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About

The goal of the South Carolina New and Beginning Farmer Program is to help new and beginning farmers be successful, productive and innovative members of their agricultural communities. The program will provide them with the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs.

Program Objectives

  1. Teach fundamentals of farm business management, and provide exposure to more advanced topics.
  2. Increase participant awareness and familiarity with local, state and federal resources.
  3. Help beginning farmers to better understand their personal and professional goals,values, and motivations, to better “Know Thyself”.  
  4. Encourage the development of thoughtful business plans, including selection of legal structure, development of land acquisition strategies, and multiple marketing strategies. 
  5. Provide experiential learning through real-world application. 
  6. Provide contact with willing and able mentors.
  7. Facilitate and encourage peer learning, networking, and support. 
  8. Provide immersion experiences for some participants through on-farm internships.

Program Management

The SCNBF Program is administered by the Clemson University Extension, Department of Agribusiness, with Dr. Dave Lamie serving as program director. 

Who May Apply?

Any legal resident of South Carolina, 18+ years of age, who is just beginning farming or who has actively farmed for less than 10 consecutive years is eligible to apply for the SCNBFP.  The class is limited to 80 participants who will be selected by senior program staff.  Two individuals from the same farm enterprise may apply jointly, but will only count as one towards the program limit.

Why Apply?

  • Learn best agri-business practices and develop a business plan
  • Network with peer farmers in your own area as well as throughout the state
  • Engage with state and federal government agencies in order to better leverage public resources and increase participation in their programs
  • Learn more about yourself and your business goals

Program Format

The SC New & Beginning Farmer Program will offer two levels of instruction:  Level I, Exploring Farming as a Business for emerging farmers with less than three years of experience, and Level II, Taking Your Farm Business to the Next Level for those who have been farming 3-9 years. 

The Level I core agribusiness program will be offered from October, 2017 through February, 2018 and is appropriate for those with 0-2 years farming experience.  The core program includes six (6) farm business development workshops and one (1) soil health management workshop, centrally located in Columbia, SC.  Level I participants will also be invited to the annual Resource Rodeo, all regional trainings, two alumni events, three farm tours, as well as program graduation.  Space for the Level I program is limited to fifty (50) participants.

The intermediate, Level II program runs from October, 2017 through May, 2018.  The Level II core agribusiness program is well suited for those with 3-9 years of farming experience and includes ten (10) farm business development workshops, and one (1) soil health management workshop in Columbia, SC.  Six of the agribusiness workshops will be a shared opportunity with Level I participants; the remaining four will address advanced topics, for Level II participants only.  Level II participants will also have opportunity to participate in the annual Resource Rodeo, all regional trainings, two alumni events, three farm tours, as well as program graduation.  Space for the Level II program is limited to thirty (30) participants.

Core agribusiness workshops will be held centrally in Columbia, SC at Clemson’s Sandhill REC facility and are focused on farm business management.  Level appropriate topics include business concept/plan development; financial and risk management; legal & regulatory issues; marketing strategies; personal assessment; and an introduction to federal, state, and local agriculture resources.

All core agribusiness, Columbia-based workshops will be held on Thursdays and will be full-day events, scheduled from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm.

Additional Program Activities

Core programming will be complemented by regional workshops to be held throughout five (5) regions of the state: Upstate, Catawba, Midlands, PeeDee, and Lowcountry.  These workshops will offer critical opportunities for local peer and resource networking, as well as provide additional instruction on production topics tailored for each region and managed by regional partners.  Regional programs run from November, 2017 through May, 2018, and there are no additional workshop fees for participants to attend these regional workshops. 

Three guided farm tours, planned for the late spring/early summer of 2018, are also included in the program.  Participants will enjoy farm tours on a private bus, professionally planned by program partners.    

Select program participants in need of intensive production training will have an opportunity to engage in experiential learning opportunities through paid, on-farm internships, scheduled for May-July of 2018.  (Details will be announced at a later date.)

Finally, all participants will have the opportunity to develop a peer network through the SCNBFP Alumni Association.  The program will include two Alumni events, and a one-year membership to the Alumni Association.

Refer to the SCNBFP Program Outline for contingencies and complete details, including program cost.