Charleston County Council, recognizing the importance and plight of agriculture and forestry, established the Agricultural Issues Advisory Committee (the Committee) in November 2009. The Committee is a joint effort of municipal, county, state, and federal governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector agricultural and forestry operations whose mission is to identify ways to foster agriculture and agri-business in both Charleston County and across the state. The Committee is an extremely effective advocate for preservation of agriculture and forestry in South Carolina, facilitating the flow of information and ideas between farmers, foresters, nonprofit groups, private entities, government agencies, and elected and appointed officials; bringing together agricultural preservation efforts from around the state; and providing links between local producers and consumers.
The Committee has had several successes since its creation in 2009, including but not limited to:
The Committee meets as needed to discuss issues and opportunities across the state affecting agriculture and forestry. If you would like to be notified of upcoming meetings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Planning Department at (843)202-7201.
South Carolina Century Farms Program: This statewide program recognizes farms that have been owned by the same family for over 100 years. Over 300 farms have been designated statewide; however, only one currently exists in Charleston County (Legare Farms). Help promote the history of Charleston County farms by applying for the Century Farms Program today. More information here:
Program Information: http://www.pendletondistrict.org/services/centuryfarms.php
Program Application: http://www.pendletondistrict.org/resources/SCCenturyFarmsApplication.pdf
South Carolina Agritourism and Tourist Oriented Directional Signage (TODS) Program: The South Carolina General Assembly has approved legislation creating the Agritourism and Tourist Oriented Directional Signage Program, commonly referred to as the TODS program. This program allows tourism and agritourism-oriented facilities to have directional signing placed in the highway right-of-way. The program is a cooperative effort between the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) and the SC Department of Agriculture (SCDA). Designed to promote agritourism and tourist-oriented facilities in rural areas, the program provides directional signing from the closest primary route, a designated SC or US route.
Program Information: http://www.scdot.org/doing/agritourism.aspx
Information on the Preferential Tax Assessment for Bona Fide Agricultural and Timber Operations Application and Code: http://www.charlestoncounty.org/files/forms/tax/AgUse_codes.pdf?561
Local Food and Farm Assessment: In 2011, the Town of Mount Pleasant consulted with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) to provide a Local Food and Farm Assessment. The study resulted in an emphasis on the relevance of the agriculture and timber industries across Charleston County. According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the County had 359 farms and nearly 35,436 acres of farmland. The average farm size was 99 acres. Using 2007 data, the Assessment determined the value of agricultural products sold from Charleston County farms was approximately $24 million. A comparison of 2007 and 2012 data indicated that the number of farms increased; however, the total acres of farmland decreased. To understand the food market, ASAP consulted market research, restaurants, and grocers; all research indicated that locally grown food has more appeal with customers. The report includes policy recommendations, many of which the County already practices including tax incentives for agricultural uses and creating an agricultural preservation board.
Read the full report here: Local Farm and Food Assessment
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