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Conference Name AgBizBuilder.com: Training for the New and Beginning Farmer

Devin Swindall and Will Culler


Clemson University’s Institute for Economic and Community Development along with BizBuilderSC provide an educational network of programs targeted toward entrepreneurial development in South Carolina. New entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a food operation and small farmers have been targeted through these public-private partnerships. The objective of this exciting program is to train the entrepreneur how to use business planning to reduce risk and increase probability for success.

While class enrollment is open to any aspiring food and farming entrepreneur, over 50% of past participants have been women. The class exposes these women to many areas in the agricultural environment that they may have not been exposed to otherwise. The ten session course focuses on areas such as legal structure, research, marketing, budgeting, and cash flow. While the business training proves to be critical for the success of the young businesses, class reviews indicate that the networking could be the most beneficial outcome. The facilitators at the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development use their professional contacts to bring in an appropriate guest speaker for each session. As a result, the women participating in the course are not only exposed to networking with the other 15 to 20 farmers in their class, but are also encouraged to develop relationships with attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, representatives from the USDA and extension, and other professionals who specialize in agriculture.