I have had the honor of serving as your Commissioner of Agriculture for nearly 18 years. Since 2004, I have led farmers through floods, droughts, freezes and, most recently, a global pandemic. And through that time, my admiration for the hardworking men and women who put food on our tables has only grown.
As a fourth-generation farmer from rural South Carolina, I understand what needs to be done to ensure the success of our farmers for generations to come. I am proud of the progress we’ve made in the Palmetto State, but I see work left to be done in my final term.
The coming policies from the Biden Administration would severely impact our farmers’ abilities to do what they do best. The inflation and cost of energy are affecting their day-to-day lives – fertilizer, transportation, curing of crops, and more.
South Carolina has nearly 25,000 farms across 4.7 million acres which generate nearly 250,000 local jobs and has an economic impact of $46 billion each year. Hugh hopes to explore additional opportunities for farmers to further support the growth and development of agribusiness in the state.
But, when looking at the impact our farmers have, nothing is more crucial than the need to protect our farmland and food security for future generations. Under Hugh’s leadership, the Certified South Carolina program launched emphasizing the importance of eating and buying local to depend less on imported foods.
In 2020, farmers, restaurants and chefs were hit hard as doors closed and supply chains came to a screeching halt due to COVID-19 and the effects remain. As a state, we must come together safely to support our farmers, the backbone of South Carolina’s food industry.
As we embark on the 2022 election, Blanche and I hope to have your support and prayers.