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Economic leaders must ‘present the whole picture’ of York County, speakers say

From left, Jesse and Tracy Miskelly of York County are among the finalists in the 2018 South Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture contest.
From left, Jesse and Tracy Miskelly of York County are among the finalists in the 2018 South Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture contest.

Economic development and political leaders in York County should work together to understand what the community needs, according to two speakers at last week’s York County Economic Development Summit at the Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill.

The consultants offered advice for business leaders, economic development heads and politicians who attended. Ted Abernathy, a North Carolina-based consultant, said York County has a “great opportunity” as a part of the Charlotte metro area. He called the area one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas in the country.

Abernathy, a managing partner of Economic Leadership, LLC, said York County has the potential to be a popular landing spot for businesses and tourists, but must effectively communicate what makes the area distinct from other nearby counties.

“The question is what kind of place do you want to be,” he said. “Companies have to be intentional on where they go.”

Abernathy said prospective newcomers to a community often decide to come because of the lifestyle it offers. He said it was important for York County decisionmakers to focus on making the community better, rather than bigger.

Jeannette Goldsmith, president of Goldsmith Strategy of Greenville, S.C., said communities succeed when they provide a workable talent pipeline from schools to the workplace. Delivering a targeted vision of York County to prospective new companies, she said, would provide a refined, easy-to-understand plan for the future.

“You have to present the whole picture,” she said.

David Swenson, York County’s economic development director, said the summit helps set the tone for deeper relationships with economic leaders across the county. He said it was crucial for public investment to provide the infrastructure that private investment can use to create jobs.

York County farmer advocates recognized

York County residents were recognized Dec. 1 at the 74th South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Myrtle Beach.

Jesse and Tracy Miskelly were named as one of three state finalist teams in the 2018 South Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranches Excellence in Agriculture Contest. The contest winner will be announced in January at the 2018 SCFB Young Farmer & Rancher Conference in Greenville, S.C.

The Miskelly team will compete for the opportunity to win $500, a Polaris ATV and free trips to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Reno, Nevada and the 2019 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in New Orleans. The other finalists for the award are Zack Snipes of Charleston County and Chase and Taryn Chumley of Spartanburg County.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an owned agricultural operation, but who actively contribute to agriculture and Farm Bureau.

The York County Farm Bureau received a Young Farmer Activity award. The bureau was recognized for having one of the top Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers programs in the state. Miskelly is the York County Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee Chair.

Carolyn Boyd, the York County Farm Bureau Women's Committee Chair, received a special achievement award on behalf of York County from SCFB State Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Frances Price.

York County was recognized for having one of the top Farm Bureau women’s programs in the state during 2017.

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham

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