FLORENCE – Demand for organic produce is increasing in the United States and South Carolina growers have an opportunity to learn how they can reap the benefits of the organic market.

Growing organic vegetables is gaining popularity in South Carolina.

Growing organic vegetables is gaining popularity in South Carolina and Clemson Cooperative Extension Service is holding an Organic Certification Workshop to teach growers how they can reap benefits of the organic market.
Image Credit: Clemson University

The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service will hold an Organic Certification Workshop from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 6 at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center, 2200 Pocket Road, Florence.

Marzieh Motallebi, assistant professor of forestry and environmental conservation at the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science and one of the workshop organizers, said participants will learn about different organic certification programs offered by the Extension Service and the United States Department of Agriculture. Stephen Nix, Clemson Organic Certification Program coordinator, will address certification topics. There is no charge for this workshop.

“We are very excited to be able to hold this workshop for South Carolina growers,” said Motallebi, who also will present during this workshop. “Stephen has extensive knowledge of the organic certification process and what growers need to do so that their operations can become a certified organic operation.”

Topics covered during the workshop include:

  • What it means to be certified USDA organic;
  • An overview of certified organic operations in South Carolina;
  • Clemson University’s Organic Certification Program including the process, application requirements and fees;
  • General compliance requirements for certified organic operations; and
  • Common challenges for certified operations.

Participants also will learn about a study, funded by the South Carolina Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), about South Carolina consumers’ perceptions of organic agricultural products.

“This study focuses on the demand for organic agricultural products in South Carolina,” Motallebi said. “An online survey was conducted in several counties to gauge residents’ perception of and their willingness to pay for different categories of local organic agricultural products in South Carolina. We will share results of this survey during the workshop.”

Other workshop presenters will be English Ratliff, a doctoral student in the Clemson agricultural sciences department and Michael Vassalos, an assistant professor of agribusiness.

To register, contact Jennifer Boyles, Clemson Extension agribusiness agent and Annie’s Project state coordinator at 843-616-0786 or jbyls@clemson.edu