Representatives from the Aiken High School chapter of Future Farmers of America presented Clemson University administrators with handmade wreathes and homegrown poinsettias during a recent campus visit.

Anna Mink, Brodie Cox, Scott Morgan, Lakin Wheat and Aiken High FFA adviser and teacher Meghan Wood delivered the Christmas cheer while meeting with high-level Clemson administrators.

Dr. Thomas Scott, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, spoke about the importance of the agricultural industry and agricultural education to the state of South Carolina.

“Young people such as yourselves will play a major role in helping increase agricultural efficiency and production so that we can feed a world population that is projected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050,” Scott said. “Clemson University stands ready to help you fulfill your potential so that you will gain the skills necessary to help guide South Carolina's $34 billion agriculture industry into the future.”

Scott also congratulated Aiken High FFA for being named one of the top 10 chapters in the nation in both the Model of Innovation and Model of Excellence categories. Aiken was one of only five chapters out of a total 7,400 chapters nationally to finish in the top 10 in both categories.

“Aiken High FFA is a model for the state,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbins, chair of the agriculture division of the School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences. “Meghan has done a remarkable job leading this chapter.”

The students also learned about Clemson's majors in the areas of agricultural education, agricultural mechanization and business, soils and sustainable crop systems, horticulture, turfgrass and forestry.

“There are many opportunities at Clemson for you to apply and expand on all that you've learned in FFA,” said Dr. Patricia Layton, director of the School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences.

The wreaths are handmade from cuttings collected from Christmas tree farms, and the poinsettias are raised in a greenhouse by the Aiken High FFA as part of their annual Christmas fundraiser.