Palmetto Leadership for the Environment, Agriculture and Forestry

South Carolina's Palmetto Leadership Program for the Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (PLEAF) is a two-year intensive academic, experiential learning and networking curriculum designed to facilitate personal and professional growth and success, while sharpening character and leadership skills for each participant. PLEAF is housed and directed by Clemson University's College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS), Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and the Public Service and Agriculture Division in conjunction with key program related cooperating partners.

PLEAF candidates are the brightest and best of South Carolina's current and future leaders engaged in the industries of agriculture, forestry and all aspects of stewarding of our state's natural resources and environment.

Participants in this leadership program can expect to:

  • Gain insight from highly respected and distinguished professionals/leaders.
  • Network with successful private and public sector influencers and difference-makers in related industries and organizations from across the state.
  • Receive exposure to related industries in neighboring states.
  • Discover, integrate and apply principle-based leadership skills and strategies to achieve work/life balance and success.
  • Practice being a leader by completing a self-selected practicum project designed to make a difference in their sphere of influence.

Upon completion of the Palmetto LEAF program, graduates will have a comprehensive set of tools, experiences and contacts which will allow them to lead in their community, county, state, nation and within their industry.

Participants will be chosen based on their leadership potential, career stage and characteristics such as communication skills, integrity, growth potential and analytical skills. The recruitment phase for Class 3 will begin in the Spring of 2023. Applicants for Class 3 must be at least 28 years old by January 15, 2024.

Palmetto LEAF program, logo

“Agribusiness is thriving in South Carolina. With an annual impact of $42 billion and providing over 212,000 jobs, it’s a vital part of the state economy and has a very promising outlook.”
Hugh Weathers
South Carolina Commissioner for Agriculture

"From the very beginning, Clemson University has been a leader in educational innovation, in research that drives economic growth, and in outreach to the communities we serve. We are strong, outside and on the move! And our future looks great!"
Jim Clements
President Clemson University