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Department of Agriculture Selects Hemp Growers

South Carolina Department of Agriculture
Hugh E. Weathers, Commissioner

Media Contact: Sally McKay; 803-734-2196;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 21, 2017

Department of Agriculture Selects Hemp Growers, 20 farmers to begin pilot program

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) has selected 20 farmers to participate in the 2018 SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The famers represent 15 South Carolina counties.

Permit Recipient County Acres

Dupree Atkinson



Steven Neal Baxley, Jr.



Lynell Braught, Ph.D.



David Bulick



Albert Bueno



Patrick Edward Burch



Kevin R. Dean

Charleston and Williamsburg


John Andrew Fogle



Danny Lee Ford II



Thomas Garrison



Patrick Jamison, Jr.

 Orangeburg and Lexington 5.46
Deborah Justice  Oconee 20
Harry Bancroft (Chip) Limehouse III Aiken 20
Robert Mason Marion 20
Matthew H. O’Brien Fairfield 20
Janel Ralph Horry 5.97
Nat Bradford Sumter 20
Robbie Springs Florence 20
Joesph Watson


Robert Wilkins, Jr. Florence 20


“The Industrial Hemp Pilot Program creates a new opportunity for South Carolina farmers to increase crop diversity,” said Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. “Interest in the program was strong, and the Department of Agriculture worked diligently to select a broad representation of growers.”

The 20 permit recipients were chosen from 131 applications. Selection was based on several key factors, including:

  • Completed application
  • Agriculture experience
  • Geographic balance across South Carolina
  • Accredited college/university partner
  • Purpose of the crop
  • Processor experience and location
  • Ability to secure needed equipment and financing

Five accredited universities will work with pilot program participants: University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Clemson University and USC Beaufort.

Governor Henry McMaster signed H.3559 into law in May, making it legal for 20 South Carolina farmers to grow up to 20 acres of industrial hemp in 2018 for research purposes, in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill.

“This is a new industry for South Carolina, and we’re hopeful that these first 20 growers will lay a strong foundation for an expanded 2019 program,” said Weathers. “Ultimately it’s about growth and expansion for our farmers and our economy.”

For more information about the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, visit


Department of Agriculture Selects Hemp Growers Press Release

Download the 2017 Industrial Hemp Permit Counties Map

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