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Category: Agricultural Marketing Professionals (AMPS)

SMADC’s Regional Agriculture Project Awarded! 

SMADC’s Regional Agriculture Project Awarded! 

Regional Agriculture Project (RAP) is designed to further SMADC’s mission to support farms, farmers, and the future of agriculture in Southern Maryland. Its purpose is to create economic viability for farmers in Southern Maryland and to foster collaboration among the region to enhance and sustain the regions’ agricultural economy. SMADC encouraged everyone to work together on this grant on multiple levels within the county — Farm Bureaus, Soil Conservation Districts, Economic Development/county government offices, University of Maryland Extension and area…

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SMADC Announces New Director

SMADC Announces New Director

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) is pleased to announce new Director, Shelby Watson-Hampton. Shelby is a Southern Maryland farmer, an Agricultural Marketing Specialist, and an active member of the Maryland farming community. In her previous position at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, she worked in the Marketing Department promoting and marketing Maryland products, farmers, and farmers markets, as well as running the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Shelby is an active member of many agricultural associations and committees. She also farms on her family farm in…

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Happy New Year! Annual Report Published

Happy New Year! Annual Report Published

Happy New Year! January marks a good time to look back and reflect and look forward to the future. SMADC recently published its FY’16 End of Year Report (linked below). Some FY’16 highlights include: Maryland FarmLINK launched a new website (FarmLINK 2.0) with increased features for users 581 new members signed-up for the FarmLINK website/Weekly Roundup; 55 Maryland FarmLINK “Weekly Roundup” newsletters were sent to 1,900 subscribers 8 new farmer profiles launched Tomorrow’s Harvest website The Southern Maryland Meat Processing Facility is…

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Setting the stage for a flourishing future by Christine Bergmark

Setting the stage for a flourishing future by Christine Bergmark

By: Christine Bergmark, Executive Director, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Looking back over 15 years of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, I am filled with pride. We, the farmers, consumers, visionaries, staff and volunteers, have accomplished so much. Sixteen years ago, few could have envisioned Southern Maryland agriculture without tobacco. But the new crops, new markets, farm innovations, and consumer demand that followed gave hope with each fresh planting season that agriculture was and would continue to be vibrant…

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Kimchi to Charcuterie- Savvy marketing by local producers tickles consumers taste buds

Kimchi to Charcuterie- Savvy marketing by local producers tickles consumers taste buds

Every year Maryland Department of Agriculture holds a Buyer Grower Expo in Annapolis, providing a forum for farms and value-added producers to meet new potential buyers. In the last few years that SMADC has been going, we’ve seen the numbers in attendance continually rise- with now over 60 growers, processors,  watermen, and small food businesses attending from Maryland. What was most impressive this year was the sheer variety of products available. Both from the farms that are growing them and from the…

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Where is a Farmers’ Market that accepts WIC and Senior checks? There’s an App for That!

Where is a Farmers’ Market that accepts WIC and Senior checks? There’s an App for That!

By Cia Morey, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission On St. Patrick’s Day last month, I attended Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Annual Maryland Farmers’ Market Conference. This all-day conference had numerous speakers and several presentations that covered everything from weighing scale certification, various resources for farmers and markets, information on permits for food safety, marketing presentations and at the end of the day vendor training and certification for accepting WIC at farmers’ market. The Conference began with a warm welcome from…

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Ready to try value-added? Start here.

Ready to try value-added? Start here.

Sometimes, farm profitability is just one value-added step away. Lots of farmers have the great ideas, but they lack the support to get there. On February 5th, the Maryland Agricultural Marketing Professionals (AMPs) met to discuss how to help farmers can take their products to the next level and I got to sit in. We heard from Jeff Williams, Program Specialist at Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Jeff.Williams2@de.usda.gov) and he filled us in on USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant. Last year, Maryland farmers…

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Saving family farms in Maryland – the right regulatory environment

Saving family farms in Maryland – the right regulatory environment

This blog is one of a series on saving family farms in Maryland. In my last post, I covered some of the typical infrastructure needs of beginning farmers. In this post, I discuss possible regulatory challenges for new agricultural entrepreneurs. As I mentioned in a previous post, when Maryland’s health and zoning regulations were first adopted, direct sales of farm products, value-added farm products and agri-tourism uses (such as farm weddings, corn mazes, and wine tastings) were not a significant part of…

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The mighty AMPs and the local food movement

The mighty AMPs and the local food movement

Last week, I got to meet a group of Agricultural Marketing Professionals (AMPs) and to follow them on part of their Southern Maryland tour of successful agricultural marketing ventures. I believe that AMPs are essential to the local food movement because of the history and timing of the development of zoning and health regulations in the U.S. Planning and zoning departments and local health departments did not exist as recently as one hundred years ago. The need for zoning and…

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Governor’s Buy-Local-Cookout is a highlight of the Challenge week

Governor’s Buy-Local-Cookout is a highlight of the Challenge week

This has got to be my favorite time of the year! My garden is in peak performance mode, my favorite fruit (blueberries) are still in abundance and I get to participate in the Buy-Local-Challenge week. There are lots of stories throughout Maryland about participation in the event including one  from the City of Frederick  and another from the Carroll Hospital Center, one of thirteen hospitals in the state to participate in the Challenge. In addition, WBALTV presented a great story about…

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