“Challenges Lead to Opportunities” for SC Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers

02/01/2017

Charleston, SC – A record number of attendees met recently for the annual South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference. Nearly 400 young farmers and ranchers from across the state traveled to Charleston to network, to become better leaders in their communities, and to learn how to overcome challenges within the agriculture industry.

Davis Peeler was elected as the 2017 SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Chair. Peeler takes his role following the leadership of last year’s chair Dean Hutto of Orangeburg County.

“Dean has shown great leadership during his tenure as Young Farmer and Rancher chair,” said SCFB President Harry Ott. “He has not only been a true visionary and decision maker, but a servant leader to the committee. Dean is always fully committed to the task and has selflessly sacrificed for the work of this organization during his term as chair. We are thankful to his efforts and look forward to the guidance and knowledge of our newly elected chair, Davis Peeler.”

Conference attendees had the opportunity to listen to world-class speakers on topics overreaching all aspects of agriculture—everything from ag technology and soil nutrition to labor, agritourism, organics and ag literacy.

Nikki Seibert Kelley, of Charleston County, won the 2017 Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award. After an oral presentation in front of a panel of judges, Kelley took home a new Polaris Sportsman 570 ATV with a front brush guard, a 2,500-pound winch, 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) Young Farmers and Ranchers leadership 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 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 couple was awarded $1,000 and a choice of a new GM pickup truck—both courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company.  They will also receive an expense-paid trip to the 2017 AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers leadership conference in Pittsburg, PA, and an expense-paid trip to compete at the 2018 AFBF annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited 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 had the most members present, boasting 25 young farmers and ranchers at the conference, and received the award for the Largest County Delegation.

“Our Young Farmer and Rancher 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, SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Coordinator and Director of Organizational Training and Leadership Development. “We were really excited to host our largest group ever this year, growing more than 30 percent from last year’s conference attendee numbers.”

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. To learn more, log on to www.scfb.org.

 

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