Local farmers eligible for aid

PICKENS — Farmers in Cherokee, Pickens and Oconee counties are now eligible to apply for South Carolina Farm Aid grants to help offset losses due to the October 2015 flooding.

On July 20, the federal Farm Service Agency informed the S.C. Department of Agriculture that the three counties qualify along with the previously announced 42 counties.

“When we heard this news, we immediately went to work to make farmers in these counties aware of their eligibility,” SCDA commissioner Hugh Weathers said. “Our goal is to help as many farmers as possible recover from the devastation we saw in October.”

Farmers in these three counties who suffered crop loss due to last year’s flooding can now apply for the grants. The deadline for applying is Sept. 6. The application and more information are available at

The S.C. General Assembly approved $40 million in state aid to help farms in flood-ravaged communities. Farmers can receive grants covering 20 percent of their crop loss up to $100,000.

“While this won’t make our farmers whole, we hope through this relief funding, they can begin to recover,” Weathers said.

To be eligible for the grant, farmers must have experienced a verifiable loss of affected agricultural commodities of at least 40 percent as a result of the October 2015 flooding. Their farm must be located in a USDA disaster-declared South Carolina county and have a United States Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency issued farm number.

Applicants will also be required to sign an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, certifying that loss information is accurate.

To help farmers apply for assistance, the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and SCDA will conduct regional educational workshops in Cherokee, Pickens and Oconee counties.

For complete application instructions and to access the application PDF form, visit For more information about Farm Aid or to be put in contact with Farm Aid staff, call SCDA’s Megan Heidkamp at (803) 734-2210.