Clemson, S.C. Department of Agriculture team up on agribusiness

Clemson Cooperative Extension is teaming up with the S.C. Department of Agriculture on a program geared toward arming budding agribusiness innovators with the business skills they need to succeed.

A partnership between the Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship (ACRE) and Clemson Extension, the new curriculum program is aimed at agribusiness entrepreneurs seeking business and marketing know-how and offers the chance to win $5,000, according to a news release.

Program applications are due Sept. 28. Qualifying applicants must be South Carolina residents and have an agribusiness idea or product prototype. Individuals selected for the curriculum program must attend class sessions on Oct. 23, Nov. 6, Nov. 20 and Dec. 11. During the December session, participants will pitch their business plans to a panel for the opportunity to win the cash prize, the news release said.

The program is for beginning innovators who have an idea for a new product or process but don’t have experience in business. Participants will learn key principles of developing business and marketing plans, as well as understanding market trends and prospective customers, according to the news release.

“This program will give an overview of the business planning process and how to best manage an agricultural business,” Nathan Smith, Clemson Extension economist and Agribusiness Program Team member, said in a news release. “The classes will cover pre-planning, marketing, pricing, cost of production, profitability, financial statements and management.”

All classes will be taught by Clemson’s Agribusiness Program Team and will take place at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center, 900 Clemson Road, Columbia.

The agribusiness curriculum program is the second track offered by the ACRE Entrepreneurship Center, the news release said. The first track was launched in March for agribusiness entrepreneurs ready to take their products or businesses to the marketplace. Five South Carolina entrepreneurs were selected for that program.

“The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is committed to growing the economic impact of the state’s largest industry — agribusiness — to $50 billion by 2020,” Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in the news release. “ACRE is an important initiative as we help entrepreneurs hone their skills and make their mark on South Carolina’s agribusiness landscape. This partnership takes advantage of Clemson Extension’s public outreach programs to bring unbiased, research-based information to our state’s budding agribusiness innovators.”

According to 2013 data, agribusiness, a cluster of 89 sectors that includes agriculture and forestry, collectively accounted for $41.7 billion in economic impact.

For more information on the ACRE Curriculum Program, contact Kyle Player, ACRE Project Coordinator, 803-734-2324 or, or Nathan Smith, Clemson Agribusiness Program Team leader, 803-788-5700 or

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