The South Carolina Field Office is
one of 46 Field Offices of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics
Service. The Field Office is located in the Strom Thurmond
Federal Building in Columbia and operates under a cooperative
agreement with Clemson University's Department of Applied
Economics and Statistics.
Welcome to the Palmetto State. With more than 30,000 square miles of land and
water, South Carolina is especially known for it's many fine beaches and some
of the world's best golf courses.
Like many states, South Carolina's history is rich and deeply rooted in agriculture.
In the 1600's, South Carolina agriculture included cotton, indigo and tobacco.
As the Virginia colonies began to fully supply European markets with tobacco
and the invention of the cotton gin caused fertile western states to glut the
market with cheap cotton, South Carolina looked for other opportunities and discovered
them in rice. Rice became the first major export crop from South Carolina. Prior
to the Civil War, half of all the rice produced in America came from Georgetown
County. However, after the Civil War most rice plantations either lay in ruins
or were sold for taxes by their impoverished owners.
During the late 1800's, markets revived with cotton once again blanketing the
landscape and providing the foundation for a vibrant textile industry. Cotton
covered the countryside like snow from year to year, until finally reaching a
record high of 2.8 million acres in 1918.
Just a decade before the 20th century was ushered in, a new cash crop was also
beginning to make a comeback on a few farms. Tobacco acreage began a steady increase
in the 1890's, and kept climbing until it reached a record high of 148,000 acres
in 1928. In 2005, cotton regained its status by again becoming the State's number
one cash crop, although soybeans still account for the largest portion of crop
Livestock and poultry production are primary contributors to the State's agriculture
with broilers being the most valuable agricultural commodity in South Carolina.
Nursery and greenhouse production have also grown rapidly, as well as a thriving
timber industry. Many different types of vegetables are raised, along with fruits
South Carolina stakes claim to the sweetest, juiciest peaches in the Southeast.
Although Georgia is referred to as the "Peach State," South Carolina generally
ranks second only to California in national peach production - with Georgia following
There is as much diversity in agriculture as there is in family and social traditions
in the State. South Carolina can boast about having the only tea plantation in
the contiguous 48 States.
Agriculture is also the foundation of many interesting festivals, such as the
Okra Strut, the World Grits Festival, the Rice Festival, the Chitlin' Strut,
and several other festivals featuring peaches, watermelons, shrimp, oysters,
and catfish. South Carolina is called home by many major horse events, such as
the Aiken Triple Crown and Carolina Cup in Camden.
So, "come see us" and enjoy a small State with unparalleled dirversity!