CLEMSON — Top officials of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the state visited Clemson University Thursday to review its sustainable agriculture program.

The group, including Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chairman of the commission, and Guy Land, its federal chief of staff, came to highlight the role the program helps grow the local food economy and the job creation that goes with it.

The Sustainable Agriculture Program provides education and outreach programs to Cooperative Extension Service personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and other agriculture professionals, farmers and landowners.

The program is managed by stakeholder input through an advisory committee of farmers, agriculture professionals, non-government representatives and others with an interest in sustainable agriculture development.

Several research and outreach activities devoted to sustainable agriculture involve various Clemson colleges, departments and outlying research and education centers:

  • The agroecology program at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center is devoted to sustainable row crop farming methods.
  • The Coastal and Edisto research and education centers conduct research on sustainable vegetable, small grain, cotton, peanut, soybean and livestock production. 
  • The Clemson Student Organic Farm Project on campus is devoted to research and demonstration of organic production methods for high value vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.

In addition to Gohl and Land, the group included Megan Anderson, Appalachian Regional Commission program manager, S.C. Department of Commerce; and Steve Pellissier, executive director, S.C. Appalachian Council of Governments.