The South Carolina State Fair wasn’t the only gig last week, the Sunbelt Ag Expo was also last week in Moultrie, Georgia. While this year’s Farmer of the Year Award representing a 10-state area went to a Floridian, the state Farmer of the Year for South Carolina went to Monty Rast of Calhoun County according to SC Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers:
“It was the 35th Ag Expo and it was the 23rd year that they have had a Farmer of the Year contest for all of the participating states. Our representative from South Carolina this year, Monty Rast, from Calhoun County”
Weathers and Rast go back a long way, and Weathers says Rast has been in several positions of influence to the ag community since college, including the peanut industry.
It’s a Wrap on the NC State Fair
The 2012 North Carolina State Fair is in the books, and NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler explains that while they may have fallen short of the attendance goal, it was still a good experience:
"We fell a little short of a million people this year, but it was a really good fair. We judge the fair by several criteria, mainly that people enjoy themselves. We had heard over and over again that it was the best fair folks had been to."
Severe weather threatened on Thursday, and according to the commissioner, that hurt the proceeds of Hunger Relief Day:
"We had 217,000 pounds but I wanted to get above the 247,000 pounds that we collected in 2010."
We all have our favorites at the fair, and Troxler is no exception. As one might guess the livestock and other ag exhibits are his favorites, but this year, one in particular was just amazing:
“The flower show was probably the most amazing thing that I had ever seen.”
Group Protests Fracking
Members of a group opposed to a newly legal form of energy exploration in North Carolina shackled themselves to the doors of a state environment building before leaving peacefully with no arrests.
Seven people associated with Croatan Earth First linked themselves together to block the front doors to the new headquarters of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Raleigh. The Legislature agreed to allow fracking this year but it can't occur until regulations are developed.
National FFA Convention Underway This Week
More than 55,000 student members of FFA and their teachers from throughout the U.S., Puerto and the Virgin Islands will attend this week’s annual National FFA Convention & Expo. This year’s event – the 85th consecutive gathering since FFA was founded in 1928 – runs Wednesday through Saturday. Figure skating star Scott Hamilton will be the keynote speaker during the convention's opening session. Other keynote speakers include Dr. Lowell Catlett, a nationally renowned agriculture professor, former NBA star Walter Bond and native Hoosier Josh Bleill, a former Marine-turned-motivational-speaker after losing both legs while serving in Iraq.
The convention and expo and its various event components are not open to the general public.