AgriPOWER Class VII learns about farming in the south

AgriPOWER Class VII participants traveled to South Carolina in February to learn about food and farming in a southern state and tour a number of agricultural operations. Three members of the class shared their experiences in blogs. Read excerpts below.


What a trip! Southern hospitality is not just a saying; we experienced it firsthand during our excellent AgriPOWER Class VII trip, coordinated by the South Carolina Farm Bureau. From landing in Columbia on Thursday to taking off from Charleston on Saturday afternoon it was full speed ahead and complete immersion into the culture and agriculture of the Palmetto state! ~ Jami Willard of Columbus.


At one of the tours we learned about two pieces of equipment. One very strongly resembled a combine that would harvest corn or wheat out of the field, but it is used to harvest cotton. As an agricultural engineer, these equipment similarities and adaptations are extremely interesting to me. The cotton picker used hundreds of rotating and spinning barbed teeth to collect the cotton from the field. After it was taken off it was blown into a large hopper and when enough was collected in the hopper the machine baled the cotton and ejected it. ~ Matt Schlegel of Shreve.


In three jam-packed days we were able to see a large-scale produce production and packaging family farm, the largest peach grower on the East Coast, a large milk producing farm, a cotton farm and gin, a pecan farm and packaging facility, along with a peanut farm, and finally a tobacco and berry farm! ~ Steven Ruggles of Findlay.


Apply for AgriPOWER Class VIII by April 15.

Read more from other AgriPOWER Class VII participant

Session 1 blogs

Vicky Shaw discussed her experience in the program’s first session learning about her strength and picking up public speaking tips.

Angela Shoemaker discussed her experience in the program’s first session and learning to step out of her comfort zone.

Session 2 blogs

Chris Kick blogged about interacting with the media and being an effective spokesperson.

Sara Campbell wrote about using storytelling in conversations with consumers and visiting Turner Farms.

Session 3 blogs

Josh Henderson blogged about truly having a voice in Washington.

Libby Bender shared her experience meeting with the authors of the EPA’s WOTUS rule and meeting with her congressman.

Heidi White wrote about learning more about trade at the New Zealand Embassy.

Session 4 blogs

Lara Staples wrote about learning what state government and the people who run it are really like.

Stephanie Leis blogged about the speakers from session 4 and their connection to agriculture.

Jenny Meyer discussed inspiration to share her story more.

Session 5 blogs

Jeff Adams blogged about learning more about tax law and CAUV.

Shelly Detwiler wrote about local government, school funding and oil and gas production.

Session 6 blogs

Matt Schlegel wrote about some of the  peanut and cotton harvesting equipment the class saw on their trip to South Carolina.

Steven Ruggles shared what he learned about vegetable farming in South Carolina and the similarities and difference between vegetable farming and grain farming.

Jami Willard of Columbus wrote about the whirlwind tour of South Carolina’s agriculture that Class VII experienced.

Session 7 blogs

Elaine Beekman of Wellington blogged about this final session not being the end of the learning from AgriPOWER.

Kayla Jones of Newark wrote about volunteering at Highland Youth Garden during the final session.

Mandy Way of Chillicothe blogged about her experience in AgriPOWER reviving her passion for agriculture.


Meet other Class VII graduates.


AgriPOWER is an elite training program designed to help participants become community leaders and advocates for agriculture.