"Field Notes November Volume Issue USDA fully funds Chesapeake Fields"
Field Notes November 2002 – Volume 1, Issue 7 USDA fully funds Chesapeake Fields Value-Added Grant Proposal $249,830 grant will facilitate further implementation of the institute’s value-added model Eric Johnson, Director of the Chesapeake Fields Institute When Marlene Elliott, State Director of Rural Development, called the Chesapeake Fields Institute (CFI) offices on October 22nd, she could not have brought more exciting news. “I wanted to call you personally and let you know that your value-added grant proposal was fully funded,” she said. With a hefty and costly agenda for implementing the remainder of a nine-step value-added implementation project, CFI was more than pleased to receive such an important funding award. The name of the project funded is “Chesapeake Fields Farmers ValueAdded Implementation Project.” “These grants will bring new economic opportunities and job creation for rural America,” said Ag Secretary Ann M. Veneman in an October 22 USDA press release, “The Bush administration continues to increase investment in health care, education, valueadded processing and rural infrastructure which is providing renewed growth to these important sectors of our economy.” A majority ($234,830) of the USDA grant will be used to cover the fees of research consultants, attorneys, accounting and financial planning consultants, marketing advisors, and product development experts in the implementation of CFI’s researchbased, nine-step value-added implementation project. Approximately 6% of the USDA award ($15,000) will be used to cover the travel expenses of the consulting staff employed. The nine-step project includes the following steps: (1) Market Analysis (preliminary market studies) (2) Feasibility Study, (3) Business Plan, (4) Business Formation Consulting, (5) Legal Formation, (6) Accounting Formation, (7) an Equity Drive, (8) Enterprise Launch, and (9) the Initial Marketing Plan. Qualified professionals, to be selected through a competitive bidding process, will be utilized by the Chesapeake Fields Farmers to conduct the project steps outlined. With the assistance of the USDA grant award, the mission of the project is to implement a Delmarva-based, farmer-owned business venture through which an emerging market is accessed to supply a value-added product, the premiums of which will be distributed to those farmers participating in the venture. Value-Added grants support Presidential initiatives The Rural Business-Cooperative Service Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development grants…support two of President Bush’s pillar initiatives: economic growth and energy. These 231 grants in 43 states total over $37 million and will fund a variety of agricultural ventures such as renewable energy, agri-marketing, high-value products from major crops and commodities. Recipients are required to obtain matching funds which will double the impact of the USDA grants. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. For information on applying for 2003 value-added grants visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm. (Source: http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/2002/10/0457.htm) "Celebration of Bounty" slated for December 6 Elizabeth Morris, Staff Associate of the Chesapeake Fields Institute Friends of CFI will celebrate a year of successes at the second "Celebration of Bounty" on Friday, December 6. A silent auction of agriculture related items will be featured along with a short presentation by Neil Doty, Ph.D., to update you on the current feasibility study. The event is to be held at the Black-eyed Susan Restaurant, in Maryland’s historic Chestertown, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Tickets purchased in advance are $35 and are $40 at the door. Lite fare of hot hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served. Items for the silent auction are still being accepted; contact Linda Walls at 410-758-4388 to make your donation. Call 410-778-1661 today to make your reservation for this evening of celebration. State Agricultural Land Preservation Director named Sue duPont, Public Information Officer of MD Department of Ag ANNAPOLIS, MD (Oct. 11, 2002) Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Hagner R. Mister today announced the appointment of James A. Conrad as executive director of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF). Mr. Conrad served for the past year as MALPF administrator, overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization. "Farmland preservation is very important to Maryland and Jim is eminently qualified to lead this nationally-recognized program into the future," said Secretary Mister. "He has done an outstanding job working with farmers and others to preserve agricultural land around the state and I am pleased to appoint him as executive director." Prior to his employment with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Mr. Conrad was co-founder and executive director from 1998-2001 of the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust in St. Mary's County. Under his leadership, the county preserved almost 2,000 acres and developed its Rural Legacy area around Huntersville. He also served since 1993 as the chair of St. Mary's County Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board. Conrad, who earned a Ph.D. in political science at Stanford University, formerly taught agriculture policy, political economics, and international relations at Texas A&M University, Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and most recently at St. Mary's College of Maryland. MALPF was created in 1977 by the Maryland