News Release, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, is pleased to announce a dedicated Pandemic Relief round of the Southern Maryland Farmer Mini-Grant Program.
Due to the pandemic virus, COVID-19, affecting all aspects of life, and certain agriculture/farm businesses severely, the SMADC board has committed a round of the Southern Maryland Farmer Mini-Grants specifically for pandemic relief. SMADC will begin accepting Mini-Grant applications on July 1, 2020. The Pandemic Relief Mini-Grant cycle will close on July 22, 2020, with awards announced by August 2020.
This mini-grant round is designed to support established farms that have been financially adversely affected by the onset of the pandemic and are at risk for being unable to pay bills and maintain an adequate standard of living and care for their farm operations, and/or those who have financial needs concerning pivoting their business models to effectively serve their customers safely and to implement state-recommended COVID-19 safety protocols and social distancing guidelines.
To address the current need and where possible minimize financial burden, the grant parameters (for this mini-grant cycle only) include extensive changes and restrictions. Matching funds will not be required, and allowable expenses incurred since April 1, 2020 on will be considered. A total of $27,000 of funding is available. Applicants may request up to $2,000 per application. However, it is anticipated that the number of applicants may exceed the amount of funding available, therefore grant applications will be ranked and awards may be less than the requested amount.
Applicants may apply for grant funds for equipment that help farm businesses transition to an online or alternative sales strategy and other projects that maintain or expand sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, including on-farm upgrades to meet state COVID-19 standards for safety and social distancing, on-farm upgrades to enhance food safety per compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule, and marketing and promotion of current farm operation. Additionally, grant funds may be used for the purchase of foundation livestock, purchase of plant stock, veterinary bills, livestock feed, seeds, fertilizer, and equipment parts for farm machinery repair.
For complete details of the SMADC Southern Maryland Farmer Pandemic Relief Mini-Grant Program, including criteria, guidelines, and access to the online application form, visit ‘Farmer Resources’ to find the ‘Mini-Grants‘ page at www.SMADC.com.