A record number of attendees met recently for the annual South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference.
Dillon County residents Kate and Caleb Miller, and Caleb Coleman were among the 300 young farmers and ranchers from across the state who traveled to Charleston to network, become better leaders in their communities, and learn how to overcome challenges within the agriculture industry.
Conference attendees had the opportunity to listen to a wide variety of speakers on topics addressing all aspects of agriculture—everything from ag technology and drones to labor, direct market sales, business planning and ag literacy.
Davis Peeler was elected as the 2017 SCFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Chair. Peeler takes on this role following the leadership of last year’s chair Dean Hutto of Orangeburg County. Nikki Seibert Kelley, of Charleston County, won the 2017 Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award. Kelley won a brand new ATV, helmet and gloves, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. She will also receive an expense-paid trip to the 2017 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) FUSION conference in Pittsburg, PA, and an expense-paid trip to compete at the 2018 AFBF annual meeting in Nashville, TN.
The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an owned agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, their leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
Case and Taryn Chumley of Spartanburg County and Zack Snipes of Charleston County were also recognized as finalists for this award.
Ty and Tracy Woodard, of Darlington County, won the 2017 Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who derive the majority of their income from an owned agricultural operation and have excelled in their farming or ranching operations while exhibiting superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.
Whitney and Lynne Farr of Spartanburg County and Davis and Cegi Peeler of Anderson County were also recognized as finalists for this award.
Orangeburg County received the award for the Largest County Delegation, boasting 25 young farmers and ranchers in attendance at the conference.
“Our Young Farmers and Ranchers program is growing as an increasing number of young people recognize the value of Farm Bureau Federation and its mission to promote agricultural interests in South Carolina,” said Jessica Cabrera, the SCFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Coordinator and Director of Organizational Training and Leadership Development. “We were really excited to host our largest group ever this year, growing in attendance more than 30 percent from last year’s conference.”
The SCFB Young Farmers and Ranchers program is one of many purpose activities sponsored by the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.
By connecting farmers to the larger community, Farm Bureau cultivates understanding about agriculture’s importance to South Carolina’s local economies.