Commissioner Hugh Weathers: Congressional Staff Tour

Last week, SCDA partnered with some organizations to take in-state Congressional staff on an agribusiness tour. SCDA is passionate about agriculture and informing the general public about this great industry. Commissioner Hugh Weathers is here to talk more about it.

  • Agribusiness is the number one industry in SC accounting for $42 billion and over 212,00 jobs and it is important our state leaders know the importance
  • State staff from various congressional offices toured three agribusiness facilities and were able to hear about not only the business itself and the impact it makes on the SC economy but also the issues they face on a daily basis
  • We started at Cox Industries in Eutawville, SC and discussed various forestry-related issues with our state forester, Scott Phillips. Some of the issues discussed were finding labor and trucking
  • At Cox, the staffers were able to see the plant where utility poles for Duke, SCEG, SCANA, and electric co-ops are made. The staff at Cox also educated the group about the technology their business uses—coded stickers, boxes placed on the poles
  • Our next stop was Orangeburg to Super Sod. During our discussion, water, labor, tax, and healthcare issues were addressed.
  • Once we finished the discussion, we headed out to one of the Bermuda grass fields and got to watch their machine cut the sod, roll it and stack it. This was prevalent because this process used to be all manual labor by people and now majority of it is robots. Someone drives the machine and assures quality control but instead of a person rolling and stacking, that is automated.
  • From Orangeburg we headed to Pelion to visit WP Rawl. The main topic of discussion here was labor.
  • We were able to go on both a field tour and a processing tour. This illustrated the entire process: from field to bag to be shipped to the grocery store
  • Getting the congressional staffers into these facilities and making sure they are aware of these issues is important for a few reasons
  • When they have a constituent in their district that is in this industry and may face these issues, they understand the background
  • If they have questions regarding some legislation, we have provided them the appropriate contacts that can help answer questions and provide insight