Sumter County commissioners embrace idea of launching Sumter Ag Expo

Two days after the Sumter County Fair ended last Sunday, a Center Hill resident brought an idea for a fall agricultural event to the Sumter County Board of Commissioners.

Billy Bowles got a positive reaction from commissioners to his proposal for a Sumter Ag Expo, which he would like to hold Sept. 19-22 at the county fairgrounds.

“I’m trying to highlight a number of businesses that we have in Sumter County,” he said. “The whole idea is that young people who are getting ready to graduate know they have a place in life that does not involve four-year or six-year degrees.”

Board Chairman Don Burgess and Commissioner Doug Gilpin praised the idea.

“It sounds like something that would be beneficial to Sumter County and important to our growth,” Burgess said.

Gilpin said, “It sounds like it’s really on the right track.”

He suggested that Bowles work with County Administrator Bradley Arnold to submit the necessary paperwork to hold the event at the fairgrounds.

Bowles, who raises cattle and operates a land development business, said he and a friend came up with the idea over coffee.

“It was a laughing matter at first,” he said, but then the two men began to see the expo as an educational opportunity.

Burgess also announced at the meeting that commissioners had continued their practice of purchasing a display animal at the fair. This year, they will split the over $1,000 cost of a prize-winning swine.