The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland operates its agricultural programs through its Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC).
SMADC is a visionary and guiding force for the new face of food and agriculture in Maryland, helping to steer the existing, natural driving course of agriculture for new and transitioning farmers in MD to be prosperous, viable and sustainable in the new economy. While its primary focus is the five southern Maryland counties of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s, many of its initiatives reach statewide. It is nimble, forward thinking and cutting edge. It is an innovative leading force for Maryland.
SMADC provides vision, support and research in terms of education, grants, marketing and promotion as it incubates new farm and food industries. As new farm economies are being formed, SMADC helps to streamline regulations and reduce obstacles. With Maryland FarmLINK, SMADC is building an on-line farming community to share ideas, announce training opportunities, provide resources, and be a source for selling, leasing, and or farming land in the state.
SMADC is committed to connecting food, farms and healthy communities. This means keeping our finger on the pulse of the market demands through research and outreach, educating the public about the benefits of healthy, fresh foods grown locally (and how to find it), educating children (especially important with obesity epidemic) about eating healthy and staying active, and improving access and availability of fresh foods to underserved communities while ensuring the economic sustainability our of farms.
SMADCS is equally committed to environmental sustainability. By protecting the land from overdevelopment and attendant problems of pollution, strain on natural resources and disintegration of infrastructure for farmers, SMADC encourages a balance between environmental responsibility and the needs of a growing population.
SMADC has become the home of farm innovation in Southern Maryland—a place where farmers are working together to maintain a farming future without tobacco. It hasn’t been easy, but the SMADC Board and its staff have taken on all challenges. SMADC has been dispersing the tobacco buyout monies in a structured, equitable fashion to all buyout participants, developing a regional plan for diversification, providing grants and training, and providing funding for land preservation.
At SMADC, we are helping farmers to help themselves in creating a sustainable future and helping the public to understand the importance of local farms to our overall economy.
The goals of SMADC are:
- a market-driven and sustainable farming future,
- a Maryland where farmland preservation and environmental stewardship positively impact the quality of our air and water, and
- cultivating awareness among consumers and leaders of the vital role our farms play in a balanced community, safe, nutritious food and a cleaner and healthier environment.
What is the source of SMADC’s funds?
Maryland was one of 46 states to win the “Master Settlement Agreement” with the major tobacco companies in 1998. Maryland put its 25 year, $4.5 – $9 billion share of the settlement into a “Cigarette Restitution Fund,” of which five percent goes to support Southern Maryland’s Regional Strategy for Agriculture, with an emphasis on finding alternatives to tobacco. The funds are annually appropriated through the Maryland Department of Agriculture to the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland for SMADC programs. SMADC also seeks to secure grant funding and raise capital through sales of ads.
How is SMADC managed?
SMADC, established in 2000 by the Governor’s Task Force, has an executive director and staff who report to the full commission and the executive board of directors for the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland. The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, is “a tax-exempt public body corporate and politic which operates as a cooperative planning and development agency within the area to foster the physical, economic and social development of the area and utilizes effectively the assistance provided by the State.”
How is SMADC structured?
SMADC members come from a broad spectrum of the community, including elected state and local officials, farmers, county government, economic development, land planning and zoning officials, chambers of commerce, tourism, the College of Southern Maryland, and the state departments of Agriculture, Business and Economic Development, and University of Maryland Extension. [see commission structure and current members HERE.]