MARBIDCO Has the Answers to Financing for Farmers and Other Value-Added Producers

by Muphen R. Whitney


The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation, better known as MARBIDCO, has answers for the second-most significant barrier to entry facing new farmers and other value-added producers. The biggest problem these people face is having access to farmland. Once they have solved that problem their next step generally should be to head to MARBIDCO.ORG for assistance in financing farmland and in securing capital and credit for other needs.

“We are here to help with farmland acquisition and on-farm value added processing projects,” explains MARBIDCO Executive Director Steve McHenry. “Our assistance is particularly important for young and beginning farmers, such as those who participate in Chesapeake Agricultural Innovation Center programs.”

The financial help that MARBIDCO offers comes in the form of loans or grant incentive programs. In FY 2020, MARBIDCO approved 25 loans with a total value of approximately $3.1 million. The organization also aided 12 farmers purchase $3.3 million worth of farmland. During the same period MARBIDCO participated in dozens of regional, State, and federal cost-sharing or matching fund grant programs.

Loans can cover land purchase, working capital, and facility and equipment acquisition. The loan programs generally benefit beginning farmers and value-added producers. MARBIDCO’s grant incentive programs require matching funds, so they generally are of greater benefit to more established producers.

Steve McHenry is thoroughly familiar with all MARBIDCO programs having served as MARBIDCO’s top staff member since the organization’s founding 14 years ago. His advice is very valuable to those seeking MARBIDCO’s assistance.

“My best advice for those seeking grants or loans from MARBIDCO is to have a well-thought-out written business plan,” says McHenry. “You need to know your business inside and out — what you want to produce, what the market is for your product, what price you can charge, and all the regulations you have to comply with.

“Do your homework and research everything you can. When you come to us, know the requirements of the program you want to participate in, and make sure you meet them.”




About CAIC: The Chesapeake Agricultural Innovation Center (CAIC) was established in late 2020 as a new program of the F3 Tech Initiative of the Eastern Shore Entrepreneur Center. This initiative’s mission is to expand F3 Tech’s focus on food technology. CAIC is funded by a two-year, $470,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About ESEC: The Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, with a mission to educate and support entrepreneurs. Its initiatives include F3 Tech, a program that focuses on bringing technology solutions to the Farm, Fish, and Food industries.


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Mini-Grants up to $5,000 are available for:
– Market Research and Validation of Target Market
– Customer Acquisition
– Product Development Initiatives
– Food Safety Classes
Value-added producers and companies with traction ($20,000 or more in yearly revenue) in Maryland and Delaware are eligible to apply for Mini-Grants. Participants may apply once for each of the categories. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a unique and differentiated product or service that incorporates an aspect of innovation or technology in its production, processing, distribution, or other element of the food supply system.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Award decisions will be made and funds will be available no later than three weeks following the receipt of a completed application.
Application Process
Applicants must submit Mini-Grant proposals by filling out the form at this link. Copy(ies) of quote(s), proposal(s), estimate(s), or any other supporting documents.


CAIC offers access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who can offer authoritative advice based on their deep knowledge and experience in a specific area. See the ADVISORS page of this Web site to learn more about the SMEs who are available to CAIC participants.

Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, October 20th; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Course Description: This presentation discusses strategies for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) growth via marketing and sales. The presentation focuses on each company’s plans to diversify its revenue streams by using e-commerce, exporting, and overall customer acquisition tactics to support and enhance brand awareness.
Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: There are no prerequisites for this Virtual Presentation.
Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: Attendees need to have a product-based business; this is not suited for technology and/or app companies.