Early in his career, Phil Perry dedicated himself to what he called the “5-P Agriculture” of Saluda County: ponds, pastures, peaches, poultry and pines. With that foundation, Perry’s efforts reached all production agriculture, helping ensure that annual cash receipts from the sale of Saluda County crops and livestock always ranked among the top in the state.
As the Clemson Extension agent for Saluda County from 1975 to 2013, Perry considered it his job to work with the professional food and fiber producers and help them produce an abundant and high quality yield of agricultural products, said Connie Lake, who nominated Perry for the honor.
“He managed cooperative marketing efforts for millions of dollars worth of beef and dairy cattle. The Performance Tested Heifer Sales and Preconditioned Steer Sales that Phil helped start are still active today,” Lake said. “Phil trained many dairy and livestock judging teams that won at the state and national level. He assisted thousands of 4-H members with their dairy, beef, swine, goat, sheep, poultry, horse and wildlife projects. Many of these young people are successful farmers today or are involved in agriculture in other capacities. Many hold agricultural leadership positions.”
Students from across South Carolina came to know Perry for his leadership in youth programs — none more than those with dairy cattle. He led the state 4-H dairy program and 4-H dairy camp, supervised the state 4-H Dairy Heifer Project, advised the State Junior Dairy Breed Associations, coordinated the Junior Dairy Show at the State Fair, guided the 4-H Dairy Judging Program and chaired the Clemson University Spring Dairy Show Committee.