South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) President Harry Ott today thanked both the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives for their near-unanimous support of SC farmers through their override votes of Governor Haley’s veto on House Bill 4717, the Farm Aid bill.
“The support our farmers have received from our General Assembly has been tremendous.” Ott said. “We are thankful our legislators were able to set aside politics and agree that South Carolina farmers needed their help.”
With a vote of 112-2 in the House yesterday and 39-3 in the Senate today, the South Carolina General Assembly voted to override Governor Haley’s veto and put the $40 million Farm Aid Fund into place. Farmers who were affected by October’s massive flood now have the opportunity to apply for grants to assist in the recovery process.
“We never took any part of this process for granted,” Ott said. “It has been through the grassroots effort of hard-working farmers, their families, and their faith, that the legislature passed the bill by such large margins.”
After Governor Haley vetoed the bill on Monday, the bill went to the House of Representatives and Senate, where farmers were hopeful that both sides would override the veto.
“It was inspiring to see House members and Senators actually stand up in their chambers and announce their commitment to getting this assistance to farmers,” Ott said. “It was an emotional moment for our farmers.”
To apply to receive funds, farmers must meet a list of requirements to even be considered. Farmers must be in a disaster declared county, have a farm number issued by FSA, have a loss of at least 40 percent agricultural commodity verified by the SC Department of Agriculture and an affidavit signed by the farmer, and assistance will be capped at 20 percent of total loss or $100,000. The grants only cover production costs such as seed and fertilizer, not debt or new equipment.
“The process has been long and exhausting, but we are hopeful farmers will begin to receive funds as soon as possible,” said Ott.