SC AgriBiz and Farm Expo comes to Florence Civic Center

SC AgriBiz and Farm Expo comes to Florence Civic Center

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Farmers from all over the Southeast are in the Pee Dee for a two-day agriculture business and farm expo. This is the fourth year for the South Carolina Agribiz and Farm expo and 140 vendors took over the Florence Civic Center to promote one thing, the agriculture business.

Farmers are showcasing new technology and connecting with each other to become more efficient and profitable. Hugh Weathers, the South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture says this year is different than years past. Weathers says, "2015 is still weighing heavily on our farmers. I think its still weighing emotionally. Financially, we wont know. Farming is an expensive business, it requires credit to invest in a crop in the spring to harvest it in the Fall, that's when the flood hit right at that time last year."

To help with farmers who were impacted by the flooding. The Advocates for Agriculture launched  a private flood relief called Plant it Forward SC to give to farmers for next years season. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Tonight, the organization received $100,000 from Farm Credit to kick off the initiative. "Whenever there is a donation of that size, I immediately think of how many farmers that can help, so that's the way we look at it," says Weathers.

Cullen Bryant, Owner and President for Bryant Farms Inc., was at the expo. He says the October floods have impacted farmers greatly. “ Our quality and our quantity of our crops. We’ve just had a big loss with those. We all were in the same boat together. All of us in agriculture whether it be production or some other aspect of agriculture have really suffered greatly. You won’t ever overcome such an adversity as we had this year, but we just have to have faith and keep on moving on to make next year better.”

Bryant is a local farmer from Dillon who has been in the agriculture business for more than 30 years. He says this expo is a way to bring farmers together under one roof, especially after such a trying year from the floods.

Weathers advises those farmers to look at their financial picture for the new year. "Talk to their banker and talk about how they are going to make it in 2016, either absorbing some of the loss or figuring out an offset or possibly diversifying their operations. Nothing like a year like last year to make us all look introspective at our operations if there is a different crop mix I might do," said Weathers.

There will be a Commissioners breakfast held Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. to raise money for the Commissioners School for Agriculture. Just in the past 3 years, various employees have raised over $20,000 at the Commissioners breakfast alone. The expo doors will open at 9:00 a.m. and go until 4:00 p.m. General admission is $5 and today is the last day for the event.

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