WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced $50,000 in federal funding for the Western Maryland Resources Conservation & Development Council to establish a feasibility study on the industrial hemp processing industry. Funding comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and will benefit 100 businesses in the Western Maryland region.
“The recent congressional approval of the hemp industry provides new opportunities and stimulus to the economy of Western Maryland. This federal funding will support job growth in the agriculture sector and new developments in sustainable farming,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “I will work to secure additional funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission’s important efforts to strengthen the Western Maryland economy.”
“Investing in Maryland agriculture is crucial to our economic success, and that includes supporting new, emerging opportunities for our farmers and business owners. The feasibility study will tell us more about the new hemp processing industry and its potential to drive economic growth in Western Maryland. We will continue working to bring federal funding to innovative projects like this which help us provide new opportunities to Maryland businesses,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations and Environment and Public Works Committees.
“Right now, we need to be looking for ways to revitalize and grow Western Maryland’s agricultural sector, and this funding is critical in that effort,” said Congressman Trone. “The federally-funded study will bring the possibility of new jobs in a growing industry, and I look forward to seeing the impact on our community.”
“Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council is pleased to have received funding from ARC to conduct this project which will focus on examining the feasibility of establishing a processing facility for industrial hemp to serve western Maryland, south-central Pennsylvania and the northeast West Virginia region, providing increased educational outreach to local farmers, and offering guidance on possible strategies for moving forward with the development of such a facility. We’d like to thank our partners who will be cooperating to lead and support this project, including University of Maryland Extension, Garrett County Department of Economic Development, Mountain Maryland Hemp Alliance, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Penn State Extension, and several others,” said Josh Smith, Executive Director, Western Maryland RC&D Council.
The ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local governments. Established by Congress in 1965, ARC is comprised of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the President. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.