Commissioner Hugh Weathers: STEP UPP Tour Review

This past Friday, Commissioner Hugh Weathers participated in the STEP UPP produce tour of SC farms and agriculture. Commissioner, please tell us more about this event.

  • The STEP UPP Tour that took place last week was a training education program for upcoming produce professionals hosted by SCDA and SEPC, to show the diversity of produce in South Carolina.
  • Participants toured McEntire Produce, Coosaw Farms, Titan Farms, Watsonia Farms, WP Rawl and Vertical Roots over the course of four days, focusing on processing, packing and growing capabilities.
  • SCDA is prepared to assist these produce buyers, growers and consumers with the ever-growing trend of buying local through programs like Certified SC and Fresh on the Menu.
  • Being Fresh on the Menu means restaurants being dedicated to preparing menus with at least 25% of their ingredients being Certified South Carolina Grown products.
  • The Certified South Carolina program is an exciting cooperative effort with farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the SCDA to brand and promote South Carolina products.
  • SC is ready for changing markets through innovation and crop variety.
  • Produce growers are continuing to diversify and experiment through the use of new technology, crops and ways of growing, like using greenhouses and shipping containers.
  • South Carolina has a great foundation in place to meet the changing needs of buyers and consumers through established infrastructure, available labor, low taxes, and processing facilities.
  • We are a state blessed with great natural diversity and centralized locations. There are 5 interstate highways that crisscross SC and we are home to a world class port designed to effectively and efficiently handle trade.
  • I would like to thank those who participated in the STEP UPP Tour and hope that they were able to learn more about South Carolina produce.