South Carolinians looking to launch or grow a farm business have access to comprehensive entrepreneurial education and business training thanks in part to a $600,000 federal grant.
The grant was awarded in 2022 from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and supports Clemson University’s South Carolina New and Beginning Farmer Program (SCNBFP) through 2024.
SCNBFP is a Clemson Extension Agribusiness public education program focused on enabling new and beginning farmers to be successful, productive and innovative members of their local agricultural community by providing them with the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs, sound business managers, exemplary stewards of the natural environment and successful marketers of the unique products they create.
“One in four South Carolina producers are considered new and beginning farmers with less than 10 years of experience,” SCNBFP Director and Clemson Extension Agribusiness Agent Ben Boyles said. “These emerging farmers need targeted training and technical assistance to make sure they have the skills necessary to sustain and grow their new farm businesses. Our program helps participants accelerate the development of their farm business so they can accomplish their goals faster while helping to improve access to healthy, locally produced food for South Carolina consumers.”
Registration for the 2023 cohort program is now open to any legal resident of South Carolina, at least 18 years of age, who is just beginning to farm or who has actively farmed for less than 10 consecutive years.
As many as 50 applicants will be accepted for the 2023 cohort program. Additional information, including program outline, workshop schedule, fee structure and an online application can be found at www.scnewfarmer.org. The deadline to apply is February 20, 2023.
Entering its 13th year, this is the third time the SCNBFP has operated under a significant USDA-NIFA grant. To date, the SCNBFP has graduated over 450 new and aspiring farmers from the cohort program and has reached many more through additional training programs.
The SCNBFP continues to extend its reach through strategic collaborations with additional agricultural support organizations such as South Carolina State University 1890 Research & Extension, the Farmer Veteran Coalition of South Carolina, SC Agricultural Council, Annie’s Project and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
The SCNBFP Class of 2023 cohort program will run from May to December 2023 and include a series of ten core agribusiness workshops focused on farm business management. Topics include business concept/plan development, financial and risk management, legal and regulatory issues, marketing strategies, soil health and pest management and an introduction to federal, state and local agriculture resources.
While open to any qualified farmer applicant, the SCNBFP typically serves small, family farms with a focus on environmental stewardship and local food systems.
Core cohort programming will be complemented by advanced workshops developed by Clemson Extension staff throughout the state. These workshops will offer important opportunities for peer and resource networking, as well as provide additional instruction on advanced agribusiness and production topics.
All advanced workshops will run from September through November 2023 and are open to members of the cohort program as well as the general public. A calendar of advanced programming workshops is posted on the SCNBFP website.
For the first time, the SCNBFP will be offering a hybrid program, with half of the scheduled training events hosted in-person, and the other half offered online.
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