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 S.C. Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) responded by creating a specialized agribusiness program.

Contact us if you are seeking help with starting or expanding. Our Agribusiness Team comprises consultants throughout the state with extensive agribusiness experience and offer farms 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 a Farm – Starting any business comes with a multitude of questions, concerns and excitement.  The SC SBDC agribusiness team helps with many aspects of the startup.  The first step is to build your own team which includes a SBDC consultant, agricultural extension agent and many other resource providers.  Our team has helped many farms startup across the state, and   this experience is available to you, too.


  • 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 grant opportunities.  In many cases, your business may not be eligible for a grant, or the time commitment demanded for the grant is not worth pursuing.  The SC SBDC Agribusiness Team can help you determine eligibility and if a grant is right for your business.  We have specialists on our team who have a thorough knowledge of grants available today. 


  • 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 headache.  If you have questions or problems, we likely have the proper resources to connect you 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.  We also work with a host of partners equally dedicated to serving the agricultural community.

SC SBDC Collaborators Include:

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 

Jim Johnson – Team Lead with six years’ experience in agribusiness and food systems consulting.  Focuses on funding, grants and direct-to-consumer marketing. He is Chairman of the Midlands Local Food Collaborative as well as Chairman of Ace Basin Growers.

Brian Wheat – Agribusiness specialist in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  Serves as Sustainable Agriculture Instructor at Trident Technical College, is the past director of the new farmers program and is himself a farmer.

Sloane Steedley – Agribusiness Specialist with three years’ experience in consulting.  Direct-to-consumer specialist with background in farmers market and food hub management.

Ben Calhoun – Upstate business consultant serving rural communities and farms.  He focuses on financial management and funding.

Scott Mace – Pee Dee business consultant with an agricultural background and experience in food hub management.

Barbara Miller – Midlands business consultant with a focus on funding and rural communities.

Agribusiness Consultants


Jim Johnson – Team Lead 

Brian Wheat – 

Sloane Steedley – 

Ben Calhoun – 

Scott Mace – 

Barbara Miller – 

Other Information: