Sweat named agribusinessman of the year
by The Press and Standard | May 17, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: May 15, 2019 at 10:46 am
The Colleton Soil and Water Conservation District held its annual affiliate banquet at Coastal Outback on April 30. Chairman Gary Herndon welcomed the commissioners, affiliate members and guests. Tricia Midgett, park ranger with Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, was guest speaker for the evening.
Elbert W. Sweat was recognized as 2018 Agribusinessman of the Year and honored with a plaque. The winners of the 2019 Poster and Essay Contest were recognized and received their awards.
2018 Agribusinessman of the Year
Elbert W. Sweat
This year, the Colleton County Soil and Water Conservation District has chosen to recognize an individual who has spent his life immersed in agriculture — Elbert W. Sweat. Born into a family whose blood was green, there was little doubt about the career path he would take.
After graduating from Walterboro High School, he attended Georgia Southern University, obtaining a degree in business. He returned to Walterboro to work at the John Deere dealership his father founded in 1948. From this point on, he spent his life selling, tractors and equipment. He was well known for his wealth of knowledge in the world of agriculture, and the farmers around Colleton County sought his knowledge constantly.
Along the way, he married Neyle Kinard and they had two children, Bert and Angela. They made a home in Ruffin, where he still raises corn and hay. He was and is a fixture on the sidelines and in the stands of his children’s and grandchildren’s athletic events.
He served his community as a board member of Coastal Electric Cooperative for approximately 27 years, many of those years as treasurer. He continued to operate Sweat Implement until 2018.
Though some may call it retirement, his is more of a decision to slow down. Sweat will still have a presence in the agricultural community and farmers will still seek advice from him.
So, in honor of his lifetime of dedication to serving the farmers, plantations and land owners in Colleton County and beyond, ASCS is pleased to name Elbert W. Sweat as the recipient of the 2018 Agribusinessman of the Year Award.
Guest speaker Tricia Midgett
At Coastal Outback on April 30, 2019. Ms. Tricia Midgett, Park Ranger with Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, was guest speaker for the Colleton Conservation District annual awards banquet.
As the visitor services manager at Cape Romain, she oversees the operations at the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center. She is also the volunteer coordinator for the refuge. Midgett spoke about Cape Romain and its Loggerhead Sea Turtle Program.
The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is a 66,287-acre National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern South Carolina near Awendaw. Established in 1932 as a haven for migratory birds, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is additionally managed for the protection of threatened and endangered species such as the loggerhead sea turtle, wood stork and piping plover.
The refuge has an average of 1,000 Loggerhead turtle nests each season on Cape, Lighthouse and Bulls islands. During the nesting season, the volunteers are vital to the success of the nest relocation project. Volunteers may, if necessary, relocate the nests for protection from threats, such as high spring tides and predators, and monitor the nests daily for disturbances. After the eggs hatch, volunteers uncover and tally hatched eggs, undeveloped eggs and dead hatchlings. Any remaining live hatchlings are released or taken to research facilities.
Loggerhead sea turtles spend most of their lives in the open ocean and in shallow coastal waters. They rarely come ashore beside the females’ brief visits to construct nests and deposit eggs. Loggerheads have an average clutch size of 100-120 eggs and the eggs hatch in about 60-80 days. June, July and August are the busiest months of the turtle nesting season.
The loggerheads face many threats in the open ocean such as fishing gear and floating plastic. The ingested plastic causes numerous health concerns. Artificial lighting on beaches also discourages nesting and interferes with the hatchlings’ ability to navigate to the water’s edge. Artificial lighting causes tens of thousands of hatchling deaths per year. Unfortunately, the destruction and encroachment of habitat by humans is another big threat to loggerhead sea turtles.
In the United States, the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service classify the Loggerhead sea turtle as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. In South Carolina, the Loggerhead sea turtle is also recognized as the official state reptile.
Midgett gave a slide presentation on the Loggerhead sea turtle.