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SC SBDC Agribusiness

Argibusiness is the largest economic industry in South Carolina, contributing nearly $42 billion to the state’s economy and over 200,000 jobs. Based on the 2017 USDA Census, South Carolina has 24,791 farms, of which 88% are family or individually owned. In addition to farms, agribusiness includes a variety of affiliated businesses that serve producers including marketers, suppliers, funders, consultants and a host of other services. Small farms are big business in the South Carolina agriculture industry, and in recognizing this sector’s need for specialized assistance, the SC Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) responded by creating a specialized agribusiness program.

If you are seeking help with starting or expanding your agribusiness, contact the SC SBDC. Our Agribusiness Team comprises consultants throughout the state with extensive agribusiness experience and offer the following primary services:

  • Business Planning – Planning is the cornerstone of business consulting from which all agricultural-related business can benefit. SC SBDC consultants help clients develop business plans for funding or operational purposes, marketing plans, succession plans and food safety plans. 
     

  • Financial Management and Funding –Sustaining any business requires funding and good financial management. Consultants work with farmers to identify appropriate funding avenues and assist with accounting and financial management strategies.
     

  • Starting and Expanding a Farm/Food Business – Starting any business comes with a multitude of questions, concerns and excitement. The SC SBDC Agribusiness Team can help you with many aspects of the startup process. The first step is to build your own team—which should include a SBDC consultant, agricultural extension agent and other resource providers. If you are looking to grow your farm or agriculture-related business, our team can recommend expansion strategies aligned with your vision.
     

  • Grant Funding – The agricultural industry has more grant funding opportunities than any other industry in the country, yet there is confusion around where and how to access these grants. The specialists on our Agribusiness Team have proven expertise in this area and can help you assess your eligibility as well as determine if the time commitment demanded by a grand is right for your business.
     

  • Connection with Resources – Whether you are just starting out or have been farming for decades, the SC SBDC Agribusiness Team can save you time and frustration. If you have questions or problems, we likely can connect you to a resource with answers. South Carolina agricultural resource providers work as a team; and we can easily connect you to the person who has the appropriate expertise.
     

The SBDC Agribusiness Team is here to support you with no-cost, confidential consulting and connections to valuable resources

The SC SBDC Agribusiness Team collaborates with the following partners equally dedicated to serving the agricultural community:
 

South Caroline Department of Agriculture

SCDA Agricultural Center for Research and Entrepreneurship (ACRE)

Clemson Extension

Clemson Extension Agribusiness

Clemson Extension Food 2 Market

1890 Extension

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

USDA Rural Development

USDA Farm Service Agency

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services

South Carolina Forestry Commission

Rural Resource Coalition

SC Center for Cooperative and Enterprise Development

Midlands Local Food Collaborative

South Carolina Specialty Crop Growers Association

South Carolina Food Hub Network

South Carolina Hemp Growers Association

 

The SBDC Agribusiness Team 
 

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Jim Johnson – Team Lead with experience in agribusiness and food systems consulting. Specializes in funding, grants and direct-to-consumer marketing. He is Chairman of both the Midlands Local Food Collaborative and the Ace Basin Growers.

 

Brian Wheat – Lowcountry Agribusiness Specialist and active farmer. His is a Sustainable Agriculture instructor at Trident Technical College and past director of the new farmers program.

 

 

 

 

Sloane Steedley – Agribusiness Specialist with three years’ consulting experience. She has expertise in direct-to-consumer operations and a background in farmers’ market and food hub management.

 

Ben Calhoun – Upstate business consultant and Agribusiness Specialist serving rural communities and farms. His areas of expertise include financial management and funding.

 

Scott Mace – Pee Dee Area business consultant with consumer product packaging, marketing and food hub management experience. Manages wildlife and timber for his family farm.

 

Barbara Miller –Midlands business consultant who focuses on funding and rural communities. She is a graduate of the Clemson Extension Master Gardener program, has experience managing a community farmers’ market and owned/operated a B&B for 16 years.