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S.C. AgriBiz, Farm Expo to be Jan. 13-14

The 2016 South Carolina AgriBiz and Farm Expo will be held at the Florence Civic Center in Florence on Jan. 13 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Jan. 14 from 9 a.m-4 p.m.

The Civic Center is located at 3300 West Radio Drive near Florence.

Farmers and other agribusiness officials from throughout South Carolina and the Southeast are expected to attend the expo to observe the large display of 21st century farm equipment and products, attend educational classes and hear the forecast for agriculture in 2016.

Emphasizing the theme Efficiency and Effectiveness on the Farm, the expo will feature a Small Farmer Symposium and other educational sessions including Understanding the Cattle Industry and the latest in Agricultural Technology.

Lunch will be a major highlight of the expo each day featuring for the first time the SC Fresh on the Menu Food Truck Rodeo.

Wednesday has been designated as Youth Day for FFA and 4-H members and other young people interested in learning about the nation’s top industry and pursuing one of the more than 300 careers in the science, business or technology of agriculture.

A Taste of South Carolina event is scheduled for Wednesday from 6:30-8 and will feature some of the finest and healthiest food from local farms and industries throughout the state.

State Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers will discuss the Outlook for Agriculture in 2016 at the Commissioner’s Breakfast on Thursday morning.

The title sponsors for the Expo are ArborOne Farm Credit Association, John Deere, S.C. Farm Bureau and Scoular.

Visit www.SCAgriBizExpo.com for additional information and to preregister for the various functions.

Weathers re-elected to AgSouth board

STATESBORO, Ga. – S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh E. Weathers was re-elected to AgSouth’s Board of Directors, AgSouth Farm Credit CEO Bill Spigener announced.

Board elections were made at the association’s annual meetings in October. AgSouth is a member-owned agricultural lending cooperative, and its directors are elected by the members.

Weathers, from Bowman, is a dairy and row-crop farmer. He serves on the boards of Southern United States Trade Association, South Carolina Poultry Federation, the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and the South Carolina Department of Commerce Coordinating Council.

New publication can help farmers whose fall forage planting delayed by floods

BLACKVILLE — Farmers continue to feel ripple effects from historic flooding in South Carolina.

Cattle farmers are unable to access some fields to plant seed for winter forage, said Scott Sell, a Clemson Extension livestock agent at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville.

“Right now is a critical time when we need to be planting our winter grazing,” he said.

Sell suggested farmers consider planting ryegrass for forage because it can be spread on a field with a slinger and doesn’t need to be planted like other forage varieties.

“They’ll germinate just like that. You don’t actually have to plant them,” he said.

Clemson Extension forage specialist John Andrae said wet weather may help forage establishment and production this year because in normal years forage germination is delayed by dry conditions. The wet conditions will impact forage species selection, soil fertility and equipment use, however.

Sell, Andrae and fellow Extension specialists Jay Crouch, Brian Beer and Marion Barnes have released a new publication, “Delayed Planting Options for Winter Annual Forages,” to help livestock farmers navigate these challenges. The publication can be used with “Forage Leaflet 20,” which outlines annual grasses that can be used for forage in the winter.

The publication is available at http://www.clemson.edu/extension/livestock/forages/publications/leaflet_20.pdf

Farmers should choose high-quality seed free of noxious weed seeds. Farmers using hay should examine existing bales for mold and other mycotoxins that affect livestock health, Sell said.

“These hay bales that have stood in water for days and days and days, there could be some real micro-toxin issues with those,” Sell said.

In the wake of the flood, livestock owners also should survey fields for debris that could injure cattle, Sell said, as well as remove fallen leaves and limbs of cherry trees.

“They’re not toxic when they’re green, but they’re toxic when they’re wilting, so if you have cherry trees on your farm, and almost all of us do, make sure you’re checking for those,” he said.

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