ORANGEBURG, S.C. — South Carolina State University's 1890 Research & Extension Program received a $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and veterans across the state in starting their own agriculture businesses.
"We think we will have 40 farmers who will have a business to sell products," said Dr. Joshua Idassi, SC State 1890's State Program Leader.
1890 will partner with three South Carolina agribusinesses: Morning Glory Homestead Farms, National Veterans Agriculture Association, and Help for Landowners to train and educate farmers in various areas such as alternative crops, livestock, and natural resources in a three-year technical program.
Dr. Lamin Drammeh, director of strategic initiatives, says they are targeting small-scale and limited resource farmers who have 5 to 150 acres of land with livestock.
"The governor, as well as the Commissioner of Agriculture, are looking at making agriculture the king of the south," said Dr. Drammeh. "For us, that's the biggest employer of the state. Those are the reasons why we selected those groups. Due to the limitations of the funding, you can start low, and once you start growing, you can find other means to grow those programs to bigger heights."
The program is set to begin on October 1st. Farmers in the program will receive information on entrepreneurship education, niche market development, and land acquisition arrangements amongst other training resources.
"At the end of the three years, they will have a certificate to prove they accomplished something so that they can start their own farm businesses," explained Dr. Idassi.