Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension Service is part of a national system under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Based at land-grant universities in every state, the Extension Service takes information generated by university scientists and applies it to improve the quality of life for individuals, groups and communities.
Clemson Extension personnel are in all 46 South Carolina counties and at five Research and Education Centers strategically located in the state’s distinct soil and climate regions. Programs focus on supporting the state’s largest industry sector – agriculture and forestry, or agribusiness – which contributes $41.7 billion and 200,000 jobs to South Carolina’s economy.
4-H Youth Development
Agents serve youth ages 5-19. Programs include animal agriculture and veterinary science, natural resources and the environment, and leadership and citizenship. Agriculture programs teach production techniques for both plants and livestock. Natural resources programs teach good stewardship practices for the state’s forests, lakes, streams and wildlife habitats.
Agribusiness agents provide expertise in farm risk management, marketing, ag policy, local food systems development, and small business planning and agritourism. Agents engage with individuals and groups including commercial growers, beginning and small farmers, agribusinesses, lenders, and ag professionals on improving profitability and sustainability. The Agribusiness team collaborates with other program teams in delivering education programs, information and tools for decision-making such as enterprise budgets, farm analysis, market outlook, farmers market and agritourism development, new and beginning farmer program, and Women in Ag Network.
Agents provide expertise to commercial growers on variety selection and recommendations to maximize crop yields and quality while minimizing environmental impacts. Precision farming technologies target the application of fertilizers, pesticides and water to the specific areas where they are needed. Major crop programs include cotton, soybeans and peanuts, as well as switchgrass to produce renewable fuel.
Food Safety and Nutrition
Agents conduct training programs in safe food handling for individuals, restaurants and commercial food processors to prevent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. Other programs focus on preventing obesity and chronic diseases related to nutrition, as well as dietary considerations and budget management for limited resource families.
Forestry and Natural Resources
Agents train commercial landowners and individuals in sustainable forestry practices and wildlife habitat improvement. Coastal forestry management programs are conducted in partnership with Clemson’s Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, which has research and demonstration programs on 80,000 acres of public and private lands.
Agents work with commercial growers for fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and turfgrass, as well as landscaping professionals, to increase yields and reduce environmental impacts. The Home and Garden Information Center website delivers fact sheets for home gardening and food safety, with horticulture specialists available to answer individual questions.
Livestock and Forages
Agents provide expertise in commercial production of beef and dairy cattle, horses, sheep and goats, poultry and swine. Production techniques include manure management to protect water quality. Other programs help producers establish and effectively manage grazing crops such as bermudagrass, alfalfa and tall fescue.
Agents work with municipal officials, contractors, youth and communities to protect South Carolina’s water resources. Professional programs address stormwater control practices, rainwater harvesting and pond management. Consumer programs provide tools and information on how individuals can minimize impacts to water quality and quantity.