HUGHESVILLE, Md. (January 09, 2018)—During the January 3 meeting of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), Chairman Yates Clagett, SMADC Director Shelby Watson-Hampton and Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland Executive Director John Hartline, presented checks totaling $125,000.00, to four regional entities for agricultural enhancement projects.
Representatives from Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, Calvert, St. Mary's and Charles' County governments, the Prince George's County Soil Conservation District and University of Maryland Extension received the funding awards on behalf of their counties for Regional Agriculture Projects (RAP) that benefit their respective Southern Maryland farming communities.
The Regional Agriculture Project (RAP) initiative was conceived by SMADC to further its mission to support farms and farmers in order to sustain the future of agriculture in Southern Maryland. All five Southern Maryland counties collaborated with their county Farm Bureaus, Soil Conservation Districts and Economic Development/county governments, to identify much needed enhancements for their agricultural communities. Every county provided matching funds to their projects for a total regional investment of $980,000. Resulting projects and partnerships offer potential to boost economic viability for all types of farming enterprise and strengthen cross-county relationships.
Projects (expected to commence in 2018 and completed within three years) address specific issues or needs expressed by the counties, include the restoration of an historic dairy barn in Anne Arundel County for agriculture education programs and meeting space, an online infrastructure and content management system for Calvert County to provide opportunity for all producers to have a presence on the internet, a soil health demonstration project for Prince George's County to help educate the farming community on best management practices that improve soil health, and a new enclosed farmers market building for St. Mary's County that provides utility services to allow the expanded sale of refrigerated value-added products. Charles County is supporting the St. Mary's County market project with their share of RAP funds as the market offers opportunity for vendors/farms from both counties.