CLIMATE-SMART PRACTICES: SC universities partnering to create agribusiness industry advancements

ORANGEBURG, SC (WOLO) — According to the state department of agriculture, agribusiness contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state economy.

South Carolina farmers have always had to worry about the weather.

“But now they’re looking at the challenge of addressing climate change. I think what we’re talking about today will be looked back on as an inflection point in South Carolina’s agricultural history,” said Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Department of Agriculture commissioner. 

The US Department of Agriculture is investing 70 million dollars into a project led by Clemson University and South Carolina State. 

“I’m proud that Clemson University in partnership with South Carolina State will be leading the future of agriculture for our state, country and world,” said James P. Clements, Clemson University president. 

A big proponent of the project was Congressman Jim Clyburn, whose late wife Emily was raised on a small farm in South Carolina. 

“I know what these small farming families can mean going forward,” said Rep. Clyburn. “This is the kind of program that will assist them in making a living.”

The two universities are partnering with 27 entities to incentivize environmentally friendly practices in the agriculture industry. The project will also measure greenhouse gas emissions and health of the soil. 

“We expect that this effort will increase the number of farmers using cover crops, prescribed grazing, reduced tillage and other conservation practices,” said Dr. Paula Agudelo, Clemson University principal investigator. “It will not only benefit greenhouse gasses but also water quality, biodiversity and the well-being of the farming community in this state.”

The funding can even help small farms with the technical and financial support to implement these climate-smart practices. 

“We will provide incentives, education and training for them to adapt climate-smart practices,” said Dr. Lamin Drammeh, South Carolina State principal investigator. “It will reduce greenhouse emissions, improve soil health, advance climate- smart practices and develop markets for the products we will be producing and selling. 

As part of helping the farming industry be more efficient and environmentally friendly, the US Department of Agriculture is investing $2.8 billion into 70 projects across the country.

Categories: Local News, Orangeburg