Commissioner Hugh Weathers: South Carolina Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program Enters Year Two

Commissioner Hugh Weathers: South Carolina Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program Enters Year Two


The 2019 South Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Permitted Growers were announced last week. Commissioner Hugh Weathers is here to tell us more about how this program is growing in South Carolina.

  • The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) has selected 40 farmers to participate in the 2019 SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
  • Permit Recipient


    William Dupree Atkinson Marion
    Steven Neal Baxley, Jr. Marion
    Nathan James Bradford Sumter
    Albert Stewart Bueno Orangeburg
    David F. Bulick Charleston
    Patrick Edward Burch Florence
    Jack Canty York
    Michelle Diane Davis Berkeley
    Kevin R. Dean Charleston and Williamsburg
    Vanessa English Richland
    Mark P. Ezekiel Aiken
    Felicia Roshell Jamison Calhoun and Orangeburg
    John Andrew Fogle Orangeburg
    Danny Lee Ford Anderson
    Thomas E. Garrison III Anderson
    Norman Daniel Gibson Greenwood
    Dianne Hill Harrell Florence
    Deborah Justice Oconee
    Kimberly Ann Kitchens Charleston
    Michelle White Lein Anderson
    Harry Bancroft Limehouse III Aiken
    Robert Douglas Mason Marion
    Matthew O’Brien Fairfield
    Gerard Pick Pickens
    Randle Palmer Quimby Bamberg
    Shawn Ransford Charleston
    Janel Dena Ralph Horry and Marion
    Jaqueline Rhinehart Saluda
    John Townsend Rivers Sumter
    Walter Lamar Scott Charleston
    Melinda F. Shambley Colleton
    Don Carlos Sharp Allendale
    Robbie Lanier Springs Williamsburg
    Michael Todd Stamps Richland
    Michael J. Tucker Lexington, Newberry
    James Ulmer Orangeburg
    Richard Alan Varnadoe Bamberg
    Joseph Henry Watson Saluda
    Joe Edward Wilkes Fairfield
    Robert P. Wilkins, Jr. Florence
  • The farmers represent 24 counties throughout the state.
  • Nineteen of the twenty Permitted Growers from 2018 are included in the selection.
  • A high priority is nurturing the current growers because of the investments they made and risks they took for this inaugural growing season.
  • I have visited a majority of the 2018 Permitted Growers operations and I am impressed with that they have been able to accomplish within the 2018 growing season.
  • 162 applications were submitted for the 2019 program
  • 40 Permitted Growers were selected in 24 different counties
  • The counties include, Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, Fairfield, Saluda, Lexington, Aiken, Orangeburg, Sumter, Florence, Marion, Horry, Williamsburg, Hampton, Charleston.
  • Each Permitted Grower can grow up to 40 acres each, but some of the Permitted Growers are growing less than 40 acres.
  • 7 Universities are partnering with growers
  • University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Clemson University, USC Beaufort, Furman University and College of Charleston.
  • As we continue developing this industry, we work towards a goal of expanding opportunities for farmers, so South Carolina can truly compete on a national and international level
  • I’m excited about the increased interest in growing industrial hemp, and look forward to working with each of the 40 growers this upcoming year to continually build upon our state’s agriculture industry
  • For more information about the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, please contact Vanessa Elsalah, 803-734-8339, or visit