Dorchester business/ag update

Posted 8/9/23

Wicomico County Fair

The Wicomico Farm & Home Show and Wicomico County last week announced the return of the Wicomico County Fair, set for Aug. 18-20 at WinterPlace Park in Salisbury. The …

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Dorchester business/ag update

Wicomico County Fair

The Wicomico Farm & Home Show and Wicomico County last week announced the return of the Wicomico County Fair, set for Aug. 18-20 at WinterPlace Park in Salisbury. The fair serves to showcase the importance of agriculture on the shore in a family-friendly atmosphere.

The premium book for 4-H and FFA competitions is posted online at Hard copies are available at Farmers & Planters Too, Johnson's Seed & Feed, Bryan & Brittingham, University of Maryland Extension and the Wicomico Civic Center. Categories include cooking, gardening, woodworking, the arts, livestock, agriculture and more. Entries must be registered by Aug. 7.

Returning fair events include the Maryland High School Rodeo; Mason Dixon Deputies Mounted Shooters; livestock shows; watermelon, pie and hot wing eating contests; petting farm; car and Jeep shows; fair queen pageant; rodeo games; pony rides; Hebron Train Depot rides; inflatables; axe throwing; and fireworks on Friday.

New attractions include demonstrations from Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs; duck races; and the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Unit on Saturday.

Admission and parking at the fair are free. For more information, visit

Childcare funds

Governor Wes Moore on July 11 announced that 67 childcare facilities have been awarded a total of $11.5 million through the inaugural round of the Child Care Capital Support Revolving Loan Fund, administered through the Maryland Department of Commerce in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education.

The fund, created during the 2022 General Assembly, offers no-interest loans for capital expenses to childcare providers who are licensed and participate in Maryland State Department of Education’s Child Care Scholarship Program.

To qualify, a childcare provider must be licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education and participate in the Child Care Scholarship Program. Funding may only be used for capital expenses related to a childcare facility and includes the purchase of an existing facility or construction of a new facility, as well as expansion or renovation of an existing facility. The loan cannot be used for working capital or operational expenses. 

State gains food delivery company

Governor Wes Moore on July 13 announced that Vegetable and Butcher, a subscription-based food delivery service, is relocating its headquarters to Maryland. The company is moving from Washington, D.C., to a 32,000-square-foot Class A industrial space at 6001 Fallard Drive in Upper Marlboro.

Formed in 2016, Vegetable and Butcher delivers ready-to-eat meals to approximately 150 zip codes in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company offers two types of chef-inspired meals – plant-based or with animal protein – and are always dairy and gluten-free.

Since its launch, the company has delivered more than 1 million meals to people in the area and currently donates hundreds of meals each week to assist those in need. Vegetable and Butcher currently employs 56 workers and plans to create an additional 184 full-time jobs over the next three years.

Banfield Pet Hospital

Miller Commercial Real Estate senior advisor Tonney Insley and managing director Brent Miller brokered the long-term lease of 4,000 square feet at 2320 N Salisbury Blvd. in Salisbury (the former Pier 1 Imports).

The deal will see Banfield Pet Hospital, which was represented by Angie Trosper of CBRE, in their new space by the end of the summer. Banfield will continue to operate out of the Salisbury PetSmart until they make their transition.

Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1955, Banfield is now the leading provider of preventive veterinary care in the U.S. with more than 1,000 hospitals in neighborhoods across the country and Puerto Rico and 3,600 veterinarians. In 2007, Banfield joined the Mars, Inc. family of businesses.

The introduction of Banfield to the former Pier 1 property leaves 4,960 square feet of rentable space.

Payments Modernization Act

On July 18, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) reintroduced the Payments Modernization Act, legislation to make Americans’ funds deposited in their bank accounts immediately available for withdrawal.

Right now, Americans lose billions of dollars each year in overdraft fees, driving consumers to turn to more costly financial products because of inefficient payments system. By updating the Expedited Funds Availability Act and requiring financial institutions to recognize funds in real time, this bill will continue the progress on this issue that started with the implementation of FedNow – the Federal Reserve’s real time payments system – by further improving American consumers’ access to their money.

Sen. Van Hollen and Congresswoman Pressley initially introduced this bill in July 2019 and have since updated it following the Fed’s progress on developing FedNow.

Nutrient management

The Maryland Department of Agriculture held a much-anticipated nutrient management plan writing summit July 17 at Anne Arundel Community College to present the overview of the re-imagined and improved nutrient management program.

Following a June 1 announcement by MDA of changes to the way plans are written as well as listening sessions held throughout the state in the weeks following, MDA and the University of Maryland have made the joint decision to reevaluate and reframe how the program is managed. Farmer and industry input contributed greatly to this decision.   

