SC State to Showcase Ag Next Week

SC State is getting back to it’s roots. SFN’s Mike Davis caught up with Dr Louis Whitesides, SC State University Vice President for 1890 Research and Extension at the recent SC Advocates for Agriculture Reception to learn more about the Ag and Land-Grant Celebration taking place September 20-23 in Orangeburg.

The big day is a big weekend. We’re doing an ag land grant weekend, we dedicated ourselves back to our agricultural roots. We restarted our college of agriculture a few years ago. So now we’re doing an Ag and Land Grant celebration weekend. First of all, we have a University Board meeting. That’s on Wednesday, and Thursday evening, we’re doing a movie night for students about cowboys, about black cowboys. And on Friday, we’re doing a farmer’s forum. We have Dr. Antoine, who’s the Director of NIFA, in town to talk about the concerns of farmers and those kinds of things. We have a partnership dinner and Chavonda Jacobs-Young, who’s the undersecretary for research, extension and economics, will be our keynote speaker for the partnership dinner on Friday night. On Saturday morning. We don’t have an alumni breakfast. So the Ag alumni, we welcome them back home to support the new college and then we do an ag showcase. Before the game from one o’clock to four o’clock we’re doing a petting zoo. We’re gonna have a came and a kangaroo out there for kids, a lot of different animals, cows that sort of thing for kids petting zoo 4-H will do some rockets and first we’ll do some drones. We’re gonna have Farm Bureau there with the Ag in the Classroom trailer. There’s gonna be a real big day. We’re doing a tractor ride. We’re gonna watch the game we’re gonna beat the Citadel at six o’clock that day. A really, really big, big weekend for us.

Some of the things you mentioned right there are so important because agriculture isn’t what it used to be, is it?

A lot of technology is infused in it right now. And we’re working on that standpoint. We’re meddling around with AI and agriculture right now, which is a really big deal for us. We launched the Center for Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Agriculture. We have some projects going in the use of drones and robots and things like that. As the Commissioner said earlier, we’re doing some research with chickpeas right now trying to see if chickpeas can become a native species of plant. We’re doing peanuts and we have a scientist right now that’s going to grow the largest watermelon in the state of South Carolina history. So you heard it here first. When he unveils it, you’ll know.

All right, folks, as you heard it from the Doc right here. So why did South Carolina State take this initiative to get back into agriculture? Why is it so important right now?

Well, because it’s our roots in that South Carolina State is a land grant university. So you know, unfortunately, the citizens back in the day lost our cottage agriculture, so we just rededicated ourselves back to our land-grant roots. So agriculture is our number one industry in the state. We have a great commissioner and Commissioner Weathers, I met with him when I first took over and he said we need to grow the industry. So everybody in the community welcomed us in. There’s great people in his industry, great businesses, great agencies, and we work close with all of them: Clemson, Farm Bureau, farmer, agriculture, all of these great partners with us.

I have to agree with my background is not an agriculture either, but when I got the opportunity to get into Farm Radio, farm broadcasting, I jumped at it because of the people, because I knew what the people were like. So I agree with you there. Dr. Whitesides, anything you’d like to add?

No, but thanks for coming out and covering this event. This is one of the best events in in the state where all the Ag leaders come out. And you know, we have a good time and talking fellowship and talk and that sort of thing. It’s just it’s a real good it’s just a real bit of in agriculture. Anyone connect to agriculture and that sort of thing is generally here. And you know, we honor some people who’ve been pioneers in our industry, we’re still giving back and it’s just a great, great social event. Everybody comes out of the fields and come out of their offices and sit, just let their hair down. Have a good time to talk and fellowship.