SC agriculture agency sees new ways to push market

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's agricultural agency has found another way to promote the State Farmers Market after losing $1 million from the state budget.

The agency is asking the Joint Bond Review Committee on Wednesday for permission to use $760,000 in accrued interest to advertise and direct drivers to the market that opened in West Columbia in 2010.

A lower-than-expected surplus in taxes collected during the 2011-12 fiscal year meant $15 million worth of projects were chopped from the current budget. Casualties included $400,000 for signage and improvements, and $600,000 to promote all three state-owned markets.

The scaled-back, $360,000 promotion plan leaves out the regional markets in Florence and Greenville.

The interest comes from the University of South Carolina's $15 million purchase in 2008 of the market's former location near Williams-Brice Stadium.