Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation

University of Maryland and Penn State Extension to Offer Food
Business Risk Management Class

Cockeysville (March 31, 2015) -- Because consumers have grown more concerned about how their food was grown and processed, every food business owner (and every farmer who is selling products directly to the public) needs to understand the ways that he or she can lessen the liability associated with placing food products in the marketplace.

To respond to this need, Penn State Extension, in collaboration with the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center and University of Maryland Extension, is offering a one-day class, Managing Risk for Food Businesses, at the Maryland Agriculture Resource Center, 1114
Shawan Road, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030, on Tuesday, May 12th. The primary instructor will be Winfred McGee, Penn State Business Management Educator. The session will run from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and will combine educational presentations, discussions with successful food entrepreneurs, and a highly interactive learning environment, to address the following topics:

  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/ Good Handling Practices- general procedures that producers and packers of farm-fresh products should follow to ensure food safety of their product—especially for products sold to large, national customers.
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Planning - Steps or procedures to eliminate or reduce hazards associated with food production – learning what the producer or his/her co-packer should monitor for food safety.
  • Liability Insurance - The amount of coverage that is warranted and what purpose it will serve in protecting farm assets—learning from the experiences of those well and poorly insure captured in case studies.
  • Allergen Warnings - Complying with FDA regulations that food labels must state clearly if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods.
  • Pro-active Recall Processes—Coding batches and keeping accurate records so that the entire product line need not be recalled in an emergency.

Registration for Managing Risk for Food Businesses, is $40.00 (includes lunch and all handouts,) payable by credit card or personal check. Please register by going to:


Workshops For CSA Operators to Highlight Membership Agreements
and Labor Issues

Annapolis (February 03, 2015) – Community Supported Farm (CSA) operators or those thinking about starting a CSA are invited to attend a workshop focused on drafting better membership agreements and addressing common labor issues. The workshops are free but registration is required. They will be held:

  • Feb. 26, from 9:30 a.m to 2 p.m., at the Frederick County University of Maryland Extension Office, 330 Montevue Lane in Frederick. Lunch will be provided. To register, call the office at (301) 600-1594 or register online at

  • March 3, from 9:30 a.m to 2 p.m., at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), 50 Harry S Truman Parkway in Annapolis. Lunch will be provided. To register, contact MDA Marketing at (410) 841-5770 or register online at

“This initiative is designed to help our CSA farmers develop strong risk management tools,” said Mark Powell, MDA Chief of Marketing. “We want operators and consumers to have successful relationships.”

The workshops are sponsored by MDA, the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC), the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI), the Maryland Farm Bureau, and Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Marketing Service grant.

The workshop will focus on common issues with CSA membership agreements used in Maryland, an overview of a model CSA contract developed for Maryland CSAs, and a look at labor issues faced by CSA operators in the state.


2015 Mathias Ag Program Open for Applications

Annapolis (December 19, 2014) — The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is pleased to announce the launch of the FY2015 Kathleen A. P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program (Mathias Ag program) to support energy efficiency projects in the agriculture sector.

MEA plans to distribute grants ranging from $15,000 to $60,000 for agriculturally-focused energy efficiency projects and will pay up to 50% of eligible costs for selected projects. New this year, MEA is expanding the program to include agricultural projects that incorporate renewable energy measures in conjunction with energy efficiency measures. Applications are due January 30, 2015.

For details, please visit


MARBICO Has Moved!

Annapolis (November 2014) - MARBIDCO has recently moved their offices to a new office suite, just down the hall from their previous location at Clock Tower Place in Annapolis. 

Please note that all phone numbers and staff emails remain the same.

MARBIDCO's address is:

1410 Forest Drive
Suite 21
Annapolis, MD 21403


Beginner Farmer Training Program Now Accepting Applications

Cockeysville (October 2014) – A unique, year-long training program for beginning farmers is now accepting applications for farmer trainees in the Chesapeake region. The program’s goal is to equip the region’s brightest new farmers with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to start a successful farm. 

The average age of farmers in the region is close to 60-years-old, according to the latest USDA census. At the same time, demand for fresh, local produce is also on the rise. A wave of aspiring farmers, young and older, are ready to take up the mantle, but obstacles are many: access to workable, affordable land; finding resources; and connecting with other new farmers, to name a few. Enter the Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP), now in its sixth year, which provides a comprehensive, year-long experience designed for new farmers ready to farm.


The BFTP is unique among farmer training programs across the nation in that it allows participants to work part- or full-time at their existing farms or jobs while completing training. Participants are encouraged to transition into farming with a detailed crop and business plan in place.

BFTP pairs trainees with experienced farmers who have already established profitable, sustainable farms in the region. In addition to this hands-on training, BFTP also provides classes, workshops, and field days. Speaking about his experience in the program, graduate Devin Barto said: “I believe that I could assume the responsibilities of a farm following this training experience because of the skills that I gained.”  Barto now manages a large CSA at Pennypack Farm in Horsham, PA.

