19th Annual Small Farm Conference
On the 4th and 5th of November, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension held its 2022 Small Farm Conference on its campus in Princess Anne, Md. This annual event targeted participants, in particular, small farm businesses that are interested in a variety of agricultural subjects from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Agriculture-related industries like farming, animal and crop production, food processing, aquaculture, soil science, biotechnology, value-added development, marketing and tourism, and numerous other related types of businesses remain one of the priority industries within Dorchester County and Maryland. The two-day conference included hands-on training on subjects like strategies in controlling wildlife damage, how to cultivate conservation practices, and ways to navigate the regulatory requirements of value-added production in Maryland. There were also several agriculture-related tours provided that included between 30 to 40 attendees per site traveling on buses to the facilities.
One tour visited SunX Analytical, located in the Eastern Shore Innovation Center (ESIC) at the Dorchester Regional Technology Park in Cambridge. SunX Analytical is an industrial hemp processing and testing laboratory that provides technical resources and infrastructure in support of industrial hemp production. A.C. Alrey, business development manager for Dorchester County Economic Development attended a tour of the San Domingo Community in Wicomico County near the town of Mardela. As stated in the program guide, “San Domingo, Maryland, was once a bustling African-American farming community dating back before the Civil War. Today, a small group of family descendants are working hard to preserve what little remains of the settlement, including the history, culture, and self-sufficient farming practices.”
The conference was a huge success and new relationships were developed that will greatly enhance economic development efforts that assist agriculture-related small businesses.