Growing Markets for Maryland Products
By: Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder
At the Maryland Department of Agriculture, we are always looking for new ways to promote local agricultural and seafood products and to open new markets for our farmers and producers — both abroad and right here at home.
Statewide, the Ag Department is working to increase the use of local products served at Maryland institutions through the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program.
This new program makes it easier for buyers from state institutions to identify local sources for produce and other food products.
The program is part of an initiative for state-run institutions, including prisons and public four-year universities, to purchase 20% of their food products from local farmers and producers.
The department is currently accepting applications for qualified farmers interested in participating in the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program. Qualifying farm operations must have a nutrient management plan filed with the department to be eligible.
Farmers will receive notification that their farm is certified once their nutrient management plan is verified.
Once approved, farmers’ contact information, list of products, and certification number will be placed in the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Public Directory for state agencies to access. The Ag Department will ask farmers to update their directory information once a year.
Interested farmers are encouraged to visit the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program webpage at bit.ly/LocalFarmMD for more information and to apply. To request a paper application, contact Karen Fedor at 410-841-5773 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Promoting Maryland Products Internationally
Beyond our borders, the department is working to expand Maryland agricultural and seafood products to new markets overseas.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s International Marketing Program is gearing up for a new initiative with the Southern United States Trade Association to promote Maryland beer, spirits, seafood and other ag products in Canada through a number of marketing and advertising activities.
Several Maryland beer and spirits brands will be strategically advertising to consumers in the Toronto area.
Additionally, Maryland seafood, beer, spirits, and other ag products will be showcased at the Restaurants Canada Show in 2022.
At the show, Maryland’s exhibit will include a cooking demonstration from a Maryland chef that features local products. In conjunction with the show, English and French marketing materials will be created to highlight Maryland products and how they can be used in different recipes.
Lastly, the department will host three Canadian chefs and three Canadian seafood buyers in May 2022 on a trade mission to meet with Maryland seafood suppliers and to tour seafood operations and restaurants. The trade mission will include menu development sessions with Maryland chefs.
These international marketing efforts are intended to drive consumer demand for Maryland’s iconic seafood and agricultural products, and increase exports to Canada.
Whether it is exporting Maryland beer to Toronto or using local products in a university dining hall, the Ag Department is proud to help provide more opportunities for Maryland farmers and producers to grow their businesses.