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Milestones

2007

  • MARBIDCO becomes a free-standing organization with its own staff and offices. The RMC’s long-time executive director resigns to head up MARBIDCO. The RMC Board appoints David M. Jenkins, former director of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, as RMC’s third executive director.
  • The RMC Board completes a strategic direction process and updates its strategic plan to reflect a switch in focus from agriculture (which MARBIDCO is now addressing) to improving access to affordable and quality health care in rural communities.
  • The RMC’s Health Care Working Committee testifies before several legislative committees on the results of its statewide pharmacy forums, held over the previous two year, and to emphasize the health care workforce shortage as it relates to rural pharmacists.
  • Two RMC Board members sit on the steering committee which developed the Rural Maryland Health Plan, which DHMH released in June 2007.
  • RMC enters into a partnership with the Department of Aging to aid in its three-year grant to implement the Evidence Based Prevention Program.
  • The RMC provides staff support for the Rural Broadband Coordination Board which was established during the 2006 General Assembly Session and held its first organizational meeting late in 2006. Nearly $4 million is distributed to entities constructing a high speed network on the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland.
  • The Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund awards $252,000 in grants to rural-serving nonprofits. MAERDAF has awarded $1.9 million since 2001.
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation continues funding the Strengthening Rural Maryland Families Direct Service Grant Program for a third year.
  • The tenth annual Maryland Rural Summit is held on Solomons Island.



2006

  • Legislation is enacted (the Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006/House Bill 2) that will provide seed funding of about $50 million in Fiscal Years 2008 – 2020 to the Maryland Agricultural and Resource Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) to promote the viability of Maryland’s agricultural, forestry, and seafood industries and help sustain Maryland’s rural working landscape. The Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program was also authorized in House Bill 2. The RMC had been providing staff support to MARBIDCO since its establishment by the General Assembly in 2004.
  • Legislation establishing the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (Senate Bill 902/House Bill 1487) is enacted.
  • Legislation is enacted (Senate Bill 753) that establishes the Rural Maryland Broadband Coordination Board and provides $10 million over three years to support the construction of a cooperative-based fiber-optic broadband “backbone” in rural areas of the State.
  • The Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF), which the RMC administers with the help of an interagency board, is funded again in the State Budget after a one-year hiatus. MAERDAF receives a record number of grant proposals, of which 25 are funded.
  • The Interagency Technical Assistance Committee on Wastewater Systems in Maryland, chaired by the RMC Executive Director, issues its final report.
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation provides for a second year a sizable grant to the RMC to continue the Strengthening Rural Maryland Families Direct Services Program.
  • The RMC, for a second year, hosts a series of rural prescription drug forums.
  • The RMC assists with the preparations for the second annual Local Officials’ Agricultural and Land Use Workshop as well as the inaugural meeting of the Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture.
  • The 9th Annual Maryland Rural Summit is scheduled for October 25-27 at Sandy Cove in Cecil County.



2005

  • The Maryland Agricultural and Resource Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) Board of Directors is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maryland Senate. The RMC agrees to provide interim staffing support to MARBIDCO and secures a Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA to initiate MARBIDCO programmatic planning. Legislation is also enacted to authorize MARBIDCO to receive up to $5 million annually.
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation provides a sizable grant to the RMC to initiate the Strengthening Rural Maryland Families Direct Services Program.
  • The RMC hosts a series of rural prescription drug forums in light of major changes in Federal Medicare Program.
  • The RMC assists with the advance preparations for the Governor’s Agricultural Forum to be held in early 2006.
  • The 8th Annual Maryland Rural Summit is held in October in Garrett County.
  • Work on rural broadband deployment, health care and agricultural/RBI development continues.



2004

  • Legislation initiated by the RMC passes establishing the Maryland Agricultural and Resource Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) to promote the viability of Maryland’s agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, and seafood industries through enhanced economic development assistance opportunities. Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. signs the bill into law on May 26, 2004.
  • The RMC hosts cooperative developments seminars in conjunction with the Rural Regional Planning and Development Councils.
  • The RMC Executive Director is selected to chair the Interagency Technical Assistance Committee on Wastewater Systems in Maryland (MDE). RMC staff also serves on three subcommittees.
  • Work on rural broadband deployment, health care and agricultural/RBI development continues.
  • The 7th Annual Maryland Rural Summit is scheduled for November 4-5 in Solomons.
  • The RMC celebrates 10 years of service to Maryland’s rural communities.



