Farmers looking to get their start in agribusiness will have access to comprehensive entrepreneurial education and business training through a public service program offered by Clemson University.
The South Carolina New and Beginning Farmer Program is accepting applications for the 2016-2017 statewide program that begins in October. The deadline to apply is Aug. 15.
The program is managed by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service’s Department of Agribusiness under the direction of David Lamie. He told South Carolina Radio Network that the program is offered through thirteen workshops. “We think probably the best way to learn anything is to gain some experience directly doing what you’re trying to learn. We are able to offer a little bit of that through some internship type, apprenticeship program,” Lamie said.
The New and Beginning Farmer program is a public education initiative focused on enabling new farmers to be productive members of their local agricultural communities.
“With the average age of S.C. farmers now up to 59 years, we put our state’s largest industry at risk if we do not invest efforts into encouraging and training the next generation of successful agripreneurs,” Lamie said. “At a time when consumer demand for local, high-quality, nutritious farm products is on the rise, there is tremendous opportunity for rural economic development through a thriving local farm and food system.”
The program will offer two levels of instruction: Level I, “Exploring Farming as a Business,” for emerging farmers with less than 3 years’ experience and Level II, “Taking Your Farm Business to the Next Level,” for those who have been farming 3-9 years.
Any legal resident of South Carolina who is at least 18 years of age and is just beginning to farm or who has actively farmed for less than 10 consecutive years is eligible to apply for the program.
Additional information, including program details, workshop schedule, fee structure, scholarship opportunities and an online application can be found at www.scnewfarmer.org. Both Level I and Level II programming is scheduled to begin in October.