Business, Health, Politics

Olszewski announces grants to support Baltimore County-based farms in pandemic-related recovery efforts

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TOWSON, MD—County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Monday announced the availability of $500,000 in grant funding for Baltimore County-based farms impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants, made possible through the County’s allocation of American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds, will assist with managing ongoing production challenges and offsetting the negative impacts of the pandemic.

“The importance of Baltimore County’s farms – and farmers – cannot be overstated, and we are committed to ensuring they have the resources necessary to not only recover from the long-term effects of the pandemic, but to thrive for generations to come,” said County Executive Olszewski on Monday. “Our agricultural industry is critical to our economy, preserves open space, and ensures food security for residents, which is why we are so committed to supporting and investing in this rich rural legacy.”

The application and full information about the grants are available on Baltimore County’s ARPA webpage. Baltimore County is partnering with the University of Maryland Extension Baltimore County Extension Advisory Council to administer these funds.

A farm or producer is eligible if:

  • The farm has a physical location/address in Baltimore County;
  • The farm or producer is in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service, the State of Maryland and Baltimore County Government;
  • The farm or producer is in compliance with federal, state and local human rights laws;
  • The farm or producer has fewer than 500 employees and is considered a small business as defined by section three of the Small Business Act;
  • The farm or producer earned the majority of its gross income from farming in 2020 and 2021.

Grantees will receive $5,000 to support their farm business in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which must be used by December 31, 2024. Allowable expenditures include personnel costs, rent or mortgage and associated costs, personal protective equipment and health and safety measures, equipment and supplies, and goods and services necessary for the operation of a farm.

“During the pandemic, many Baltimore County residents found themselves relying on local farmers to directly source food,” said Baltimore County Extension Advisory Council President Jo-Ann Chason. “Our county farmers remained steadfast in their commitment of growing quality, nutritious and safe food while adapting their business model to fit the times. The Baltimore County Extension Advisory Council is pleased to partner with Baltimore County to distribute funds to farmers who were significantly impacted by the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.”

Should the number of qualifying and complete applications received exceeds the amount of grant monies available, funding will be awarded in the order applications were received.

Application submissions will be accepted via email from Monday, March 11, 2024 at 9 a.m. through Friday, March 22, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Baltimore County will host information sessions for those interested in applying for the grants: Thursday, February 8 at 5:30 pm and Monday February 12th at 9:30 a.m. Both sessions will take place at the Baltimore County Agricultural Center, located at 1114 Shawan Rd. in Cockeysville. Additional info sessions and an “open office hours” session will be announced as they become available.

For those unable to attend, video of a session and the presentation will be posted online. Applicants in need of technical assistance are invited to schedule an appointment with University of Maryland Extension, Baltimore County’s Erika Crowl at 410-887-8090 or [email protected].

Photo via Pixabay

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