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New Grant Expands Networking, Education for SC Growers

Growers with South Carolina-based Heron Farms and City Roots attended this year’s Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure trade show. Photo by Kyle Player.


New Grant Expands Networking, Education for SC Growers

By Eva Moore

This story appears in the May 6, 2021 issue of the South Carolina Market Bulletin.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture recently announced a grant program to help South Carolina growers find new markets and expand their opportunities by attending educational events and trade shows.

The Market Development Trade Show and Educational Conference Cost Share Program offers partial funding for specialty crop producers to attend certain pre-approved trade shows and conferences.

“Trade shows are a great way for producers to explore new markets and foster relationships with regional retailers, wholesalers, and food service buyers,” explained Katie Pfeiffer, market development coordinator for SCDA. “During just a two-day conference you can make numerous valuable connections that have a huge impact on future business, as many of the key players are in the same place and there for the same purpose. There are also tremendous opportunities to learn from peers and industry experts about new packaging, logistics, and industry or market trends, and more.”

The program is a project of the South Carolina Specialty Crop Growers Association and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and is supported by USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funding.

“This cost share program will open doors for specialty crop growers who are ready to expand and diversify their market outlets,” said LauraKate McAllister, director of the South Carolina Specialty Crop Growers Association. “We recognize that farming can be an expensive operation, and the hope with this cost share program is that by bearing a portion of the financial burden, we can help more growers reap the benefits of attending trade shows and educational conferences.”

The application deadline for the 2021–2022 year is July 1, 2021.

For more information and to apply, visit For questions, contact Katie Pfeiffer,, 803-422-7256, or LauraKate McAllister,, 803-734-2224.

Qualifying Events for 2021–22

Southeast Produce Council Southern Innovations

Date: September Location: Savannah, GA or Nashville, TN Key Players: Regional produce buyers, organics and food service highlighted

Produce Marketing Association

Date: October Location: New Orleans, LA (2021) Key Players: National and international produce growers, floral companies and equipment and technology companies, national level buyers in retail, wholesale, food service

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Date: November Location: Durham, NC Key Players: Regional growers and farmers, experts in the fields of food safety/marketing/policy/organics/sustainability, regional retail buyers and food service

New York Produce Show

Date: December Location: New York, NY Key Players: New York/New England produce buyers in key target markets – food service/retail/ports/terminal

Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference

Date: January Location: Savannah, GA Key Players: Fruit and veg growers from across the country, experts in the field of specialty crop agriculture, extension agents, technology, food safety, marketing, science, buyers

Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure

Date: Late February/Early March Location: Varies between Tampa and Orlando, FL Key Players: Regional produce buyers


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