Commissioner Weathers: Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program
  • Crop diversification is key to strengthening our industry and diminishing risk for our farmers.
  • You might have heard that there’s a new crop about to make its debut in South Carolina…industrial hemp.
  • After Governor McMaster signed the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program bill last May, the Department of Agriculture was charged with administering 20 hemp licenses to growers in South Carolina to grow up to 20 acres of hemp in partnership with a research university.
  • The hemp growers will plant their crop this spring and we are really hoping that the research this will provide will tell us that Hemp can be prosperous in South Carolina.
  • There has been more than 750 man hours dedicated to this new program that includes multiple agencies working together to get this program off of the ground
  • 131 applications were submitted
  • 20 permits selected in 15 different counties
  • The countries include, Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, Fairfield, Saluda, Lexington, Aiken, Orangeburg, Sumter, Florence, Marion, Horry, Williamsburg, Hampton, Charleston.
  • Each permit holder can grow up to 20 acres each, but some of the permit recipients are growing less than 20 acres.
  • SCDA participated in more than 5 statewide public meetings
  • 5 universities are partnering with growers
  • The Universities include, Clemson University, SC State University, USC, MUSC, USC Beaufort.
  • Processors working with growers are from SC, NC, and KY
  • Information can be found at our website, agriculture.sc.gov
  • We are excited about the future of Hemp in South Carolina, and eager to see the results of the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program