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EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker Signs MOU with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture

06/17/2020
Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (region4press@epa.gov)
(404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

YORK, S.C. (June 17, 2020) – Today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker signed a first-time Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers to establish collaborative efforts and strengthen relationships between agencies.

“Today’s MOU with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture formalizes our commitment to the partnership between our organizations to help address important agricultural- environmental issues within the state,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “EPA is proud to work alongside the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and advance solutions to today’s pressing agricultural challenges.”

“This historic agreement between EPA and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture is an acknowledgment of what farmers have known for a long time: When it comes to protecting the environment, agriculture is part of the solution,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “We’re thrilled to have a positive foundation for future collaboration with EPA.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EPA and Department of Agriculture includes communication/coordination; education and outreach; and recognition of environmental stewardship activities.

Highlights in the MOU include:

  • Hosting Agriculture Roundtables and/or Educational Farm Tours to foster a dialogue between EPA and the agricultural community on the successes, challenges, and opportunities to work together to achieve well-managed, productive farms and a clean environment. 
  • Participating in agricultural events such as State fairs, farm shows, and technical field days to expand open discussion between EPA and the agricultural community.
  • Recognizing farmers for their environmental stewardship and conservation efforts that contribute to efficient farms, healthy soils, and clean water.

Background:

Agribusiness is South Carolina's largest economic sector, contributing nearly $46.2 billion and nearly 250,000 jobs to the state's economy. South Carolina's top ten commodities are broilers, turkeys, corn, cattle & calves, soybeans, cotton, chicken eggs, peanuts, floriculture, and tobacco. South Carolina poultry industry represents 40% of all agriculture in the state and is 80% of animal agriculture. There are nearly 25,000 farms in South Carolina amounting to nearly 5 million acres of farmland. Two-thirds of the land in the state is covered by forests.

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