Pick-Your-Own Consultant

Launched in 2021 and reopening in 2024, this program provides $1,000 grants for farmers to work with the consultant of their choice. The goal of this program is to provide farmers based in rural Maryland with the opportunity to strengthen their business and address challenges with the support of in-depth, free-for-the-farmer consultations with experts. 

All farmers located in rural Maryland counties including Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett,  Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester counties, as well as sections of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Howard Counties are invited to apply. Preference is given to farmers with 6-10 years of experience, Future Harvest members, and historically underserved farmers as defined by the USDA as  Beginning; Socially Disadvantaged; Veterans; and Limited Resource. Only one application per farm will be reviewed

Applicants are required to identify their top two priorities for working with a consultant of their choice – either from our list of consultants or from their own research. Topics farmers have previously requested range from improved marketing plans and financial record keeping systems to creating nutrient management plans and enhanced soil fertility regimes. 

Important dates:

January 17, 2024: Applications open
February 29, 2024: Applications due
March 15, 2024: Awards announced
June 1, 2024: Invoices due

 

Want to be added to our consultant list?

CONSULANTS

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I work with a consultant/advisor who isn’t on the list?

Yes! You’ll just need to include their name and contact information on the application HERE.

$1000 isn’t enough for my needs.

While awards are capped at $1,000, we encourage you to apply to at least offset some of the costs of the services your farm requires.

Will I need to pay the consultant?

Not if your consulting expenses are less than $1,000. If you are selected to be part of this program, we will send additional instructions. The consultant/advisor will invoice Future Harvest, and we’ll handle payment up to $1,000.

Questions? Email Amy Mullan at amymullan@futureharvest.org


OUR CONSULTANTS

Adrienne Granston

Real Estate Agent & Cusheeba Earth Farm

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Ayo Ngozi Drayton

The Creative Root

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Ben Hartman

Clay Bottom Farm

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Caitlin Patton

Caitlin Patton Consulting

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Daniel Sweeney

Seven Springs Farm Supply

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Dr. Marcus Comer

Extension Specialist & Associate Professor at Virginia State University

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Elaine Lemmon

Kitchen Table Consultants

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Ellen Polishuk

Plant to Profit

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Julia Shanks

Julia Shanks Food Consulting

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Liz Reitzig

Nourishing Liberty

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Michelle Elston

Roots Cut Flower Farm

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Patrick Johnson

Diversity Permaculture

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Rich Kolm

Farm Infrastructure Consultant

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T. K. Farris

OurSpace World

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Vanguard Ranch

Gordonsville, VA

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WHAT PARTICIPANTS ARE SAYING

“The Pick-Your-Own-Consultant program was exactly what I needed to get this season off to a great start. It motivated me to really focus on an issue I have wanted to tackle for years. I feel empowered by the knowledge I gained, and I know the relationship I built with my consultant will continue to serve my farm in the future. The application process was so straightforward, and I loved the flexibility I had to find consulting specific to my farm’s needs.” Kathleen Moss, Foxbriar Farm

“The PYO Consultant program was a game changer for our business. We absolutely would not have the confidence or ability to make a smooth transition to our new farm without our consultant’s help, and we could not have afforded Michelle without the PYO Consultant program.” Laura Beth Resnick, Butterbee Farm

“We had never had a farm consultant before participating in this program and were not sure what it would look like. After a farm visit and several virtual meetings, our consultant helped us think through some big infrastructure and equipment decisions, likely saving us lots of money. She also identified the need for a more rigorous soil nutrient plan. In hindsight, the biggest benefit was having another set of knowledgeable eyes take a look at our work and see areas for improvement that were invisible to us!” Arden Jones, Great Day Gardens

“Liz was very informative and really pushed me to think outside the box! The skills that I learned as a result of her consultation are extremely helpful. The strategies and promotional materials we created will have a lasting positive impact on the CCI farm, community, and our financial sustainability.”  Matthew Williams, Conscious Connections Inc.

“This program will help you and your farm be stronger and improve in ways you didn’t know were possible. The consultants are relatable, friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. Many live and farm nearby so they can relate. I would highly recommend this program.” Jenni Hoover, Serenity Grove Farm

“I hope this program continues and others will get to reap the rewards of talking with Ben and other consultants.” John Minetola, Mise En Place Farm

“What a gift this program is to farmers!  Every farmer would benefit from having a farming consultant.  There is no doubt.  Whether it is year 1 or year 20, farmers are used to adapting and changing and it is so helpful to get perspective from another person.  I highly support funding for this program, so that we can create more sustainable farmers, who can do this for the long haul.” Lee O’Neill, Radical Roots Farm 


 

This material is based upon work supported by Rural Maryland Council 2024 Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund Award