About Us

The South Carolina Field Office is one of 46 Field Offices of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Field Office is located in West Columbia and operates under a cooperative agreement with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

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 acreage.

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 and pecans.

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 at #3.

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 diversity!

Last Modified: 11/19/2019