SC Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers: State FFA Convention 2018

The South Carolina FFA Association 91st Annual State Convention took place last week in Brooks Center at Clemson University. The S.C. state FFA chapters all gathered for three days of excitement and education. Commissioner Hugh Weathers was able to join in on the fun and is here to tell us more.

  • The convention brings together over 1,000 students. Over the course of three days, scholarships are presented, awards are given, and the next year’s state officers are installed.
  • As most know, “FFA” is the abbreviation for Future Farmers of America, an organization that has been around since 1928.
  • One of the goals of the program is to educate students and inform them that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting—it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art.
  • FFA membership today is comprised of 653,359 student members who belong to one of 8,568 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • In SC, there are 120 local FFA chapters and all chapters are represented at the state convention
  • The SC FFA state convention that took place this past week not only is a chance to honor these hardworking students, but also gives us the opportunity to reach out to the next generation.
  • Agribusiness is the number one industry in the state, and we will need young people to carry on the many jobs offered within the industry.
  • The average age of a farmer in SC is 59
  • SCDA is present in a few different ways throughout the convention:
  • Staff members serve as judges for different competitions that incorporate skills such as ag research, public speaking, and debate
  • I was fortunate enough to have the privilege to speak at the closing ceremony on Thursday. Expressing my gratitude to the members is important—I want them to know how great it is to have young people so passionate about SC agriculture and the future of the industry looks bright with them involved
  • We also present the attendance award. Every 10 students that attend from one chapter is entered once. The chapter with the most attending students is given the opportunity to come and have dinner at my house with both Ms. Blanche and me. This year’s winning chapter was Lexington-Richland Five.