South Carolina General Assembly
116th Session, 2005-2006

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H. 3238


General Bill
Sponsors: Reps. Witherspoon and Haskins
Document Path: l:\council\bills\gjk\20056sd05.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 199

Introduced in the House on January 11, 2005
Currently residing in the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs

Summary: Organization, duties and procedures of the Department of Agriculture


     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
   1/11/2005  House   Introduced and read first time HJ-140
   1/11/2005  House   Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources 
                        and Environmental Affairs HJ-140
   2/16/2005  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Haskins

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Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Chapter 2, Title 46 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:


Department and Commissioner of Agriculture

Section 46-3-10.    The Department of Agriculture shall execute the laws of this State pertaining to agriculture except such those laws as are specifically designated for execution by others.

Section 46-3-20.    No person, not operating under inspection of a State or Federal agency, shall engage in the business of manufacturing, processing or packing food in any manner without first obtaining a food manufacturers, processors and packers permit from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. The permit shall be issued upon application to the Department on forms furnished by the Department and upon conditions prescribed by regulations of the Department governing the manufacturing, processing or packing of food as may be necessary to protect the public health and promote public welfare by protecting the purchasing public from injury by merchandising deceit. Such permit shall be issued July 1, 1971, and renewed annually thereafter on or before the first day of January.

Anyone violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction be fined not more than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days. (Reserved)

Section 46-3-30.    The chief officer of the Department of Agriculture shall be is denominated the Commissioner of Agriculture. The commissioner shall have a competent knowledge of agriculture, manufacturing and general industries, commerce, chemistry, and publicity.

Section 46-3-40.    The commissioner shall must be elected by the qualified electors in the general election now provided by law for the election of state officers of the state government, for a term of four years, the next term after the adoption of this code beginning on the first day of January 1963. In case a vacancy should occur the Governor shall appoint a successor for the unexpired term.

Section 46-3-50.    The bond of the commissioner shall must be in the sum of fifty thousand dollars, and his liability thereon shall on the bond may not extend to losses incurred in bonded warehouses, except in case of tort or neglect of duty on his part.

Section 46-3-60.    The commissioner may appoint a competent clerk, whose qualifications shall must be in the main to the extent possible the same as those required of the commissioner.

Section 46-3-80.    The commissioner shall:

(1)    be charged with all work looking to the promotion of agriculture and cattle raising, including the collection and publication of information in regard to localities, character, accessibility, cost and modes of utilization of soils and, more specifically, the inducement of capital to invest in agriculture and cattle raising by the dissemination of information relative to the advantages of soil and climate and other natural resources of the State;

(2)    collect from the farmers and landowners of the State and list information as to lands, stating the number of acres, the location, and the terms upon which they may be bought; and

(3)    keep a land registry and in connection therewith with the registry from time to time issue a publication descriptive of such the listed agricultural, forest, and trucking lands as may be offered to the department for sale or share, such the publication to be in an attractive form, setting forth the county, township, number of acres, names and addresses of owners, and such other information as may be helpful in placing inquiring homeseekers in communication with the landowners.

But However, nothing in this section shall may be construed to give the commissioner the right to do scientific, educational, or extension work in agriculture.

Section 46-3-90.    The Commissioner may make arrangements with any reliable manufacturer of crushed marl or ground limestone for the sale of such material to the citizens of this State at prices that shall be reasonable and will allow a reasonable profit on the cost of production. In the event of the failure of the Commissioner to make such arrangements, he shall, upon satisfying himself that such arrangements as are specified cannot be made, report such fact to the General Assembly next succeeding, together with definite recommendations for the mining of such material by the State with convict labor and furnishing it to the farmers of the State at a price that shall be as near the actual cost of production as possible. In the event an arrangement is made, the Commissioner shall make public the nature and terms of the arrangement and shall annually report to the General Assembly the full itemized details of any and all such sales made to farmers through the Department. The commissioner has the authority to seek injunctive relief and protection from those persons violating the laws administered by the Department of Agriculture. Further, the commissioner may seek the assistance of law enforcement officials to assist in the enforcement of provisions of law and regulations administered by the department when these actions are warranted to provide protection and safety of the general public from imminent peril.

