Over three hundred young farmers, ranchers and ag enthusiasts ages 18-35 years old, met recently for the annual South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Columbia. Members from across the state gathered to network, become better leaders in their communities and learn how to overcome challenges within the agriculture industry.
Prior to the Conference, State Committee members were presented a special proclamation from the South Carolina House of Representatives, sponsored by House Ag Committee Chairman Bill Hixon. The State Committee was granted full access to House Chambers and were given an in-depth history and tour of the State House.
Conference attendees had the opportunity to listen to a wide variety of speakers on topics addressing all aspects of agriculture and heard remarks from South Carolna Governor Henry McMaster and Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenman.
“Our 2024 conference was one for the books! I'm thankful for our sponsors, guest speakers, and attendees who all made it possible,” said newly-elected State Young Farmer and Rancher Committee Chair Loren Lindler (Lexington). “The theme of this year’s conference was Let's Grow. Over the past year, we've focused our efforts on growing as leaders, advocates, and furthering the Farm Bureau mission. Our conference was an opportunity to gather together and celebrate those successes. I look forward to seeing everyone in Hilton Head for our 2025 SCFB YF&R conference.”
Lindler was elected the SCFB YF&R chair at the SCFB Annual Meeting in December and will serve her term throughout 2024 leading the program to follow SCFB’s mission and goals. Other members of the state committee are: Ben Cothran (Piedmont District), Samantha Gumm (Central District), Madison and Mary Katherine Harrington (Coastal District), Matt and Allison Plumblee (Piedmont District), Matt and Ashlyn Stevens (Pee Dee District), and Heath and Lauren Wilson (Coastal District).
Nicole Burbage, of Berkeley County, won the 2024 Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award. The competition consists of a written application and an oral presentation in front of a panel of judges. Burbage won $500 cash, $7,000 towards the purchase of a new ATV compliments of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, and has the opportunity to represent South Carolina Farm Bureau on trips to the 2024 American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Omaha, Nebraska and the 2025 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
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 to agriculture and Farm Bureau. Award prizes are compliments of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, and South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.
Drake and Nicole Yon, of Saluda County, won the 2024 Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. The couple was awarded $1,000 compliments of the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, $33,750 towards the purchase of a new Ford truck and has the opportunity to represent South Carolina Farm Bureau on trips to the 2024 American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Conference in Omaha, Nebraska and the 2025 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
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. Award prizes are compliments of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation and Ford.
Darlington County Farm Bureau Chapter received the award for the Largest County Delegation, boasting 27 young farmers and ranchers in attendance at the conference.
Through the Harvest for All program, county Young Farmer and Rancher committees support a local foodbank, food kitchen or food project. This year Williamsburg County received the 2024 Harvest for all Project Award, and Darlington County was selected as Runner-Up. Lexington County was recognized for the most innovative project.
Plans are already underway for the 2025 Young Farmers and Ranchers conference scheduled for February 7-9 in Hilton Head.
For more information about Young Farmers and Ranchers and to learn how to get involved, contact Heather Barberio at firstname.lastname@example.org.