2003

  • Legislation is passed changing the name the FORVM for Rural Maryland to the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) and enlarging the Board to provide even more State agency participation.
  • Legislation supported by the FORVM passes establishing a Task Force on Rural Broadband Communications Deployment as well as the Upper Shore Regional Council.
  • The RMC moves its offices from Baltimore City to a more accessible facility located in Annapolis (with the Maryland Department of Agriculture).
  • The RMC begins work on the 2020 Rural Prosperity Investment Plan; a long-term strategy to promote economic prosperity in Maryland’s traditionally underserved rural communities and industries. In addition, the Rural Progress Index (RPI) is developed to provide an overview of health and prosperity in Maryland’s six distinct rural and semi-rural regions (covering 18 rural counties).
  • The MAERDAF Program hits the $1 million mark in total grants awarded (some 26 rural serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges have been beneficiaries).



2002

  • Legislation initiated by the FORVM and sponsored by the Rural Caucus passes to provide $1 million to pay for small community wastewater system and utility rate studies.
  • The Lower and Mid-Shore Rural Regional Councils become fully operational.
  • Legislation supported by the FORVM passes to establish the Task Force on Resource Industry Business Development.



2001

  • Legislation supported by the FORVM passes establishing the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore and the Mid Shore Regional Council.
  • The FORVM, working in concert with MML, is successful in inserting small community wastewater needs into the final report of the Governor’s Task Force to Study Upgrading Sewage Systems.
  • The FORVM’s Housing and Community Development Working Committee works with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and others to amend new State regulations that prohibit the use of federal housing and other funds in less populated rural areas.
  • The FORVM receives a National Rural Impact Award from the NRDP (USDA) for its work.



2000

  • Legislation initiated by the FORVM’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Working Committee passes establishing the Task Force on Resource Based Industry.
  • The FORVM, with the leadership of the Rural Caucus, successfully initiates the creation of the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF), which is established to provide financial assistance to rural-serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges that support small and agricultural businesses.
  • Legislation supported by the FORVM passes that doubles State financial support for rural regional libraries located in Southern and Western Maryland as well as on the Eastern Shore.
  • The Microenterprise Council of Maryland is established. FORVM Executive Director Steve McHenry is elected to serve as the Council’s first Chairman.
  • The FORVM’s Infrastructure Working Committee examines small community wastewater needs and works with the Governor’s Task Force on Upgrading Sewerage Treatment Systems.
  • The FORVM supports with the work of the Eastern Shore Economic Development Task Force and assists with its regional development and outreach efforts.
  • LEAD Maryland (Maryland’s new agricultural and rural leadership development program) “graduates” its first class of fellows. FORVM staff participates in the program and serve on the LEAD Curriculum Committee. (FORVM staff also serves on several state/national advisory panels.)



1999

  • The “Stand Up for Rural Maryland” Day is held in Annapolis during the Maryland General Assembly Session. The Senate and House of Delegates pass resolutions citing the FORVM’s contributions to improving the quality of life in rural Maryland.
  • A statewide microenterprise development conference (sponsored by the FORVM and others) is held at Chesapeake College. As an outcome, the FORVM is asked to facilitate the development of a statewide microenterprise development program serving both urban and rural areas.
  • Legislation passes authorizing the new Cigarette Restitution Fund to fund rural healthcare services and the Southern Maryland tobacco buyout program (among other things).



1998

  • Mr. Stephen R. McHenry is appointed as the FORVM’s new Executive Director.
  • The FORVM hosts the “Shining the Lights on Rural Maryland” conference in Hagerstown.
  • The “Harvesting the Sun – Solar for Farms” pilot project begins in partnership with the Maryland Energy Administration.
  • The First Annual Maryland Rural Summit is held at Rocky Gap, in partnership with the State Office of Rural Health and the Maryland Rural Health Association. The Annual Rural Awards also begin.




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Contact Information

Office Address
Rural Maryland Council
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

phone icon Phone: 410-841-5772
phone icon Fax: 410-841-5987

Email: rmc.mda@maryland.gov

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