Keeping Farmers in the Green

With a $70 million award from the United States Department of Agriculture, Clemson and South Carolina State University will be working with South Carolina farmers to fund climate-smart production practices.

The two institutions will join Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, which will provide incentives to farmers, enabling them to implement selected climate-smart production practices. Climate-smart agriculture is an integrated approach that addresses the challenges of food security and climate change by achieving increased productivity, enhanced resilience and reduced emissions.

Clemson and South Carolina State, the state’s two land-grant institutions, have established strategic partnerships with 27 entities. The project, to be known as “Climate-Smart Grown in S.C.,” will focus on agricultural production sectors, including vegetables, peanuts, beef cattle and forest products, with meaningful involvement of small and underserved producers.

In celebrating the gift announcement, House Majority Whip and South Carolina Congressman Rep. James E. Clyburn recalled his late wife Emily’s childhood on a Berkeley County farm.

“I know what small farming families can mean going forward. This is the kind of program that will assist them in making a living,” Clyburn said, adding that more than 80 percent of his class at South Carolina State left the state to pursue career opportunities.

“They didn’t leave on adventures,” he said. “They left looking for opportunity. We, with this program, can do a lot to reverse that trend so these families can find a future here.”

Rep. Clyburn added that his work and efforts to bring these dollars to South Carolina are focused on making opportunity accessible and affordable for all.

“We’re appreciative of the USDA’s investment into this project, which will both help farmers across the state of South Carolina and measure the benefits associated with climate-smart practices,” said Paula Agudelo, the project lead and associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

“This effort will increase the competitive advantage of U.S. agriculture both domestically and internationally, build wealth that stays in rural communities and support a diverse range of producers and operation types,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. 

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