General Assembly to preserve farmland and woodland for the continued production of food and fiber for the state. Since its creation, MALPF has permanently preserved 217,460 rural acres statewide. As executive director of MALPF, Conrad works with farmers, legislators and others to advance farmland protection in Maryland, in part through the recommendations of the legislatively-established Task Force to Study the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and through technological advancements within the program. "I am delighted by this appointment and look forward furthering Maryland's outstanding record in ag land preservation in this role," says Conrad. Conrad fills a position left vacant by the death of MALPF's former director, Paul W. Scheidt in Aug. 2001. Northeast SARE Grant deadlines approaching Helen Husher, Publications and Public Information with Northeast SARE The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) offers competitive grants to support producers who want to try something new on their farm--a new crop, a technique for adding value, an innovative production technique, or a new method of direct sales, for example. The goal of the program is to build and disseminate knowledge about sustainable and innovative production practices that are profitable, environmentally sound, and beneficial to the community. To apply, you must farm within the Northeast SARE region--although you need not be farming full time, you must have an established crop or animal product that you sell on a regular basis. Nonprofit farms may apply, provided that the primary activity of the farm is to produce and sell food under the kinds of economic constraints that affect commercial growers. The postmark deadline for applications is December 9. The Northeast SARE Partnership Grant is a new opportunity for agricultural professionals who work directly with farmers, specifically extension, NRCS personnel, agricultural nonprofits, and consultants. SARE seeks to fund on- farm research, demonstration, and marketing projects conducted in cooperation with farmers, and the focus is on building knowledge farmers can use, encouraging the widespread adoption of sustainable practices, and strengthening partnerships among farmers, extension, NRCS, and non- governmental organizations. The postmark deadline for applications is December 2. The Northeast SARE region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about both these grant programs or to get an application, go to www.uvm.edu/~nesare or call 802/656-0471. ‘Tis the season for a MARYLAND’S BEST promotion Kate Slear, Copywriter with Devaney & Associates (working to promote MARYLAND’S BEST) Christmas trees standing tall and majestic on a chilly December night. Tulip bulbs bursting through the ground in late spring. Firm, crisp apples picked during the height of autumn. Each season seems to bring out the best in certain plants and flowers, helping some to achieve just the right texture, color and size. MARYLAND’S BEST—the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s (MDA’s) quality-assurance program designed to highlight agricultural excellence within our State—knows the arrival of a new season also means certain agricultural products will be in high demand. To give an extra sales boost to our State’s many seasonal specialties, as well as to MARYLAND’S BEST participants, MARYLAND’S BEST will be sponsoring festive promotional efforts throughout the year. (We also plan to work closely with wholesalers and encourage them to purchase more MARYLAND’S BEST products.) Just in time for the start of winter, all MARYLAND’S BEST Christmas tree growers have been invited to take part in our holiday promotion. Each participant will be included in our MARYLAND’S BEST Christmas tree listing, featured on our MARYLAND’S BEST Web site—www.marylandsbest.net—and will receive free MARYLAND’S BEST promotional items specifically designed to attract Christmas tree customers. We encourage all Chesapeake Fields readers to support our Christmas tree promotion. Readers willing to share their expert opinions and suggestions for future MARYLAND’S BEST seasonal promotions are urged to contact Victoria Gurtenboim, the MDA’s agricultural marketing specialist, at 410-841-5772. For more information about the MARYLAND’S BEST program (it’s never too late to join!), contact the MDA’s National Marketing Services Division at 1-800-492-5590, or visit www.marylandsbest.net. Chesapeake Fields reviews business entities for value-added implementation John Hall, Board President of Chesapeake Fields Institute It has been understood since our inception that Chesapeake Fields Institute (CFI) would launch a “for-profit” entity that would operate a value added entity. We have found that this is much easier to say than do. Creating a “for-profit” that meets all our objectives is very challenging as there are several business entities from which to choose. LLCs, Closed Cooperatives, C-Corps, and partnerships are just a few of the possibilities. Through research we have found that each of these entities has strengths and all have weaknesses. We have asked Steve Noack of Fargo, North Dakota, and Charles “Chip” MacLeod of Chestertown, Maryland to develop a list of potential business structures for CFI. Steve Noack has become the organizational expert in the Upper Mid-West and is a corporate attorney and a CPA. He has worked with well over 100 value-added ventures throughout his career. Chip brings Maryland law and a working knowledge of non-profits to the table. It is our hope that collectively we can develop a workable business structure that will allow us to go forward. Some of CFI’s value added objectives are: 1. Farmers will have ownership in the leadership. 