EDA Logo Howard County Maryland - Economic Development Authority

Programs & Services

The Howard County Economic Development Authority is here to assist farmers with establishing a new farm or farming program. They will help guide you in the right direction, assist you with the paperwork and permits necessary, and provide valuable business advice along the way.

The HCEDA also offers educational courses, designed to help new farmers improve and grow their business. These courses focus not just on improving farming techniques, but also on financial practices, new marketing techniques, and farm diversification topics.

The EDA has also collected a large collection of documents, tools, permits, certifications, and other helpful information on this website. Collectively this information will help to better inform you on all the steps involved and help you get your farm up and running faster.

No matter what you need, the team at the HCEDA will be their along the way to lend guidance and support.

Please follow the links below to learn more about starting your own new farm.

Start-Up Business Flowchart


Need an idea for a business? Try some of these resources:

- Interested in technology? Take a look at Technology Transfer

- Consider purchasing a franchise

- Want to team up with an inventor or other founder? Check out partnership meet-ups such as CoFoundersLab or see the areas newest startups at one of our monthly Columbia Tech Breakfast events



Steps and considerations in choosing your business name

Verify you're not violating another trademark by searching the US Trademark Database

Register your trade name in Maryland

Optional:Research and file a trademark for your business in Maryland and / or at the national level



Considerations for choosing you legal structure (Note: consult with an attorney or accountant for professional insight on the best legal structure for your business based on your plans and goals). Additional articles for choosing your legal structure:

Choose Your Business Structure (Entrepreneur Magazine article)

Should your business be an LLC or an S-Corp? and How to Incorporate (Inc Magazine articles)

File your Articles of Incorporation with the State of Maryland

Learn about and obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number

Register with the State of Maryland for income and personal property taxes (can also register for payrol witholding through same link)



The SBA website provides a thorough checklist for getting set up to hire your first employee and setting up your payroll system

Investigate and obtain Workman's Compensation insurance.

Make sure when you registeted with the State of Maryland you signed up for income tax witholding.

If you want help in issuing your payroll and making sure your taxes get paid, considering using a Payroll Service. The SBA website provides insights but make sure you compare several company's services and pricing before selecting one. Your best bet is to ask for referrals from business owners you know!





Grants and Financing

A resource to find out more information on State, Regional, and National loans and grants for farms.

Diversification Ideas

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your farm's production is a great way to grow your business - and meet increasing consumer demand for fresh foods.