Livestock Agent Answers the Call as Consumers Look to Locally Sourced Food

March 11, 2021

Chris LeMaster Standing next to equipmentMaybe it was the short-supply of meat at the grocery or the increased time at home caused by the pandemic but I saw a huge increase in “homesteaders” in the metropolitan areas that I cover in Spartanburg, York, and Cherokee Counties. It was encouraging to see so many people take an interest in their food supply. These homesteaders are your typical suburbanites many of which have never cared for much more than a dog or cat that utilized their new-found time to raise chickens, hogs, and/or goats. I saw an increase in requests for information on purchasing, raising, as well as harvesting these animals. Perhaps the only “normal” thing about this year was the volume of farm visits. Fortunately, I was able to continue making visits by practicing CDC guidelines so I was able to average about 4 farms per week since March. Unfortunately, we could not gather for large workshops so like everything else I moved to a virtual platform. I helped develop and teach many workshop series on forage management, livestock nutrition, and cattle marketing. Early during the pandemic, I had time to get some writing published (link below) and I submitted articles of timely information to the local newspaper and my e-newsletter. I attended numerous professional development courses on livestock nutrition and forage production that have directly led to the implementation of my Forage Focus workshops. I have facilitated and taught virtual meetings for local livestock associations. I have maintained forage demo plots and worked with other agents to create video highlights for a virtual plot tour. I’ve spent many days shooting and editing footage of No-Till drill calibration and farm visits. I have worked with local cattlemen to vaccinate and market over 150 calves for video sales and the Mountain Cattle Alliance. In addition, I’ve worked with SC Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Ranchers to secure food donations from local producers to food banks, hosted virtual farm tours, and participated in “virtual lunch” with state leaders. Although COVID has presented many challenges, I’ve been blessed with new opportunities and avenues to help our producers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *