyone to understand all that’s going on in the SC Statehouse. That’s why we’re here to explain the ins and outs of the Palmetto Farm Aid Fund, as proposed by Rep. Brian White and help combat some of those misconceptions.
Myth: The Palmetto Farm Aid Fund will only benefit the farmers who need the help the least.
Truth: This is a pretty common notion across the state, that this money would be granted to big farmers that may not have suffered as much as others during that devastating flood in October 2015. As the bill is written, this grant money will only be given to farmers – large or small – who sustained a 40% crop loss during the flood, which must be proven with historical profits and geographical data.
Myth: The grant money will be used to pay off old debts.
Truth: This has been a concern for many lawmakers during the debate process on this bill.
Grant awards must be used for agricultural production expenses and losses due to the flood which demonstrate an intent to continue the agricultural operation; however, awards may not be used to purchase new equipment.
Farmers essentially lost their entire inventory after incurring a year’s worth of expenses, leaving many unable to pay operating loans that were due Dec. 31.
Myth: Farmers have crop insurance to cover losses like this.
Truth: You’ve probably heard this hundreds of times. Why help the farmers when they have insurance? The total crop loss from this flood event was over $376 million, and crop insurance only covers about one-third of the total crop loss.
The federal crop insurance program wasn’t designed to cover a 1,000 year flood event, and even the maximum amount of coverage – upwards of $30,000 per year in premiums – still leaves some farmers facing possible bankruptcy. The majority of our farmers cannot afford that maximum amount of coverage.
That’s why H. 4717 is so important, and needs to be passed quickly to ensure farmers in South Carolina can keep their heads above water and continue to put food on their own tables, as well as providing food for the rest of the state.