MCBEE, SC (WIS) - A South Carolina farmer is competing to be the best of the Southeast.
Alexander "Kemp" McLeod of McBee was named the best farmer in the state for the Sunbelt Expo of Southeastern Farmers.
McLeod raises 22 peach varieties, strawberries, pumpkins and other crops on a farm that covers 7,500 acres. You may know him from his busy roadside store in McBee.
One of the peach varieties McLeod grows is named Cary Mac and it was developed on his farm. Cary Mac is a mutation of the Loring variety and is about a week earlier and has more color than the yellow Loring peach.
"McLeod Farms is highly involved in agritourism," says McLeod. "We have festivals each year surrounding the strawberry, peach and pumpkin seasons. Over 5,000 school children visit the farm throughout the year for field trips. During the fall, our McLeod Farms corn maze attracts more than 8,000 visitors. Visitors can also go to the field and pick their own strawberries and pumpkins."
He graduated from Clemson University in 1976 with a degree in agronomy, and returned to the farm to join his father and expand their operation. He is a member of the fourth generation of his family to work the farm.
As a state winner, McLeod joins nine other farm owners as finalists for the overall award that will be announced in October. Judges will be visiting the finalists' farms throughout the week.
The Sunbelt Agricultural Expo is one of the most prestigious events for farmers.