SC Commissioner Weathers: Working Ag Lands Act

I understand the governor is signing a bill today that will help farmers and all South Carolinians. Tell us about it, commissioner.

Commissioner Weathers:

Today Governor Henry McMaster is holding a ceremonial signing of the Working Agricultural Lands Preservation Act.

This bill passed with bipartisan support. It passed the Senate unanimously.

Farmland loss is a big concern in South Carolina, as it is across the country.

  • We saw the numbers of farms in the state shrink 8 percent in the last Ag Census.
  • South Carolina has a high “threat score” for farmland loss according to American Farmland Trust reports.
  • We also continue to see farmland and development pushing up against each other, especially in places like the Upstate, Lexington County, and places like St Helena Island.

The act does two important things:

  • First, it expands the South Carolina Conservation Bank by adding me or my appointee to the board. It also adds the secretaries of Commerce and Transportation.
  • Second, it creates a fund overseen by the Bank to permanently protect farmland. This gives farmers options.

I’m proud to join the governor in celebrating this bill and look forward to working with the Conservation Bank to be a voice for agriculture.