Clemson University wants to help those who are just beginning their careers in agriculture.
The Clemson Cooperative Extension’s New and Beginning Farmer program helps instructs participants in the business end of farming. The comprehensive agribusiness training program is available to people who have been farming for less than ten years.
“To help provide emerging farmers with the knowledge, tools and resources that they need to operate a successful farm business,” the program’s Assistant Director Diana Vossbrinck said. “We don’t teach our participants how to farm. We’re not teaching them how to raise cattle or grow vegetables. We’re teaching them how to be successful entrepreneurs.”
The part-time study program meets every other week for seven months. Vossbrinck said bout 300 people have passed through the program in its first six years. Clemson is also working on developing an alumni network.
“All the basic things that really any entrepreneur would need to know to operate a business but we present that within the context of agriculture,” she said.
Students learn risk management, legal issues, financial management, navigating regulatory issues, developing comprehensive business planes, connections to available state, federal and local resources, marketing, direct sales, branding and agritourism.
“With the average age of South Carolina farmers now up to 59 years (old), 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,” agribusiness professor R. David Lamie, who manages the program, 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.”
Applications will be accepted through July 15. Click here to apply or for more information.