COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the Growing Agribusiness Fund, a new incentive program for South Carolina agribusinesses.
The South Carolina General Assembly appropriated $40 million to launch the initiative, which 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 agricultural producers.
“This fund will be significant in opening up new opportunities for South Carolina farmers and agribusinesses,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “I applaud the General Assembly for investing in the future of agriculture in our state in such a meaningful way.”
According to a 2022 study by Darla Moore School of Business research economist Joey Von Nessen, South Carolina 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
· Modernizing a poultry processing plant to improve efficiency, in turn increasing demand for locally grown feed and creating opportunities for poultry growers
· Helping an existing packaging business open a second facility to produce a new line of sustainable food packaging
Agribusinesses that are considering expanding and investing at least $3 million in their current location or establishing an additional location in South Carolina 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.
Agribusinesses in Tier 3 and 4 counties (i.e., counties designated by the state Department of Revenue as having higher unemployment and lower income) and those that anticipate creating or consuming more agricultural products grown in South Carolina are highly encouraged to apply.
More information about the Growing Agribusiness Fund and other incentives for doing business in South Carolina can be found at scagribusiness.com.