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Workshop helps S.C. growers reach their markets

As a grower, rancher and more, Kitty Land is always looking for ways to grow her Long Creek agribusiness.

Land and her husband, Ed, own and run Chattooga Belle Farm, a 3-year-old business that offers "u-pick" fields, grass-fed Angus beef, educational farm tours, farm-to-table dinners and more.

She traveled three hours Wednesday to learn about labeling and packaging, food safety standards and certifications, marketing and working with retail buyers and restaurants at a workshop that kicked off a new agribusiness program in South Carolina.

The S.C. MarketReady program, a partnership between Clemson Extension, the S.C. Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, helps food suppliers succeed in the modern marketplace.

The workshop for farmers, growers and food producers was the first in a new program in South Carolina for businesses that want to sell to local restaurants and grocers.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Land said. “We just need to know the resources we can access, and this program provides that.”

MarketReady training is based on business practices identified by buyers in these markets that are actively seeking to engage local suppliers. MarketReady helps vendors that sell dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables, and other goods design and implement a successful business strategy.

Subjects covered during the workshop included communication and relationship building, packaging, labeling, pricing, delivery, storage, invoicing, insurance and marketing.

A similar workshop will be held in Spartanburg April 22.

Clemson’s Dave Lamie, who runs MarketReady in South Carolina, said the training program addresses the wide array of issues and challenges small farmers and ranchers must manage as they seek to develop supplier relationships with restaurants, grocery stores, wholesalers and foodservice buyers.

“We want to put in place the tools producers need to be successful,” Lamie said. “Our overarching goal is to make our state’s agribusinesses thrive.”

Courtesy Clemson University is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.