One billion dollars. That's the estimated cost of crop, infrastructure, and equipment loss from this year's one-two environmental punch, a severe summer drought followed by 11 trillion gallons of water dumped on the state during October's 1,000-year rain storm. Peanut and cotton crops were lost, kale and broccoli where wiped out, and farmers are still wrapping their heads around recovery.
To give citizens a better understanding of the impact to farmers, Clemson University has released "Treading Water" a documentary PSA. In the 12-minute video, farmers discuss what they're facing.
"It's really going to affect the farming economy in South Carolina," says one unnamed farmer. According to him the main issue is infrastructure damage, which has delayed farmers in getting their remaining crops to market.
"The problem we're going to be facing," says Jack Nettles, acting state executive director of the Farm Service Agency, "is ... for some of our farmers, this happened in the bottom of the ninth inning and we were down. It's going to be a trying time for us this year and next year and probably the next couple of years."
All of which is why we need to remember the farmers as we enjoy this year's holiday dinners.