The Times and Democrat: Letter: Equine industry vital in S.C.
In his state-of-the-state speech last month, Henry McMaster said South Carolina needs to protect its natural resources and agricultural heritage while continuing to grow its economy.
The governor is right.
Part of our agricultural heritage in South Carolina has its roots in the equine industry. For over 200 years, horse-related businesses have helped the state grow and to conserve culturally significant land. The equine industry remains an important part of agribusiness to this day. Currently, there are 73,000-plus horses stabled in South Carolina, creating an annual economic impact of $1.9 billion.
Thanks to our equine community, ideal climate and booming economy, horse enthusiasts and businesses want to be here. However, many are forced to locate in neighboring states because of outdated laws in the Palmetto State that make us a less competitive option.
South Carolina must address this if we want to remain competitive in recruiting horse-based businesses.
To protect equine jobs and to preserve our horse culture for future generations, I am asking state lawmakers to support the South Carolina Equine Advancement Act. This legislation would legalize advance-deposit wagering on equine events being held across the U.S., generating new revenue from licensing. This revenue would then be returned to the equine industry through a competitive grant process.
Camden, South Carolina