Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics and Statistics

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Felipe de Silva

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Vassalos

Committee Member

Dr. David Willis


Agriculture has been crucial to the economic and cultural well-being of South Carolina throughout the state’s storied history. This importance has not diminished in our contemporary world. Agribusiness, which includes the agriculture and forestry sectors, is the largest industry in the state, providing nearly 260,000 jobs and 51.8 billion in annual economic impact. Almost 25,000 working farms encompass 4.8 million acres of land in South Carolina .

It is no stretch to claim that South Carolina’s agricultural industry affects almost every individual in the state. If not directly involved in the agriculture industry, it is nearly certain all residents have at least consumed a commodity grown in South Carolina. The encompassing impact of South Carolina’s agricultural industry emphasizes the necessity for robust research on the topic. This work focuses on two commodities grown in South Carolina: kale and rice. These crops each in part represent the past, present, and future of South Carolina’s agricultural production.

This thesis is delineated into two separate research projects. Chapter one performs a willingness to pay (WTP) analysis on visually imperfect (VI) organic kale in the Southeastern U.S. using a payment card approach. Factors are evaluated for their effect on WTP, and a profitability case study for a large organic kale producer is conducted. Kale growers will be interested in the results of this study as it sheds light on the marketability of VI kale, most of which is currently unsold. Similarly, the results hold significance for kale markets in the Southeast, including grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

Chapter two discusses the history of South Carolina’s rice industry and why climatic changes are prompting renewed interest in the commodity. An enterprise budget for rice production specific to South Carolina’s rice production is constructed. Using this data, sensitivity and breakeven point analyses are performed to examine profitability. Current growers, potential growers, and local rice markets are all stakeholders with relevant interests to these results.

Author ORCID Identifier




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