PRINCESS ANNE — Members of the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at UMES want to hear from the public about what educational or business opportunities would be best suited to provide a major economic benefit especially to socially disadvantaged groups (SDGs).
A listening session will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 24 at the Somerset County Civic Center on Crisfield Lane to identify individuals who are interested in developing or expanding a small business through the production and sale of various consumer products to include (but not limited to) goats, sheep, yellow perch, fruits and vegetables.
The ag department and University of Maryland Extension 1890 Program are hosting the program after USDA Rural Development provided a $172,000 grant to Drs. Arthur Allen, Eric May and Berran Rogers to provide technical assistance to SDGs, which in the grant are African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, Asians, women and veterans.
“We are offering a major opportunity that these communities themselves can help us customize according to their needs,” Dr. Allen said. “I’m hoping we will see good numbers for this first listening session and the ones to follow.” Subsequent listening sessions will be held in Wicomico, Dorchester and Accomack counties.
The May 24 workshop will relate to developing business plans, preparing fresh produce and other food products for market, marketing through cooperatives or other joint enterprise approaches, and financing small business. Other workshops will be developed and offered to meet the needs and challenges specific to the community members who attend the listening session.
For more information about or to register (by May 17) for the Somerset County listening session visit www.umes.edu/sans/extension.html or contact Mason King, grant coordinator, at 410-651-6635 or email@example.com or Gail Sykes at 410-651-6625. The event is free and open to the public and dinner and refreshments will be provided to participants who pre-register.