Shelby Watson-Hampton Brings Deep Agricultural Background to Chesapeake Agricultural Innovation Center

by Muphen R. Whitney


Growing up on her family farm in Southern Maryland ignited Shelby Watson-Hampton’s lifelong love of – and involvement in – all things agricultural. She brings this wealth of farming and agricultural experience to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) where she is entering her fifth year as SMADC’s Director.

Recently Shelby Watson-Hampton was invited to serve on the Advisory Board of the Chesapeake Agricultural Innovation Center (CAIC) where her experience and knowledge will benefit value-added producers throughout Maryland and Delaware.

“Innovation has long been a core component of SMADC,” Watson-Hampton said recently. “We have a 20-year history of promoting farmers in Southern Maryland and beyond.”

Based in Hughesville (Charles County), SMADC was formed as part of the State’s Cigarette Restitution Fund Program to help farmers in five Southern Maryland counties and beyond make the transition from growing tobacco to engaging in market-driven non-tobacco farming.

“We have many programs of our own, and we partner with other State agencies to provide resources and innovative tools that help farmers connect with the marketplace,” Watson-Hampton explains.

Shelby-Hampton is committed to ensuring that her Advisory Board duties include making CAIC’s value-added producers aware of the many programs and resources offered by SMADC.

“I firmly believe that a rising tide carries all boats, and I know that CAIC will be on the ever-evolving forefront of supporting value-added producers in their efforts to be viable and profitable,” she says. “CAIC will provide the mentoring, programs, and other resources to help its constituents make the best use of the technology that they need to be successful in their agricultural and business endeavors.”




The CAIC Board of Directors is made up of people chosen for their dedication to agriculture innovation in Maryland and Delaware. The Board Members plan CAIC’s activities that will  establish the services that the Center will provide for its constituency. These programs include enhancing innovation and technology use in the agriculture and aquaculture industries in Maryland and Delaware. In addition to Watson-Hampton, Advisory Board members are Nikko Brady, Delaware Department of Agriculture; Charlotte Davis, Maryland Department of Agriculture; Holly Porter, Delmarva Chicken Association; Andrew Rose, MidAtlantic Farm Credit; Lindsay Thompson, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board; John Torres, Maryland Farm Bureau; Donald Webster, Maryland Aquaculture Coordinating Council; Richard Wilkins, Delaware Farm Bureau; and Roxanne Wolf, Shore Gourmet.



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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.