These are tough economic times for South Carolina farmers and the 2016 SC AgriBiz and Farm Expo has an agenda designed to help them navigate ahead, according to Jody Martin, the expo’s executive director.
“We have educational sessions that will help farmers improve their efficiency during these difficult times,” Martin said.
The expo is set for Jan. 13-14 at the Florence Civic Center in Florence, S.C. Educational sessions are planned for both days of the expo and will cover topics ranging from precision agriculture to managing price and production risk.
At 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13, Dr. Nathan Smith, Extension economist with the Clemson University, will speak on “Managing Price and Production Risks in Tough Times.” Martin called this a “must attend” seminar for farmers as they make plans for the new crop year.
On Thursday, Jan. 14, educational sessions for commercial farmers will focus on precision agriculture. At the 10:30 a.m. session, Steve Valencsin, founder and CEO of GROWERS, a precision farm management business based in Raleigh, N.C. will share details on how farmers can use data-driven farming to reduce costs and increase yields. Valencsin will speak on “Data Driven Farming – Making Your Farm Data Work for You.”
Martin said small and beginning farmers are an important part of the expo and the Small Farmer Symposium set from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13 will include an informative and entertaining session by Van McCall, AgSouth Farm Credit chief lending officer, will speak on “Considerations for Beginning Farming Operations” and “Business Management Cornerstone: the Balance Sheet.”
“Van is a cross of a financial specialist, preacher and Jeff Foxworthy. He will help young, beginning and small farmers with the business side of running a small farm and make it fun,” Martin said.
The Small Farmer Symposium continues on Thursday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a presentation on growing your business through social media. In addition, Jim Matson with Matson Consulting will speak on “What Food Buyers are Looking For.”
The Cattle Clinic is also set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13 and will include a session at 10:30 a.m. on “Heifer Development & Selection” presented by Brian Bolt, Manger of Business Development, AgriClear, Inc. At 3:30 p.m., Bolt will also speak on the “Cattle Marketing and Market Outlook”.
A key part of the expo is the CAMM Conference, set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14. Speakers from Clemson’s Confined Animal Mature Manager (CAMM) program team will present on the benefits of using animal manure to grow crops for on-farm bio diesel and how to make biodiesel from crops grown with manure. This conference will offer 5 CAMM Credit hours.
Other educational topics include: “Optimization Clinics for Sprayers, Hay Equipment and Precision Ag tools / equipment; On Farm Benefits from Two Years of Soil Health; and much more.
“The expo will have educational sessions, 140 plus agricultural exhibitors, both inside and outside, and other opportunities to connect with key agricultural leaders that will help every farmer who attends. We have a lot to offer and look forward to a big crowd,” Martin said.
For more details, log on to the expo website at www.SCAgriBizExpo.com.