Have problems with trespassers? Do nonfarm neighbors complain about foul odors? Have you ever been threatened with a lawsuit because of your neighbors? Are you being blamed for causing traffic congestion? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. Conflicts between farmers and their non-farm neighbors are on the increase. Especially in Maryland, which ranks fifth among the 50 states in population density.
There are many ideas that come to mind when imagining a rural community—quaint towns, expansive cropland, and cattle contentedly grazing. But at times living in a rural community is not always as picturesque or convenient. This can be due to services that may or may not be available, industry in the area, and transportation. In rural communities one of the largest and most important industries is agriculture.
Services and jobs in the service sectors are booming in the United States. According to United States Department of Labor statistics, the long-term shift from goods-producing to service providing employment is expected to continue with projected growth in education, health, professional and business services exceeding 30% annually through 2012.
I get lots questions about how to market food and farm products but, the question that always seems to linger unsaid is “How do I get started?” Whether it’s launching an enterprise, getting the training needed to become a successful food entrepreneur, putting together a multi-component marketing plan, or just deciding what to produce, we all seem to struggle with a “starting point”. When tackling a venture of any kind, “we just don’t know, what we don’t know.”
Farmers’ markets (FMs) could be considered the original flag bearer of the local foods movement. They represent one avenue in addressing customer demand for “locally grown” and provide a means for farmers to capture 100% of the customer dollar. FMs may also increase customer loyalty and create noneconomic benefits and ties between farmers, consumers, and communities.
The Agriculture and Food Systems (AgFS) Program Winter Meetings have been completed. Each meeting was four hours long to provide continuing education credits for agronomy, forage, fruit, and vegetable producers.
The University of Maryland Agriculture and Food Systems (AgFS) Extension Program serves the leading private industry in the state. In 2017, the market value of Maryland crops and livestock sold exceeded $2.4 billion and contributed $8.25 billion to the Maryland economy.
The MidAtlantic Women in Agriculture program engages, educates, and empowers women on common issues in risk management. Farming is a unique business that has strong ties to family, values, and land. These strong ties lead to the need for outreach and education on risk management topics such as financial planning, estate planning, marketing, communication, computer programs, budgeting, insurance, and much more. As profit margins slim and expenses rise the
importance of mitigating these risks has increased.