Frederick County Authorities Jan Gardner on Thursday introduced the three corporations that the county will lease To consider if native farmers would revenue from an agriculture innovation center — and, if demand is there, the place To assemble it.
The county has $115,000 for the research On this yr’s price range.
The agriculture innovation center Would Embrace a shared facility that farmers might use as a processing facility to make worth-added merchandise — Which might include milling wheat into flour, turning strawberries into jam or making pure produce, Based mostly on the College of Maryland Extension.
The center would additionally give native farmers a aggressive edge over agricultural companies in neighboring counties, Gardner, D, said. Frederick County is house to roughly 1,300 farms, In all probability the most of any county in Maryland.
“All of us know that sharing space and gear Could make An limitless distinction for operations making an try to convey new merchandise to market,” Gardner said. “With the extreme value of processing gear, it simply Is sensible To Do this strategy to assist our agricultural group.”
The idea for an agricultural innovation center Isn’t distinctive to Frederick County, Gardner said.
A Regional Agriculture Center in St. Mary’s County will serve 5 counties in southern Maryland when It is accomplished by The prime of 2023, Based mostly on the Southern Maryland Agricultural Enchancment Fee.
By way of The subsequent yr, contractors will conduct a feasibility research To Search out out if Frederick County farmers want and would revenue from an agriculture innovation center, and, In that case, the place it Ought to be.
To conduct the feasibility research, the county has contracted:
• the financial development and exact property consulting agency HR&A Advisors, which has an office in Washington, D.C.
• Anne Arundel County-based ACDS LLC, which leads rural financial development tasks internationally
• Chicago-based Epstein and Sons Worldwide Inc., an engineering, structure and development agency Which will oversee website selection.
The yrlong feasibility research will start June 1 with a shopper survey and a collection of focus group conferences with organizations Inside the county’s farming group, collectively with the Frederick County Farm Bureau, the county’s Agriculture Enterprise Council and craft beverage producers, As properly as to native farmers and producers.
The contractors will finally advocate to the county’s Office of Economic Enchancment The Sort of center Which might convey In all probability the most financial revenue to the county, potential web websites and An in depth Advertising method for assisting the center, said Katie Stevens, affiliate director of Agriculture Enterprise Enchancment Inside the Frederick County Office of Economic Enchancment.
The center might finally include a Industry kitchen space, chilly and dry storage spaces, and packaging and distribution gear, amongst completely diffelease makes use of, Gardner said.
“The demand for butchering providers has elevated significantly over the previous two yrs, and the 4 meat processors in Frederick County are booked properly into 2023,” Gardner said. “So a shared facility might assist meet this demand.”
Adjust to Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan