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Clemson offers new farmer classes

Would-be farmers in Colleton County can now reach toward their future agriculture business through a new public training program.
Being offered by Clemson University, the new outreach program is called The South Carolina New and Beginning Farmer Program (SCNBFP.) It equips new farmers and those early in their farming careers with skills, tools and knowledge to be successful in their genre. “The public education program focuses on enabling new and beginning farmers to be successful, productive, and innovative members of their local agriculture community by providing them with the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs, sound business managers, exemplary stewards of the natural environment and successful marketers of the unique product they create,” Diana M. Vossbrinck, assistant program director to the program, said in a written statement about the new program.
“Most importantly, the SCNBFP seeks to develop individuals who have a sense of pride, and enjoy a quality of life as a result of their investment and participation in the industry of South Carolina agriculture,” she said.
The statewide program will reach out to new and beginning farmers to help them grow their business. In the Lowcountry, Colleton County’s new-beginner farmer program is being overseen by Alta Mae Marvin, the Lowcountry-area contact person for Colleton County’s Clemson Extension. Overall, the state program will be under the direction of Dr. R. David Lamie with Clemson Extension’s Department of Agribusiness.
While the program is entering its fifth year statewide, it is still gaining traction in Colleton County. More than 200 farmers in South Carolina have already participated in the program since its inception.
There are two levels to the program that are now being offered: Level 1 is called Exploring Farming as a Business and Level 2 is for more advanced farmers, and is called Taking Your Farm Business to the Next Level.
Specifically, Level 2 is for farmers with three to nine years of experience, according to the Clemson University’s program.
The deadline to apply for the program is August. 15th. Any South Carolina resident who is 18 years old or older and who has farmed for fewer than 10 consecutive months can apply to the program. All of the program’s six core classes will be held in Columbia. These core classes focus on risk management, business development, an introduction to all agriculture resources and legal issues related to farming.
In addition to the core classes, workshops will also be held at regional locations throughout the state. “These workshops will offer important opportunities for local peer and resource networking, as well as provide additional instruction on production topics tailored for each region,” said Vossbrinck, in the press release.
For more information, or to apply to the program, go to www.scnewfarmer.org or call Marvin at Colleton County’s Clemson Extension Office at 843-549-843-549-2595, Ext. 126

Heather Walters (881 Posts)