No matter how you cut it, South Carolina is a farming state through and through. Over the 2010s, the industry showed a 25 percent growth rate
, according to the SC Department of Commerce. This is exactly why a lot of big names are collaborating with the state government to revitalize its agricultural industry. Supporting over 240,000 jobs and generating yearly income in excess of $46 billion, to say that farming is the state’s core strength is putting it lightly. Charleston itself sits in a highly fertile area, where farms can produce enough to deliver to three cities twice a week
. With the right tools and know-how, farming can be an extremely profitable business for anyone living in the Charleston area and its surroundings. You’d also be contributing to the entire state’s economic recovery to boot.
Breathing new life into South Carolina farms
Investors are lining up to reinvigorate farming in South Carolina, from farming megacorporations to the state agribusiness research center. Prestage Farms of South Carolina LLC is one such investor. The company recently announced plans for a $150 million processing plant in Kershaw County. The facility is expected to generate over 290 new jobs in the area, and is slated to be fully operational by the end of 2022.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, on the other hand, is still handing out sizable grants to agri-entrepreneurs across the state through their Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship Program. This is the ACRE program’s fourth year of awarding funds to businesses who can pitch them a solid business plan that have the potential to benefit SC’s agricultural infrastructure as a whole. Meanwhile, Governor McMaster is working with SC leaders to ensure that the $8.8 million aid provided by the American Rescue Plan Act can strengthen the state’s farming sector for years to come. Altogether, they stand to make the entire agricultural network of SC a lot more productive and better fortified against future economic setbacks.
Now may be the best time to get into the agri business in SC
Backed by all of these benefits, one can argue that now is quite possibly one of the best times to start an agricultural business. Throughout last year’s economic turbulence, SC’s farming sector has held strong
, only incurring minor losses from the lack of activity. This means that you won’t be going into the business amid an ailing market. The stimulation provided by increased funding from multiple sources means that it’s going to be a lot easier to purchase higher-end equipment if you have the patience to shop around for better deals. As long as you forge connections with affordable providers, from your seed and fertilizer supplier to your retailer of tracks and tires
, you can create a functioning farm with only a few thousand dollars above the average recommended startup capital.
Starting a farm can be as easy as taking a few courses
To make it even easier for those looking to enter the farming business, Clemson U’s Extension Agribusiness team released a startup program to walk new entrepreneurs through the process of setting up their own farm. The primer delivers expertise in a wide variety of need-to-know subjects, including industrial agriculture techniques and business administration. This was established as part of a collaborative effort between Clemson, SC’s Small Business Development Center, and a number of private entities in order to bring agricultural power back to South Carolina.
It should go without saying that agricultural businesses tend to have rocky starts, especially if you’re inexperienced. But as long as you come into things with tempered expectations and solid resolve, farming can serve as a gateway to generations of prosperity.