By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
The South Carolina Farm Bureau, considered the state’s most influential farm organization, has not been secret about its opposition to state legislation that would regulate large water withdrawals by farmers.
It also recently waged a related public-relations campaign to counter a push by environmental groups to limit proposed large withdrawals of the Edisto River’s south fork by Walther Farms, a Michigan-based agribusiness, for a potato farming operation in Aiken and Barnwell counties.
Freshman state Rep. Russell Ott, D-Calhoun, has expressed views similar to the Farm Bureau’s position on those topics to fellow lawmakers and lobbyists in recent weeks, sources told The Nerve. Ott for years was a paid lobbyist and more recently was the full-time state legislative affairs coordinator with the Farm Bureau, and continues to draw income from the organization as a contract consultant, The Nerve’s review found.
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