Grassroots Leaders Recognized at 73rd SCFB Convention
Myrtle Beach, SC – The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) opened its 73rd Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach Dec. 1, highlighted by a number of awards and a State of Agriculture address from SCFB President Harry Ott.
Nearly 1,000 Farm Bureau members from across the state gathered not just to prepare for the year ahead, but also to celebrate accomplishments of members and progress made in the General Assembly. Many individuals were recognized for their dedication to SCFB at this year’s convention.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, a Georgia farmer, spoke to members on Friday morning about upcoming issues the Farm Bureau will face in 2017. He encouraged members to work together to form a strong alliance among all farmers, and lend a helping hand to fellow farmers near and far when needed.
South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice was given South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation’s ‘Congressman of the Year’ award during the annual awards program on Dec. 2. Congressman Rice was nominated for the award for his commitment to the agriculture industry in the state and positive impact on policies that affect farmers and ranchers.
“I'm incredibly humbled by the support from the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation and am truly honored to be named Congressman of the Year by this outstanding organization,” said Congressman Rice. “My sincere thanks to all those in the ag industry who work to provide for our state and country. I know how important agriculture is to our district and will never stop fighting for farmers!”
South Carolina legislators Representative Brian White, R-Anderson, and Senator Tom Young, R-Aiken, received 2016 SCFB Legislator of the Year awards for going above and beyond in their duties to support family farmers in South Carolina through key legislation. Both legislators have been dependable supporters of agriculture for many years, leading the way for agriculture, agribusiness, and family farmers at the statehouse.
Nine individuals were named the 2016 Government Relations All-Stars for their progressive advocacy of SCFB’s priority issues in the General Assembly. They were Neal Baxley of Marion County, Jeremy Cannon of Clarendon County, Whitney Farr of Spartanburg County, Dean Hutto of Orangeburg County, John Perrow of Calhoun County, Catherine Porth of Lexington County, Jimmie Lee Shaw of Newberry County, Raleigh Ward of Florence County and Jason Wright of Greenville County. They each received a clock representing the time they dedicated to the work of Farm Bureau.
Cullen Bryant of Dillon County received SCFB’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, as the highlight of the Awards and Recognition Program Dec. 2.. Bryant has contributed hugely to SCFB through his countless hours of dedication and selfless volunteerism to SC agriculture. Bryant is a leader in agriculture technology and loves to invite anyone to his farm to teach them about agriculture.
Steven Long of Newberry County took home $500 in STIHL merchandise and $500 cash after winning the SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. Long competed against 10 other contestants in a face-to-face discussion about membership engagement and organizational growth.
Three farm families – Whitney and Lynne Farr of Anderson County, Ty and Tracy Woodard of Darlington County and Davis and Cegi Peeler of Anderson County – were named finalists in the 2017 SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award Contest. As finalists, each couple received a check for $1,000 compliments of the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. They also have the opportunity to win a new GM truck.
Finalists for the SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award were also announced. They are Zachary Snipes of Charleston County, Nikki Seibert Kelley of Charleston County, Case Chumley of Spartanburg County and Dan Swenson of Newberry County. The finalists will be competing for the opportunity to win $500 and a Polaris ATV.
The contest winner for both the Achievement Award and the Excellence in Agriculture Award will be announced in February at the 2017 SCFB Young Farmer & Rancher Conference in Charleston, SC. State winners will also have the opportunity travel to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn. to compete nationally against other state contest winners. The SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher awards are made possible through generous donations from SCFB, Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, Polaris dealers, STIHL and General Motors.
Each year, one South Carolina educator receives the Betty J. DeWitt Outstanding Educator Award. This year Annie Baxley, a teacher at Pleasant Hill Elementary School in Georgetown County, received the award and $500. The award is presented to a teacher of grades K-12 who has designed and implemented a lesson plan about the food and fiber industry.
Allison Harman and Brandon Myers, both from Lexington County, were named the female and male winners of the 2016 SCFB Youth Ambassador Scholarship Contest. Each received $150 in cash and a college scholarship in the amount of $2,000.
The annual meeting came to a close after the business meeting of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, where two individuals were elected to positions on the organization’s Executive Committee, including newly elected SCFB Central District Vice President Donnie Wakefield of Aiken County and newly elected SCFB Piedmont District Vice President Tim Donald of Oconee County.