Small Farms Programs

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture's Small Farms Program was the first of its kind in the country. The program provides assistance to small family farmers with an emphasis on dissemination of information, referrals, and counseling on issues such as: land retention, alternative land use, and community development. The focus of the Small Farms Program is to assist small farmers in understanding the challenges associated with retail marketing and in helping them to find solutions to their specific problems. The SCDA works with several governmental agencies and non profit partners to provide training materials to small farmers and market managers to help them develop and or improve their marketing skills.    

The National Commission on Small Farms defined small farms as farms with sales less than $250,000 annually. The Commission wanted to include more farm families of relatively modest means who may need to improve their net farm incomes. According to the 2002 Agricultural Census, 96% of all farms in South Carolina are small farmers.

Community-Based Farmers Markets
South Carolina is blessed to have 100 Community-Based Farmers Markets.

Farmers Market Nutrition Programs
The Farmers Market Nutrition Programs are designed to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to women, infants, and children and to senior citizens while expanding the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers markets.

EBT Farmers Market Project
The SCDA partners with several other governmental agencies and non-profit organizations to implement the EBT program at the farmers markets in South Carolina.

SC Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crops Programs
Specialty crops are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture). The SC Department of Agriculture works with growers to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops through research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, the Certified SC program, increased demand, and other methods to improve the profit margin for growers. Improving the bottom line for growers improves the well-being of their communities.

Marketing Organic Crops
The SCDA provides information resources to farmers interested in marketing their organic crops.

To find a Certified Organic Operation in South Carolina, click on the following and search by state and product.
South Carolina Certified Organic Operations

To become a Certified Organic Operation, visit
Clemson University Department of Plant Industry.

Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals – environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture supports the principles of sustainable agriculture because it is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The mission of this Department and the principles of sustainable agriculture have some similarities, both seek to nurture the agricultural economy.   
 
Society of Saint Andrew
The Society of Saint Andrew is asking South Carolina farmers for permission to glean their fields after they have decided that it is uneconomical to continue harvesting the fruits, vegetables and potatoes, etc.