COLUMBIA — Clemson Cooperative Extension is partnering with a statewide initiative that aims to offer farmers the tools they need to be nationally competitive and take their operations to the next level in terms of profitability.

Clemson agribusiness expert addresses crowd at outlook conference.

The program introduces business planning processes and management skills for starting a successful agribusiness
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

By hosting agribusiness workshops, running grant competitions for entrepreneurs, teaching new and beginning farmers the business skills they need to prosper, funding research and supporting farmland transfer, the Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship (ACRE) works to inspire entrepreneurship and strengthen South Carolina agriculture from the bottom up.

ACRE is now accepting applications for the third annual curriculum program for agribusiness innovators.

“The ACRE curriculum program introduces business planning processes and management skills for starting a successful agribusiness,” Clemson Extension Economist and Agribusiness Program Team Leader Nathan Smith said.

The six-session program offers an overview of business planning and management, including pre-planning, marketing, pricing, cost of production, profitability and financial statements. Participants will also pitch their business plans to an agribusiness panel for the opportunity to be awarded $5,000 ($25,000 total in awards).

“Over the past three years, our ACRE program has helped dozens of entrepreneurs take their agribusinesses to the next level, boosting innovation and diversity in South Carolina agribusiness,” Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said.

Clemson Extension Associate and lead instructor Steve Richards added: “The program has been refined for online instruction and help with writing a business plan. Participants are also introduced to ACRE and Clemson Extension Agribusiness resources that can be utilized after graduation.”

Program applications are due Sept. 28 and can be found at acre-sc.com. Qualifying applicants must be South Carolina residents and have an agribusiness idea or product prototype. Individuals selected for the curriculum program must attend virtual class sessions on Oct. 6, Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 and the virtual pitch day on Dec. 8. All classes will be taught by Clemson’s Agribusiness Program Team.

The agribusiness curriculum program is the second track offered by the ACRE Entrepreneurship Center. The first track, for established agribusiness entrepreneurs, was completed in June, with seven South Carolina entrepreneurs selected for funding and business development. For more information, contact Kyle Player, ACRE Executive Director, 803-734-2324 or kplayer@scda.sc.gov, or Nathan Smith, 803-788-5700 or nathan5@clemson.edu.