Lexington County Farm-City Programs - A Brief History
The Lexington County Farm-City Committee was organized in 1995. The charter members, Raymond Boozer, Stan Hilton, Frances Price, and Charles Wingard, were appointed by Lexington County Farm Bureau President Jim Young to propose a celebration for Farm-City Week.
The Committee, along with several other volunteers, organized a Kick-Off Banquet for Farm-City Week which runs the Friday before Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving Day. The first Kick-off Banquet was held November 16, 1995.
Also, the Committee arranged a Job Exchange between two farm and city representatives. These representatives were the keynote speakers for the banquet telling about their day's experience in an unrelated business. The idea was to increase awareness of how farm and city people depend on each other for growing, processing, and distributing food, fiber, fuel, and a growing list of other products.
The first Job Exchange participants were R. W. McCormick, Vice President of Business at BB&T (who had just recently acquired Lexington State Bank) and Mike Keisler, owner and operator of James R. Sease Farms. Financial support was provided by Lexington Soil & Water Conservation District, MCEC, BB&T, SCE&G, Havird Oil, Ben Satcher Ford, and Kneece Farms who have continued to support Farm-City programs throughout the years.
In 1996, the Lexington County Farm-City Showcase was added to the roster of programs. Several thousand people were attracted to the Showcase annually. The number of sponsors increased from seven to twelve. The Lexington County Farm-City Committee began to partner with the Gilbert, Lexington Technology Center, and Pelion FFA Chapters. The Advisors from each chapter became a part of the Committee.
In 1997, programs continued with the Showcase, Job Exchange, and Kick-Off Banquet.
At the American Farm Bureau Convention in January of 1998, Lexington County Farm-City won a County Program Idea Exchange and had a booth to exhibit the organization's activities. The number of sponsors increased to thirteen, each providing $300 annually. The Committee also applied for and received both state and federal tax exemption status as a non-profit organization whose general purpose is public education.
By the year 2000, the Lexington County Farm-City Committee and fifteen sponsors partnered with Youth Leadership Lexington to provide a one-day tour for the participating students. Youth Leadership Lexington County is a weeklong summer program for up to 40 rising juniors and seniors in Lexington County’s high schools. Lexington County Farm-City coordinated the daylong tour to two farms and two city businesses and co-sponsored the meal for their graduation at the end of the week. Also in 2000, Batesburg-Leesville High School began an Ag Program and a new FFA Chapter Advisor was added to the Committee membership.
With more financial support and the FFA students assisting with the Showcase and the Kick-Off Banquet, the Lexington Farm-City Committee added FFA Appreciation Night in 2001. A meal was provided and college advisors talked with the students about being prepared for two or four years of continued education.
In 2002, Lexington Farm-City sponsorship increased to eighteen, and all five programs and activities continued.
In 2003 a $250 scholarship was offered to one FFA student at each of the high schools with FFA programs.
Now in its 21st year of Farm-City celebrations, the Lexington County Farm-City Committee deeply appreciates all who have provided financial and human resources or who have provided other support as work continues to help educate and inform the public about the farm and city and our interdependence on each other. We truly are "partners in progress."