FREDERICK, Md. –Frederick County’s agriculture industry is creating value-added products and services to ensure the industry thrives into the future. To support their efforts, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer today announced $198,000 in Agriculture Innovation Grants to 10 farming operations. The competitive grant program, which began earlier this year, provides funds twice a year to encourage diversification and innovation in farm operations.
“Frederick County’s agriculture community has embraced this new grant program as a way to ensure the long-term economic viability,” Executive Gardner said. “These grants help to ensure the county’s distinctive agricultural identity for future generations.”
The projects selected for funding are anticipated to create 26 full-time and 25 part-time positions. Grant recipients include Catoctin Breeze, Thurmont, for soil study to determine the most sustainable variety of grapes to grow; Deer Run Farm, Emmitsburg, for a no-till planter drill that can be rented out to other farms; District Farms, outside of Adamstown, for a feasibility study and design work on a new cooling system for their greenhouses; Eater Acres, on Old Annapolis Road, for upgrades needed to add a retail space; Fitzgerald’s Heavy Timber Construction, Thurmont, to construct a timber frame barn for a sawmill; Fox Haven Organic Farm, Jefferson, for an electrical system upgrade to install a walk-in freezer for its production garden operation; Grossnickle Farms, Walkersville, to install well and septic for an on-farm market; Moo Cow Creamery, Middletown, for a generator and logo wrap for a new ice cream truck; Off the Grid Farm, Woodsboro, to add a saw mill; and Richvale Farm, Middletown, for commercial grade freezers to allow them to sell beef.
More than 30 applications were received for the second round of Agricultural Innovation Grants. 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. 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 by contacting Katie Stevens, Associate Director of Agriculture Business Development, at 301-600-3037.
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.