The Saluda Young Farmer Chapter was organized in 1948 under the leadership of Mr. Boyce Todd, Vocational Agricultural Teacher at Saluda High School. The first president was Norman Crouch, who continued to be a member until his passing.
The young farmers group is an integral part of the Vocational Agricultural Program at Saluda High School serving as a basis for adult education and support to the local program.
As a part of the program, in 1978, the first Young Farmer Truck and Tractor Pull was held to raise money for a scholarship program. This scholarship is for young persons entering college and majoring in a field of agriculture. Pat Rodgers served as President during this initial adventure.
Today the organization still serves that purpose. In this period of time, 45 young people have received scholarships totaling more than $125,000.00. In 1995, the group voted to name the program the William A. Whitfield Young farmer Scholarship, in honor of Bill Whitfield who served as Vocational Agriculture Teacher at Saluda High School and help initiate the first truck and tractor pull. He served as teacher from 1965-1981 and then as principal from 1982- 1995. He continues to be an active member today.
In addition to providing scholarships, the Young Farmers have assisted the rural fire departments and Little League programs.
Church youth groups and the Saluda High tennis team and cheerleaders have raised funds by assisting in the concession booths during the tractor pull. In 2005, the group provided over $10,000.00 towards the purchase of a pitching machine and batting cage, and this year $4,000.00 was used to update the dugouts at the Little League fields. The organization funds major portions of the FFA program at Saluda High School and is the corporate sponsor of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in Saluda. Russell Miller currently serves as President of the Saluda Young Farmers.
Revenues from truck and tractor pulls were used to build and maintain the current pull facility. Other organizations in Saluda County utilize this facility at other times during the year. The Palmetto Antique Tractor show, the Saluda High School Rodeo, and the Saluda Cattlemen’s Association Equipment Sale were some of the events that were held this past year.
The Saluda Young Farmers have had two members serve as President of the South Carolina Young Farmers Association, John Faye Berry and Tolbert Mitchell. Our Chapter received the District One Most Outstanding Chapter Award seventeen times. The group was awarded the Most Outstanding Chapter in South Carolina nine times. This year Russell Miller was awarded, Outstanding Chapter President by the South Carolina Young Farmer Agribusiness Association.
The Saluda Young farmer Truck and Tractor Pull was twice named “Pull of the Year” by the GTPA and was selected as “Best Track of the Year” in 2004 by the NTPA. The student body of Saluda High School presented the “Outstanding Community Service Award” to the Chapter for providing a new activity bus to the school. The Civitans named the Saluda Young Farmers “Citizens of the Year”.
We would like to thank everyone for supporting the Saluda Young Farmers and their efforts to build a better community and to educate our young people.