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Tag: 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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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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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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Saving family farms in Maryland – access to land

Saving family farms in Maryland – access to land

In my last post, I noted that we do not have enough young and beginning farmers to replace those who will retiring or otherwise changing control or ownership of their farms. In this post, I will cover why they have trouble getting access to land. It is ironic that  young farmers who grew up on a farm listed their top challenge is securing adequate access to land, according to an American Farm Bureau Federation survey in 2014. However, if your parents…

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Presentations on “scaling up” highlighted the Annual Mentor Match Meeting

Presentations on “scaling up” highlighted the Annual Mentor Match Meeting

We are delighted to be part of the Maryland Collaborative for Beginning Farmer Success that received a grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. SMADC supports the effort with enhanced resources on the Maryland FarmLINK website and managing the Mentor Match Program for beginning farmers. On November 20th, we held the first annual meeting to discuss accomplishments and how we can improve the program. However, prior to the meeting, I had asked mentors and mentees what they might…

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Realtor’s class in Maryland’s biggest farm county was a success!

Realtor’s class in Maryland’s biggest farm county was a success!

Frederick County, Maryland is blessed with a pleasant climate and productive farmland soils. Frederick had 181,512 acres of farmland in 2012, according to USDA Ag census figures, the most farmland  of any county in the state. The market value of agricultural products was $150 million. However the county lost 20,500 acres of farmland between 2007 and 2012, the greatest loss of farmland in the state. Paul Goeringer, legal specialist at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, and I…

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Maryland FarmLINK is gaining ground!

Maryland FarmLINK is gaining ground!

Maryland FarmLINK is gaining traction as a web tool to help farmers gain access to land, either by purchase or lease, thanks to land owners, realtors and farm support groups interested in continuing agriculture and forestry in Maryland. Our website picked up 595 new members in FY ’14, an increase of 82%. The number of monthly visits to the site increased by 65% to 5,087 by the end of FY ’14, with the majority seeking farmland. We cannot tell you…

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