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Vol. 12 No. 3

A Small University Helps Small Farms, Addresses Big Problems

  • Daniel S. Kuennen
  • Ronald G. Forsythe, Jr.
  • Will Bullock
July 23, 2010


Farmers Access to Regional Markets (FARMS) is an agricultural supply chain model developed by the Rural Development Center (RDC) at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). It addresses universal problems facing small farmers around the world, particularly those associated with business risk, and it leverages market forces to not only address these problems but also create a sustainable economic engine that encourages investment and drives growth. The model is termed a “network.” It is predicated on four components: appropriate greenhouse technology, an agribusiness with expertise in growing, a strong market, and market demand. By developing partnerships with the public and private sectors to identify and connect these components, the RDC has demonstrated the model’s capacity to provide small produce farmers with access to regional markets, reduce their risk, and increase their profitability.