GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Taylor Thigpen not only brought his amazing story of turning an idea into a successful business was the perfect backdrop for the theme of this year’s 49th Farm-City Luncheon …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Taylor Thigpen not only brought his amazing story of turning an idea into a successful business was the perfect backdrop for the theme of this year’s 49th Farm-City Luncheon Monday.
The program was called “Youth in Agriculture” and few have embodied that mission more than the 10th grader from St. Johns County Day School.
He had an idea to take some trimmings from his plants and putting them on sale on the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Now his nursery business has delivered plants to all 50 states – and it’s helped him pay the private school tuition and provide scholarships to two Clay County students.
“Horticulture has always been my thing,” Thigpen said while addressing the members of the Clay County Extension Office, Farm Bureau, Future Farmers of America, 4-H and government and community group officials during the annual luncheon at the Clay County Agriculture Fairgrounds.
Thigpen said he’s been in business for two years.
“Every day I’ve tried something new,” he said. “Some win; some lose. But I took a backyard dream to a full greenhouse reality.”
Thigpen’s success wasn’t lost with the second keynote speaker, Dr. J.C. Bunch, an associate professor and department chair for the University of Florida Department of Agriculture Education and Communication.
“There is a shortage of young people like Taylor to fill the opportunities,” Bunch said.
Bunch said the county has to continue its push to keep young talent from moving from the county. He called the growing trend – between one-quarter to one-third of residents 24 and younger have moved in the last five years – “Brain Drain.”
The county needs to cultivate and make local projects more attractive to younger talent at home.
He said the FFA and 4-H are two of the leading groups to make agriculture jobs more attractive.
Clay County Farm Bureau President Gayward Hendry closed the luncheon by giving 10 checks for $1,000 each to several FFA clubs from Wilkinson Junior high, Oakleaf junior and senior highs, Middleburg and Clay Keystone highs and Lake Asbury Junior High, as well as the 4-H.
“The most important profession, in my opinion, is this country today is the American farmer,” Hendry said.
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