Description: This session will feature a high-level SC Political official as the keynote speaker and a panel of agricultural leaders sharing information and updates of what is being done for the past, current and future issues that affect the stability and growth of our number one industry. Boone S. Peeler, newly appointed USDA, FSA Executive Director will be sharing opening comments followed by a panel discussion. The panel members are as follows:
Ronald L. Summers, Palmetto AgriBusiness Council, CEO
Harry L. Ott, Jr. SC Farm Bureau, President
Cam Crawford, Forestry Association of South Carolina, President & CEO
Jack W. Shuler, SC Dept. of Agriculture-Office of Agribusiness Development (OAD), Director
Come listen in and ask questions about the basics of organic certification. We’ll cover the certification process, the rules, requirements, choosing a certifier, the costs, and other things like record keeping, with plenty of time for questions.
Bio: Mark Dempsey worked as an agronomic researcher in Pennsylvania before moving to North Carolina several years ago. At CFSA Mark helps farmers transition to certified organic production by helping with the certification process, consulting on organic production techniques, and writing conservation activity plans geared toward the transition to organic.
Soil can be dynamic and changeable. We’ll discuss how and explore how diversification such as diverse crop rotations, multi-species cover crops, and integrating animals into cropland has the potential to change and regenerate soils.
Bio: Buz started his professional life as a chemical engineer and spent 12 years in the mining/mineral processing industry in Namibia, Africa. In 1999, he joined the University of South Carolina and has beeninvolved in various projects related to agriculture and environmental quality. Buz is passionate about working directly with farmers on soil health projects and research and how they can leverage the cover crop to improve crop performance both in terms of yield and savings in inputs. Buz’s passion for soils has moved him into the roles of storytelling through video. His documentary “Under Cover Farmers” and his recent series on the “Science of Soil Health” are available on line, are examples of his work..
Buz is a research associate professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health and holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an MBA and PhD from the University of South Carolina.
Bringing together local farmers and chefs, distributors and wholesale-level food buyers to meet and hopefully create new business relationships beneficial to both sides of the farm to fork movement. To register for the “Meet Up”, please click here.
Bio: Katie Welborn is the South Carolina Policy Coordinator at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Katie’s background is in political and nonprofit organizing as well as food systems work with the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and the Arnold School of Public Health. Katie serves on the SC Food Policy Council, the Midlands Food Alliance leadership team, the State Extension Advancement Council, and several other groups working on food and agricultural initiatives in SC.
Bio: Amy Weaver is the Farm to Institution Director at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Core goals of South Carolina Farm to Institution include providing education to food service staff on procuringand preparing local products, promoting SC Grown within cafeterias and food service operations, and creating hands-on experiences such as farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, and institutional gardens. Prior to joining the SC Farm to Institution team in 2013, Amy worked at the University of South Carolina on a number of research projects aimed towards improving children’s health and nutrition. Amy also serves on the City of Columbia Food Policy Committee as the co-chair.
Meeting produce food safety standards and understanding the difference between Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) is essential for produce farmers. Learn how to mitigate food safety risks and implement food safety programs on your farm to open new markets with wholesale buyers requiring GAP certification. Understand what is (or not) required of you by the FSMA law. Certificates meeting annual GAP training requirements for GAP certification will be issued to all participants.
Bio: Patricia (Trish) Tripp is an advocate for safe, healthy and sustainable agricultural practices and has successfully partnered with local farmers, the agriculture industry, non-profits and public health community to support and enhance this mission through consulting, grass-roots program development and public heath education. She holds a B. S. in Chemistry and Master’s Degree, from Virginia Tech, in Agricultural & Life Sciences. Patricia has extensive expertise in on-farm food safety, food defense, sustainable farming practices, food systems and postharvest physiology. Patricia is the Local Produce Safety Manager for Carolina Farm Stewardship Association who shares the same mission in supporting small, diversified growers with food safety compliance and supply chain opportunities.
Bio: Trent Rushton is an Outreach Specialist with the S.C. department of Agriculture’s Produce Safetydepartment. In his position, he is responsible for ensuring that the Produce Safety Rule is successfully implemented in the state of S.C., and that all who may be affected by the new law receive the help that they need. Trent is a lifelong agriculturist who has a diverse collection of experiences in agriculture, with a great deal of time spent working in the produce industry. Trent is from the agriculture-rich area of eastern Aiken county and still resides there, near the town of Salley. Trent attended Clemson University and graduated with an Agricultural Education degree and a minor in Horticulture. Trent takes his job very seriously and knows that the better job he does, the better of a job South Carolinas farmers can do.
Vertically growing hydroponic vegetables is a fast-growing trend for both homeowners and farming operations. Tower Garden leads the way in the local food growing movement, which has become a permanent mainstream trend in the United States. Tim will share his experience and research and how it benefiting everyone from homeowners to commercial operations.
Bio: Tim Blank, For the past 10 years, Tim has been the go to expert as the world’s leader in vertical aeroponic food farms utilizing patented Tower Garden® technology which is the same technology used by NASA.
With over 300 successful projects across North America, Tower Garden leads the way in the local food growing movement, which has become a permanent mainstream trend in the United States.
Bio: Kellie Altman from Florence, SC, had a desire to teach people about good nutrition – and show them how to do it for themselves. Based on this yearning to help others, Kellie and Randal began operating a greenhouse completely filled with towers.
Today, G Squared Urban Farms is growing hardy, ready-to-plant vegetable and herb seedlings. Designed inpartnership with Juice Plus+, the Altman farm is one of the first few vertical aeroponic food farms in the Southeast US. Operated by solar power and minimizing water consumption in a 3,000 square-foot greenhouse, dozens of Towers are producing locally grown, chemical-free produce – mature veggies being sold to local restaurants and savvy consumers, as well.
