Press Release

July 6, 2011

WASHINGTON D.C – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the Rural Business Enterprise has awarded two grants totaling $252,350 to projects in Somerset and Talbot counties in Maryland.  Maryland Hawk Corporation Inc. received a grant that will help fund the purchase of equipment that will be leased to local farmers in Somerset County.  The Mid- Shore Regional Council received a grant to diversify regional value added products and assist small food businesses in Talbot County.

“Growing our local economy on the Eastern Shore by helping local farmers succeed is at the heart of this federal grant to the Maryland Hawk Corporation,” said Senator Cardin.  “I am proud to support USDA Rural Development grants like these that strengthen local opportunities and help create quality jobs.”

“This is about jobs, jobs, jobs,” Senator Mikulski said. “These farms and small businesses are a key part of the community. I will keep fighting for federal grant programs like this one, which leverage federal funds the communities that need it most and bring jobs to Maryland’s Eastern Shore.”

Maryland Hawk Corporation Inc. which is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the University of Maryland, will use its $173,550 Rural Business Enterprise grant to purchase equipment that will be leased to local farmers and will foster new opportunities for businesses by providing the necessary resources to generate byproducts. For example, the equipment provided by Maryland Hawk will use tomatoes that could not be sold in local markets to produce secondary products like tomato paste that will create more revenue for farmers.  The grant will also support the USDA initiative “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.”  The initiative seeks to create new economic opportunities, promote local and regional food systems that help keep wealth in rural communities, and encourage a national conversation about what we eat and where it comes from in order to benefit producers of all sizes.

The Mid- Shore Regional Council (MSRC) will use its $78,800 Rural Business Enterprise grant to extend assistance to start, grow and diversify regional, value-added food products. MSRC assists with economic and business development and will support marketing and sales, business consultation and active campaign strategies. It will also provide assistance to other small and start up food businesses in the region.

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