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      Consumers help local farmers produce crops

      LEESVILLE (WACH) -- John Oxner is the owner and operator of Big Moon Farm.

      He's been in the business since he was a child and is teaching his children the ropes.

      He says promoting agriculture in South Carolina is a passion for him and that's why his farm is part of the state's Community Supported Agriculture program.

      "You take your share pay for it up front and when the vegetables come in you get so many weeks of vegetables," says John Oxner.

      Through the C-S-A program someone buys shares of the year's harvest in advance at a participating farm.

      In exchange, the farmer provides fresh in-season produce on a weekly basis.

      Officials with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture say this program helps both the customer and farmer.

      "The farmer gets the consumer to help finance his operation and share in the risk of production of the crops, says Fred Broughton, SC Department of Agriculture.

      Officials say the difference between this and a farmer TMs market is that farmers typically know the exact amount of crops to grow because they've taken the orders before planting season.

      "We've got our squash, we've got watermelons, cucumbers, peppers getting ready to get into the ground just as soon as we can get a break from some of this rain," says Oxner.

      "In South Carolina, agriculture business is the number one contributor to the economy, says Broughton.

      Depending on the farm you can purchase shares of meat or eggs.

      Agriculture officials say the number of folks involved in CSA continues to grow.

      "We just got through signing up for spring season which will begin in about a month and we are full we can't take anymore," says Oxner.

      Oxner says he hopes this program will also give customers the desire to become a farmer.

      Click here for more CSA information and to find a participating farm.