Join LEAD Maryland Class IX for the third biennial Image of Agriculture Symposium: The Many Faces of Maryland Agriculture on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in College Park, MD.
The Conference will include a focus on four tracks, including politics of agriculture and the environment, trends in agricultural production, emerging markets and career opportunities, and Maryland’s agricultural communities.
Keynote speakers will include Troy and Sarah Hadrick, founders of Advocates for Agriculture, who have traveled the world helping people involved in agriculture find their voice and story.
For more information please visit: http://bit.ly/1pOLbB5
USDA is soliciting applications to make up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators. More information on how to apply is on page 20607 of the April 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available through the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county.
Apply by July 1, 2016
The Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program.
Grant funds can be used by agricultural producers to cover costs related to planning activities or working capital expenses necessary for processing and marketing value-added products.
Learn how to apply and get more information.
Questions? Contact Business and Cooperative Programs at 302.857.3628.
Upcoming Grant Information Sessions
Preparing Value-Added Producer Grant Applications – April 28, 2016 from 1pm-2:30pm (EST)
This online session will provide a program overview followed by an in-depth discussion on preparing grant applications. Join us online at: https://usdard.adobeconnect.com/lnichols/ Connect to audio at: 1.888.844.9904; Access Code is 4537780.
Value-Added Producer Grant Open Houses – May 10 & 17, 2016 from 9am-3:30pm (EST)
Meet one-on-one with a USDA Rural Development specialist to discuss potential grant proposals and ask questions. Advance appointment scheduling is necessary. Appointments will be available at USDA Rural Development offices in both Dover, DE and Hagerstown, MD. Please call Business & Cooperative Programs at 302.857.3628 to schedule an open house appointment.
Queen Anne’s County Department of Economic Development is pleased and proud to be hosting a series of workshops presented by Chapter 670 of SCORE. Existing and prospective business owners are invited to attend one or more of these workshops to learn the importance of a business plan in securing financing and how to construct one; reaching customers through social media; and managing finances with Quickbooks. Experts from SCORE Chapter 670 will be instructing these sessions which will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center, 425 Piney Narrows Road, Chester, MD 21619. Below is a list of the sessions offered:
April 6, 2016 – Using Social Media in Small Business. Learn from the specialist how to market your business for free while cultivating a loyal customer base using social media.
May 4, 2016 – Mastering QuickBooks. Learn how to streamline your bookkeeping, revenue, expenses, billing, receipts and taxes using QuickBooks.
There is a cost of $10 per workshop or $25 for all three workshops to cover materials. Seating is limited so please register today by calling Linda Friday at the Chamber of Commerce at 410-604-8530 (or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The workshops are sponsored by the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Economic Development.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture will receive nearly $80,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture via the 2014 Farm Bill. These funds will support three projects: a Phytophthora ramorum survey the development of an early detection system for exotic honey bee pests, and a grape commodity survey. “This funding gives us the ability to further our efforts in preventing the introduction and spread of plant pests, diseases and pathogens,” said Assistant Secretary for Plant Industries Carol Holko. “These projects address commodities that are integral parts of Maryland agriculture
, and will help protect the industry and the consumer.”
The supported projects are listed below:
- Grape Commodity Survey ($24,986): Many Maryland wineries buy grapes from other states for their wine production. Moving grapes (fruits and vines), both into and out of our state, makes it easier for an invasive pest to be introduced or established in Maryland. Surveys of these vineyards are important in keeping the industry safe from these harmful pests.
- P. ramorum Survey ($35,000): The nursery industry is the second largest agricultural commodity in Maryland. Based on a crop cash value of more than $400 million, it is the number one cash crop in the state. The large nursery industry in the United States allows for the free flow of most nursery stock, increasing the possibility of establishing P. ramorum, a pathogen that causes sudden oak death, a disease. Because many large nurseries receive plants from areas known to have P. ramorum, a survey to test these highly susceptible stocks is crucial in marketing Maryland plant stock as free from P. ramorum.
- Development of an Early Detection System for Exotic Honey Bee Pests ($20,000): To protect honey bees from exotic pests, the department will set 8-10 traps to collect data on exotic/invasive honey bee pests. Many of these traps will be concentrated along the Chesapeake Bay, a pathway that carries large amounts of international cargo. Much of this cargo originates in countries that are known to have the invasive pests targeted by this survey. There will be more information on this project later this spring.
On Saturday, October 10th, the Eastern Shore Harvest Directory team was at the Easton Elk’s Club Oktoberfest and Family Fun Day from 10:00am-5:00pm! We had a table set up with flyers giving information about the Harvest Directory, business cards, and candy. Quite a few people came out to the Festival and visited our booth, so we got to spread the word about Harvest Directory and hopefully will be adding a few more businesses to the Directory soon!
Also on Saturday, two team members went to the Easton Farmer’s Market and the Bark in the Park event. They went around handing out flyers with information on the Harvest Directory and helped register businesses.
It was a very successful Saturday! Look out for our next outreach project here, and at our other social media sites!
The Harvest Directory Project now has a new team of five Washington College Students! Leading the team is Marissa Seidel as Project Manager, working with Emma Hudson, Madison Kaye, Sam Trikeriotis, and Nika Peden.
Marissa is a Senior at Washington College, graduating with a double major in Anthropology and American Studies and two minors in History and Black Studies. She is the Project Manager of the Harvest Directory Project, and this is her first time being a Project Manager. She has an interest in farms and farm culture, so she is very excited to have been put in charge of this project!
Emma is a Freshman Biology and Anthropology double major at Washington College. She is really excited to be the head of the social media section of the Eastern Shore Harvest Directory!
Madison is a Freshman from Colonia, New Jersey, potentially majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Music. She looks forward to improving the Harvest Directory website, and hopes to add many new businesses to the database during her time on the project to make the Harvest Directory as useful as it can be, both for agribusinesses on the site, and customers of those businesses.
Sam is a Freshman at Washington College majoring in Anthropology. She’s very excited to be working with the Harvest Directory because of the opportunity to work directly with people in the field and through email, which is a glimpse of what she could be doing with her major.
Nika is a Freshman at Washington College. She is majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical/Counseling and minoring in Business Management. Nika is very excited to be working on the Harvest Directory Project, and hopes to spread awareness of the project through various forms of social media and outreach projects.
For this semester, the new team would like to assist the growth of more businesses, especially in the new additions of Caroline, Talbot, and Dorchester counties to the Harvest Directory. We plan on going to many farmers markets and other events in these areas as well as Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s counties. We would love to help as many agri-businesses as we can!