Grow & Fortify has released the first economic study of Value-Added Agriculture in Maryland. This report directly incorporates results compiled from the Baltimore Metropolitan Council Value-Added Agriculture Report & Recommendations, data from the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) of Salisbury University, Maryland, and the newly released 2017 USDA Agricultural Census. Read more.
We’ve developed a page for members of our craft beverage industry, including the latest news, state and federal resources related to COVID-19. READ MORE.
Kelly Dudeck has been appointed to the Maryland Agriculture Commission to represent the agritourism industry. Dudeck is chief strategy officer at Grow & Fortify, and has deep agricultural, preservation and economic development experience.
Agritourism is one of the fastest growing, most innovative, and most creative industries in agriculture today. It encompasses diverse activities, from pick-your-owns farms to on-farm tasting rooms.
About Kelly Dudeck
Dudeck has spent over a decade working in either agricultural policy, land preservation or local food systems. She was Howard County’s first Food Policy Director, making huge strides from food and farmers. Before that, she was the Executive Director of the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council and prior to that Dudeck served as Director of Rural Lands at 1000 Friends of Maryland, where she administered the Keep Farmers Farming campaign, as well as the Partners for Open Space coalition. She has also worked for the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Baltimore County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program. In addition to serving on the Rural Legacy Advisory Board, the Partners for Open Space Executive Committee, and the Maryland Food Policy Blueprint Advisory Committee, Kelly is also a LEAD Class VII alumni.
And now for a positive tax-related story: the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation has updated its policy to consider commercial apiaries as agriculture, allowing commercial beekeepers’ land to earn an agricultural assessment.
Beekeeping is not only of vital benefit to agricultural production via pollination, but is it an incredible segment of agriculture in its own right. From apiaries can come many farm-based products, from honey to mead (delicious and historic honey-based wine).
A big thanks to the Montgomery County Office of Agricultural Services, Agricultural Land Preservation Program, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and, of course, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation for supporting this advancement.
For many farmers, producing crops or meat comes more naturally than selling their wares.
But for direct-marketing farmers, interpersonal and even artistic skills can be keys to success. Over 150 people came from around Maryland to the first Southern Maryland Agricultural Marketing Conference on Nov. 15 at the College of Southern Maryland Prince Frederick Campus.
“The conference’s focus on marketing brought incredible knowledge and value to the industry,” said Kevin Atticks, founder of local agritourism and value-added consulting firm Grow & Fortify.
The Spotted Lanterfly has been detected in Maryland and it’s up to the agricultural community to identify, report and help manage the threat it imposes on grapes, hops and a variety of specialty crops. Learn more on our webinar.
Grow & Fortify is hiring interns! We aim to cultivate an environment where value-added agricultural producers, operators and growers innovate and thrive. Our clients include the Maryland Wineries Association, Brewers Association of Maryland, Maryland Distillers Guild, Maryland Industrial Hemp Coalition, as well as and other value-added agricultural producers. We offer internships to students who are currently enrolled in college, and able to receive credit for the internship.
Join Kevin Atticks and Janna Howley for a seminar to discuss starting a brewery, cidery, meadery, winery or distillery in Maryland. Kevin serves as Executive Director of the Brewers Association of Maryland, Maryland Wineries Association & the Maryland Distillers Guild. Janna is the Director of Operations for Grow & Fortify.
Included in the discussion:
- Planning & Zoning
- County or City Permitting
- Federal, State & Local Alcohol Licensing
- Sourcing or Growing Local Agricultural Inputs
- Marketing & Sales Opportunities
- Legislation & Industry Efforts
Light snacks and beverage will be available.
Grow & Fortify Founder & CEO Kevin Atticks recently announced staff promotions. “We have an incredibly talented team, and they are working wonders for our company and our clients,” said Atticks.
Janna Howley has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer, Kelly Dudeck has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, and Abby Casarella has been promoted to Director of Events.
In highlighting some of their successes, Atticks noted the diverse responsibilities of the team.
Casarella has managed over 20 events across the state for Grow & Fortify and its clients, which range from intimate, upscale gatherings to large outdoor festivals with thousands of attendees. “Abby has created incredible events that benefit our clients and provide engaging consumer experiences,” Atticks said.
Dudeck produced the Grow & Fortify Summit in December, which brought together 200 agricultural professionals and entrepreneurs for learning and networking. “Kelly is a master of composing compelling results from complex projects, including multi-industry conferences and publications,” Atticks said.
In addition to managing the company’s finances, administrative and compliance functions, Howley supports startup value-added agricultural businesses by walking them through the licensing and permitting process. “With Janna, we have a top-level controller for our company, and staunch advocate for entrepreneurs in the startup phase,” Atticks said.
Jim Bauckman is the newest member of the team, managing all marketing, promotions and communications for Grow & Fortify and its clients.
“I am impressed with what our small team has accomplished, and look forward to their incredible achievements in 2019,” Atticks said.
Grow & Fortify is celebrating its fifth anniversary this January.
Over 240 farmers, regulators, new entrants and agency representatives gathered for the 2018 Grow & Fortify Summit, held December 6 at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club conference center.
“The collective expertise of the speakers and panelists provided an incredible resource to the value-added agricultural industry,” said Kevin Atticks, Founder & CEO of Grow & Fortify.
Attendees heard from farmers, researchers, attorneys and more.
Memo Diriker, director of BEACON at Salisbury University, previewed the state’s first study assessing the impact of value-added agriculture. His research shows a value-added agriculture has an estimated $20.6 billion in economic impact, accounting for over 77,000 jobs.
A highlight of the event was AgPitch, a Shark Tank-style competition, sponsored by MidAtlantic Farm Credit. MADTECH Drones took home the prize, $7,500 in cash.
The Summit was organized by Kelly Dudeck, Grow & Fortify’s director of strategy, with the support of an industry advisory committee. Rural Maryland Council and MidAtlantic Farm Credit partnered to produce the Summit, and over a dozen industry organizations sponsored the event.