SC Commissioner Weathers: The ‘Growing Agribusiness’ Fund

The number 40 million is certain to catch your ear. That’s how much the South Carolina Legislature has allocated to a new program. Here to tell us about it is Commissioner Hugh Weathers.

The Growing Agribusiness Fund is a new incentive program for existing South Carolina agribusinesses.

This $40 million fund will help existing South Carolina businesses engaged in the processing, packaging, manufacturing, distribution, storage, and transportation of agricultural products, in turn providing more markets for farmers.

This is for businesses considering expanding and investing at least $3 million in their current location or establishing an additional location in South Carolina.

Especially hoping to reach Tier 3 and 4 counties (i.e., counties designated by the state Department of Revenue as having higher unemployment and lower income)  

Why are we doing this?

According to a 2022 study by a UC economist, SC currently imports $11.7 billion in agribusiness products annually from outside the state.

If this demand were captured by in-state operations, it would increase the total value of agribusiness by 23 percent.

Being able to keep production and packaging at home helps bolster revenue, capital investment and jobs in South Carolina.

Examples of potential projects could include:

  • Increasing the capacity of a vegetable canning operation with additional equipment
  • Expanding an in-state seafood processor to capture more local seafood production
  • Helping an existing packaging business open a second facility to produce a new line of sustainable food packaging

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