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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

4-H CWF Builds New Generation of Ag Leaders

Thank you to FarmCredit.com for sharing this blog entry.  4-H and FFA Programs are at the heart of preparing for the future of agriculture.

by Summer Intern Mikayla Bodey 

Mikayla Bodey is currently a sophomore at The Ohio State University, pursuing a degree in public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit administration. Mikayla grew up on a small family farm in Ohio where she raised Clydesdale horses and market hogs during her time in 4-H and FFA. Find Mikayla on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This summer, nearly 1,400 young people participated in Citizenship Washington Focus (CFW) – a week-long citizenship program at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, just minutes outside of Washington, D.C. 4-H’ers are known for their supreme leadership and citizenship skills, and the CWF program allows these young people to hone and exercise these abilities in our nation’s capital. As a program assistant, I had the great honor of guiding and educating delegates the entire summer, as they participated in workshops, committees and field trips.

Delegates spend their week exchanging ideas and forming friendships with other 4-H youth from across the country. Valuable discussions regarding norms, regional differences, and 4-H traditions provide a new perspective for delegates as they return home. However, the hands-on learning experience within the historical backdrop of Washington, D.C. delivers real life lessons on leadership from memorialized leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and many more.

The informal learning environment of CWF begins with workshop groups in which delegates are charged with the task of writing a bill for relevant government topics. Once delegates have completed the bill writing process, they must present, debate and vote on the bills in our Congressional Session.  Learning first-hand the difficulties of creating and passing effective legislation leaves the delegates with a new appreciation for the job of Congress, democracy and teamwork.

This summer one of those topics was federal crop insurance through subsidies and direct payments. I had the opportunity to work with the delegates focusing on this topic. This issue was relevant to the youth for its connection to agriculture, but also helping the youth understand the role of government in agriculture. This helped delegates engage with their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill Day, about agriculture and understanding the power of their voice.

Each week delegates receive a committee assignment, which encourages delegates to use their personal strengths. Committees include Healthy Living, Open-Mindedness, Government, Responsibility, Talent, and Communications, and each committee is focused on various topic-specific activities to inspire further positive growth in their areas of interest.

Farm Credit has played a pivotal role in the success of this year’s CWF program. Farm Credit’s support provided scholarships for 70 delegates and Cooperative Extension personnel from 1890 and 1994 land-grant universities from across the U.S. to attend CWF. Watching these delegates experience Washington, D.C. while broadening their knowledge and understanding of our federal government was rewarding and inspiring.

Technology has become a platform for young people to share their experiences, and Farm Credit also provided all of the 2014 CWF delegates the tools and training to do just that. Farm Credit donated 11 iPad minis at the beginning of the summer to encourage photography, blogging, and social networking among delegates during their time at CWF. As the Program Assistant heading up the Communications Committee, I used the iPads as a teaching tool when discussing social media best practices and pitfalls, and while helping delegates produce a weekly slideshow for our closing ceremony. Delegates also had the opportunity to participate in the #CWFHunt Social Media Scavenger Hunt on Twitter and Instagram during their week in D.C.

Because of Farm Credit’s commitment to positive youth development through CWF, countless young people have walked away with a greater sense of value and purpose. Understanding the importance of civic and social responsibilities at a young age prepares young people not only for the future, but helps them see the difference they can make now. 4-Hers have endless potential to better our country’s future. I couldn’t be more excited to see their successes long after their experience at CWF through online community building, social networking and connecting again at future events.

For more information regarding Citizenship Washington Focus, click here.



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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pee Dee Food & Farm Guide

A wonderful, handy guide is now out - the Pee Dee Food & Farm Guide.  If you haven't picked one up yet, you can view it here.  The cover features mouthwatering blueberries, but that's only the beginning of a cornucopia of farm fresh information.

This guide covers farmers markets, farm stores & grocieries, u-pick locations, agritourism spots, specialty farms and meat/seafood locations in Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg counties.  There are also informative articles about conservation, the Pee Dee Land Trust, CSAs and more.

The Pee Dee Food & Farm Guide is an annual publication produced by the Clemson Cooperative Extension.  Interested in being in the guide next year?  Call Blake Landford at (843) 365 - 6715 ext 115.  You can pick up a copy of this guide at Clemson Extension offices, local farmers markets, and ArborOne Farm Credit offices in Conway (1720 Mill Pond Road) or Florence (800 Woody Jones Blvd).

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pee Dee State Farmers Market - Florence, SC

In honor of National Farmers Market Week, we visited the Pee Dee State Farmers Market located in Florence, SC.  Open year-round, the market hosts two regional plant and flower shows each year: The Fall Plant & Flower Show in October, and the Spring Plant & Flower Show in April.  Both are enormous, statewide draws.

