Clemson University has received a $595,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop the next generation of farmers in South Carolina, according to a Clemson news release. The three-year grant will support the university’s S.C. New and Beginning Farmer Program led by Dave Lamie, associate professor and extension agribusiness specialist at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center in Columbia.
According to Clemson, the grant will help fund activities to support the program’s growing alumni base, encourage new participants and reach a broader audience through regional training efforts.
According to its website, the S.C. New and Beginning Farmer Program is “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 soil, water, air, plants, and animals; and successful marketers of the unique products they create.” The program is in its fifth year and has more than 200 graduates.
“The average age of a South Carolina farmer continues to increase, so investing in the next generation of ‘agripreneurs’ is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of our state’s No. 1 industry. We appreciate the continued support from the USDA,” Lamie said in the release. “Our goal is to grow sound business managers, exemplary environmental stewards and innovative marketers who will capitalize on the tremendous demand for local, high-quality, nutritious farm products.”
This is the second USDA grant awarded to the New and Beginning Farmer Program. The first covered the program’s first three years.