Seven agricultural entrepreneurs in the state were awarded a shared $150,000 to help grow their businesses. One Lakelands farm was among the award recipients.
Crescent Farm in Laurens County was awarded $30,000. It was among 10 finalists who pitched their business plans to a panel of judges and were scored based on their business plan, a five-minute video presentation and its documented history of business success, according to a press release from the state Department of Agriculture announcing the winners.
“Headed into our fourth year, we now feel like we are cemented in South Carolina’s agriculture industry and in an even better position to help these agribusinesses grow and thrive,” Kyle Player, executive director of the ACRE program, said in the release.
A women-owned, U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic vegetable farm, Crescent Farm focuses on wholesale offerings of carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash and kale. The farm sells its produce to in-state food hubs like the Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery in Greenville and GrowFood Carolina.
“Crescent Farm intends to continue growing while they develop new field space on their recently acquired 47 acres of land,” the release said.
The grant recipients represent six counties and seven established businesses in South Carolina. Other award winners are Bravo Steaks in Chester County, Milky Way Jersey Farm in Anderson County, Vital Mission Farm and Queen and Comb both from Charleston County, Pod Farms in Pickens County, and Gullah Farmers Cooperative Association in the Lowcountry.
“My hope for these seven entrepreneurs is that their innovative agribusinesses will help pave the way for continued development and transformation in South Carolina’s agriculture scene,” Hugh Weathers, the state’s commissioner of agriculture, said in the release.
The SCDA created ACRE — which stands for Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship — in 2018 to identify and provide assistance to budding agribusiness entrepreneurs. The ACRE program offers a curriculum each fall to train potential entrepreneurs and help them seek advanced award funding.