Scott Secures Two Important Provisions For South Carolina Farmers As Farm Bill Passes Senate

Washington – The United States Senate successfully passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 today, colloquially known as the Farm Bill, which included two important provisions secured by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

Scott worked with Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) to help so-called Heirs Property owners – thousands of minority and other landowners whose family land has been passed through the generations often without a formal title – gain access to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs they currently do not have access to without proper documentation certifying their possession of the land. Senator Scott also secured the inclusion of the Peanut Parity Act along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which ensures South Carolina, the fourth largest producer of peanuts in the country, has a presence on the federal Peanut Standards Board.

“I am very excited the Senate was able to pass a commonsense Farm Bill that will help farmers, ranchers and growers across South Carolina,” Senator Scott said. “I want to thank my colleague Senator Jones for working together to ensure that heirs property owners have access to critical support programs offered by USDA, which will help countless farmers and ranchers across South Carolina and the nation succeed. I also want to thank Senator Graham for his work on the Peanut Parity Act, which is hugely important for South Carolina’s peanut industry.”

Some estimates show that 60 percent of land owned by African-Americans in the United States is Heirs Property. In order to have access to USDA programs, farmers must have a Farm Number, which requires documentation verifying ownership or possession of the land to secure. As heirs property is often passed down without a will or transfer of title, this leaves many minority farmers without access to USDA programs. The Fair Access For Farmers and Ranchers Act, Scott and Jones’ legislation that was included in the Farm Bill, will allow access to USDA for heirs property owners.

Overall, the Farm Bill provides certainly for farmers, ranchers and growers by strengthening crop insurance programs, strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and invests in rural America by expanding high speed internet, providing resources to fight the opioid epidemic, and investing in water infrastructure.