SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – Farmers are anxiously awaiting Gov. Nikki Haley's approval of federal money so they can be provided with needed relief.
In early December, South Carolina farmers packed the State House to ask Haley to claim federal money for their farms. The governor refused, but the fight isn't over.
About $300 million in federal money became available within the past few weeks for South Carolina to claim in flood aid. But the longer Haley waits, the less of a chance the state has to get the money.
The $300 million became available at the end of February. Haley hasn't accepted South Carolina's intended share because she thinks farm insurance is enough to cover the loss. Clemson agricultural agent William Hardee said the reasoning is more along the lines of the possibility of farmers double-dipping into the insurance pot and federal money if it becomes available.
However, the cap is set at $100,000 per farm, Hardee added.
South Carolina's main crops, such as cotton, tobacco, grains, soybeans and corn, suffered the biggest losses. The entire planting schedule is off and will likely dictate a low harvest.
Federal data reports South Carolina cotton production dropped 72 percent from last year because of the drought and floods.
Produce is not a big product of South Carolina. However, Hardee said local farms in his Horry and Marion counties districts have had to import livestock feed from South America. Usually, farmers buy feed locally.