HUGHESVILLE, Md. (Nov 9th, 2017) — This past June the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) announced the opening of a new grant program called the Regional Agricultural Project (RAP). The intended purpose of the project was to create economic viability for farmers and to foster region-wide collaboration in order to enhance and sustain Southern Maryland’s agricultural economy. Bids were open to all five counties of Southern Maryland: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s. SMADC is pleased to announce that the county bids have been received, reviewed, and awarded as follows:
Anne Arundel County Submission
– The Rockhold Creek Farm 4H Program/Barn Restoration Project. Return the historic dairy barn into a working agriculture building, which would then be used to create/expand the county 4H program as the primary use. The space will be available for regional events and educational opportunities. $25,000 in funding was awarded.
Calvert County Submission
– Calvert County Agriculture Digital Infrastructure Project. To create the digital infrastructure and foundation necessary to ensure a long-term online presence for Calvert County agriculture. The proposed infrastructure and content management system will provide an opportunity for all producers to have a presence on the internet. $25,000 in funding was awarded.
Prince George’s County Submission
– Prince George’s County Soil Health Demonstration Farm Project. In order to help educate the farming community on farming Best Management Practices (BMP) that improve soil health, they propose establishing a research and demonstration farm using a variety of BMPs. A historic tobacco barn will be used as an on-site laboratory for soils, plant and other related work. $25,000 in funding was awarded.
St. Mary’s County Submission
– North St. Mary’s County Farmers Market Relocation. Funds would be used to assist in the acquisition of property and the necessary road and site improvements necessary. The market will include an enclosed building with utility service that will allow the sale of value-added products that are currently unavailable at the market. The market currently includes vendors from both St. Mary’s and Charles counties. $50,000 in funding was awarded. Charles County
is collaborating with the St. Mary’s County agriculture entities on their North St. Mary’s County Farmers Market Relocation project and provided letters of support to pool their county funding. Charles County did not submit their own project as they support their share of funds to be used for the regional enterprise.
Total funding awarded for all county projects is $125,000. Project funds are intended to benefit the existing agriculture community and create seed money for agriculture-related projects needed in the five counties. The county Farm Bureau, Soil Conservation District, Economic Development/county government and University of Maryland Extension, were eligible to apply as the managing grant entity for their county. All were instructed to speak to their agricultural community, farmers, and agribusiness to ascertain what projects were most needed in the industry before submitting their county bid. Additionally, SMADC encouraged everyone to work together on their grant bids, so that together the regional projects could be used to strengthen cross county relationships and to bolster the entire farming community.
Each county could request between $20,000 to $25,000 for a specific project (only one application per county), with one of the following entities taking the lead: a county Farm Bureau, Soil Conservation District, Economic Development or county government office, or University of Maryland Extension. Applications required letters of support from other county organizations and agencies as evidence of consensus and collaboration. Counties also had the option to combine their applications and funding requests for a collaborative project.
SMADC is pleased at the quality and diversity of the awarded county projects, and looks forward to seeing them come to fruition. Follow SMADC online for further updates as the projects progress.
About the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, is tasked with the mission to support farms, farmers, and the future of agriculture in the five-county region. With money designated from Maryland’s Cigarette Restitution Fund, SMADC has invested more than $100 million in the region agricultural and aquaculture industry to help farms transition to more sustainable and economically viable business, preserve farmland, promote environmental stewardship, and increase consumers’ access to agribusiness in the region. To learn more about SMADC and its programs, visit www.smadc.com or contact SMADC at (301) 274-1922, extension 1