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Commissioner of Agriculture Incumbent faces upstate challenger in primary

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The 2014 South Carolina primary election features several incumbents being challenged by first time candidates.

Among those races, the Commissioner of Agriculture. Republican Hugh Weathers is seeking his third term as Commissioner and Upstate native Joe Farmer is challenging him for the position.

Hugh Weathers was elected back in January of 2005. The long time dairy farmer from Orangeburg says he has learned a lot serving as Commissioner of Agriculture. Weathers says he has grown to understand how big the farming industry is here in South Carolina, and it has also verified his understanding that farmers are an independent group.

"When we try to initiate new programs that we have in the Department of Agriculture to increase the marketing emphasis it takes a lot of trust for farmers to invest their time and their own money in what we are trying to do to help them," said Weathers.

His opponent Republican Joe Farmer currently lives in Greenville. He was born and raised in the Upstate and says he has thought about running for Commissioner of Agriculture for years. Farmer now works in sales and marketing, and says that branding local farmer's produce is vital.

"Something that I have tried to institute here is a 'know your farmer' campaign. I intend to go out to these local small farms and help them brand themselves so that they not only sell their product at their farm, at the roadside stand and at the farmers market, but helping them develop a brand loyalty and get into the supermarkets," said Farmer.

If elected Farmer says that he would like to get more local produce in the schools. He also said that he plans to quit his job in marketing and focus only on the Commissioner position.

Weathers says he will continue to grow initiatives in place that encourage and educate future farmers here in South Carolina.

Whoever wins the primary election June 10th will face two challengers in the November election.  Emile DeFelice who is running as an American party candidate and David Edmund who is representing the United Citizens party.

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