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“Prepared in Mind and Resources” – More Than Just a State Motto

Spinach Salad with Sliced Egg, Warm Bacon Dressing and Crumbled Clemson Blue Cheese
Tilapia Filet with a Shrimp Mornay Sauce
Sweet Potato au Gratin with Goat Cheese and Apples
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Apple Cobbler with Fresh Whipped Cream

In addition to being delicious, there is one thing each of these menu items has in common – they were all made from locally provided ingredients from South Carolina and were highlight of the 2009 Agribusiness Summit hosted by the Palmetto Institute.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan was the keynote speaker at the lunch who was quick to highlight the importance of locally grown and raised foods for the future of agribusiness and the economy of South Carolina.

The Palmetto Institute is a nonprofit think tank with the goal of bolstering per capita income in South Carolina.  After its founding in 2001, the Institute commissioned a study to assess economic conditions in the state. The resulting research showed that agribusiness is the state’s leading economic engine, contributing about $34 billion to South Carolina’s economy. The Institute and the South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers  used the summit to launch a new initiative, “The Drive to 50 by 20.”  By accelerating its momentum, SC agribusiness has the potential to grow to $50 billion by the year 2020.


Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, the South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers,  Vernita F. Dore, State Director USDA, Rural Development at the 2009 Agribusiness Summit.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, the South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, Vernita F. Dore, State Director USDA, Rural Development at the 2009 Agribusiness Summit.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan addressed the crowd of approximately 200 people representing a cross-section of South Carolina agriculture, including farmers, business leaders and bankers. She emphasized the importance of trade and opening new markets to South Carolina’s products and stressed that local and regional food systems is considered a big part of these new opportunities.

In a fitting with the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ theme, we had the chance to meet the young farmer responsible for growing the delicious rainbow chard.  From farm to plate, South Carolina is leading the way and setting an example for the future of agribusiness.

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