In February, I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina for session six of AgriPOWER Institute Class VII. Over the course of three days we made our way to Charleston, South Carolina touring different types of farms and agricultural operations along the way. While in South Carolina I learned that agriculture is very similar to agriculture here in Ohio. Many of the methods and technologies used to raise crops are the same, however, they are adapted to fit the climate, nature and needs of the specific crops grown there. It was extremely interesting to see the agricultural industry in another state.
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. It was also very interesting to learn that almost 90 percent of this process was automated.
The other piece of equipment that we saw was a peanut digger. This is actually a pretty simple machine that is designed to invert the plant by laying the peanuts and the roots on top so that the combine can collect the peanuts off the plant. This machine worked by digging up the plant and was then passed on to inclined rattle bars that carried the plants up to a pair of inversely angled gangs that inverted the plant with the roots up and laid them on the ground to dry.
We also visited a peanut buying point called Palmetto Peanut. At Palmetto Peanut they receive peanuts from local farmers much like a grain elevator. When a peanut farmer would bring a load of peanuts, they would test the moisture and dry them if needed. To dry them the peanuts were loaded into semi-trailers with an open bottom and a large natural gas dryer hooked up to them. These dryers were able to dry the peanuts at a rate of about 1 percent every 2 hours. Once the peanuts are dried they are cleaned, graded and sorted. The company has five very large warehouses to store the peanuts in until they are taken and made into peanut butter or Mars bars, which is what a majority of their peanuts are used for.
I had a fantastic trip to South Carolina, and hope that I have the opportunity to travel to other states in the future!
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.