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FLORENCE – Clemson Cooperative Extension experts in agribusiness, forest management, row crop production and more will join a host of agribusiness industry leaders as featured presenters at the 2019 AgriBiz and Farm Expo Jan. 23-24.

The expo will be held at the Florence Center, 3300 W. Radio Drive, Florence. The event is free and kicks off with a farmer appreciation breakfast at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, followed by the general session at 8:30 a.m. The trade show opens at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

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Educational tracks will be held each day in field crops, fruit and vegetable, livestock and women in ag. These programs will be led by Clemson Cooperative Extension Service agents, as well as agents from the South Carolina Forestry Commission, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina State University, the nonprofit agency SCORE, farmers, businesses and other organizations involved with agriculture. Pesticide license recertification credits will be offered for the operation of fruit and vegetable farms, as well as goat and free-range chicken farming offered on Wednesday. Recertification credits will be offered for the Thursday session on successfully growing fruits and vegetables.

Also, on Thursday, the session on crop utilization of manure nutrients and soil fertility will count as two credit hours of CAMM training. For registration and information about this session, contact Bryan Smith, 864-984-2514 ext 112, or wsmth@clemson.edu.

Extension agents David DeWitt, Justin Ballew and Nathan Smith will review the successes and challenges of the first year of South Carolina’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Additional topics include prescribed burning, business planning, wildlife habitats, pesticide use, weed control, safety measures and more.

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An interactive program on Wednesday will teach participants how to develop action plans to use to advocate agriculture and have more productive conversations with the non-farm audience on topics such as animal welfare, sustainability, chemicals and genetically modified organisms.

Participants will learn about online marketing and controlled environment agriculture during the field crops track at Wednesday’s Lunch ‘n Learn session. Farm succession plans are the focus during Thursday’s Lunch ‘n Learn.

Thursday’s livestock track’s Lunch ‘n Learn session features Kevin Yon, Sunbelt Southeastern Farmer of the Year. He will talk about Yon Family Farms and how his family has been successful in raising Angus seedstock herds.

In addition, the women in ag track will feature farming information specially designed for women and youth will be enlightened by attending sessions offered during the youth day track.

For a times and locations, visit https://www.scagribizexpo.com/schedule/.

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In addition to educational sessions, other events include A Taste of South Carolina reception, which will be held from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23 to showcase key agribusiness companies, leaders, award winners and advocates. The Taste of South Carolina is an invitation engagement with limited tickets. For tickets and more information, visit http://bit.ly/TasteOfSC2019.

South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers will hold his annual Breakfast with the Commissioner beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Weathers’ presentation focuses on the “State of South Carolina Agriculture.”

He will speak about current trends and conditions in South Carolina’s booming agriculture industry, as well as plans to further advance agribusiness in 2019. The Commissioner’s Breakfast is a fundraiser for the Commissioner’s School for Agriculture. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/SCCABreakfast2019.

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The South Carolina AgriBiz and Farm Expo is held each January in Florence. Tom Dobbins, Clemson Cooperative Extension Service director, encourages everyone to come and learn about South Carolina agriculture.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people to come and learn about where their food and fiber come from,” Dobbins said. “People attending this year’s expo also can also learn about innovative ideas for farming, new crops, new technologies and a host of other ag-related topics. We encourage everyone to come and learn more about the agricultural industry in South Carolina.”

The South Carolina agribusiness industry is responsible for more than 212,000 jobs with an estimated impact of $41.7 billion.

“Agribusiness is South Carolina’s number one industry and we take pride in that,” Weathers said. “Our state is located within a 24-hour reach of 100 million people and we have a ready workforce. Companies want to invest where they can enhance their competitiveness and profitability. South Carolina is that place.”

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A training session for growers on produce safety rules will be held prior to the expo. This training is for fruit and vegetable growers, as well as anyone interested in produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices  and co-management of natural resources and food safety. This course satisfies the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement.

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This training takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the Florence Center. Cost is $100. To register, or for more information, go to http://bit.ly/psrAgribiz. Interested persons may also contact Chad Carter, Clemson Extension food systems and safety associate, at ctcarte@clemson.edu, 843-730-5211 or Brooke Horton, SCDA produce safety rule outreach coordinator, at bhorton@scda.sc.gov, 803-351-1244.

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Denise Attaway reports for Public Service and Agriculture in the Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

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