Agriculture in Newberry County

Michelle Long - Contributing Columnist
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The Leadership Newberry County class has been meeting monthly since the fall of 2017. Through this immersive learning experience, program attendees focus each month on the various topics that play a part in making a county the sum of those parts. April’s topic was agriculture. With large industry often taking a front seat in the news, agriculture does not play a small part to the economic impact of Newberry County and South Carolina.

Ben Setzler of Setzler Farms shared with us that agriculture is South Carolina’s number one industry, accounting for a $41.7 billion impact on the state. Agriculture is Newberry County’s number one industry, and our county ranks number one in dairy, eggs and timber.

Recognizing the importance of this impact, the Chamber chose to participate in Clemson Extension’s Ag + Art Tour of South Carolina in 2017. Coordinated by Clemson Extension, this Tour is the nation’s largest free, self-guided farm tour featuring local artisans and farmers markets. During this month-long event held each June, visitors have the opportunity to see first-hand where their food comes from, watch artists in action, purchase something special, and learn more about rural life.

Founded in York County in 2012, the tour expanded to include Lancaster County in 2013, Chester and Fairfield Counties in 2014, Union County in 2015, and Chesterfield, Darlington, Kershaw and Horry County in 2016, and Newberry and Florence Counties in 2017. Spartanburg will also participate this year. Since its inception, the Tour has brought over 30,000 visitors through the participating counties.

The planning for our second year of participation in the S.C. Ag + Art Tour is well under way. Along with Spartanburg and Union Counties, Newberry County is scheduled for June 23 and 24. We will feature five farm sites, the Grow Newberry Farmers Market, and five additional sites where agriculture can be experienced. To showcase some of the produce and meats grown right here in the county, we will hold a Farm to Table Dinner on June 21 at The PD Johnson Farm in Newberry. As you begin to see information on these events, take note of our logo. Our number one ranking in dairy, eggs and timber can readily be seen in our design.

We are also taking vendor applications for the Grow Newberry Farmers Market. It will be held each Saturday in June and July from 9-11:30 a.m. in Memorial Park in downtown Newberry, with extended hours for the Ag + Art Tour.

Other important Chamber happenings:

It’s not too late to reserve your ticket to the first Newberry County Young Professionals Legacy Gala. This event will celebrate Newberry’s current and future community leaders of all ages. This evening of wining, dining, dancing, and fun takes place Friday evening from 7-11:00 p.m. at the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center.

Along with the Newberry Opera House, we will host “Newberry On Board” during the summer. It will be a workshop intended to further educate those already in leadership roles on boards, associations, and commissions and to introduce others to the roles and responsibilities of such positions. We welcome you to join us on May 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Newberry Opera House lobby to learn more about this effort to educate the public on good governance and best practices.

Save the date for Business After Hours on May 24 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center. Mosquito Authority is sponsoring this networking event, so come out and meet the folks who can help you with those pesky flies.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, where we share events and news that we think you will enjoy and from which you will benefit. We also email a weekly newsletter where you can glean important chamber, business, and community events and offerings. Contact us, or visit our website NewberryCountyChamber.com, if you would like to be a recipient.

We welcome you to visit us on the first floor of Community Hall in downtown Newberry, located at 1209 Caldwell Street. You may also contact us at 803-276-4274 or chamber@newberrycounty.org. Applications for the 2018-2019 Leadership class will be available next week. The class is limited to 20 participants.

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Michelle Long

Contributing Columnist

Michelle Long is executive director of the Newberry Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at michelle@newberrycounty.org.

Michelle Long is executive director of the Newberry Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at michelle@newberrycounty.org.