BFTP accepts applications from new farmers located throughout the Chesapeake, including MD, DC, VA, WV, DE and PA.  To find out more about the program qualifications and to complete an online application, go to:



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What's New at MARBIDCO?

MARBIDCO's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014 is now Available!

Click Here to View


Two Oyster Aquaculture Loan Programs Available:

Maryland Shellfish Aquaculture Loan

Maryland Remote Setting Shellfish Aquaculture Loan


Farm Energy Efficiency Information

Rural Business Energy Efficiency
Improvements Loan Fund
Click Here for Application

Do you need an Agricultural Energy Management Plan done?
Click Here for Details

Interested in solar, wind or renewable energy, please visit the Maryland Clean Energy Center or the Maryland Energy Administration.


Installment Purchase Agreements for Easement Sellers!
Click Here for Details


See Loan Applications Now Available
Click Here for Details


Other Rural Business
News of Note

Leasing Workshop for Farmland Owners and Farmers
March 16th, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Farmers and land owners in Southern Maryland will have an opportunity to learn more about agricultural land-leasing issues at an upcoming Leasing Workshop to be held on March 16th, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) Auditorium, 15035 Burnt Store Road, Hughesville Maryland. The workshop is sponsored by Agriculture Law Education Initiative, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland Department of Agriculture, and Maryland FarmLink and funding is provided by USDA-NIFA and the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center.  Pre-registration is required on or before March 10th. A $11 fee includes all materials and locally sourced light dinner. Click Here to register online. For information call SMADC staff on (301) 274-1922, Ex. 1. 


Free Nutrient Applicator Voucher Training
UME and the Maryland Department of Agriculture offer free nutrient applicator voucher training and renewal courses to farm operators who apply nutrients to 10 or more acres of cropland. The course is required once every three years for these operators. The two-hour course for Queen Anne’s County will be given Friday, Feb. 27. Contact the county extension office at 410-758-0166 to register and confirm the location and time. The courses are also available in Anne Arundel, Caroline, Frederick, Harford, Talbot and Washington counties. Residents of those counties should call their local extension offices for information.


MDA Weekly Grain Marketing Report
Click here for MDA's Weekly Grain Marketing Report


Lender Requirement for Beginning Farmer Loan Programs
The Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy and UME's Beginning Farmer Success program have developed a fact sheet to help beginning farmers understand the various credit sources available in the state of Maryland and the requirements associated with each credit source, such as USDA's Farm Service Agency, a Farm Credit lender, or MARBICO. Click here for the Credit Fact Sheet or here for online information.


Keystone Development Center
Keystone Development Center (a non-profit, cooperative development center), is dedicated to providing technical and research assistance to groups who wish to organize as cooperatives. News and informative articles can be found at


Funding Sources for Agriculture
Check out this list prepared by University of Maryland Extension which was developed to assist farmers and producers locate funding sources and technical assistance for their operations. The list includes funding sources from federal, state and non-profit agencies.
Click Here for Details


Are you looking to start a farm or
rural business?

The Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC) announces new website to assist the agricultural and natural resources
Click Here for Information


"The Impact of Resource Based Industries on the Maryland Economy"
Prepared by: BEACON, Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University
Click Here to View PDF


2012 USDA Census of Agriculture
Click Here


Maryland Niche Meats and Poultry Producers Directory

Maryland's niche meats and poultry producers and the Ag Marketing Program of the University of Maryland Extension have joined together to produce the first, "Maryland Niche Meats and Poultry Producers' Directory". The purpose of this directory is to help restaurants, consumers, food brokers, producers, or anyone looking to purchase the freshest, best quality farm-raised meats available directy from Maryland farmers who raise it. Farmers' Market Masters can use the directory to locate and recruit vendors from Maryland's rapidly growing number of farmers' markets.

This directory has been organized by product for ease of aggregating suppliers. Many producers offer multiple products. The list is always growing and expanding, so the latest listings will be available online at:

Ag Marketing web site link:

Featured Websites

Start2Farm and Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program was developed to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years experience.

Farmers Market Directory

Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans

Annie's Project focuses on many aspects of farm management and is designed to empower women in overall farm decision making. Visit Annie's online at:

The Keystone Development Center's mission is to sustain communities, economies, and resources in rural areas through cooperatively owned businesses. For more information click on

USDA: Know Your Farmer Know Your Food

Maryland Rural Enterprise
Development Center (MREDC)

Find the Best Local products
from Maryland Farmers:

Maryland Agriculture Exchange: Buy, Sell and Trade Agricultural products:

Find local products in grocery stores, restaurants and farmer's markets:

Celebrate local sustainable food and
serve healthy food choices:

MARBIDCO, 1410 Forest Drive, Suite 21, Annapolis MD 21403 Office: 410-267-6807 General
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.