History

South Carolina Farm Bureau began as an idea in the minds of a handful of progressive farmers who sought ways to improve the agricultural situation in the state during and after World War II. 

On April 19, 1944, the State of South Carolina officially chartered the organization. Its purpose was “to effectively organize, advance and improve, in every way possible, the agricultural interests of the State of South Carolina, economically, educationally and socially, through the united efforts of the county Farm Bureaus of the State.” Robert R. Coker of Hartsville was elected as SCFB’s first president.

After only a decade, SCFB had become a viable organization with over 20,000 members. During the 1950s, under the leadership of its second president, E. H. Agnew of Anderson County, the organization began to add member services—including an insurance program.

In November of 1962, SCFB started construction of an office building in Cayce, SC, a location that continues to serve as the home office today. During the 1960s, the organization also added a number of service programs, such as the SCFB Marketing Association and the SCFB Services Corporation. David H. Sloan of Marion County served as SCFB’s third president.

In 1971, the organization elected its fourth president—Harry S. Bell of Saluda County. Bell served as president of the organization for 26 years—a period during which membership more than tripled to over 100,000 members. During this period Bell also served as Vice President of the American Farm Bureau Federation for eight years.

In December of 1997, SCFB voting delegates at their annual meeting elected David Winkles of Sumter County as the 5th president of the organization—a position he presently holds. As it entered the 21st century, the organization included over 100,000 members in all 46 counties of South Carolina. SCFB continues to serve as the voice of agriculture in the state, working to optimize the lives of those involved in agriculture.

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The first South Carolina Farm Bureau Board of Directors in 1944 included (left to right) B. D. Boykin, J. Rutledge Connor, J. Wade Drake. H. O. Long, E. B. Sanders, C. J. Asbill, David R Hopkins, executive secretary; Robert R. Coker, president; Mary Ellen Dozier Brunke, treasurer; J. D. Foster, vice president; J. W. Gaston, Jr., L. D. Holmes, Neville Bennett, B. E. Greer, C. B. Able, and John J. Lacey, AFBF director of information. Absent were Paul K. Bowman, D. L. White, E. M. Meares, and G. D. Butler.