Study: SC farm program could create 10,000 jobs

It's too early to determine the potential economic impact of a marketing campaign for South Carolina farm products, but a recent study says similar programs in neighboring states create jobs.

Growing South Carolina's economy.

The State Department of Agriculture paying the bill for a new study that shows how locally grown products can boost the state's economic situation. A new study released by the Darla Moore School of Business at USC examined how agribusiness starts in South Carolina's fields.

USC economist Dr. Doug Woodward led the study. He says, in an economy like we're in right now, where we're struggling to find sources of demand for our goods and services produced in sc, why don't we just look right here at home."

The goal is to create jobs by increasing demand for products grown in South Carolina. Woodward looked to North Carolina and Georgia to see how those states are capitalizing on their own local farming economies.

"We believe it was reasonable to look at our neighbors, they have these programs in place too, and use that as a standard," says Woodward.

Consumers are encouraged to buy locally grown produce to help grow the program, and if it's successful, it could mean an additional 10,000 jobs a year to the state's economy.

South Carolina's program started in 2007 and is well behind those better-established programs. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers says the state spends about $1 million a year on the program and participating farmers spend about $7 million a year to market their goods as Certified SC Grown.

State Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers says the initiative is still in its formative stages and may take several years to yield an economic impact. He says, It has been a little more work involved to get that local product woven into the system, but people want to know where their food is coming from, who's growing it, under what conditions and they want to personalize that process.

Weathers says he sees a day when local produce is in all grocery and restaurant chains which in turn will create more agrijobs.

To see the complete study, click here.

Click here to search for where you can find your favorite SC Grown produce.