William H. “Bill” Craven Jr. was a firm believer in farmer collaboration. While a county Extension agent in Saluda County from 1956 to 1971, he spearheaded the creation of farmer-owned and –operated cooperatives, such as Central Milk Producers, Saluda Artificial Breeding Cooperative, Ridge Mutual Ginnery and Ridge Farmers Mutual. Author of a weekly news column and host of a regular radio show, Craven long promoted agriculture in South Carolina and was a strong supporter of agriculture research at the Edisto Research and Education Center as well. Before his time in Saluda County, Craven was an assistant county agent in Edgefield County from 1953 to 1956. He continued his Extension career with the University of Georgia until 1989, hosting a regular television show that frequently featured agents and specialists from Clemson Extension.
“When I told daddy about this award and asked him what to talk about, he said, ‘talk about the farmer.’ He loved farmers,” said Craven’s daughter, Pamela Craven McKinsey, who accepted the award because Craven was unable to attend. “Agriculture was his passion, his life. It’s who he was.”