Wow!!! What an amazing trip our AgriPOWER class had to South Carolina. I had the pleasure to travel with my classmates to see and learn what farming is like in the South. I am very thankful to the South Carolina Farm Bureau for all the time and effort they put into planning an educational trip.
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!
Visiting WP Rawl family farm we learned what cutting edge really meant as well as gaining a better understanding of food safety and the shipping process to customers. I honestly never realized that most “fresh” fruits and vegetables are harvested, cleaned, packaged and delivered in three to four days to your local retailer. Being a grain farmer myself, I really never put much thought into the process of being a vegetable farmer. In a lot of ways we are doing the same thing just in a different time frame. It was great to see how the company is keeping up with technology and finding a way to reduce the use of fertilizer and improve irrigation efficiency. Soil erosion is a problem we share and they have been implementing the use of cover crops, which also offer food and shelter for beneficial insects and the flower pollinators.
This trip was so much fun and I feel that our class all felt the same way. I am so thankful I had the privilege to gain a better understanding of Southern Agriculture. One phrase that really stuck with me from a WP Rawl farm owner was “Don’t let good get in the way of Great”.
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.