Funds Support Value-Added Projects and Diversification
FREDERICK, Md. – From kambucha to ducks, Frederick County’s farmers are creating value-added products to carry the agriculture industry into the future. To support their efforts, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner today announced $306,000 in Agriculture Innovation Grants to 14 farming operations. She was joined by County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Council Vice President Michael Blue. The grants were the first in the new competitive grant program, which will be offered twice a year.
“We want to leave a legacy for future generations of a vibrant agricultural community,” Executive Gardner said. “Farmers produce food and fiber for our community. By helping agricultural operations to remain profitable, we are ensuring a bright future for one of Frederick County’s oldest industries.”
The projects selected for funding are anticipated to create 11 full-time and 17 part-time positions. Grant recipients include Catoctin Mountain Orchard, Thurmont, for an apple dessert trailer; Chestnut Hill Farm and Market, Smithsburg, for a well and irrigation system; Frey Farm, Union Bridge, for farm stand equipment; Inskeep Family Farm, Walkersville, for a hog nursery barn; Heritage Hills Hops, Frederick, for a hops pelletizer; the Kombucha Lady, Rocky Ridge, for processing equipment; Libertas Estates, Mount Airy, for the purchase of ducks for egg and meat production and to control pests; Moo Cow Creamery at Walnut Ridge, Middletown, for a walk-in freezer and refrigerated van; Moon Valley Farm, Woodsboro, for a well and irrigation system; Needwood Farms, Burkittsville, for a walk-in freezer and shed; Rights of Man Farm, Ijamsville, to add a cut-your-own Christmas tree operation; Stillpoint Farm, Mount Airy, for farm stand equipment; Valley Homemade and Homegrown, Middletown, for a pavilion; and Willow Oaks/Country Pleasures Farm, Middletown, for mead production fixtures.
More than 30 applications were received for the Agricultural Innovation Grant Program. Grants are awarded for $5,000 or more to help farmers expand or diversify their business operations to remain profitable and viable. Funds may be used for research and development, production buildings, major fixtures, or processing facilities. Applications are accepted twice a year, in January and July. To be eligible, applicants must be a crop or livestock producer, a value-added producer, an agricultural cooperative, a seafood processor, or a primary or secondary timber products processor. Information on the program is available online at FrederickCountyMD.gov/Executive.
A review committee scores applications based on established metrics and then recommend awards to the County Executive. Funding for the grants comes from dedicated revenue from the county’s recordation fee.