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Category: Maryland Farmlink

Finding Suitable Land Through Maryland FarmLINK

Finding Suitable Land Through Maryland FarmLINK

In late 2016, Benny and Courtney Pino started a quest to move their farm operation, Loblolly Farm, closer to the markets of the Washington D.C. region. They opened a map and narrowed their search to any suitable farm site within a few hours of Washington D.C. From their home in Southern Florida, they pulled up Google on their laptop, where FarmLINK websites from across the country popped-up. In the Washington D.C. region, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland all had FarmLINK websites which…

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Beginning Farmers in Maryland Share Their Stories

Beginning Farmers in Maryland Share Their Stories

SMADC recently completed a series of six stories showcasing beginning farmers in the Mentor Match program. The project highlights the rich diversity of Maryland agriculture that is evolving to replace the centuries-old, single-crop (tobacco) model, as well as the varied backgrounds of those embarking on new farm careers today. Highlighted farms range from a flower farm in inner-city Baltimore to a produce farm on the banks of the Patuxent River. Participants are varied as well. Some are young entrepreneurs building a first business….

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Growing Quality Pastures to Raise Meats- On Farm ‘Grazing’ Workshop

Growing Quality Pastures to Raise Meats- On Farm ‘Grazing’ Workshop

The Maryland Grazers Network and Chesapeake Bay Foundation in partnership with the University of Maryland Extension and the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) held a workshop and pasture walk last week with a focus on producing and managing high quality pastures for cows, sheep and goats, to ensure excellent meat products and enhanced soil conservation. Around 35 livestock farmers from around the region showed up at Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro on a warm evening to learn from experts about…

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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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Farmer to Farmer Education: New podcast is an invaluable resource

Farmer to Farmer Education: New podcast is an invaluable resource

Uninterrupted downtime is difficult to find! Everything else usually gets shoved to the back-burner at the height of the season. However, a new podcast series called the Farmer to Farmer Podcast connects with farmers on the go. The show is for farmers, by farmers, and is hosted by Chris Blanchard, a veteran farmer and educator combining 25 years of experience to get at the big ideas and practical details that go into making a farm work.  Each week Chris interviews…

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Chefs and Farmers Initiative Creates Movement

Chefs and Farmers Initiative Creates Movement

Across the country there is momentum to bring more local food to restaurants. Recently we wrote a blog on upcoming trends for restaurants where locally-sourced foods topped the charts for yet another year. Innovate solutions are popping up everywhere in the Chesapeake region too. However, farmers and chefs are busy people who are usually running in two separate directions. So how do local restaurants find all these wonderful farms, and how do farmers make connections to new chefs? Southern Maryland Chef and Farmer…

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Chesapeake region farm conference shares knowledge, strengthens relationships

Chesapeake region farm conference shares knowledge, strengthens relationships

What better way to kick off the New Year than brushing up on farm skills, and collaborating with other food system innovators. Last week was the annual Cultivate the Chesapeake Conference, hosted by Future Harvest- Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) – and as usual, it did not disappoint! Although there are many winter conferences and meetings, I always return home from this one with my farm knowledge acutely sharpened. It’s a good time to meet with people you don’t see…

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Saving Family Farms in Maryland

Saving Family Farms in Maryland

This week sure is the week of farm conferences and events!  We will report on some of them in the coming weeks, but this week we’ve revived a series of posts on “Saving family farms in Maryland”. The series addresses many of the challenges and opportunities we face in farming in Maryland, and will likely continue to face. Perhaps with a look back at them we can charge ourselves with a few new tasks as we make our way into the new year. Saving…

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Beginning Farmers Unite at Mentor Match Meeting

Beginning Farmers Unite at Mentor Match Meeting

SMADC is delighted to be part of the Maryland Collaborative for Beginning Farmer Success which received a three year grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. SMADC has supported the effort with enhanced resources on the Maryland FarmLINK website and managing the Mentor Match Program for beginning farmers. This past Monday we held the annual Mentor Match meeting. Over 20 Maryland farmers came together around the table, farmers who are interested in helping one another grow the next generation of farmers….

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Tomorrow’s Harvest: Beginning farmers share their stories

Tomorrow’s Harvest: Beginning farmers share their stories

SMADC has launched a new webpage called Tomorrow’s Harvest showcasing a series of stories about farmers in SMADC’s Mentor Match Program. Eight mentee farmers of the inaugural program agreed to share their stories in hopes that their experiences will be useful to others just beginning the journey. As the age of the average farmer continues to rise, programs like the Mentor Match are in place to keep farming alive in our region. High cost of land and necessary infrastructure to get started prevent many…

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