- Category: Archives
- Published on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:32
- Written by Ralph Shealy
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Phil Perry (left) and his family as he is inducted into the Frank Lever County Extension Agent Hall of Fame. (Clemson University photo)
Perry Named To
Extension Hall of Fame
Saluda County’s Phil Perry and another former Saluda County Agent, J.M. Eleazer, were honored at Clemson recently along with three other South Carolinians who were recognized for lifetimes of service with their induction into the Frank Lever County Extension Agent Hall of Fame at Clemson University.
Perry and Eleazer join two more former Saluda County Agents, Bill Craven and Bill Riser in the Hall of Fame.
Spanning service from the Blue Ridge foothills to the coast, the five — Jesse Eargle, Eleazer, Perry, Marie Cromer Seigler and David Shelley — worked as agents of the Clemson Extension Service, delivering agricultural research and information to farmers, homeowners and agribusinesses.
The Hall of Fame honors the careers of “longtime, front-line county agents” whose work had an important economic impact on the communities they served. It bears the name of U.S. Rep. A. Frank Lever of South Carolina, co-author of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that created the Extension Service nationally. With co-sponsor Sen. Hoke Smith of Georgia, Lever sought a national program that would extend research-based agricultural and food science knowledge from colleges and universities to the working people it would benefit.
Early in his career, Phil Perry dedicated himself to what he called the “5-P Agriculture” of Saluda County: ponds, pastures, peaches, poultry and pines. With that foundation, Perry’s efforts reached all production agriculture, helping ensure that annual cash receipts from the sale of Saluda County crops and livestock always ranked among the top in the state.
As the Clemson Extension agent for Saluda County from 1975 to 2013, Perry considered it his job to work with the professional food and fiber producers and help them produce an abundant and high quality yield of agricultural products, said Connie Lake, who nominated Perry for the honor.
“He managed cooperative marketing efforts for millions of dollars worth of beef and dairy cattle. The Performance Tested Heifer Sales and Preconditioned Steer Sales that Phil helped start are still active today,” Lake said. “Phil trained many dairy and livestock judging teams that won at the state and national level. He assisted thousands of 4-H members with their dairy, beef, swine, goat, sheep, poultry, horse and wildlife projects. Many of these young people are successful farmers today or are involved in agriculture in other capacities. Many hold agricultural leadership positions.”
Students from across South Carolina came to know Perry for his leadership in youth programs — none more than those with dairy cattle. He led the state 4-H dairy program and 4-H dairy camp, supervised the state 4-H Dairy Heifer Project, advised the State Junior Dairy Breed Associations, coordinated the Junior Dairy Show at the State Fair, guided the 4-H Dairy Judging Program and chaired the Clemson University Spring Dairy Show Committee.
Long before Clemson became a university, J.M. Eleazer was “the original change agent,” said Phil Perry, who nominated Eleazer to the Lever Hall of Fame. “He helped farm families prepare for and adjust to the many changes that were brought about during his working career,” Perry said.
Among those changes were electricity, for which Eleazer worked with the Rural Electric Administration to bring to South Carolina’s rural areas.
Beginning in 1917 as an emergency farm demonstration agent in Jasper County, Eleazer would continue as a county agent in Saluda and Sumter counties before moving to Clemson to carry out his work statewide.
For 44 years as a county agent and Extension information specialist, Eleazer was a spokesman, writer and promoter for Clemson College and South Carolina agriculture, Perry said.
“With pen and paper, two fingers and a typewriter and radio tapes that he pre-recorded and mailed, he got the word out to the people of South Carolina on improved farming methods,” Perry said. “In 1918 he started writing a farm column that continued for 65 years. He was a legendary county agent, agriculturist, speaker and author.”
Eleazer was recognized in 1957 by Progressive Farmer magazine as Man of the Year in South Carolina Agriculture and was awarded the Distinguished Agriculture Award in 1971 by the South Carolina Farmers Cooperative Council.
Eleazer published four books: “A Dutch Fork Farm Boy,” “50 Years Along The Roadside,” “Our Land is Our Life,” and “Conservation and Me.”
Man Dies In
A 39-year-old Columbia man died in a one vehicle accident in Saluda County Mon. night,. Jan. 16.
According to L/Cpl Tonny Keller of the S.C. Highway Patrol, the man was driving a 2013 Kenworth truck and traveling west on U.S. 178, about 4½ miles from Saluda, when the truck went off the side of the road, overturned and hit the guardrail on the left side of the road.
The driver was not wearing a seatbelt. He was transported to Lexington Medical Center, he died of his injuries.
The accident occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m.