South Carolina farmers continue to recover from the October floo - DatelineCarolina

South Carolina farmers continue to recover from the October flood

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Cannon says their 6,000 square foot greenhouse is now the main source of income. Cannon says their 6,000 square foot greenhouse is now the main source of income.
Dead soybean plants in the fields that haven't grown back since the thousand year flood. Dead soybean plants in the fields that haven't grown back since the thousand year flood.

By Alexa Angelus

The familiar sound of a John Deere tractor isn't heard often around the Cannon family's farm anymore.

"I was thinking the other day that as we were getting back into the fields, my only thoughts were that… these are not the same fields we were in last year," said owner Jeremy Cannon.

The family's 1,600 acre farm in Turbeville, now covered in dead crops, destroyed in last October's thousand year flood.

"You know, it's kind of hard being a fourth generation farmer, to know that everything in the past that my grandparents worked for could be lost because of a flood that was out of all of our control," said Cannon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the damage to farmland in South Carolina to be $300 million. The farming industry contributes $41.7 billion to South Carolina's economy each year and impacts over 200,000 jobs in the state.

Cannon and his family lost $800,000 worth of crops from the flooding last fall. Now, they're asking the state to step in for help.

State lawmakers are trying to do their part. A bill titled H. 4717 The Palmetto Farm Aid would provide $40 million for farmers. To receive economic aid, farmers must have sustained a 40 percent total crop loss. The reimbursements will be capped at $100,000 per farmer.

Stephanie Cox is the Director of Communications for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, a voice for farmers.

"We're really on the front lines advocating for this bill and it is our mission to leave no stone unturned for the South Carolina farmers because they really are the backbone of this state," said Cox.

For Cannon, a piece of hope lies in a 9,000 square foot greenhouse filled with $600,000 of tobacco plants.

"Just trying to go another year and hopefully this year we'll try to make enough to pay off our loss from last year," said Cannon.

The greenhouse will help the Cannon family stay afloat while they wait for the other crops to grow in.

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