Howard County Economic Development Authority to sponsor Business Development Forum for Farmers. Business plans, grant and loan applications to be discussed.

What do business plans have to do with farming? “Everything,” says Kathy Zimmerman, Agricultural Development Manager for the Howard County Economic Development Authority.

Zimmerman, along with Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation’s Linda Arnold, will co-lead a Business Development Forum for farmers that will provide step-by-step instructions for writing a business plan and then teach them how to use the plan to apply for grants and loans to help them diversify or make changes to their farms. The forum will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m., February 19 at the University of Maryland’s Howard County Extension Office, 3300 North Ridge Road, Suite 240, Ellicott City, MD.

“In the past, farmers could use the proceeds of their farming efforts to make necessary improvements, said Zimmerman. “But farm earnings are not always enough to support a changing farming industry that must accommodate new demands, technologies and requirements. Oftentimes, a solid and well-written business plan is a first step to accessing loans and grants.”

The cost of the Business Development Forum is $35 for an individual farmer or $55 for a couple. The session will also include lunch. The Forum is open to all farmers in Maryland.

For more information about the Business Development Forum, contact Kathy Zimmerman at 410-313-6500 or visit www.hceda.org/farms-agriculture/start-a-new-farm/grants-and-financing.aspx.

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