Clemson Public Service Activities (PSA) is part of a national network of 50 major land-grant universities – one in each state – that work in concert with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Clemson PSA is the only state agency with state and federal mandates to conduct research, extension and regulatory programs that support South Carolina’s largest industry – agriculture and forestry, or agribusiness – which contributes $34 billion and 200,000 jobs to the state economy.
Clemson PSA began with the University’s founding in 1889 when the S.C. General Assembly located the agricultural Experiment Station here. One of the nation’s first Cooperative Extension Services was formed at Clemson in 1915 through the influence of Congressman Frank Lever, a Clemson trustee and one of the authors of the federal law that established the national Extension Service.
There are four main units within PSA, each with a federal and state mandate to deliver specific services for South Carolina citizens:
- Experiment Station conducts research to develop relevant, unbiased, science-based information for agriculture, forestry and natural resources.
- Experiment Station scientists have produced more than 100 new varieties of crop plants, as well as 50 patents. Research focuses on animal production, agronomic and horticultural crops, biotechnology, food safety and nutrition, water quality and quantity, and forestry and natural resources. Patents include equipment to harvest crops, and methods to propagate plants in a sterile environment and improve livestock reproduction.
- Clemson Extension transfers science-based information to individuals, small farmers, row crop producers, home horticulture and commercial horticulture growers, livestock producers and land managers.
- Extension agents deliver training programs to more than 169,000 participants in all 46 South Carolina counties per year. Programs include methods to improve livestock production, increase crop yields and reduce the use of pesticides, improve forest management, prevent crop diseases such as Asian Soybean Rust, and reduce water pollution caused by stormwater runoff.
- Livestock-Poultry Health serves as South Carolina’s animal health authority, administers the USDA meat and poultry inspection program, and operates the state veterinary diagnostic center.
- Livestock-Poultry Health veterinarians protect the health of all livestock and poultry in South Carolina, as well as companion animals and human health, by identifying and controlling animal diseases that can affect humans, such as salmonella. They enforce state and federal animal regulations for testing and movement of livestock and poultry, auction markets, sales, and all animal disease control programs in the state.
- Regulatory Services protects the environment and the crop-plant food supply by ensuring the safe and effective use of fertilizers and pesticides, and the quality of seeds and plants grown in the state.
- Regulatory Services personnel certify that plants are disease and pest-free so that they can be sold in South Carolina. Using a “regulation through education” approach, they achieve a high rate of compliance with state and federal regulations that safeguard the state’s agricultural crops and protect citizens and pest control operators from improperly applied pesticides.