CLEMSON — Freedom is earned by those who aren’t afraid to give a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Some Clemson students are giving a little of their own sweat to help repay America’s veterans.

Clemson students in the Agricultural Mechanization and Business program planted, cultivated and harvested corn to sell for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Clemson students in the Agricultural Mechanization and Business program planted, cultivated and harvested corn to sell for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Image Credit: Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

Michael Kule from Aiken, Jamie Lanham from Eastover and Fil Mabry and Joey McCorkle from Columbia are senior agricultural mechanization and business students who are using a class project to raise money for wounded veterans. The students grew a 5-acre plot of corn in The Bottoms on Clemson’s campus and are selling it for deer corn. Proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Veterans are willing to give their lives for us,” Lanham said. “The least we can do is give to those who have fought for us.”

The students grew the crop as a class project.

“We decided to grow corn because we grew up on family farms and we really enjoy farming,” Kule said.

The students coupled experience working on family farms with knowledge they have learned in the classroom to grow the crop.

“In class, we’ve been taught a variety of topics,” McCorkle said. “We’ve learned about things from equipment operation and maintenance to how to use equipment in general.”

The students also incorporated a little business knowledge as well.

“We decided to grow corn because we found corn has a larger market than a crop such as soybean,” Lanham said. “Growing corn also fit our time frame. We were able to plant corn in March while we were still enrolled in school. We were able to spray it good one time, and then our adviser Hunter Massey was able to spray it during the summer when we weren’t on campus. Harvest time fell during the fall semester after we had returned to campus.”

They decided to sell the corn as deer corn because of the large number of deer hunters in the Upstate. The students also saw it as a way to raise money to give to the Wounded Warrior Project. Their marketing plan is simple – word of mouth, and posts on Facebook and Craig’s List.

“People have been so supportive of this project,” Lanham said. “We’ve received donations of money, seed, machine parts and more. We appreciate everyone who has and who will help us make this project successful.”

The students used a tractor from the 1940s, as well as a new tractor to cultivate their corn crop. They also bought a corn picker with some of the money they raised. Donations of parts, seeds and other items were given to help make the project successful.

“We had a lot of help getting this project off the ground,” Lanham said. “We appreciate everyone’s help and generosity.”

For information about how to buy some of this deer corn and help the students support the Wounded Warrior Project, contact Michael Kule at mkule@clemson.edu.

Still running after 70 years. This tractor, bought by Clemson in 1948, was used during some of the corn crop harvest.

This tractor, bought by Clemson in 1948, was used during some of the corn harvest for nostalgic purposes.
Image Credit: Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

“People in the military give so much, every day, for us,” Mabry said. “This is just a small token of our appreciation.”

Although crops have been grown in The Bottoms for years, Kule said this is the first time a project such as this has been done at Clemson University.

“This project started with students and ended with students,” he said. “We are proud to be a part of it.”

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Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for veterans wounded during military actions. Thousands of military men and women have been wounded in action since 2001. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the total number of military men and women wounded as of Oct. 11 was 52,746 in campaigns — Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.