Williamsburg County youth learn to advocate for agriculture

  • Tuesday, August 5, 2014

STUDENTS THAT PARTICIPATED in the 2014 South Carolina Farm Bureau (SCFB) Youth Leadership Conference had the chance to learn about their local, state and national governments, and how they can be agricultural advocates through the legislative process. Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth Jane Daniel and Kate Carsten. PHOTO PROVIDED

Williamsburg County students, Elizabeth Jane Daniel and Kate Carsten, were among a select group of high school juniors and seniors from around the state who recently participated in the 2014 South Carolina Farm Bureau (SCFB) Youth Leadership Conference.

“Our Youth Leadership Conference allows students to explore opportunities within agriculture while developing their skills to be leaders in the industry,” SCFB Ag Literacy Director Vonne Knight, said.

The conference was based at Newberry College and featured a number of workshops focused on leadership and teamwork. Programs that foster understanding and awareness of agriculture and government were also emphasized. Attendees learned about their local, state and national governments and how they can be advocates through the legislative process. A highlight of the conference included a visit to the South Carolina State House where the students witnessed the swearing in of Interim Lieutenant Governor State Senator Yancey McGill of Williamsburg County.

State Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Danny Verdin (R-Laurens County) told the students, “You just experienced one of the more momentous days in the senate. You’ve had quite an education.” He added, “As you’re standing here preparing for your future leadership roles, I feel confident that character and competence is in your future. Thank you for your commitment to self-improvement, skill development, your love for South Carolina, your love for agribusiness, agriculture, for rural communities.”

The conference operates on a two-year curriculum cycle where students learn about agricultural marketing and promotion one year and about government relations and agricultural advocacy the next.

“South Carolina’s agricultural industry is a vital part of the state’s economy. We advocate so our kids and grandkids can farm long after we are gone. Educating our youth on opportunities available to them within the agriculture industry is the first step in involving students so they can have a lasting voice in today’s issues,” said SCFB Federation President and Sumter County farmer David Winkles.

SCFB Promotion and Education Division Director Reginald Hall said, “Farm Bureau has an array of promotion, education, and leadership development program opportunities for elementary school students, through high school and college, to young farmers, and adults. Each of these is supported through annual membership dues and generous financial contributors.”

The conference falls under the umbrella of the Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership program. The SC Farm Bureau Federation is a non-profit membership organization formed to promote and preserve the work of family farmers and rural lifestyles across the state. In exchange for their annual dues and financial support of education, promotion, and lobbying efforts on behalf of agriculture and family farmers, Farm Bureau members are entitled to discounts and access to a number of quality products.

SCFB is a not-for-profit membership organization formed to help keep family farmers in business and rural lifestyles thriving across the state. The organization serves more than 100,000 member families in 47 chapters and has been around since 1944.

Persons interested in supporting agricultural education are encouraged to contact their county Farm Bureau office or the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation at www.scfb.org for additional information

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