April 22, 2024
Annapolis, US 61 F

AAEDC Launches New Ag Grant Program, Names New Ag Director

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) announced the launch of the Agricultural Business Improvement Grant (ABIG) program and the appointment of Shelley Garrett as the organization’s new Agriculture Business Development Director. 

“The Agricultural Business Improvement Grant program will help ensure that farm-based businesses in the county can continue to succeed and grow,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “AAEDC has supported farmers in Anne Arundel County for thirty years, and Shelley Garrett has the expertise and local knowledge to lead these efforts into the future.”

The ABIG program will provide matching grants of up to $10,000 to farm-based business owners to grow their operations in Anne Arundel County. The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 31, 2024.

Details of the ABIG program include:

  • Applicants must own and operate a farm in Anne Arundel County and must submit a letter of reference from Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District, University of Maryland Extension, Anne Arundel County Farm Bureau, or 4-H/FFA Leader.
  • Examples of eligible projects include fencing, livestock, plant stock, equipment, and infrastructure upgrades. Administrative expenses, events, and décor are not eligible for funding.
  • Each grant application will be numerically scored based on its impact to increase revenue, increase or retain employees, expand operations or increase efficiency, increase local-grown food supply, or provide agricultural education opportunities.
  • Grant awardee must contribute 50% of his or her own money to the project, and matching funds may not include labor or state and federal grants or cost share. Proof of completion of the project is due within the year of the grant award.

“While AAEDC has historically provided matching grants for agricultural businesses, we listened to feedback from the farming community and revamped the program to better meet their needs,” said AAEDC President and CEO Amy Gowan. “The new ABIG program offers larger grant awards and inspires farm-based business owners to invest in impactful projects that will help them significantly grow their operations.”

Shelley Garrett joins AAEDC with more than a decade at the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District. She is a resident of Edgewater and an avid equestrian who also possesses a B.S. in Agriculture Sciences and Technology from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland, University College. 

In her new role, Garrett will apply her extensive knowledge and experience with farm planning and the Anne Arundel County farming community to manage and execute all functions of AAEDC’s Arundel Ag Program. In addition to managing the ABIG, she will manage AAEDC’s Equipment Rental Program, Ag Scrap Tire Program, Agricultural Education programs, and Rockhold Creek Barn Project. She will also assist with Arundel Ag events; marketing and promoting Anne Arundel County farms and farmers’ markets; and advocating for policies that support the agricultural economy.

“I’m thrilled to be joining AAEDC at such an important time for agriculture in Anne Arundel County,” said Garrett. “I know firsthand that if we want farmers to continue farming, we need to provide them with programs that will help them succeed and grow in a modern economy. I look forward to helping farmers access these resources, as well as developing new ones, as part of the AAEDC team.”

More information and the application for the Agricultural Business Improvement Grant can be found here

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