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM GENERAL SESSION
Promoting Agriculture & Farm Bill Updates
Presenter: Mary Kay Thatcher
Senior Director, Congressional Relations
American Farm Bureau Federation
Mary Kay Thatcher has worked as a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 30 years. She currently serves as Senior Director of Congressional Relations where she lobbies primarily on issues covering farm programs, crop insurance, conservation, credit and Big Data.
Mary Kay served in the “first” Bush Administration as a political appointee as the director of congressional and public affairs of the Farm Credit Administration. In that capacity, she was responsible for the policy direction and management of the agency’s congressional and public affairs activities.
Prior to joining AFBF in 1982, Thatcher served as a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade to Sen. Roger Jepsen of Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned degrees in animal science and agricultural economics.
Thatcher is a fifth generation Iowa farmer. She grew up on a 500-acre Iowa beef, hay and corn farm. She now manages a farm in Iowa producing corn and soybeans, as well as a cow/calf operation.
High tunnel production can be an essential and profitable for many farms across South Carolina. Crops in high tunnels often experience reduced disease, increased marketable yields, and opportunities for season extension. This workshop will introduce proper high tunnel management and best production practices to maximize tunnel profit. Topics include temperature management, variety selection, planting dates and more. Whether you currently produce in a high tunnel or have yet to install one, join us to learn about successfully use tunnels on South Carolina farms.
Bio: Gena is a North Carolina native, born and raised on a horse farm in Union County. She received a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in Agriculture Education from North Carolina A&T University. Gena has been conducting organic vegetable crop research in high tunnels for over four years. Gena, her husband Aaron, and their three boys live on a sustainably managed horse farm while also raising livestock, poultry, and producing specialty crops.
With the growth in Certified SC Grown, Fresh on the Menu, local sourcing by grocers, farmers markets, the Food Hubs, and processing vegetables, SC vegetable production has grown substantially and growers are searching for answers to their production questions/problems. Therefore, Clemson Extension and the SC Department of Agriculture is presenting a vegetable growers session to provide answers to questions from General Vegetable Production to Food Safety to Quality to Diseases to Insects to Weeds. If you are going to produce vegetables in today’s demanding market you need to attend.
Dr. Tony Keinath, Fungicide Update & Recommendations for Vegetable Diseases
Dr. Matthew Cutulle, Weeds
Dr. Rebecca Ann Schmidt-Jeffris, Vegetable Insects
Mr. Martin Eubanks (SCDA), Quality Produce
Mr. Matt Burleson (SCDA), Field Specialist
Dr. Adam Kantrovich, Policy & Law/Legislative update
Mr. Tony Melton, Answer Questions
Bios: Tony Melton has been serving the Vegetable Growers of the Pee Dee and around SC for over 30 years. Many know of him as the Vegetable Guru because of his vast knowledge. Tony also has played a vital role in the expansion of produce production for McCall Farms expanding operation over the past years. You will find Tony starting his days early with farm visits to mentor the growers request his professional assistance. Tony is also a household name around the Southeast as the co-host of “Making it Grow”.
Dr. Tony Keinath
Bio: Tony Keinath is a Professor of Plant Pathology and the research (80%) and Extension (20%) vegetable pathologist at the Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, SC. His area of expertise is cucurbit diseases. He has published 90 scientific journal articles and book chapters and over 400 Extension communications. He has had seven previous graduate students and currently advises one M.S. and one Ph.D. student. He is an instructor in the Tri-County Master Gardener program and a gardening columnist for The Post and Courier newspaper.
Dr. Matthew Cutulle
Bio: I have a research-focused appointment in vegetable weed control along with a 20% extension component. My goal is to improve weed control in both conventional and organic vegetable production. Selected Awards: 2012 Robert D. Sweet Outstanding Ph.D student award (Northeastern Weed Science Society) 2010 Louis Brooking Graduate Student Turfgrass Research Award (Virginia Turf Foundation)
Dr. Rebecca Ann Schmidt-Jeffris
Bio: Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris is an assistant professor and extension specialist at Clemson University. Her research program focuses on vegetable and strawberry entomology. She is particularly interested in biological control, soil health management impacts on insect pests, and spider mite management.
Bio: Martin Eubanks serves as the Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture and Director of Marketing for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Services Division. He has been a member of the SCDA team for over 32 years and has served in various roles of marketing and merchandising throughout his career. He has served on a variety of Boards and Associations related to the fresh produce industry to ensure that South Carolina is recognized throughout the country as a leading supplier of quality produce. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Agronomy. He is married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren. He is changing career paths in June when he takes on his full time role as Granddaddy.
Bio: Matt studied Business Administration at Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL. He is a SCDA Field Specialist Supervisor for Grading, Inspections and Grain, as well as a USDA Lead Auditor and audit reviewer. Matt is a state supervisor for Farmer’s Stock Peanuts, and also an ISO 9001 Certified Lead Auditor.
Bio: Mantrovich comes to Clemson University following 10-years with Michigan State University Extension where he spent time in the field workingwith a diverse group of farms and farm products in the area pf Farm Business Managttming areas included acco unting & financial analysis, farm succession & estate planning, agricultural tax management, labor related issues especially as it relates to H2-A taxation and health care issues, affordable care act for agricultural employers, and ag law and policy. Prior to his last position at Michigan State University Extension he has had a wealth of experience in the private and public sectors including faculty at other universities, working in the commodity futures market at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and with the U.S.D.A. APHIS. You may contact Dr. Adam Kantrovich at 803-788-5700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.