OLAR, S.C. — South Carolina State University is going back to its roots.
"Today, we are on the cutting edge for life changing breakthroughs in agricultural research and technology," said SC State University President James E. Clark.
The institution broke ground Friday morning on nearly 200 acres of farmland in Olar.
"This farm will be a testing site for the latest farming technologies and equipment," said Clark. "Here, we will train our students to the vital work to preserve our environment."
"My first interest is to sustain and grow things," said SC State University Student Christyan Norman. "Industrial hemp made me want to learn more about it because the minority community doesn't really have access to farms."
SC State's president says it's been 50 years since the school last owned and operated a farm. The school was originally founded with agriculture in 1896. The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported funding to acquire the farm. The director for crop research at the sc state says the farm will help advance agriculture innovations and help local farmers increase revenue.
"We're going to be researching industrial hemp, specialty crops, and other vegetables and fruits," explained Director of Crop Research, Dr. Florence Anorou. "The main focus of us this program is not to just train the younger generation, but our community farmers on how to give be diverse in the agriculture sector."
The farm is expected to be up and running near the end of April.