This blog provides current fruit vegetable and other specialty crop news from around South Carolina. Visit regularly for field updates, pest alerts, meeting announcements and more.
Clemson Extension employs Extension Agents who work closely with state extension specialists and researchers located on campus and at the various research and education centers located across the state. Your local Extension Agents provide expertise in Agronomic Crops, Economic & Community Development, Food Safety & Nutrition, 4-H, Horticulture, Livestock & Forages, and Forestry and Natural Resources. For more information, check out the Clemson Extension Homepage.
Extension Fruit and Vegetable Agents:
To contact Clemson Extension Fruit and Vegetable Agents in your area, take a look at the Horticulture Team page for their info.
Justin Ballew has been with Clemson Extension since 2015. He is the commercial horticulture agent for Lexington County where he works with produce growers around the midlands. Major crops there include collards, kale, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, peppers, and green onions. He also conducts several on-farm trials each year looking to improve insect and disease control practices. Justin is also a member of Clemson’s Industrial Hemp Team.
Rob Last joined Clemson Extension in 2020 and is based out of Barnwell County. He is the Horticulture Agent for Barnwell, Bamberg, Hampton, and Allendale Counties. He works with commercial horticulture growers on a range of field vegetables and fruit crops. He is also part of the urban horticulture team assisting homeowners with their gardening questions. Rob’s specialty is soil fertility and plant nutrition.
Bruce McLean started with Clemson Extension in June 2019, and is based out of Marion County. He is the Commercial Horticulture Agent for the Upper Pee Dee area (Marion, Horry, Dillon, and Marlboro Counties) where he works with fruit, vegetable, and nut crops. Bruce conducts on-farm trials in fruit and vegetable production, works with numerous fruit crops (primarily small fruits), and holds workshops, field days, and pesticide trainings.
Tony Melton has worked with Clemson Extension since 1989 as the horticulture agent for the Pee Dee Region. He works with a variety of vegetable and small fruit crops including strawberries, greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and beans. He also manages a 20 acre vegetable research area at the Pee Dee REC in Darlington where he is working on developing heat tolerate butterbeans. Tony also is a regular panelist on the PBS show “Making it Grow”.
Kerrie Roach has been with Clemson Extension since 2016. She is the commercial horticulture agent for Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson Counties where she works with fruit & vegetable producers in the Upstate. The area includes many diversified farmer’s market producers along with the commercial apple industry of SC. She conducts on-farm trials, hands-on workshops, and pesticide trainings for growers. Kerrie is also a member of Clemson’s Peach Team and Pollinator Team.
Sarah Scott is the commercial horticulture agent for Edgefield and Aiken Counties. She works with produce growers in these counties and surrounding areas on several crops including peaches, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, squash, potatoes, greens and asparagus. Sarah conducts on-farm trials, hands-on workshops and pesticide classes for this area. She is also a member of Clemson’s Peach Team.
Zack Snipes is the commercial horticulture agent for the coastal region, based out of Charleston. The major crops in his region include tomatoes, watermelons, blueberries, and there are many highly diversified farms that supply the booming Charleston and Savannah restaurant industries. Zack organizes several on-farm trials and field days each year, helping growers improve their diverse operations. He is also active in the Schoolyard Gardens for SC Educators Program.
Cory Tanner is a horticulture agent based in Greenville County. He is also the Horticulture Program Team Leader and provides statewide programmatic leadership to extension agents working in horticultural food crops (commercial fruit and vegetable production) and urban horticulture (school & community gardening, consumer horticulture, and the ornamental nursery and landscape industry). He delivers educational programs and consultation services and shares home gardening advice, teaches Master Gardener lessons, and writes horticultural columns and fact sheets.
Lalo Toledo is the Commercial Horticulture agent in Orangeburg, Dorchester, Calhoun, and Clarendon Counties. He works with a variety of vegetables and small fruit crops including squash, tomatoes, watermelons, peppers, strawberries, greens, and peaches. He also works with Limited Resource Farmers, under the 1890s extension service. Additionally, Lalo conducts on-farm trials, field days, and hands-on workshops in his corresponding counties.