In 2008 there were 26,900 farms in South Carolina. Of those, 28 percent had annual sales of more than $10,000. Less than one-half of farm operators identified farming as their principal occupation, and farming was a sideline for many operators who held other jobs. Farmland occupied 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres), of which 44 percent was cropland.
Tobacco is the leading source of income from crops and in the late 1990s accounted for one-fourth of cash receipts from crops each year. Tobacco is grown primarily in the Pee Dee River counties in the eastern part of the state, having been introduced there in the last decades of the 19th century, but is found in other parts of the Atlantic Coastal Plain as well.
Other major crops are greenhouse and nursery products, cotton, soybeans, peaches, hay, wheat, and corn. Soybeans, planted in a larger area than any other crop, are used in crop rotation because of their soil-building qualities; they are also important because of their strong market value, due to their use as animal feed and for making soybean oil. More peaches are produced in South Carolina than in any other state except California and Georgia. Cotton is a crop that has been making a strong comeback since the early 1980s, although the area used to raise cotton is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1940s. Nevertheless, cotton fiber (lint) and cottonseed once again are valuable sources of farm income.
While cotton raising is limited primarily to the Inner Coastal Plain, corn and wheat are generally grown throughout the state. Other field crops include peanuts, rye, and grain sorghum. Other leading vegetable crops include tomatoes, cucumbers, snap beans, and sweet potatoes. Watermelons and apples are also grown commercially. Forest products are another important source of farm income.
Poultry products, including broiler chickens, eggs, and turkeys, are the leading source of livestock income, providing nearly two-fifths of total agricultural sales in 1997. Cattle and calves, hogs, and dairy products are also important. Cattle and hogs are raised in large numbers throughout the Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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