PRINCESS ANNE, MD- (January 8, 2020)-The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is participating as a partner on two National Institute of Food and Agriculture-USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grants, said Berran Rogers Jr., coordinator, Small Farm Program, UMES Cooperative Extension.

The first is an award of $199,786 for the project, “Chesapeake Grows:  A Regional Approach to new Farmer Success,” with partner Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.  The goal, Rogers said, is “to launch a cross-cutting pilot program aimed at growing and diversifying the new farmer pipeline across the Chesapeake region and to improve new operations’ long-term viability.”

Chesapeake Grows is a one-year pilot program that will enable a collaboration of seven partners to trial, evaluate and refine new region-wide programming and networking opportunities for beginning farmers.  UMES’ role, he said, is to “further FHCASA’s capacity to promote and deliver education programs throughout Delmarva; to recruit and provide outreach opportunities for socially disadvantaged, limited resource and beginning farmers to participate; and to develop and host beginning farmer training opportunities at the UMES demonstration farm.”

UMES is partnering with Delaware State University on the “Delaware Native American Beginning Farmer Education Initiative,” a grant award of $446,272.  The project aims to make a concerted effort to work with the Native American Indian tribes on Delmarva. 

“DSA will take the lead in developing a comprehensive educational curriculum accompanied by appropriate outreach and training activities that will be an ideal fit for the underserved audiences targeted by this project,” Rogers said.  He will play a key role in working with the project team in developing and administering evaluation instruments to assess overall program impacts.

 “This collaboration will allow us to leverage resources and strengthen our capacity to better serve our farmer clientele,” Rogers said.

Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School  of Agricultural & Natural Sciences, 410-621-3850,

UMES Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, martial or parental status, or national origin.

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