College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

Clemson Extension partnering on program to help farmers grow their business


The Executive Farm Management (EFM) program is a management course to equip farmers and executives with the business skills they need to thrive in the ever-changing field of agriculture. EFM is going virtual to bring those tools to producers this year.

Clemson Cooperative Extension is partnering with N.C. State University, East Carolina University and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service on the Executive Farm Management (EFM) program — a virtual “bootcamp” to be held Feb. 10-12 and designed to teach foundational skills in financial management, strategic planning and human resource management.

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“This is not necessarily for the starting or beginning farmer — although it could certainly be useful for them as well — but this is sort of the next level of learning,” Clemson Extension Farm Business Consultant Scott Mickey said. “It’s more applied learning and covering topics that are needed to keep a farm operation moving forward.”

Participants in the virtual EFM Bootcamp will learn foundational skills in financial management, strategic planning and human resource management — topics such as using key financial ratios to manage effectively and how to lead difficult conversations and navigate challenging family succession issues. This will be taught with a real-world case study within the context of the Business Model Canvas.

Mickey developed the case study that will be used as a model farm for this year’s course.

“This is a 3,500-acre cotton and peanut farm modeled based upon what a panel of South Carolina farmers decides that farm should look like. It is representative of similar operations in the Southeast — from yield to cost of operations and cost of production, et cetera,” Mickey said.

The program has been designed for large, family-owned operations across the Southeast, and the curriculum focuses on the management aspects of the operation which is adaptable for all operations of any size, scale and commodity focus.

“The participants will be working in teams, so they won’t necessarily be talking about their farms and those specific details — it will come up in the discussion — but it allows them to use a model as a reference point in their discussions without needing to divulge those specific details about their own operations,” Clemson Extension Agribusiness Program Team Director Nathan Smith said.

Additionally, the National Peanut Board will provide a $150 tuition grant for up to 100 U.S. peanut farmers who participate in the 2021 EFMP. Farmers can find out more details and sign up for the program at Read more at:

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