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$70 million federal grant to researchers at Clemson University and S.C. State University seeks to develop climate-friendly farming techniques. They’ll partner with 27 other entities over the next five years to help farms.

“I think what we’re talking about today, when we look back on it, we will see this as an inflection point in South Carolina’s agricultural history,” said S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who helped to secure the grant said it would help the state’s small farmers: “This is the kind of program that will assist them in making a living.”

In other headlines: 

Summary: Ian rocked S.C. and rolled away. A look at the giant storm a few days after its landfall in South Carolina. Bottom line: the Lowcountry dodged a bullet 33 years and a week after Hugo. The Grand Strand didn’t. Also in the news: A damage assessment is underway for Pawleys Island.  A look at what’s next in hurricane season. Ian was the fifth-strongest hurricane to make landfall.

Biden pardons thousands convicted on federal marijuana possession charges. President Joe Biden on Thursday pardoned thousands of people convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law. Biden also is urging governors to take similar steps related to state marijuana possession charges. Biden’s move is a fundamental change in the nation’s response to a drug that has been at the center of a clash between culture and policing for more than a half-century, The New York Times writes. Federal pardons, which will go to about 6,500 people, don’t apply to those who were convicted of selling or distributing marijuana. The administration also said it would review whether marijuana should be in the same legal category as drugs like LSD or heroin.

Scott ramps up political operations. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s top aide is leaving his staff to start a political consulting firm — a move some say will guide his political activities in the future. Meanwhile, the senator talked about issues this week at The Citadel.

FBI warns of suspected fraud during Hurricane Ian. The FBI Columbia field office has warned that potential scammers may be on the rise amid Hurricane Ian. According to the FBI, scammers take advantage of those affected by natural disasters, posing as relief organizations or contractors offering repair services.

Wave of spoof shooter calls hit state schools.  State and local officials are warning anyone who makes hoax emergency calls to schools about active shooters would be prosecuted. A wave of spoof calls occurred all over the state Wednesday in more than a dozen school districts. Calls impacted districts from Charleston, Beaufort and Horry counties to Richland, Newberry, Chester, Lancaster, Greenwood and Greenville counties, officials said.

IRS extends taxpayer deadline in S.C. The Internal Revenue Service announced that South Carolina residents and businesses now have until Feb. 15 to file their taxes. The extension comes as a response to Hurricane Ian.

PANDEMIC: Less than 4,000 new cases reported. The state is reporting 3,991 new cases of COVID-19 and six new deaths over the past week.

OPINION: Ellis endorsed for state superintendent.  Read the Charleston City Paper’s editorial endorsement of Democratic candidate Lisa Ellis to be state superintendent.

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