South Carolina agriculture industry deals with COVID-19 impacts

South Carolina agriculture industry deals with COVID-19 impacts
The COVID-19 crisis is impacting many industries across the state and country, including agriculture. (Source: Live 5 News)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The COVID-19 crisis is impacting many industries across the state and country, including agriculture.

While some farms are experiencing a boom, others are a taking a hit.

Lowcountry farmers say some prices for things like meat have gone up.

Hugh Weathers, South Carolina’s Commissioner of Agriculture, says the impact depends on who farmers are selling to.

Farmers who have community supported agriculture, sell most of their harvest of fruits and vegetables directly to the people, meaning they may see a boost.

For others, it’s the opposite.

"Your larger farmers that grow the commodities of corn, soybean, and cotton, those markets have been severely impacted in a negative way because international trade has sort of really crept to a halt," Weathers said.

At Legare farms, co-owner Thomas Legare says they’re fortunate enough to sell mostly to people directly.

Legare’s family has been farming on Johns Island since 1725. They sell meat, vegetables, and they do agri-tourism.

Since the pandemic started, they've had to make adjustments to their business.

"We have two rolling farmer's markets where we go around the Charleston area and sell direct to the public," Legare said. "We decided after last week to take them off the road for the safety of our customers and employees and ourselves."

They’ve also had cancellations with birthday parties and programs they do on the farm. But Legare says they’re now starting home deliveries.

Right now, the state’s department of agriculture says they’re waiting on aid from the USDA.

“We’re hoping coming out of Washington, some sort of safety net to bridge this time for our farmers,” Weathers said. “We’re trying to find out who is impacted the most and trying to get help to them.”

The department is posting information and resources for farmers at: agriculture.sc.gov/coronavirus.

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