Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commision Introduces Farmer Mini Grant Program

July 6, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus affecting all aspects of life, and certain agriculture/farm businesses severely, the SMADC board has committed a round of the Southern Maryland Farmer Mini-Grants specifically for pandemic relief. SMADC will begin accepting Mini-Grant applications on July 1, 2020. The Pandemic Relief Mini-Grant cycle will close on July 22, 2020, with awards announced by August 2020.

This mini-grant round is designed to support established farms that have been financially adversely affected by the onset of the pandemic and are at risk for being unable to pay bills and maintain an adequate standard of living and care for their farm operations, and/or those who have financial needs concerning pivoting their business models to effectively serve their customers safely and to implement state-recommended COVID-19 safety protocols and social distancing guidelines.

To address the current need and where possible minimize financial burden, the grant parameters (for this mini-grant cycle only) include extensive changes and restrictions. Matching funds will not be required, and allowable expenses incurred since April 1, 2020 on will be considered. A total of $27,000 of funding is available. Applicants may request up to $2,000 per application. However, it is anticipated that the number of applicants may exceed the amount of funding available, therefore grant applications will be ranked and awards may be less than the requested amount.

Applicants may apply for grant funds for equipment that help farm businesses transition to an online or alternative sales strategy and other projects that maintain or expand sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, including on-farm upgrades to meet state COVID-19 standards for safety and social distancing, on-farm upgrades to enhance food safety per compliance with the Food SafetyModernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule, and marketing and promotion of current farm operation. Additionally, grant funds may be used for purchase of foundation livestock, purchase of plant stock, veterinary bills, livestock feed, seeds, fertilizer, and equipment parts for farm machinery repair.

Please read the Criteria and Guidelines carefully before applying.

Additional Resources

A draft outline of the Mini Grant application and required budget template is included for prospective applicants to prepare their submission:

Pandemic Mini Grant Application Outline – PDF
Pandemic Mini-Grant Budget Template (Excel Sheet)


Please note: One letter of reference from your county’s Soil Conservation District, Farm Bureau, University of Maryland Extension or Economic Development Office, specific to your project is strongly recommended.