The amount of water that everyone uses is the subject of a debate that’s taking place across the United States, and particularly in South Carolina where the state has implemented the Surface Water Act of 2010. That legislation, which made the state’s riverways available for agricultural use, was one solution to the demand for water by agricultural, industrial and residential users.

The need to balance the demands for water by a variety of groups with the need to grow and raise food in South Carolina will be the subject of the next Food Dialogues event, taking place on November 12 in West Columbia, South Carolina.

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation are bringing farmers, ranchers and water and sustainability experts together for two panel discussions on water use in the state.

David Stanton, a former broadcast news anchor, public affairs program host and political debate moderator, will lead both discussions.

The first panel, “A Closer Look at South Carolina’s Water Needs,” will examine what the state’s water needs are, and what options (such as the Surface Water Act of 2010) have been employed or evaluated to address those needs. Panelists will include:

  •     David Wilson, chief, South Carolina Department of
        Health and Environmental Control Bureau of Water

David Wilson has been with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for over 30 years managing various environmental programs. He has been head of the Department's water programs for the past 8 years and served as the interim Director of Legislative Affairs for Environmental Quality Control. During his tenure, he has represented the Department in numerous national and state level environmental initiatives, including serving as the Governor's representative on the National Governors Association Federal Facilities Task Force. A recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency' s Bronze Medal for Commendable Service, he has a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in engineering from the University of South Carolina. He is also a registered professional engineer.

  •     Lisa Turanski, chief program officer, Coastal
        Conservation League

Lisa rejoined the Coastal Conservation League in 2010. She graduated in 1999 from the University of the South with a B.S. in Natural Resources. From 1999-2002, she served as an Agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, Africa, where she partnered with the Cameroonian government to teach agroforestry practices to farmers and local communities. Following her experience in Africa, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation. Lisa and her family moved to Charleston in 2007, when she joined the Conservation League as a project manager in the Land Use program. From 2010-2014, she served as the Director of the Conservation League's Food and Agriculture program. She led the effort to launch GrowFood Carolina, South Carolina's first local food hub, and sits on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Food Policy Council. In her free time, Lisa enjoys growing food, tending to her chickens, and being anywhere outside with her husband and two daughters.

  •     Charles Wingard, vice president of field operations,
        Walter P. Rawl & Sons

Charles Wingard is the Vice President of Field Operations at Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc. which is located in Pelion, SC. He has worked in his family’s business since graduating from Clemson University in 1987 where he earned a degree in Agricultural Economics. He is one of ten family members actively involved in day to day operations.

His primary duties include the oversight of vegetable production on approximately 4,000 acres of farmland in South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi.

He and his family are active in many groups that promote issues in the agricultural and produce industries such as United Fresh Produce Assoc., Farm Bureau, Harvest Hope Food Bank, South Carolina Dept. of Agric., FFA, Five-A-Day, etc. He and his wife Jan have been married for 20 years and have three children – Mary Grace, Caroline and Clark.

  •     Loni Rikard, owner/director of operations for Rocky
        Wells Agri-Services, LLC & Rocky Wells Trucking, Inc.

Loni Rikard is the owner of Rocky Wells Agri-Services, LLC, and co-owner of Rocky Wells Farm, located in Lexington County. She is also Director of Operations for Rocky Wells Trucking, Inc. Loni serves on the Lexington County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and Young Farmer and Rancher Committee. She is the most recent chairperson of the Lexington County Farm-City Programs Committee, a volunteer position that she held for the last nine years. Loni is a life-long member of St. John’s Lutheran Church where she is actively involved in the Young Adults Living Lutheran group and children’s ministries. She lives on the family farm with her husband, Marty, and their two children, Carly and Noah.

The second panel, “Balancing the Demands for Water with the Need to Grow and Raise Food,” will discuss how agriculture uses water and how technology could play an important role. The group will also focus on how everyone – agriculture, business and residential users – can be more water-efficient. This second panel also features Charles Wingard, Loni Rikard and Lisa Turanski, plus:

  •    David Baize, assistant chief, South Carolina Department
       of Health and Environmental Control Bureau of Water

David Baize has been with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for 27 years, where he has worked as a hydrogeologist in a variety of different program areas. Currently, he is an Assistant Bureau Chief in DHEC’s Bureau of Water. For the past 15 years, his work has focused on interstate water issues, water quantity availability and permitting, public drinking water supply protection, and salt-water intrusion in coastal areas of South Carolina. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and a Master of Science degree from Western Kentucky University.

  •     Jason Rodgers, vice president of operations, Titan Farms

Jason Rodgers is the Vice President of Operations for Titan Farms. He oversees management of the farm and productivity of 54 employees for both the vegetable and peach teams. His duties include handling crop rotation, laying of plastic, land fumigation, irrigation, crop protection and fertilization, picking, and packing shed operations. Jason is highly involved in the community, currently serving as the 2015 South Carolina Ambassador for Economic Development for Saluda County through the Department of Commerce. Jason also works alongside Chalmers in serving as an advocate for Farm Bureau with agricultural issues that arise. Jason attended Clemson University where he graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Mechanization and Business with a minor in Business. He has been with Titan Farms since 1995.

  •     Bill Stangler, Congaree Riverkeeper

For the last four years Bill has led Congaree Riverkeeper, a Columbia based non-profit organization that works to protect local rivers. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Geography. In his spare time Bill enjoys canoeing, kayaking, hiking and fishing across our beautiful state.

Do you have questions for these panelists? Submit them and help drive the discussion.

Following is the schedule for Thursday, November 12. Registration is open for in-person attendance and the online live stream.

8:30 a.m. Eastern – Event Registration Begins
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Eastern – Panel 1: A Closer Look at South Carolina’s Water Needs
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Eastern – Lunch
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern – Panel 2: Balancing the Demands for Water with the Need to Grow and Raise Food

Food Dialogues: South Carolina takes place at the Brookland Baptist Banquet and Conference Center, 1066 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia, SC 29169.

The Food Dialogues® signature events are designed to bring together farmers, ranchers, industry experts, scientists, media, and consumers for dynamic panel discussions on some of today’s most pressing topics related to food and food production. Since its launch in 2011, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has hosted more than two dozen panels across the country.

Learn more about Food Dialogues: South Carolina at the event page. Register to attend the event in West Columbia, South Carolina at the registration page. If you cannot attend but would like to watch the event online, enter your contact information at the registration page to receive additional details.