BARNYARD BRIEFS: SCDA launches hemp portal

BARNYARD BRIEFS: SCDA launches hemp portal

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COLUMBIA — As the response to the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds, the S.C. Department of Agriculture has made some modifications to the hemp farming permit application process to allow farmers to navigate the process more easily.

The deadline to apply for a hemp farming permit is still March 31 at 4:30 p.m. SCDA will not be modifying this deadline.

Some changes have been made to the process:

• SCDA will modify the mandatory in-person orientation for hemp farming permit applicants so it can be completed online. More information about the orientation will be provided once the application deadline has passed.

• SCDA has launched an online portal for hemp farming applications:

Hemp handlers and processors will eventually be able to apply through the portal as well, but for now only hemp farming permit applications are being accepted.

• Because of difficulties obtaining background checks during the COVID-19 response, SCDA will accept applications without a completed background check. We will not issue permits until an applicant completes a background check.

If you have questions, email, call Vanessa Elsalah at 803-734-8339, or visit

SCDA closes

offices to public

COLUMBIA — In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and in accordance with Gov. Henry McMaster’s March 19 executive order, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture has closed all physical office locations to the public.

The three state farmers markets (in West Columbia, Greenville, and Florence) remain open for regular business.

SCDA staff are still available by phone and email, with many working remotely during the COVID-19 response.

SCDA will continue accepting deliveries via UPS, USPS and FedEx. Laboratory samples and hemp permit applications can still be dropped off at our Consumer Protection Division facility at 123 Ballard Court in West Columbia.

For up-to-date information and resources, visit our COVID-19 page at

USDA Rural


in remote mode

WASHINGTON – Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand announced that USDA Rural Development is implementing enterprise-wide remote operational status effective immediately. Rural Development leadership and managers will continue to provide customer service while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s direction for social distancing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By moving to enterprise-wide remote operations, Rural Development is protecting the health and safety of federal employees and federal workplaces to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.


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