County Info


A Prime Location for the Agribusiness and Food Processing Industries

With a location halfway between New York and Miami and consisting of nine counties in South Carolina with an impressive labor draw of over 330,000 and a business-friendly environment, the NESA Region provides the ideal mix of community and commerce to enable the success and growth of your business.


Click here to see what the NESA region can offer for a new, expanding or relocating business in terms of agribusiness.

Transportation Benefits

Regional Infrastructure:

  • Interstates 20, 95, and the proposed Interstate 73
  • U.S. Highways 17, 378, 52, 521, 701, 301, 1, and 501
  • Florence Regional Airport and Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Class I CSX track with access to the Port of Charleston
  • Port of Georgetown

Parts of the region are located within 45 minutes of less of:

  • Interstates 26 and 77
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Norfolk Southern railway lines
  • Port of Charleston and Port of Wilmington, NC

Port Summary

The NESA Region is located in close proximity to the Ports of Charleston, Georgetown, Savannah, and Wilmington.


South Carolina's Port of Charleston, with direct access to Eastern markets, has the best productivity in the U.S.  The Port of Charleston has five terminals (3 container, 2 breakbulk) with access to five interstates.  The Port is currently expanding through the construction of a new terminal and has the ability to handle post-Panamax vessels.


The Port of Georgetown is a breakbulk port with four berths.  It includes open and covered storage and an on-terminal CSX rail connection.

A Highly Productive and Skilled Workforce

South Carolina and the NESA Region have a strong history of agriculture and food processing excellence and are home to world class companies such as National Choice Bakery, Sopakco, Popz, McLeod Farms, Perdue Farms, McCall Farms, Young Pecan and others.  These companies have had no difficulty finding, recruiting and retaining talented and productive workers, technicians and management employees.


With over one million people within sixty miles of the NESA Region's center, the region's workforce has been lauded as one of the top three most productive in the United States and the first in the Southeast.  The labor force of more than 330,000 in the region has continued to increase exponentially in proportion with the region's increasing population.


In the region there are over 12,600 workers employed in the agribusiness industry, which has annual sales of over $4 billion.

Workforce Training

The NESA Region has training resources available to you from recruiting and screening assistance to on the job training through ReadySC.


The Southeastern institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) is the first facility of its kind in the United States and provides the support needed by area and future industries to advance the region's ability to provide a highly trained workforce.  Made possible by partnerships with businesses and industries, this facility features an Advanced Manufacturing Center, 3-D/Virtual Reality Center and a National Robotics Center.  SiMT offers open-enrollment, on-site and customized training as well as manufacturing start-up assistance and consulting services.


ReadySC is an affiliate of the South Carolina Technical College System and develops, implements and manages custom workforce training programs, free of charge, to support new and existing businesses.  By providing screening, recruiting and training of new employees, ReadySC is able to meet the staffing demands of new companies by providing a fully-trained workforce by the first day of operations.

A Thriving Business Environment

Many successful, world-class businesses have already chosen to make their home in the NESA Region of South Carolina, and their increasing growth and revenue are a testimony to the area's potential.  Because of the NESA Region's ideal location, diligent workforce, supportive government and easily accessible resources, area businesses have thrived and continue to do so.

Utilities and Telecommunications Resources

Not only does the NESA Region have a harmonious business environment, but it also has affordable utility and telecommunications support available.


NESA realizes that having a reliable supply of electricity is a necessity for manufacturing operations.  The counties that comprise the NESA Region are served by both Progress Energy and state-owned Santee Cooper via Horry Electric Cooperative, Lynches River Cooperative, Marlboro Electric Cooperative, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, and Santee Electric Cooperative.

  • Electricity rates in South Carolina are nearly 20% below the national average.
  • Many sites in the NESA Region are dual served sites.
  • Uninterruptable power solutions (UPS) and backup power generation are available.

Telecommunications & Fiber Optic Network

The NESA Region is served by AT&T, Farmers Telephone Cooperative, Horry Telephone Cooperative, Time Warner Cable and Frontier Communications.  All of these providers offer fast and reliable fiber optic networks.  Self-healing networks are available for large industrial sites.  SONET is available at many sites in the region and dedicated T-1 lines are available upon request.

Water and Sewer

Most of the sites and buildings in the region have millions of gallons per day of excess capacity on both their water and waste-water systems.  Some of our sites also sit atop aquifers which offer endless supplies of fresh water ideal for beverage formulation and food processing.


High tolerance waste-water systems in South Carolina require less pre-treatment, resulting in lower operating costs for waste-water disposal.  There is also a corporate income tax credit for up to 25% of the costs of complying with whole effluent toxicity testing.  Unused credits may be carried forward for 10 years.


Environmental requirements are overseen by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), which seeks to work cooperatively with the state's business community while maintaining a safe environment.


Less than 1% of environmental permits applied for in South Carolina are challenged.  DHEC has the authority to implement federal permits in the state.  Aware of the importance of new industry, DHEC gives priority to the review of new facilities, thus reducing the turnaround time for permit issuance.


Permitting fees in South Carolina are comparable to those in most states.  Local and regional agencies have not enacted local environmental compliance or permitting requirements with the exception of the standard local waste-water system use ordinances.  South Carolina has no state law requiring the preparation of environmental impact statements.


To learn more about why you should locate your agribusiness operation in the NESA Region, click here to download our Agribusiness Brochure.