Editor's Note: American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall has been added to the schedule of the SC AgriBiz & Farm Expo. He will speak at the opening general session set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the Florence Center in Florence on the farm bill and the state of agriculture.
In January, there is no shortage of meetings to attend. Most farmers do use the first month of the year as a time to learn and network with other farmers. It’s a great way to start a successful crop year.
Since it was first held in January 2013, the SC AgriBiz & Farm Expo has grown to become a major farm show and educational event for Carolina agriculture. It truly can be said the expo is a “must attend” event. This year’s expo is set for Wednesday and Thursday Jan. 23-24 at the Florence Center in Florence, S.C. Admission is free.
Farmers are coming off a very difficult 2018 and 2019 presents a great deal of uncertainty. The benefit of the expo is that it provides the perfect forum for farmers to talk shop and attend educational seminars that are on par with such national events as Commodity Classic.
Last year, champion North Carolina corn and soybean farmer Kevin Matthews and internationally known corn expert Dr. Ron Heiniger with North Carolina State University gave outstanding presentations on the steps needed to achieve maximum corn and soybean yields. Matthews and Heiniger presented to full rooms and earned rave reviews, so they are returning for an encore performance in 2019.
Two presentations will be held on Thursday; both will be interactive with plenty of time for Q&A.
Industrial hemp could well be the next big crop for South Carolina. Anyone interested in growing hemp will want to attend two sessions on Wednesday. In the first session, David DeWitt, Justin Ballew and Dr. Nathan Smith with Clemson Extension will provide an overview on industrial hemp’s first year in South Carolina and the outlook for the future.
In addition, Jason Eargle with Brackish Solutions, one of South Carolina’s first industrial hemp companies and one of a handful of selected participants in the state’s inaugural hemp pilot program in 2018, will discuss his firsthand experiences with hemp in South Carolina.
In the second session, South Carolina hemp growers will discuss their experience with the crop.
Other educational sessions are on tap for fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers and women in agriculture. Award winning author and speaker Michele Payn will give inspiring talks on better ways to connect farm and food while both celebrating and championing agriculture.
Still, the most important part of the expo is the networking, shop talk and building ties with others in agriculture. Show Manger Jody Martin says connections is what the expo is all about. The taste of SC set for Wednesday evening is a great way to do that, as are the exhibit halls and lunch ‘n’ learn sessions held each day.
There are plenty of farm meetings in January. Beyond doubt, the SC AgriBiz & Farm Expo is “must attend.” I look forward to seeing you at the expo at the Florence Center Jan. 23-24.