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Greg Cole is director of the Office of Finance Programs for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. 

While much of the federal government is shut down, the State of Maryland remains open for business.

Governor Martin O’Malley has issued a directive for state agencies to assist businesses suffering from the lapse in federal programs—which potentially includes Maryland farmers in need of agricultural loan guaranties previously available through the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA).

In response, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has agreed to temporarily backfill these qualifying loan guaranties, thus ensuring continued agricultural lending. This assistance is most likely to impact poultry farmers, but it can extend to farmers in all industries.

Maryland appreciates the great work done by the FSA and is eager to support its federal partner during this difficult time.

Lenders or borrowers, interested in state assistance or seeking more information, should contact Pamela Hepner at 410-767-6952 or