Haley: Farmers and crops are suffering from heavy rains

HARLEYVILLE, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Gov. Nikki Haley says the heavy rains this summer are a disaster for agriculture across South Carolina but help may be on the way from the Federal Government.

Haley visited Pendarvis Farms in Dorchester County on Monday where she got a first hand account of the fields there that are still soggy from recent rains.

"I've never seen it this wet this long," said Trent Pendarvis, who co-owns 2,900 acres of land with his brother and father.

The Pendarvis' just planted this year's crop of squash three weeks ago. Now it's ruined.

"It was looking pretty good until I'd say last Thursday," said Pendarvis. "We got about six inches of rain between Thursday and Sunday. It's probably a total loss now."

Within the last two weeks Governor Haley has asked for federal disaster aid for farmers like the Pendarvis', which would help them obtain low interest loans to recover and offset losses.

"The amount of rainfall that we've seen across South Carolina has become absolutely disastrous for the farmers in this state," said Haley.

After being signed by the Governor, the declaration is now waiting to be signed by United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Haley says crops in 36 out of 46 counties in South Carolina have exceeded 30 percent damage so far.

State agriculture commissioner Hugh Weathers toured with Haley.

Weathers says the problems are not short-term. He says some farms have had a hard time harvesting hay. That could mean beef and dairy cattle could run low on feed next winter.

About two dozen farmers joined Haley during Monday's tour. Officials say it could be three months before they know if the disaster assistance will be approved, though Weathers expects a decision sooner.

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