Small Business Development
Although agriculture is no longer dominant as an industry in Calvert County, Maryland, it is still important and touches the lives of many citizens. The Department of Economic Development offers assistance to help agriculture grow and flourish in Calvert County. There are many websites that provide helpful information for growing an agriculture business. We have provided several links below to get you started.
Colonial Farm Credit
Provide loans to purchase a farm; for buildings, machinery, livestock and equipment; production loans for both full-time and part-time farmers; for ag-related businesses; and for the wood industry including operating capital, timberland acquisition, and standing timber.
Farm Management Extension Programs
Programs to help Maryland farmers improve their business management skills to improve management productivity, increase profitability, and fulfill their long-term goals.
Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO)
The primary mission of MARBIDCO is to assist Maryland’s farm, forestry, seafood and recreation-based businesses to achieve profitability and sustainability by providing targeted services that help retain existing Ag/RBI production and commerce, promote rural entrepreneurship, and nurture emerging industries. A list of funding sources for agriculture (.pdf document) is available on their site.
Maryland Agriculture Exchange
A website for buying, selling and trading agriculture products.
Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC)
A one-stop-shop for the latest and most successful business development innovations and support for Maryland's agriculture and natural resources enterprises.
Maryland Small Business Development Center
A partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the University of Maryland College Park providing sound advice, counseling and support to entrepreneurs and small to mid-size businesses across the state.
Starting a food processing business requires careful planning including marketing research, small business assistance and research into zoning and health department requirements. Months or even a year is not an unreasonable amount of time to expect to spend in preparation for opening your business.
Unlike other small businesses, the food businesses directly affect consumers' health and safety. Therefore, there is a myriad of regulations on the federal, state and local level that must be followed when operating your food processing business.
Contact the following agencies to further explore food processing options.
Calvert County Department of Planning & Zoning
410-535-2348 The Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning will determine if your food processing business is a permissible use in your zoning area.
Calvert County Health Department
410-535-5400 The Calvert County Health Department can provide assistance in determining which local, state and federal regulations apply to your proposed food processing business.
Agriculture, by the nature of the business, provides many opportunities to add value to a product or service. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, value-added products are defined as:
- A change in the physical state or form of a product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam)
- The production of a product in a manner that enhances its value (such as organically produced products)
- The physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of the commodity or product (such as an identity preserved marketing system)
The Calvert County Department of Economic Development is available to assist you in discussing your plans for a value-added agricultural product or service. In addtion, our partnership with the College of Southern Maryland's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers a wealth of experienced professional advice for you in developing your alternative agriculture business.
A national resource for producers interested in value-added agriculture.
Information on starting a value-added business.
Farm Business Planning
The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension has published an instructional workbook to assist farm operators in developing a business plan. Click here to download the workbook (.pdf file).