To see the Pee Dee State Farmers Market and hear a brief history, click here.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Scholarship Winners Announced

ArborOne Farm Credit is committed to the future of agriculture in South Carolina.  One of the ways we do this is through the Aim-At-Ag Scholarship, a scholarship awarded to a high school senior that plans to continue his or her education at a 2 or 4-year institution with a major that will benefit agriculture and rural America.

This is ArborOne's second year awarding the scholarship and it was a tough decision naming this year's winners.  K'Ontrey Gamble of Georgetown High School and John Tricoche of Manning High School  are the ArborOne Farm Credit Aim-At-Ag Scholarship recipients.  K'Ontrey plans on attending NC A&T State University and John will attend Clemson University.

We wish them both the greatest of success!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Registration Now Open for Annie's Project

Annie grew up in a small town in Illinois, married a farmer, and spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her husband.  Together they did great things, but it wasn't easy.  Annie's Project is based on lessons learned and Annie's personal experiences to provide women important information for living and working in a farm business.

Annie's Project is a national program that teaches women about farm management skills in a comfortable relaxed setting.  This is risk management education for farm and ranch women.  The topics covered include: Risk Assessments, Business Planning, Financial Statements, Family and Liability Insurance, Farm Programs, Legal Concerns, Retirement & Transition, and Personal Development.

This program is for farm women and is facilitated by professionals and experts in the field of business and agriculture.  Space is limited!  Register by May 15, 2014.

Many thanks to Clemson University Extension, AgSouth Farm Credit, ArborOne Farm Credit, SC Women's Agricultural Network, and Farm Bureau for making this weekend possible.  For more informaion, call: Jennifer Boyles 843.616.0786.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

National Ag Day

National Agriculture Day is March 25. This is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Would you take a moment to consider just how many parts of your life agriculture touches? 
 
On Thanksgiving many people celebrate with a turkey or a ham, sweet potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole, rolls, pecan pie…I’m sure there are family recipes and traditions uniquely yours. Consider that all of these items on your table could all easily have come from the Pee Dee. Perhaps just down the road from where you live.
 
The wood your home was constructed with; the fabric in your sheets, pillowcases, chair cushions; the soap and bath products you use; and even the towels you dry off with; all of these items can be traced back to a farm or ranch. 
 
The farmers of our state and country don’t just feed us, they feed the world. Farmers from other countries study the way our farmers operate, the decisions they make, their techniques, because the production of food is not a rural issue; but instead an essential human issue. American farmers
—with the help of modern technology—produce enough food for a global population of 6.3 billion. In fact, modern agriculture is so efficient, that just one American farmer feeds 150 people, and due to rapid population growth, this same farmer will need to feed 250 people by the year 2050.

But that's not all that's changing. As the population expands, it also shifts. People continue to move away from the farm and into the cities, creating a vast disconnect between production agriculture and the food that we eat. In other words: people don't see beyond the grocery store shelves.

Food may come to you in cellophane, but that’s not where it began. It began in a field that was planted, tended, and harvested by a farmer. Whether large or small, young or old, that farmer faced weather, pests, and many other obstacles to make sure that crop grew, was harvested, and would end up on someone’s table.

Farmers love the land. They are the original conservationists. And they love and are committed to what they do. On this National Agriculture Day, think about what you have on your plate and how your life has been impacted by agriculture. And, if you can’t thank a farmer face-to-face, thank him or her silently.

Thank you, farmers.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

With the new year comes new opportunities.  Looking beyond the usual plans for eating healthier and exercising, perhaps you are wanting to dip your toe into mobile banking.  ArborOne Farm Credit now has mobileRoots which is the mobile app available for customers of Farm Credit that use Account Access.

Or maybe you know a high school senior looking for scholarships.  Are they going to attend a two or four year college in South Carolina?  Do they live in the ArborOne territory?  Encourage them to apply for the Aim-At-Ag Scholarship which is for high school seniors planning to attend college next year and are interested in pursuing an agricultural related field.

And if you didn't get the tractor from Santa that was on your list, visit the SC AgriBiz & Farm Expo January 16 - 17 and look at all the cool equipment, visit vendors, and attend seminars.  There will the "Taste of South Carolina" on Thursday night, January 16, and the Commissioner's Breakfast on Friday morning, January 17th.  Each of these are ticket events so visit the Farm Expo website for details www.SCAgriBizExpo.com

In 2013, ArborOne Farm Credit payed patronage to it's customers.  That alone is a wonderful thing, but the fact that for the last 25 years, since 1988, ArborOne has paid more than $73 Million to it's customers through patronage, that makes it fantastic!
 
ArborOne Farm Credit is an agricultural lending cooperative serving the twelve counties of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. ArborOne is part of the national Farm Credit System, a network of financial cooperatives established in 1916 to provide a dependable source of credit to farmers and rural America.

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