3 Upstate farmers among 20 selected for SC industrial hemp program

FILE - This Sept. 23, 2014 file photo shows a close-up view of a hemp plant cut down at a University of Kentucky farm near Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, File)

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Three Upstate farmers are among 20 in South Carolina who have been selected to participate in the 2018 SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

The growers will work with universities in the state including Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, and USC Beaufort.

The growers were selected based on their application, experience, location, university partner, purpose of crop, and ability to secure equipment and financing.

The farmers chosen in the Upstate are:

  • Danny Lee Ford II of Pickens County (16 acres)
  • Thomas Garrison of Anderson County (20 acres)
  • Deborah Justice of Oconee County (20 acres)

“The Industrial Hemp Pilot Program creates a new opportunity for South Carolina farmers to increase crop diversity,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.

“Interest in the program was strong, and the Department of Agriculture worked diligently to select a broad representation of growers.”

The 20 farmers represent 15 counties in South Carolina and are among the 131 people who applied for the program.

For more information about the program, visit agriculture.sc.gov.