South Carolina Introduces Card for Agricultural Sales Tax Exemptions, reprinted from SC Department of Agriculture | February 1, 2022

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture and the South Carolina Department of Revenue are pleased to announce the South Carolina Agricultural Tax Exemption (SCATE) card, a handy way for farmers to show they are eligible for certain state Sales Tax exemptions. For many years, farmers have had to fill out a paper form, the ST-8F, to receive Sales Tax exemptions for items used in agricultural production. But after April 1, 2022, farmers will instead show their plastic SCATE card or key fob when making an exempt purchase.

“Farmers have asked us to modernize the sales tax exemption process, and the new SCATE card we’ve developed will do just that,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “I’d like to thank Senate Finance Chairman Harvey Peeler for his support of this new endeavor.”

“We’re excited to assist the Department of Agriculture with this improvement, which makes the exemption process easier for both farmers and retailers,” said Department of Revenue Director Hartley Powell.

State law is not changing. Farmers will still be able to receive the same exemptions as before. Farmers can apply for their SCATE card now at scatecard.com. Applicants will need a tax ID number (either a Social Security Number or Federal Employer Identification Number), a valid email address, and a credit card or checking account number to pay the $24 fee for the card. Cards expire three years from the date of issue.  ​After April 1, 2022, retailers should no longer accept the old paper form. SCDOR requires that retailers maintain evidence of exempt sales, including the SCATE card number, and report exempt sales on the Sales & Use Tax return.

Planting the Seeds
On Saturday, January 29th, we will be at Whispering Pines Farms. We are happy to partner with Deborah Webster and Whispering Pines for their "What To Expect When Expecting Baby Goats and Lambs AND Forage Essentials" workshop. Our office will be teaching about seed germination, pollination and enjoying hands-on projects with the children. Those interested in learning about healthy forage and how to care for expectant sheep and goats should visit https://www.whisperingpinesdairy.com/event/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting/ or more information. Thanks to Deb and the SC Forage & Grazing Lands Coalition for organizing and sponsoring this event!


Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2022! If your New Year's resolutions include conservation, let the Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District help you. 


We Are Still Accepting CSP Applications!

We are continuing to accept new CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program) applications til March 2021. Sign up today!
Anyone who would like more information about this program, is strongly encouraged to contact our office to receive an informational packet. An infographic of CSP benefits, along with the application is below. If you would like to apply for the CSP program, please fill out the application below and email to Celia Boyd Myers, cboydmyers@gmail.com.

CSP Benefits Infographic




USDA Seeks Public Input on Guidance Defining Nonindustrial Private Forest Land Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public input on Nonindustrial Private Forest Land (NIPF) related to technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “We want to ensure we continue program consistency across USDA agencies with how we are defining nonindustrial private forest lands,” said NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton. “It’s important that our conservation assistance reach all eligible lands in accordance with proper criteria to ensure we enroll eligible lands that hold meaningful opportunities.”

NRCS welcomes input from stakeholders to assist with the development of guidance about how to identify NIPF for program enrollment purposes. NRCS must ensure that such guidance is consistent with how other USDA agencies identify NIPF under identical or similar programmatic frameworks. This request for input is to improve transparency about how NRCS makes land eligibility determinations with respect to forest lands.
The nonindustrial private forest land criteria will be adopted after the close of the 30-day period and after consideration of all comments.

Submitting Comments
NRCS invites input on this technical guidance through January 19, 2021. Electronic comments must be submitted through 
regulations.gov  under Docket no. NRCS–2020–0009. All written comments received will be publicly available on http://www.regulations.gov .


Meeting Cancellation

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Informational Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 16th at the Jocassee Valley Brewing Company has been cancelled due to COVID-19 and participation concerns. Anyone who would like more information about this program, is strongly encouraged to contact our office to receive an informational packet. Some flyers from the USDA-NRCS and the application and appendix are below. If you would like to apply for the CSP program, please fill out the application below and email to Celia Boyd Myers, cboydmyers@gmail.com.



