Certified South Carolina Is Good for Farmers, Good for Business

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

South Carolinians are eating more local food thanks to the continued success of the Certified South Carolina program.  

According to a new study by Joseph C. Von Nessen, Ph.D., a research economist at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, South Carolinians purchased $176.3 million more from South Carolina farmers in 2018 than they did in 2010 across all Certified South Carolina food categories. That accounts for an additional $273.5 million in economic activity, 1,615 jobs and $51.2 million in labor income for South Carolinians each year. These results show Certified South Carolina delivers a strong return on investment for South Carolina taxpayers. 

Launched in 2007, Certified South Carolina is a cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) to promote South Carolina food products. Previous research has found a 78 percent recognition rate for the Certified South Carolina brand among in-state consumers. 

“Dr. Von Nessen’s findings tell us why Certified South Carolina is so important: Consumers want local food, and this program is helping them find it,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “I’m thrilled that South Carolinians continue to support our state’s 24,000-plus farmers.” 

Von Nessen’s study also shows South Carolina making steady progress toward “50 By 20,” SCDA’s goal of growing the agribusiness sector to a $50 billion-a-year industry by 2020. According to data from 2018 – the most recent available – agribusiness had a $46.2 billion annual impact on South Carolina’s economy. That’s up from $34 billion in 2006 and $41.7 billion in 2015. South Carolina agribusiness accounted for 246,957 jobs and more than $9.6 billion in labor income in 2018. Agribusiness also shows strong growth, having grown 25 percent between 2010 and 2018.