Shelley Garrett will serve as director of Agriculture Business Development for the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (Source: AAEDC)

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. has launched the Agricultural Business Improvement Grant program and appointed Shelley Garrett as agriculture business development director.

The ABIG program will provide matching grants of up to $10,000 to farm-based business owners to grow their operations in Anne Arundel County. The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 31, 2024. Details of the program include:

● Applicants must own and operate a farm in Anne Arundel County and must submit a letter of reference from Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District, University of Maryland Extension, Anne Arundel County Farm Bureau or 4-H/FFA Leader.

● Examples of eligible projects include fencing, livestock, plant stock, equipment and infrastructure upgrades. Administrative expenses, events and décor are not eligible for funding.

● Each grant application will be numerically scored based on its impact to increase revenue, increase or retain employees, expand operations or increase efficiency, increase local-grown food supply or provide agricultural education opportunities.
● A grant awardee must contribute 50% of his or her own money to the project, and matching funds may not include labor or state and federal grants or cost share. Proof of completion of the project is due within the year of the grant award.

Garrett joins the AAEDC after more than a decade at the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District. She holds a B.S. in Agriculture Sciences and Technology from the University of Maryland; and an M.S. in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland, University College.

In addition to managing ABIG, she will manage AAEDC’s Equipment Rental Program, Ag Scrap Tire Program, Agricultural Education programs and Rockhold Creek Barn Project. She will also assist with Arundel Ag events, marketing and promoting Anne Arundel County farms and farmers’ markets, and advocating for policies that support the agricultural economy.

For more information and the application for ABIG visit www.aaedc.org/agriculture/agricultural-business-assistance/abig.