GREENVILLE - A record number of attendees met recently for the annual South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference. Sumter County young farmers Spencer McCown, Chris Sumter and Ashlee Hutto were among the more than 300 young farmers and ranchers from across the state who traveled to Greenville 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 technology and labor to animal agriculture, food safety, honeybees and conservation.
Case Chumley was elected as the 2018 SCFB Young Farmers and Ranchers chairperson. Chumley takes on this role following the leadership of last year's chair Davis Peeler of Anderson County.
"Davis has shown great leadership during his tenure as Young Farmer and Rancher chair," SCFB President Harry Ott said. "He has been a true leader. Davis is a great decision maker, he's trustworthy, fully committed to the task and has selflessly sacrificed for the work of this organization during his term as chair. We are thankful for his efforts and look forward to the guidance and knowledge of our newly elected chair, Case Chumley."
Zack Snipes, of Charleston County, won the 2018 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. Snipes won a brand-new ATV, helmet and gloves, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. He will also receive an expenses-paid trip to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation FUSION conference in Reno, Nevada, and an expenses-paid trip to compete at the 2019 AFBF annual meeting in New Orleans.
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.
Davis Peeler, of Anderson County, won the 2017 Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. Peeler was awarded $1,000 and a new Ford truck - both courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co.
He will also receive an expenses-paid trip to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation FUSION conference and an expenses-paid trip to compete at the 2019 AFBF annual meeting in New Orleans.
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.
Horry-Loris County Farm Bureau Chapter received the award for the Largest County Delegation, boasting 23 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 at this year's conference."
The SCFB Young Farmers and Ranchers program is one of many purpose activities sponsored by the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation. SCFB is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that celebrates and supports family farmers, locally grown food and our rural lands through legislative advocacy, education and community outreach. The organization, founded in 1944, serves more than 100,000 member families in 47 chapters. For more information, please visit www.scfb.org.
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