What is in this article?:
• Some of the enterprise options South Carolina growers are exploring include olives, sheep, flax and value-added products
FARMERS Keith Allen, left and his son Blake, right of Latta, S.C., had a good talk with Brian Mathis, regional sales manager for TeeJet Technologies, at TeeJet's expo exhibit. “We are evaluating the coverage and spray volume to try to get the optimum coverage and drift reduction,” Allen said.
One of the benefits for farmers at the recent S.C. Agribiz and Farm Expo was the wealth of information on new enterprises that may have a place in the state.
• Olives: In 2011, the cooperative Georgia Olive Farms conducted the first commercial harvest of olives east of the Mississippi River since the late 1800s. These were pressed into extra virgin olive oil and are being marketed under the Georgia Olive Farms label.
Now, the cooperative is working with farmers and investors to provide sustainable, locally produced olive oil to East Coast consumers. Each year, Georgia Olive Farms olives will be the first harvested in the United States and will the very freshest olive oil to U.S. consumers.
Pete Player, a farmer from Bishopville, S.C., visited the display of Georgia Olive Farms to gather information about olives, a crop that is actually ancient, but would be brand new to him.
“It's a good sturdy tree, and production is not too labor-intensive,” he told an interviewer at the expo. “You can get into it small, maybe 10 acres to start with, and it would be (only) about 30 months until you get a return on it, which is not too bad.”
Freezing weather would be a concern. Still, Player plans to study the enterprise more, and it might have a place on his operation in the near future.
And the cooperative is definitely looking for more growers. “Grower contracts are available for those interested in planting olive trees for the production of olive oil,” said GOF Executive Kevin Shaw. And the contract includes as much advice as you need.
“We offer 'turnkey' installation of olive orchards. We offer management decisions as well, which would help you make sure you don't make the mistakes we have made in the process of learning this business.”
• Sheep: Cat Martin of Poverty Acres Farm, Liberty, S.C., said there is definitely a market for lambs in South Carolina right now.