Clemson marks 100 years in the Pee Dee

By Peter Hull

Pee Dee REC buildingAs hundreds took part in South Carolina's 2012 Rural Heritage Celebration, Clemson marked a century of service in the Pee Dee.  

Bruce Fortnum, director of Clemson’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center, said the center’s role today is as important today as it was 100 years ago.  

While crops and research have changed, the Pee Dee center’s primary function remains economic development, Fortnum said. And for that purpose, the land-grant university system -- combining research and education to speed innovation to market -- is tough to beat, he said.  

The center has become the recognized name for certain fields of research, particularly tobacco, cotton and turfgrass, and regularly welcomes visiting scientists from around the world, Fortnum said. More recently, biofuels have become an important research area.  

"The center’s soils are diverse enough that Clemson scientists can cover just about all the crops of the Pee Dee, and their research benefits the economy of the entire state," Fortnum said.  

Center officials marked the centennial by burying a time capsule containing photographs, cameras, agricultural booklets and other items. The capsule will be unearthed in 2061.  

The annual outdoor Rural Heritage event featured the best of South Carolina’s homegrown foods and exhibits and demonstrations on how the state’s rural heritage was shaped. Interactive learning exhibits located along the center’s 1.5-mile Outdoor Education Trail described the importance of natural resources found in the ecosystems of the region.  

Learn more about the Clemson University Pee Dee Research and Education Center: