For many FFA members, high school is the first time they get to have hands-on interactions with agriculture. For the Belton-Honea Path FFA members, they have a great resource to experience the depth of agriculture. The chapter serves two different communities, Belton and Honea Path, but has one goal — spread good wherever the members go.
As the largest FFA Chapter in South Carolina, the Belton-Honea Path FFA Chapter has so much to offer their members. With 330 FFA members, the three FFA advisors, Benjamin Woody, Eric Wilson, and Deion Latimer, have their hands full! With such a big program, the advisors are able to provide all four major areas of agriculture education: ag mechanics, horticulture, animal science, and environmental natural resources.
One way the FFA members spread good every year is during the Farm Day event. The Belton-Honea Path FFA Chapter has been hosting Farm Day for 27 years and it is put on by the FFA members to increase agriculture awareness. Every year something new and exciting is planned for the young students ranging from kindergarten to third grade. The FFA members are in charge of teaching the younger students the importance of agriculture. Exhibits include lessons on farm animals such as cattle, goats, chickens, rabbits, and horses. The FFA members even got to showcase their ag mechanics resources including farm equipment and other implements. The Farm Day event brings agriculture awareness to roughly 350 students each year!
Another way the BHP Chapter brightens their community is their plant sale. During the fall plant sale, the students get to sell what they have been learning and cultivating for so long. With his three horticulture classes, Latimer’s students are able to receive great hands-on experience in their greenhouse. The students take the lead when it comes to the plant sale, everything from fertilizer to the promotion fliers.
Along with helping the community, the Belton-Honea Path FFA Chapter takes honor in tradition. With two of the three advisors originally from the Belton-Honea Path FFA Chapter (Latimer and Woody), there is a personal connection to the chapter and the community. Latimer said, “We take a lot of pride in our community. It is great to be able to work with the kids, who we were once in their shoes just 10,15, 20 years ago.”
Latimer also praised the community and the school administration for their support. He said none of this would be possible without the support and financial contributions towards the chapter. With that support, students have the resources to learn, compete, and have fun during their time with the Belton-Honea Path FFA. “A lot of our kids really do take ownership and take pride in FFA. There is kind of like a brand that is associated with BHP FFA,” said Latimer
With the support and resources, the students have the capability to gain great hands-on experiences. The Belton-Honea Path FFA has a greenhouse, three ag mechanics laboratories, and storage building. With these resources and their advisors, the students are able to compete in 12-15 Career Development Events each year. With each advisor having their own niche, students compete in everything from ag education, soils evaluation, wildlife, and everything in between.
The Belton-Honea Path FFA Chapter is setting their students up for success with hands-on experiences and community pride.