2023 Model State Program - Clemson University

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $22,000.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Clemson University
Region: Southern
State: South Carolina
State Coordinator:
Dr. Matt Smith
Clemson Pee Dee Research & Education Center


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The overall objectives of the 2023-2024 SC SARE Program will be to continue the existing strategic and collaborative planning process for statewide sustainable agriculture development; provide professional development opportunities for Extension agents, NRCS field staff and other agriculture professionals; reward outstanding service; and to continue to organize and support in-service training in sustainable agriculture practices. The MSP Assistants will work with the state SARE coordinators and program advisory committee to organize training activities for 1890 and 1862 Extension and other agriculture professionals that will address critical needs identified by program stakeholders. The program is guided by stakeholder input through an advisory committee consisting of farmers, agriculture professionals, NGO representatives and others with an interest in sustainable agriculture development. Our mission/strategic plan is to foster the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices statewide through education and outreach programs on relevant topics for Cooperative Extension Service personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and other agriculture professionals, farmers, and landowners. The overall program mission/plan will not change however, training topics have been revised based on current needs identified by our program stakeholders. The program advisory committee met on January 12, 2023, and identified priority topics for 2023-2024 training programs. The MSP Assistant positions will continue to facilitate program reporting and evaluation and will assist with project accounting and budgeting. A separate budget for Clemson and South Carolina State University has been developed. Both institutions will manage their awarded funds independently. 

Project objectives from proposal:

Objectives for 2023

• Continue the existing strategic planning process for statewide sustainable agriculture development. Building on new and existing collaborations with stakeholder groups, the state co-coordinators will work with the MSP Assistant and with the SC SARE Advisory Committee to broaden the pool of stakeholders including under-represented groups who are involved with the planning process and the development of educational programs. As in previous years, an annual Open Forum will be organized in January (in-person only, January 12, 2023 at the Clemson Sandhills Research and Education Center in Columbia, SC) to identify priorities and to plan educational programs based on stakeholder needs. In 2023 the SC SARE Program will partner with the SC Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program to host a joint Open Forum. This is an attempt to rectify the low level of participation encountered last year and foster collaboration between the two programs. We will continue to collaborate on training programs with stakeholder organizations and with SARE PDP personnel from neighboring states when appropriate. The comprehensive and inclusive planning process will limit duplication of effort and will help to leverage available resources.

• Continue to provide professional development opportunities for Extension agents, NRCS, FSA and state Department of Agriculture staff and other sustainable agriculture educators. The outcomes of this objective are that our agriculture professionals will enhance their knowledge and competency in sustainable agriculture, they will increase their contact with the sustainable agriculture community, and they will be recognized as local experts to be called upon for information on sustainable agriculture. Travel scholarships will be provided for select Extension agents and agricultural professionals to attend the 2023 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) Sustainable Agriculture Conference (November) and other sustainable agriculture educational events as funds are available. These events represent valuable educational opportunities for our agents and other agriculture professionals and facilitate interactions between agriculture professionals and farmers. This objective is a repeat from 2022 because conferences in 2023 will offer new information and opportunities for ag. professionals. 

• Continue to sponsor the “Outstanding Sustainable Agriculture Extension Agent of the Year” award to recognize SC cooperative extension personnel for excellence in sustainable agriculture outreach. A call for nominations will be released in summer of each year open to 1890 and 1862 personnel. The award recipient will receive a travel scholarship to attend a sustainable agriculture event and a plaque recognizing their service to the sustainable agriculture community. The award will continue to encourage the development of innovative public outreach programs by our Extension agents. This objective will continue for 2023 pending the creation of a new award search committee. 

• The SC SARE PDP Program will continue to organize and conduct in-service training opportunities for Extension agents, NRCS, FSA and state Department of Agriculture personnel, agricultural educators, and for other interested persons as space permits. Workshop topics will be determined annually by the Advisory Committee during the annual Open Forum each January and/or digital polls as needed. The MSP Assistant, in consultation with the coordinators and the SC CFSA representative, will have overall responsibility for workshop organization, publicity and evaluation. This on-going objective is a repeat from 2022 because new trainings are needed/requested annually and as new information is published. 

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.