Palmetto LEAF

South Carolina's Palmetto Leadership Program for the Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (LEAF) 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. LEAF is housed and directed by Clemson University's College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS) and Public Service and Agriculture Division in conjunction with key program related cooperating partners.

LEAF 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 insights 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. Applicants must be at least 28 years old by January 15, 2022.

Applications for Class II (January 2022-December 2024) will be available Summer 2021.

"From the very beginning, CLEMSON university has been a leader in educational innovation, in research that drives economic growth, and in out reach to the communities we serve. We are strong, outside and on the move! And our future looks great!"

- Jim Clements, President Clemson University

Palmetto LEAF program, logo

“To reach the goal of 50 billion impacted by 2020 a concerted and strategic effort bag of business leaders, from farmers both large and small to CEOs of multi million dollar firms, will be needed. The 50 x 20 concept provide strategic framework to move the agribusiness industry forward and achieve great things for the future. … The purpose of the 50 x 20 effort is to let South Carolinians know that the younger business industry is focused on the future, not the past.”
Hugh Weathers
South Carolina Commissioner for Agriculture