Section 46-3-100.    The Commissioner may make arrangements with any reliable manufacturer of inoculation material for the sale of such material to the citizens of the State at prices that shall be reasonable and will allow a reasonable profit on the cost of production. Failing to make such arrangements, the Commissioner may manufacture inoculation material for leguminous crops and distribute it to citizens of the State applying for it at cost. The Commissioner may expend from any surplus or other funds collected from other sources in his hands, such amounts as may be necessary to inaugurate the work of manufacturing inoculation material and refund to those respective funds as soon as possible from the sums collected from the sale of such material such sums as may be so expended. The commissioner has the authority to charge administrative fees by regulation regarding certain services and products provided by the department. These fees may be retained by the department and used to cover the cost of administration related to the services and products provided. Administrative fees may be charged to individuals, as well as to public and private entities who are utilizing department services and products.

Section 46-3-110.    In the event that the material is manufactured in the laboratories of the Department of Agriculture, the Commissioner shall receive and keep current accounts of all sums derived from the sale of the material at cost and deposit such sums in the State Treasury to the credit of the general fund of the State. In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the Department of Agriculture is authorized to accept gifts or grants of services, properties, or monies from any federal, private or public persons, agencies, or organizations, so long as the purpose of the grant project is related to the promotion and support of agriculture. All grant funds received by the department must be expended in accordance with all applicable laws of this State.

Section 46-3-120.    In order to facilitate the collection and collation of information of the resources of the State on all lines, the heads of the several departments of the state government and of the state institutions shall furnish accurately such that information as may be at their command to the commissioner when called upon for it.

Section 46-3-130.    The state Department of Agriculture is authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with any state agency whereby its personnel and facilities may be utilized by the agency.

If any fees are charged by the agency the agency may retain the amount necessary for administration, not to exceed the sum agreed upon between the agency and the department, and the remainder, if any, shall must be transmitted to the State Treasurer and deposited to the account of the Department of Agriculture and shall must be utilized by the department for reimbursement of any expenses incurred.

Section 46-3-140.    The commissioner shall make and submit to the Governor, on or before by the tenth day of January of each year, a report covering the department's work of the preceding year and the report shall must be transmitted to the General Assembly, printed in the same manner as other public documents, or as shall otherwise be ordered.

Section 46-3-145.    (A)    As used in this section:

(1)    'Beneficiary class' means:

(a)    farmers and farm families of low and moderate income;

(b)    residents of the State who produce evidence satisfactory to the authority that they intend to become residents and begin farming within the State;

(c)    farmers who shall use the agricultural land, agricultural improvements, or depreciable agricultural property proposed to be purchased for farming within the State;

(d)    farmers who shall apply the proceeds of each mortgage loan to the acquisition by the farmer of agricultural land or agricultural improvements thereon on it, or depreciable agricultural property totaling no more than six hundred twenty-five thousand dollars in fair market value;

(e)    farmers who demonstrate to the authority's satisfaction that they can repay the loan from farming operations within the State;

(f)    farmers who are creditworthy according to standards prescribed by the authority;

(g)    farmers who, inclusive of amounts estimated to be received as a result of the acquisition of the agricultural land, agricultural improvements, or depreciable agricultural property to be financed with each mortgage loan or secured loan, receive at least sixty percent of the combined gross incomes of the farmer, his spouse, and dependents from farming operations within the State;

(h)    farmers who have not received previously a mortgage loan or secured loan from an entity authorized to make loans under the provisions of this section. This restriction does not apply if the amount of the loan previously received for the property plus the amount of the loan sought does not exceed six hundred twenty-five thousand dollars for agricultural land or agricultural improvements or depreciable agricultural property;

(i)        farmers who satisfy other criteria the department prescribes by regulation.