Flyer - Crops

Flyer - Livestock

Flyer - Wildlife

​Flyer - Forestry


L.J. Jones, Recipient of the the George Grobusky Conservation Service Award
At the December 3, 2020 Soil and Water Conservation Board meeting, Mr. L.J. Jones was awarded the George Grobusky Conservation Service Award for his many years of service on the Board. Mr. Jones served the Oconee County Conservation District faithfully for over a decade. He will be deeply missed by our board and employees and remembered for his dedication to conservation. We hope his retirement from the board gives him more time to focus on his own farming operation.

                                                                                      ​Keeping safe by wearing our masks to celebrate the presentation of The George Grobusky Conservation Service Award
                                                                                                                   to our retiring Commissioner Mr. L J Jones (left). Commissioner Rex Ramsay (right) made the presentation. 


Conserving Natural Resources Improves Your Bottom Line
We are currently accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This voluntary conservation program through the USDA-NRCS allows producers to receive payment for additional conservation activities on their property/in their operation. Consider applying today! For more information, visit our Programs page or contact us by phone or email (Contact page). There will also be an information meeting on December 16th, beginning at 5:30PM at the Jocassee Valley Brewing Company. If you wish to attend, please RSVP


The Gift of Conservation

During this time of gift-giving, consider the gift of an affiliate membership with the Soil & Water Conservation District. Your tax-deductible gift will create an investment in our natural resources and future generations. If you would like for information, visit our Support page. We wish you a merry and healthy Christmas and New Year!

Conservation Stewardship Program

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary program through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Farmers can choose to add to their conservation efforts, in addition to continuing their current efforts and may receive payment through this program. The CSP addresses several concerns, such as: Air Quality, Animal Resources, Energy, Plant Resources, Soil Erosion, Soil Quality, Water Quality and Water Quantity.

Through a 5-year contract, participants can receive annual payments for installing new conservation activities (enhancements), while maintaining existing practices. The minimum base rate is $1,500. 

This program has helped numerous producers over the past ten years and may benefit you too. Samples of Enhancements include: Grazing management for soil compaction on pasture through monitoring activities ($7.27/acre);

Native Grasses or legumes in forage base ($34.73/acre);

Enhanced field borders to increase food wildlife food and habitat along the edge(s) of a field ($526.15/acre);

Conservation cover for pollinators and beneficial insects ($311.67/acre);

And many more… Your local service center will assist you in finding the right enhancement for you and your operation. 

The Soil and Water Conservation District and NRCS offices will be hosting several community meetings throughout the month of October to help answer questions about the program and assist farmers who wish to apply. Our first meeting will be held Saturday, October 10, 2020 at the Oakway Community Center (150 School House Road). The presentation will begin at 10AM. Come early and tour the Foothills Farmstead also on-site.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, please consider attending another upcoming meeting or contacting the office for more information. 

7/8/15 The beginning.

This is a new attempt to generate thought about things that are going to face us as we continue our journey on the Earth.  We have been blessed with an existence that is provided for by the natural world.  What becomes of us if we as humanity continue to destroy the very entity that provides our life.  We are at a point where we should as a society start to question practices and behaviors that are a detriment to the ground that gives sustains us.  Big corporate money flows into Washington creating policy that effects us all in many ways.  I am not a fan of Genetically Modified Food.  Lab created breeds of resistant plants have to have some residuals that will be transferred to the animals and people who eat them.  Chemical pollution brought through the systems of the plant life that is supposed to be creating better health for us does not sound like a good thing to me.  Why are the big chemical and GMO supporters so worried about labeling the content of food?  Because if you knew these things were in your food you would have a choice not to purchase.  Without labeling you would be totally ignorant of what someone has plugged into your food purchase.  They do not want you to know what is in there.  They have invested too much money creating a chemical laced creation that withstands their own weed killing agent or is able to stay on the shelf for close to a month.  Does that sound appetizing at all??