2. Farmers will have fiscal ownership. 3. The entity will allow for the participation of non-farmer investors. 4. The membership could cover 4 – 5 states. 5. The entity will allow for easy transfer of ownership. 6. The entity will allow for continued grant procurement for the purposes of ongoing research and development. We will share developments on this project as they occur. Maryland Horse Industry Board seeks applications for grant funds Sue duPont, Public Information Officer of MD Department of Ag ANNAPOLIS, MD (Oct. 22, 2002) - The Maryland Horse Industry Board is now accepting grant applications for projects that promote the state's equine industry. Projects will be considered in the area of education, research and marketing. Proposals are due by Feb. 1, 2003. "The horse industry in Maryland is strong and growing," says MD Agriculture Secretary Hagner R. Mister. "These grants help more people become involved with equine activities, further professionalize existing horse organizations, and promote the value of the industry to the general public." Over the past two years, the board has awarded 46 grants totaling $50,000 to equestrian groups from across the state. Projects ranged from educational materials, displays and seminars, to a museum exhibit on the history of Thoroughbred racing in Maryland. Grants also were used to support riding lessons and camps for children, horse care education for new horse owners, and materials for new horse facilities. General funds from the state supported the first two years of the grant program. During the 2002 legislative session, the General Assembly passed HB 467, an assessment on commercial equine feed, to provide an ongoing source of revenue to promote the horse industry. The refundable $2 per ton assessment on feed will cost about $3 per horse per year to the horse owner and will fund this grant program as well as additional horse industry promotions, research and outreach activities undertaken by the Board. Because 2002 is the first year of this new revenue source, the amount available for grants is not now known. Proposals for the 2003 grants must be received by 4:00 p.m. Feb. 1, 2003. The board will review and select projects based on their value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of the activity, financial need, and quality of the written presentation. Grant recipients will be notified of their award within 90 days of the submission deadline. The Maryland Horse Industry Board was established in 1998 to promote and develop the horse industry. Applications for the 2003 grants may be obtained by calling 410-841-5861 or by logging on to the board's website, www.marylandhorseindustry.org. CHESAPEAKE FIELDS UPDATE: Feasibility Study Launched John Hall CFI Board President Chesapeake Fields Institute (CFI) has hired Dr. Neil Doty, Fargo, North Dakota, to begin a feasibility study for developing a value added business. Last year, Dr Doty conducted preliminary market research looking for food opportunities in grains and oil seeds. That report showed several grain and oilseed-based food and feed products that were experiencing sales growth rates that were significantly higher than the overall food industry growth rate. Those products include: ! Artisan/European-Style Bread ! Protein-based dietary foods – Soy primarily ! Dietary and Cosmetic Oils ! Pizza Products ! Fiber Supplements ! Protein-based dietary foods ! Indulgence foods – Desserts and Chocolates ! Ethnic Foods – Eastern European, Thai ! Neutraceutical foods – Isofalvone Fortified ! Organic/non-GMO and Identity Preserved Grains and Oil Seed ! Organic/non-GMO and Identity Preserved Grains and Oil Feed The next step in the process is the feasibility. The feasibility study is designed to provide an overview of the primary issues related to a business idea. The purpose is to identify any “make or break” issues that would prevent the business from being successful in the marketplace—in other words, determining whether the business idea makes sense. A thorough Feasibility Study analysis provides most of the information necessary for the Business Plan. For example, a good market analysis is necessary in order to determine the project’s feasibility. This information provides the basis for the market section of the Business Plan. Because putting together a business plan is a significant investment of time and money, it is wise to make sure that there are no major roadblocks facing the business idea prior to making major investments. Identification of roadblocks is the purpose of a Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study will look at three major areas: market issues, organizational/technical issues, and financial issues. A Feasibility Study should not do in-depth long-term financial projections, but should do fundamental break-even analysis to see how much revenue would be necessary to meet operating expenses. Effective Feasibility Studies provide information on products, markets, customers, technology, facilities, capital, revenue, profitability, and additional information that might be relevant in describing the potential organization. A superior Feasibility Study investigates all functions and elements of a potential business and evaluates their potential for success. MDA receives USDA grant to continue Maryland Farmers project Patrick McMillan, MD Department of Agriculture The Maryland Department of Agriculture received a $167,000 grant from USDA to continue the Crop Insurance Education and Information for Maryland Farmers project. The project is a joint effort between MDA and the UMD AREC. Part of the grant will help to fund a series of educational workshops for