(B)    The Department of Agriculture may participate in and cooperate with the programs of the Farmers Home Administration, the Federal Land Banks, or its successors, and any other agency or instrumentality of the United States and sponsor or participate in programs with other entities, including nonprofit corporations which may make loans to farmers of the beneficiary class, and participate in and cooperate with a program of another agency of the State or a political subdivision in the administration of any of the programs authorized to make loans to farmers of the beneficiary class.

Section 46-3-160.    The Commissioner of Agriculture is authorized to enter into agreements with the United States government for the conduct of aquatic plant control projects under the provisions of Public Laws 85-500, 87-874, and 89-298, and to give such those assurances on behalf of the State as may be required under the provisions of such laws.

Section 46-3-170.    The commissioner may sue or be sued in the courts upon the same terms as any other person, the action to be against or by the commissioner as representative of the State. Suits may must be brought in Richland County or in the county in which the cause of action accrued. In those suits involving an administrative decision by the department, suit must be filed and shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of the South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act.

Section 46-3-175.    In lieu of licenses or permits or renewals of them required by Sections 39-11-30 and 39-11-50 for public weighmasters or deputy weighmasters, 46-21-40 for seed dealers, 46-41-50 for dealers in agricultural products, any qualified person of whom such a license or permit is required may obtain an agribusiness license which qualifies him to engage in any of the businesses listed above. The agribusiness license must be issued by the Department of Agriculture upon the payment annually of a fee of seventy-six dollars and shall expire on June thirtieth of each year. Posting of a bond in the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars with the Commissioner of Agriculture by the agribusiness licensee as principal by a corporate surety company authorized to do business in this State assuring the same compliance provisions as Sections 39-11-70 for weighmasters, and 46-41-60 for dealers in agricultural products shall satisfy the bonding and evidence of financial responsibility requirements of those code sections provisions of law.

Section 46-3-180.    The commissioner may revoke for cause, either permanently or for a definite period of time, any registration or license issued by him under those conditions as the department may prescribe, pursuant to procedures consistent with the South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act.

Section 46-3-190.    No such registration or license, however, shall may be revoked until the person concerned shall have been notified and a public hearing accorded such the person. At such the hearing all persons concerned shall must be accorded the right of counsel and the right to introduce evidence in their behalf.

Section 46-3-200.    At any hearing or other proceeding authorized by Section 46-3-190, the commissioner shall have power to administer oaths; to take testimony; to issue subpoenas and compel the attendance of witnesses, which shall must be served in the same manner as subpoenas issued by the court of common pleas of the State; and to order the taking of depositions in the same manner as depositions are taken in the court of common pleas.

Section 46-3-210.    Pending final adjudication no such registration or license shall may be revoked, provided the person concerned shall furnish bond satisfactory to the commissioner in the amount of two hundred dollars.

Section 46-3-220.    Any order, decision or other official act which revokes a registration or license issued by the commissioner, may be appealed by any person concerned to the circuit court of the county of Richland, or the circuit court of the county of residence of the person whose license has been thusly adversely affected. Such The appeal may be effected by serving the commissioner or someone of discretion at his office, within sixty days after receipt of written notice of the order, decision, or official act affecting the registration or license of the person concerned, notice of appeal. The notice of appeal shall state the grounds upon which it is founded. The commissioner, within thirty days after service of the notice of appeal, shall make a return to the circuit court, giving copies of all documents and orders and a transcript of the testimony taken.

Section 46-3-230.    If any product, merchandise, or equipment regulated by the Department of Agriculture is placed under a restraining order of or by the Commissioner of Agriculture, the commissioner may release any such the item upon compliance with, and payment of, all costs or expenses incurred in any proceeding pursuant to such the order.

Section 46-3-240.    The Commissioner of Agriculture and all inspectors and chemists employed under Chapter 27 of this Title shall be is charged with the enforcement of such regulations relating to food and drugs, in addition to those with which they are expressly charged by law, as the Department of Health and Environmental Control may issue under the authority of law. And such inspectors Inspectors shall also assist also in the enforcement of all of the provisions of this chapter.

SECTION    2.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.


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