Rain saturation hurts farmers, SC Gov calls for declaration

By Stacy

HARLEYVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- "Rain, rain, go away." We've been singing the tune all summer, but for farmers across the state the effects have been devastating.

They said they've lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits and the effects on their crops could last for months.

"It's just been extremely wet for the last eight weeks," said John Pendarvis, who has worked on his Dorchester County family farm for 35 years.

All the rain has flooded out parts of the farm; crops that once were colorful are now brown and wilted.

Pendarvis said he'd never seen as much continuous rain as he saw during June and July.

"We can't get the corn harvested. We couldn't get some of the wheat out of the field and we had problems planting back behind the wheat, which we normally double crop. All that is usually done from the first of June to the end of June. Because of wet conditions, we're late getting wheat out," he said.

Governor Nikki Haley toured Pendarvis Farm Monday. She wanted to help South Carolina farmers with a disaster declaration.

"Thirty-six out of 46 counties in South Carolina have seen over 30 percent damage to crops in their area. For a farmer, that's massive," Haley said.

The declaration would make low-interest loans available to qualifying farmers. Pendarvis said he didn't need the loans because he has crop insurance.

"But, there are a lot of farmers that are going to need these loans. It needs to be brought to the attention. There are a lot of people really hurting," Pendarvis said.

The saturation has cost him "in the neighborhood of a half-a-million dollars," he said. To help, consumers can shop for South Carolina products. But otherwise, he knows when it comes to Mother Nature not much else can be done.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack has three months to decide whether to sign the declaration.