South Carolina agriculture will come together in a big way with the first annual South Carolina AgriBiz and Farm Expo, to be held at the Florence, S.C., Civic Center Jan. 16-18.

The meeting will be an umbrella event, with the purpose of bringing together all the many components that make up South Carolina and Southeastern agriculture.

It will feature speakers who will address the most pressing issues facing farmers and farming in the upcoming years.

It will also feature an exhibition hall and vendors who will provide up to date technical information on new equipment and technology available to farmers for the upcoming crop year.

Bringing the many factions of agriculture together has been the dream of South Carolina’s agriculture leaders for the past several years. The current cast of ag leaders in the state has ushered in a new era of putting a focus on agribusiness, and has created an event that will truly benefit all the people of the state and in surrounding states.

As is the case with their neighbors in Georgia and North Carolina, agriculture is the leading industry in South Carolina — by a wide margin.

As a peanut, grain farmer and dairy operator in Bowman, S.C., Hugh Weathers saw this need as a farmer. Now, as commissioner of agriculture in the state, he sees the need on a much wider scale.

“Agriculture is the foundation of the agribusiness industry and the bright spot in our struggling economy. We have a year-round growing season, fertile soil, productive farms and experienced farmers.

“Our state is located within a 24-hour reach of 100 million people and we have a ready agriculture industry, now valued at more than $35 billion annually,” Weather says.

Another driving force behind the establishment of the Expo and expo advisory council member is David Winkles, president of the South Carolina Farm Bureau.

“Winkles has long sought to bring closer together the many crop and livestock production groups that help make up his membership.