DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WCBD) – A quarantine has been placed on sweet potatoes grown right here in South Carolina.
Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry discovered a pest in two fields in Darlington County back in 2017.
The USDA in January of 2018 confirmed that pest was a Guava Root Knot Nematode which led to Louisiana and Mississippi refusing to accept sweet potatoes, sweet potato seeds and slips from South Carolina.
While the quarantine is based on sweet potatoes, states are also trying to protect cotton and soybeans.
“There’s no harm in eating any of the crops that this nematode damages. However, it does cause yield damage, because it can damage the sweet potatoes itself,” said Steven Long with the Department of Plant Industry at Clemson University. “So, that crop makes the potato not edible if it’s damaged in high enough numbers.”
Right now, two farmers from Darlington County are impacted and are restricting their crops to keep the pests from spreading.
The quarantine also affects sweet potato crops in North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.