House bill provides $40M in aid to flood-devastated farmers

FILE

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina farmers devastated by last fall’s flooding could get up to $40 million in state aid to stay afloat under legislation advancing in the House.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 21-0 on Wednesday to approve legislation allowing farmers in disaster-declared counties to apply for grants of up to $100,000 each. The grants could cover 20 percent of a farmer’s total loss.

Last October’s torrential rains wiped out $330 million worth of crops at harvest time. Agriculture officials estimate farmers lost an additional $45 million because they couldn’t get in the fields to plant winter crops.

State Farm Bureau President Harry Ott says farmers need help paying for seeds and fertilizer to plant this year’s crops.

The measure specifies the grants can’t pay down last year’s debt.

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