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Three agribusiness organizations receive $500,000 in Duke grants

Ross Norton //February 25, 2022//

Three agribusiness organizations receive $500,000 in Duke grants

Ross Norton //February 25, 2022//

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Duke Energy plans to give $500,000 through the Duke Energy Foundation will help fund agribusiness education and diversity initiatives across the state.

“Agribusiness is South Carolina’s top industry, and Duke Energy is proud to power thousands of family and commercial farms and related businesses across the state,” Mike Callahan, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president, said in a news release. “As a company born in South Carolina and critical to its success, we are constantly looking for ways to help power the state’s economy. That’s why it is important for us to support efforts that not only build the diverse 21st century workforce this industry will need to prosper and grow, but also help more minority farmers and landowners protect family land and grow working landscapes.”

Grant recipients include:

  • $150,000 for the S.C. Governor’s School for Agriculture. The grant will go toward building curriculum and teaching of sustainable farming practices and equipment needs, plus establishing a scholarship program for students continuing their education in agriculture programs at S.C. State University, Clemson University or the state’s technical colleges. In partnership with the Advocates for Agriculture, a portion of the funding will go toward the establishment of the Martin Eubanks Memorial Gardens at the Governor’s School.
  • $150 for the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation. The center works to help minority farmers and landowners with the legal aspects of legacy land and timber farming opportunities. These funds will help with the expansion of their services into the Pee Dee region (Florence, Darlington, Marion, Dillon and Marlboro counties). 
  • $200,000 for Future Farmers of America. Funding will provide microgrants to local high school chapters of FFA and will also target all school districts that have agriculture teachers and programs with enrichment grants — 130 agriculture teachers through 96 FFA chapters across the state.

“This grant will allow us to expand our sustainable agriculture program here at our school,” Timothy Keown, president of the S.C. Governor’s School for Agriculture, said in the news release. “With the growing world population, we must be proactive in training our future agriculturalists how to sustainably grow our food and fiber. One of our lofty goals is to grow at least 50% of the food that our students and staff consume in our cafeteria. This will teach our students that self-sustainability is an achievable goal. Without the grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, this goal wouldn't be possible for years to come.”

“We are so grateful to Duke Energy for including the center in their generous grant funding,” said Jennie L. Stephens, CEO for Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation. “We appreciate Duke Energy’s focus on agriculture and their concern for farmers, ranchers and foresters and the issue of Black land loss, particularly in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Our mission is to protect heirs’ property and promote the sustainable use of land to provide increased economic benefit to historically underserved landowners. This investment in the center’s work will make a positive impact on the entire region.” 

According to the S.C. Department of Agriculture, agribusiness is the state’s No. 1 industry, accounting for nearly 250,000 jobs and $46.2 billion in annual economic impact.