During the July 17 summit, MDA shared goals and objectives including:

  • Evolving the nutrient management plan model through industry input to adapt to modern farming practices and operations;
  • Improving the plan writing process through cost-free plans available to farmers;
  • Grow and support plan writers by increasing the emphasis on the Farmer Training Certification Program; 
  • Incentivize individuals and organizations to offer plan writing services throughout the state; and
  • UME will remain engaged in this program by continuing to offer free nutrient management plan support as in the past.
Willow gives to hospital

Willow Construction LLC recently made gifts totaling $2,000 to UM Memorial Hospital Foundation in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary. The gifts are designated to benefit patient care programs at the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center and the Cancer Center at UM Shore Regional Health.

Other donations, made in June, included the Avalon Foundation’s Mortgage Lifter Program, as well as the Cancer Center and the Breast Center

Caring for small businesses

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, praised Senate approval of key contracting provisions that will bolster small businesses in Maryland and nationwide as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 (NDAA).

Thanks to an amendment Senator Cardin authored, the bill increases the size of defense contracts available to firms that are socially and economically disadvantaged; certified to be owned by women, veterans or service-disabled veterans; or located in HUBZones.

His NDAA amendment also ensures that contract size limits are raised every five years to reflect inflation. Once enacted into law, new thresholds would rise from $4.5 million to $8 million for non-manufacturing contracts and $7 million to $10 million for manufacturing contracts.

Chesapeake National Recreation Area

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman John Sarbanes (both D-Md.) introduced their bipartisan, bicameral legislation to create a unified Chesapeake National Recreation Area.

The bill proposes to unite a series of voluntarily contributed park areas and iconic Bay properties under the operation of the National Park Service in order to provide more federal resources for environmental conservation, celebrate the Chesapeake’s diverse cultural and economic history, foster sustainable and equitable access to the Bay, and spur economic growth in the watershed region.

State Fair

Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society, Inc. General Manager D. Andrew “Andy” Cashman has announced the addition of part-time agriculture educator Kelly Garvick to the Maryland State Fair team.

Garvick brings almost three decades of experience as a special educator in the Carroll County Public School System to the Maryland State Fair. She is a Maryland Certified special education teacher with two master equivalencies, one in curriculum and instruction and one in general studies.

The Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society was incorporated in 1878. The first Maryland State Fair, located at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County, took place September 1879 when a group of farmers held a four-day event designed to promote agriculture and horse racing in Baltimore County.

Heading into its 142nd year, the Maryland State Fair attracts over a half million visitors each year, with approximately 1.5 million additional guests visiting the fairgrounds throughout the remainder of the year.

Home repair

Governor Wes Moore on July 25 announced $4 million in grants to six jurisdictions for repairs that will enable nearly 300 homes to proceed with comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits. The funds will be deployed through a new pilot program that integrates the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s energy efficiency programs and rehabilitation programs, providing the repairs necessary to proceed with upgrades for homes deferred for health and safety reasons. 

Through the program, the department will increase the number of homes across the state that are eligible for assistance through its energy efficiency programs. Currently, 38 percent of Maryland homes assessed for energy efficiency improvements are deferred for health and safety reasons that cannot be addressed with funding from the department’s energy programs. Jurisdictions receiving awards include Allegany, Garrett, Howard and St. Mary’s counties; the city of Frederick; and the city of Baltimore.

Van Hollen on offshore wind map

On Friday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding the new offshore wind Bureau of Ocean Energy Management map and the development of offshore wind off the coast of Maryland.

“Meeting Maryland’s offshore wind energy targets is one of our top clean-energy priorities. Not only will these targets ensure Maryland is leading the way in the clean energy transition – they are also central to creating good-paying, union jobs and revitalizing local manufacturing. That’s why earlier this week I held a call with key Administration officials to emphasize the importance of this goal and the need to ensure the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management leasing process allows us to meet Maryland’s targets. As this process moves forward, I will keep working closely with the White House and relevant agencies to ensure Maryland can meet its offshore wind targets.”

Lierman: Tax-Free Week, Aug. 13-19

Comptroller Brooke Lierman has announced that Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week will return Sunday, Aug. 13, to Saturday, Aug. 19, with significant savings for consumers, especially parents doing back-to-school shopping, and a much-needed sales boost for retailers.

During the week, any single qualifying article of clothing or footwear priced $100 or less – regardless of how many items are purchased in the same transaction – will be exempt from the state's 6% sales tax. The first $40 of any backpack purchase is also tax free. Although commonly associated with back-to-school shopping, Comptroller Lierman reminds Marylanders that the tax-free savings apply to shoppers of all ages.

For more information about Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week, visit the Comptroller’s website at for a list of tax-exempt items, frequently asked questions, and valuable facts for shoppers and merchants.

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