(May 2) WEST ORANGE, N.J. — The South Carolina Department of Agriculture will soon unveil a marketing campaign designed to tell consumers that nothing could be finer than its fresh produce.

During the May 1 Eastern Produce Council meeting in West Orange, South Carolina’s agriculture commissioner, Hugh Weathers, introduced the state’s new branding campaign, “Buy South Carolina. Nothing’s Fresher. Nothing’s Finer.”

Agriculture is the second-largest industry in South Carolina, Weathers said, and the state legislature recognized the need to invest in it by funding the campaign.

The Buy South Carolina campaign is funded this year at $750,000 by public and private monies, Weathers said. He hopes to double the funding for next year, he said.

Private funds came from watermelon, peanut, peach, vegetable and other industry groups, Weathers said.

“We’re real pleased with the private/public partnership,” he said.

Weathers said Clemson University researchers will help determine the campaign’s return on investment by assessing changes in commerce that result within the next few years.

Ansley Rast, marketing specialist for the department, said the new brand is scheduled to officially debut May 22 with Market Day. The event, which is set to take place on the state house grounds in Charleston, S.C., is to include state grower-shippers and their produce.