Darlington farm family places in national competition


Darlington family farmers Ty and Tracy Woodard were named top 10 winners of the National Achievement Award Competition recently at the 99th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention.

More than 100 South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation members attended the convention in Nashville on Jan. 5-10. State award winners, committee members and voting delegates attended sessions about technology, market outlooks, farm bill, leadership and the future of farming.

Winners of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture competitions were announced during the convention. Young farmers and ranchers from across the country competed for the awards by demonstrating knowledge of and achievement in agriculture, as well as commitment to promoting the agriculture industry.

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.

Nikki Kelley of Charleston, the SCFB state winner of the Excellence in Agriculture award, was named one of the top 10 candidates of the national competition. 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 Chumley of Spartanburg also competed at the national level on behalf of SCFB during the AFBF Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet Contest.

Attendees also heard from President Donald Trump as he spoke about what is being done in Congress and the White House to aid farmers in providing the food and fiber to fuel the world.

"The men and women in this room come from different backgrounds and from all across our land, but each of you carries the same title that's been proudly borne by patriots and pioneers, inventors and entrepreneurs, the title of - very proudly - American farmer," Trump said.

SCFB voting delegates from took part in approving measures to help assure a prosperous agricultural and rural economy in the coming year and beyond. SCFB voting delegates for the Annual Meeting of Farm Bureau Women also met to approve resolutions that will set the agenda for the grassroots organization in 2018.

"The actions taken at this meeting give us a clear roadmap at a time when farmers are on the verge of their fifth consecutive year of shrinking net farm income," American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. "Despite these difficulties, we remain optimistic: Washington feels more like a partner than it did just a short time ago. We have real opportunities to make progress in policy that we have not had in the past."