farmers. Separate workshops are planned for professionals who provide risk management advice to farmers. The project will also include a promotional program to raise awareness of crop insurance and encourage farmers to meet with a qualified consultant to evaluate their crop insurance options. MD was one of fifteen states identified by USDA as being "underserved" by the crop insurance program and eligible for the USDA grant funds. MDA and the UMD cooperated in conducting a crop insurance education project that began in the fall of 2001. Enrolled acres in the crop insurance program increased 7.5% from 2001 to 2002. During the same period the amount of crop insurance purchased increased more than 22% indicating that many farmers purchased higher levels of coverage than previously. Despite this progress fewer than fifty percent of the eligible crop acres in MD are insured. MD agricultural organizations that are be interested in arranging a presentation to producers may contact Pat McMillan at 410841-5880, or Dr. Wesley Musser at 301-405-0017 for additional information. A successful year for Farmers Market Nutrition Program Connie Ruohomaki, FMNP Program Manager with MD Department of Ag The 2002 Farmers Market Nutrition Program began and ended with many firsts: • The coupon season began earlier. Forty-three of the program’s 55 markets were able to accept WIC and Senior coupons as early as June. • The coupon season lasted longer. For the first time, all markets were able to redeem coupons through November. • An Authorized Market was available to WIC and Senior participants in every county of the State. With the addition of markets in Cecil, Queen Anne’s and Somerset County, MDA’s FMNP was able to serve nearly 552 more Seniors and 475 more WIC participants. • In addition to ten newly-authorized markets to the FMNP, five markets sponsored extensions at secondary locations during the 2002 Season. Market extensions increased the number of markets from the original 45 in 2001 to 61 markets in 2002. • A new, FMNP pilot market opened at the Maryland Government Complex on West Preston Street in Baltimore. It is being piloted through a Memorandum of Understanding among the Departments of Agriculture, General Services and Health and Mental Hygiene. • High Tech has found the FMNP and at last our coupon processing software is receiving much-needed attention. Through a Statement of Work agreement with the Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies in Business and Education our database is being rewritten by a Capstone team of seven Graduate Students earning their advanced Masters Degrees in Informational Technology. Writing the database is the fist step of many to come. Maryland’s FMNP partnerships keep the state’s program in step with the newly-formed nutrition partnership announced by three USDA agencies, the National 5 A Day Program and the National Institutes of Health. USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; Research, Education, and Economics; and Marketing and Regulatory Programs are involved in a nation-wide effort to implement comprehensive research and public health activities. Led by the Senior Nutrition Program Partnership with the Maryland Department of Aging and the Maryland 5-A-Day Program, the FMNP continues partnering activities with the Maryland Transportation Authority and the State Highway Administration. The proof of a partnership’s value is in the growth and expansion enabled through the partnership. This season alone the Maryland Farmers Market Nutrition Program experienced a growth in the number of farmers participating in markets throughout the state. For the 2002 Farmers Market Season, 59 new farmer/producers entered the FMNP programs. This is 19 more farmers than the goal stated in our State Plan. CHESAPEAKE FIELDS CALENDAR November 2002 14th and 15th FORVM for Rural Maryland – 5th Annual Rural Summit Sheraton Barcelò (Annapolis, Maryland) For information, contact 410-767-4779 20th Cecil County Annual Agricultural Legislative Luncheon 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Technology Building at Cecil Community College (Northeast, Maryland) $20.00 per person—RSVP ASAP to 410-996-6292 or 800-232-4595 26th CFI Monthly Board Meeting – General Session (Open to Public) 8:30 am to 10:00 am Kent County Public Works Complex – First Floor Conference Room (Chestertown, Maryland) December 2002 6th CFI Annual Meeting Event—“A Celebration of Bounty” 6:30 to 8:00 pm Black-eyed Susan Restaurant (Chestertown, Maryland) 18th CFI Monthly Board Meeting – General Session (Open to Public) 8:30 am to 10:00 am Kent County Public Works Complex – First Floor Conference Room (Chestertown, Maryland) Poem Submitted by Therese Todd of Betterton, Maryland This summer’s dry weather has forced me to seek Food from the supermarket, my pantry to complete. I push my cart through aisles so tight With many brands to choose from, I must do right. Some brands use imported ingredients without documentation Even some national brands I’ve heard it told Encourage production yields with every chemical sold. I know first hand of health dangers migrant pickers endure Skin cancers, respiratory diseases, some have no cure. Years past, I, in filed and orchard did pick My doctor suspects chemical exposure as to why I am sick. For my family I worry, least they fall ill too For their health, I strive to seek the purest foods. Hours I’ve spent reading various package tables Not many have I found with an identified source label. Since October 21st my job has been made more simple Our nation has adopted a uniform policy for organic labels. If I cannot grow it in my garden at home I’m now sure to find elsewhere certified organically grown.