BY MICHAELE DUKE
On December 7, farmers traveled to South Carolina Statehouse to appeal to Governor Nikki Haley to ask congress for money to help them recover from an estimated $376 million in crop damage due to October’s historic flood. At the same time, in a letter to the governor, the Senate Special Committee appealed for help.
In the letter, the lawmakers ask Haley to request the congressional delegation to provide disaster relief funding options including supplemental appropriations, block grants and any other form of disaster assistance for the farmers.
They also appealed to her to consider the timing of the ongoing budget negotiations in Washington and to request the assistance in time for the delegation to take appropriate action.
“I don’t get it,” said Senator Ronnie Sabb who co-signed the letter submitted by Senator Hugh Leatherman. “For 11 months out of the year they put their money in the ground, then for the one month window that they have to harvest and make their money back and try to make a profit. It’s unfortunate this flood came at the 12th month when they were getting ready to make some money so it’s wrong to compare them to restaurants who are down for a month and those places have been making money all along. But these farmers all they been doing is spending money and investing, now all is lost.”
In a December 1, press conference Haley said farmers have or should have insurance to cover their losses. She also sent a letter to South Carolina Congressional Delegation but noted in the letter that properly underinsured farmers should not lose their business because of the flood. She has asked the state’s congressional delegation for $140 million to help homeowners, many of whom did not have flood insurance.
“The experts I’ve talked to say if the farmers have the most premium package that are out there they still lost money,” said Sabb. “That insurance is not made to make them whole in terms of their profits and other things. Those guys have lost the shirts off their backs.”