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According to the S.C. Department of Agriculture and the University of South Carolina, the “Certified SC grown” marketing campaign “could” create as many as 10,000 jobs and “could” have an economic impact of as much as $265 million on the Palmetto state’s economy.

Of course that’s assuming people are willing to listen to a bunch of talking vegetables insisting they purchase only South Carolina-grown food.

Not surprisingly, this “study” was paid for with your tax dollars. In fact, the S.C. Department of Agriculture spent $50,000 on it, which is no doubt why it reached the conclusions it did.

Seriously … when was the last time you recall a government study recommending there be less government?

Frankly, we’re surprised Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers felt compelled to incur this expense¬† – particularly after his agency’s multimillion-dollar marketing campaign received a dedicated, recurring source of taxpayer funding ($2.7 million a year, to be precise) via the state’s recent cigarette tax hike.

Perhaps Weathers wants some good press so that his department can continue justifying its own existence (and his $92,000 a year salary) … which let’s face it is par for the course when it comes to South Carolina’s growing network of useless bureaucracies.

As we’ve mentioned on several occasions, the S.C. Department of Agriculture has no business existing, let alone running a PR campaign that primarily benefits one of the Palmetto State’s most liberal PR firms. In fact, along with Clemson University’s ridiculous “Public Service Activities” and South Carolina’s unfair farm subsidies program, taxpayers are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to “support” the agriculture industry.

Which leads us to our point …

Even if this study’s rosy projections were true, it is simply not government’s job to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. If farmers want to get together and market their products as “SC grown,” fine – just don’t ask us to pick up the tab.

Weathers, incidentally, is an appointee of “fiscally-conservative” S.C. governor Mark Sanford.