Farm Business Development

The Department of Economic Development (DED) offers assistance to farmers establishing a new farm or diversifying an existing farm. DED can assist you with the paperwork and permits necessary and provide valuable business advice along the way.

Start a New Farm

If you are starting a new farm in Calvert County, there is a wealth of information available to assist you. Collectively this information will help with steps involved to get your farm up and running.

Starting a new business is an exciting and challenging undertaking and it is important that you familiarize yourself with the basic requirements for starting a business in Calvert County. DED can help you navigate the zoning and permit process, find relevant courses and direct you to agricultural agencies that can assist you. No matter what you need, DED is available to assist you. Please contact DED on 410-535-4583 or info@ecalvert.com.

The following links will assist you in starting your own new farm:

Small Business Development Center

The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a program of the University of Maryland Center for Applied Policy Studies, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Maryland Department of Commerce, Southern Maryland SBDC, the College of Southern Maryland and the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners.

The is staffed with certified, professional business counselors who collaborate closely with local business leaders in the Southern Maryland region and the Calvert County Department of Economic Development to provide assistance to small business owners. Our Calvert County counselor, Kathy MacAdams, can provide free one-on-one counseling services for a variety of business needs including business plan development, feasibility studies, needs assessments, structuring a business, management issues, strategic planning, accounting systems, business valuation, market research/planning, financial analysis and financial projections, equity funding development, and management information systems.For more information or to set up an appointment, please email Kathy MacAdams or contact her at 410-535-4583 ext. 2726, 301-866-1923 or 301-934-7580.

Beginning Farmer Success Program

The Beginning Farmer Success Program by the University of Maryland Extension: This program provides new farmers with resources and contacts to be able to explore enterprise options, refine ideas, develop plans and strategies and implement their farming practice.

Beginning Farmer Resources

Beginning Farmer Resources by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission: These resources specifically benefit new or transitioning farmers.

START: (Starting, Transitioning and ReTurning Farmers Network (a program of Maryland FarmLINK), provides networking opportunities, assistance and resources to new, young and beginning farmers.

Mentor Match ProgramThis Maryland FarmLINK program pairs experienced farmers (mentors) with new or transitioning farm owners/operators (mentees) for one-on-one training, advice and interaction.

Farmland to lease or purchase: direct consulting for those wishing to work, lease or purchase farmland in Maryland.

Equipment and Resources

Beginner Farmer Training Program

The Beginner Farmer Training Program by Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is a year long program for people who are interested in taking their passion for farming to the next level.

Start 2 Farm

The Start2Farm site and program by the National Agricultural Library, USDA, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Institute of Food and Agriculture is available to assist people new to farming and those having less than 10 years of experience.

Diversify Your Farm

If you are planning to diversify an existing farm, the Department of Economic Development (DED) can assist with marketing, farm business planning, grants and financing. Diversification ideas range from agritourism ventures, value-added products, pick your own operations and community supported agriculture and much more. Please contact DED on 410-535-4583 or info@ecalvert.com.

Financing and Grants

The Department of Economic Development will work with you to find grants and financing that will help you start or diversify your agriculture enterprise. Please contact DED on 410-535-4583 or info@ecalvert.com. The University of Maryland Extension provides a list of grant programs with an agricultural focus at the following link. They also offer a grant writing assistance program.

Licensing and Permits

After your farm is up and running, bringing products to market may require special permits, certification, inspection, etc. Review the Processing and Selling Value Added Food Products in Maryland lists requirements for more information.

General Licenses

For information on selling or producing specific products in Calvert County, please contact the Department of Economic Development at 410-535-4583. We will assist you with identifying local, state and federal licensure and permitting requirements. Here is information on selling some products:

Eggs: Rules and Regulations for Selling Eggs

Good Agriculture Practices or GAP certification can be obtained from the Maryland Department of Agriculture. While not mandatory, this certification is recommended for farmers providing products to schools, hospitals, restaurants, stores and other institutions.

Additional Resources

The USDA's Farm Service Agency administers farm commodity, crop insurance, credit, environmental, conservation and emergency assistance programs for farmers and ranchers.

The Calvert Soil Conservation District assists farmers with plans for controlling soil erosion, sedimentation and flooding, as well as managing animal wastes, fertilizers and agricultulral chemicals to protect farmland and water quality. Develops conservation, nutrient management and water quality plans for farmers. In addition, SCD owns various agricultural equipment that may be rented on a first-come-first serve basis.

Annie's Project is designed to empower women involved in agriculture to manage information systems used in critical decision making processes and to build local networks througout the state.

Calvert County Department of Community Planning and Building

Calvert County Health Department

Calvert County Agriculture Preservation Advisory Board

Calvert County Department of Economic Development

University of Maryland Extension – Calvert County

University of Maryland Extension: Ag Marketing

University of Maryland Extension: Farm Management

University of Maryland Extension: Poultry

University of Maryland Extension: Vegetables

University of Maryland Extension: Small Fruit and Grapes

University of Maryland Extension: Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center

University of Maryland Extension: Small Ruminants

University of Maryland Extension: Soil Health

University of Maryland Extension: Nutrient Management