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 provides participants with the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs through the following program objectives:

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. Facilitate and encourage peer learning, networking, and support.

Program Format

The SCNBF Program consists of full-day cohort core workshops coupled with advanced workshops held throughout the state.  Core workshops include topics such as 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.  Advanced workshops offer critical opportunities for local peer and resource networking and provide opportunities for a deeper dive into relevant topics for the emerging farmer audience.  The program usually runs 7 months, with classes scheduled once every two to three weeks.

Program Management

The SCNBF Program is administered by the Clemson University Extension Agribusiness, with Ben Boyles serving as program director and Diana Vossbrinck serving as assistant program director.

Why Participate?

  • 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 History

Founded by Dr. R. Dave Lamie, the South Carolina New and Beginning Farmer Program (SCNBFP) began its inaugural class in 2011 with the support of a three-year USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant, graduating classes in 2011, 2012, and 2013. A partial program funded through participant fees graduated a class in 2016. The program received another BFRDP grant in 2016 to run three more cohorts between 2017 and 2019. The 2020-2021 programs were supported by a USDA-Rural Development RDBG grant.  The 2022 - 2024 programs are supported by a three-year USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant.

Program Statistics

  • The program has successfully graduated over 400 individuals since 2011 with a 92% average graduation rate.
  • The program has conducted regional workshop out-reach that has presented 76 workshops to over 1700 attendees over the past three years.
  • The SCNBFP has created a strong network of collaboration that allows them to coordinate with other agencies, businesses, and organizations to provide the support and resources needed by the participants.