Intergovernmental Agriculture Commission Talks Agritourism, Milk, Grant Opportunities

Today the Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture (GICA) held its first meeting of 2017. GICA meets twice a year. The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) has a seat on the Commission, currently held by MACo Board Member and Talbot County Councilmember Laura Price.

Kevin Atticks and Kelly Dudeck of Grow and Fortify presented on how counties and the State can promote value-added agriculture, including agritourism, within their jurisdictions. They highlighted 22 recommendations made by the group in a report prepared for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council last year.

State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci reported on inspection guidelines for wedding barns, indicating that he intends to relax enforcement of sprinkler requirements for certain events held in barns.

Kirk Engle, representing the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, discussed how the Department partners with dairy farmers and producers to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. The first thing he advises new contacts, he told the group, is to contact their county planning and zoning office to ensure compliance with county land use laws and policies.

Finally, Rural Maryland Council Executive Director Charlotte Davis presented on grant opportunities through the Council, including the Prosperity Investment Fund, which provides grants to county governments and others for projects which improve quality of life in rural Maryland, including infrastructure development. Proposals are due June 9.

Presentations and minutes from the meeting will be made available on GICA’s website. 

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick attended the meeting.