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Study shows South Carolinians are buying more local food

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A new study shows that South Carolinians bought $176.3 million more local food in 2018 than in 2010, boosting economic activity in the state by $273.5 million and adding 1,615 jobs.

The study by University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business economic researcher Joseph Von Nessen also found that the increase across all Certified South Carolina food categories accounted for $51.2 million in labor income.

Certified South Carolina, launched in 2007, is a cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the S.C. Department of Agriculture to promote state food products.

“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,” S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in a news release. “I’m thrilled that South Carolinians continue to support our state’s 24,000-plus farmers.”

According to 2018 data, agribusiness had a $46.2 billion annual impact on South Carolina’s economy, up from $41.7 billion in 2015 and $34 billion in 2006. The state agriculture department’s 50 by 20 program aims to increase that to $50 billion by the end of this year.

S.C. agribusiness accounted for 246,957 jobs and more than $9.6 billion in labor income in 2018 and grew 25% between 2010 and 2018, according to the department.

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