New $40M program aims to aid agribusinesses in South Carolina
A new $40 million incentive program aims to bolster existing South Carolina agribusinesses and provide more markets for agricultural producers.
The Growing Agribusiness Fund, launched with an appropriation from the state’s General Assembly, will help state businesses engaged in the processing, packaging, manufacturing, distribution, storage and transportation of agricultural products.
A 2022 study by the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business research economist Joey Von Nessen found that South Carolina currently imports $11.7 billion in agribusiness products from outside the state, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Agriculture. Bringing that demand in-state would increase the total value of agribusiness, which had a $51.8 billion economic impact on the state in 2022, by 23%, according to the study.
“This fund will be significant in opening up new opportunities for South Carolina farmers and agribusinesses,” S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in the release. “I applaud the General Assembly for investing in the future of agriculture in our state in such a meaningful way.”
Examples of potential projects could include:
- Providing additional equipment to increase the capacity of a vegetable canning operation.
- Helping an existing packaging business open a second facility to produce a new line of sustainable food packaging.
- Expanding local production at an in-state seafood processor.
- Modernizing a poultry processing plant to improve efficiency, in turn increasing demand for locally grown feed and creating opportunities for poultry growers.
Agribusinesses that are considering expanding and investing at least $3 million in their current location or establishing an additional location in the state are encouraged to contact the South Carolina Department of Agriculture to discuss their project and whether they qualify for the Growing Agribusiness Fund or another program, according to the release.
Agribusinesses in Tier 3 and 4 counties (those designated by the S.C. Department of Revenue as having higher unemployment and lower income) are highly encouraged to apply.