Lexington County Farm Bureau Hits a ‘Grand Slam’ for Agriculture

Sydney Garrett

Communications Assistant

Lexington County Farm Bureau partnered with the local collegiate baseball team to create Homegrown Home Runs, a two-day event filled with baseball and agriculture appreciation.

photo credit: South Carolina Farm Bureau, used with permission

Since 2000, the population in Lexington County, South Carolina, has increased by 41%, growing the once rural farming town to a bustling city with over 304,797 residents. Home to over 12,000 acres of rich farmland, the residential boom has impacted local farm families as land is used for urban development.

Understanding that the average American is three to four generations removed from the farm, Lexington County Farm Bureau sought to highlight the importance of agriculture in their community.

Using America's favorite pastime as a hook, Lexington County Farm Bureau partnered with the local collegiate baseball team, the Lexington County Blowfish, to create Homegrown Home Runs, a two-day event filled with baseball and agriculture appreciation.

Planning and Implementation

The preparation needed for Homegrown Home Runs was no small lift. The Lexington County Farm Bureau planning committee worked with the baseball team’s owner to review dates and costs associated with stadium amenities. Once costs were determined, a detailed budget was created and reviewed by the county Farm Bureau board.

After budget approval, the Lexington County Farm Bureau legislative committee hosted the county’s annual legislative breakfast at the baseball stadium. Elected officials were given event details and extended a formal invitation to Homegrown Home Runs, where they would have a VIP room to enjoy the festivities while discussing current issues in agriculture.

The public relations committee focused on event promotion; strategies included a social media campaign, press releases and member email promotions. At the event, a donated tractor served as a photo booth for attendees and a Farm Bureau booth shared organization information and local agriculture knowledge. In honor of June being national dairy month, pints of milk were given away during and after the game.

Building on their strong relationships with local school districts, the county Woman’s Leadership Committee honored teachers by deeming night one as “Educator’s Night.” Educators were provided free game tickets, prizes and classroom resources. Members staffed a Farm Bureau information table offering Farm Bureau cookbooks and giveaway bags containing soy crayons and agricultural coloring books. South Carolina Farm Bureau’s Ag Simulator and Mobile Learning Lab were also on site.

photo credit: South Carolina Farm Bureau, used with permission

Special Homegrown Home Run jerseys were worn by players during the games and later auctioned off.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee created activities for the baseball team and fans, including a goat milking contest, pedal pull tractor race, kiss a pig contest and a fireworks show. They also worked with the baseball team to create custom Homegrown Home Run jerseys with the names of various local commodities on the back. The jerseys were later auctioned off, with proceeds going to county Farm Bureau scholarships.

Homegrown Home Run’s Impact

Lexington County Farm Bureau sought to accomplish three goals with Homegrown Home Runs:

  • Increase awareness of local agriculture for 10,000 people by celebrating all it provides to the community.
  • Strategically connect existing Farm Bureau programs and two community partners in local agriculture education and promotion.
  • Increase the involvement of 30 Farm Bureau members in this effort through the use of existing and new county committees.

Goal one was quickly surpassed when nearly 2,500 people attended the events, and an additional 1,500 people watched online. Through social media, Lexington County Farm Bureau interacted with roughly 60,000 people, and over 40,000 people were reached through local news channels. In total, event promotion and coverage reached 104,000 people.

Thanks to strong community relationships, the collegiate baseball team and local educators were swiftly identified as partners for Homegrown Home Runs. New connections between YF&R members and legislative officials put the spotlight on current issues in agriculture and built the foundation for continued conversations.

For Homegrown Home Runs to be successful, Farm Bureau member engagement from the entire county was needed. County board leaders stressed the importance of involvement and delegating decision-making with an open line of communication. Slightly more than 100 member volunteers participated, totaling over 1,000 combined hours in the creation, planning and implementation of the event.

County Activities of Excellence

Homegrown Home Runs earned Lexington County Farm Bureau an American Farm Bureau Federation 2023 County Activities of Excellence Award. They displayed their winning activity at the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January.

County award winners received up to four free registrations to the Convention (cost of travel and housing not included) and a $2,250 stipend to apply toward the cost of travel and exhibition. More information on the County Activities of Excellence can be found here.