Where Maryland Value-added Ag Grants Are Going

Where Maryland Value-added Ag Grants Are Going

13 enterprises, including nine dairies, receive producer grants to build or expand value-added projects from MARBIDCO.

The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation recently awarded $195,500 in producer grants to help 13 agricultural businesses finish value-added projects in 10 counties. The monies will assist in diversifying business activities ranging from making cheese and ice cream to enhancing agritourism opportunities.

This is the second year for the Maryland Value Added Producer Grant – Capital Assets Option Program. The producer grant program aims to encourage expansion or diversification by installing capital assets to make or support a product defined as "value-added".

MAKING WAY FOR CIDER: With plentiful supplies of apples, cider-making is a natural value-multiplier for Baugher Orchards and Farm Market.

Eligible producer grant applicants must be a crop or livestock producer or processor, ag cooperative, seafood processor or timber products processor. Up to $20,000 per applicant is available for purchasing or installing farm structures and major fixtures, livestock or seafood product processing facilities, fruit or vegetable processing facilities, timber or wood products facilities, or manure digesters.

Recipients must provide at least a 100% cash match. The average amount awarded for 2011 was about $15,000. Here's a quick look at the funded projects:

Baugher Enterprises, Inc. (Carroll County): Complete purchase and installation of pasteurization equipment for a cider-making enterprise.

Mark Cascia Vineyards (Queen Anne's County): Purchase two fixed-top tanks with cooling jackets and two variable capacity tanks for wine making.

Cedar Hill Farm (Harford County): Install a commercial kitchen on this dairy farm to expand family's cheese-making capabilities.

Boordy Vineyards (Baltimore County): Purchase software and equipment to expand a higher-value niche marketing campaign for Maryland-grown (rather than imported) grapes.

Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County): Purchase and install equipment for making ice cream and developing a farm retail/agri-tourism facility.

Misty Meadow Farm (Washington County): Purchase ice cream making equipment for a multi-generational family dairy operation.

Shepherds Manor Creamery, LLC (Carroll County): Purchase a yogurt fill and heat seal machine for a family-run sheep dairy operation. 

Chesapeake Bay Dairy (Worcester County): Purchase ice cream and pasteurization equipment for a family-run dairy farm on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore.

Kilby Cream (Cecil County): Purchase a cheese vat, cheese-making supplies and yogurt-making equipment on a family-run dairy currently making ice cream and bottling milk.

Lockbriar Farms (Kent County): Purchase equipment to produce fruit-flavored ice cream using farm-raised fruit and locally-sourced dairy products.

Eve's Cheese (Kent County): Purchase and install a milk tank for segregating Jersey (higher fat content) milk destined for cheese production on this family dairy.

Nice Farms Creamery, LLC (Caroline County): Purchase a cream separator for milk production on this family-run dairy farm.

Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm (Frederick County): Complete a nature maze trail on this Christmas tree operation.

"MARBIDCO is delighted to assist these typically family-run enterprises to further their entrepreneurial business development aspirations," says Steve McHenry, MARBIDCO Executive Director. "It can be quite a lot of work. But value-added processing is a viable way to find new markets, increase farm-gate revenues, expand local job opportunities, and help sustain agricultural operations for the next generation."

For more on MARBIDCO's programs, check the website: www.marbidco.org.

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