McCollum appointed director of Balto. Co. agricultural center

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. used the opening of the area's newest farmers' market Wednesday to announce he has appointed Chris McCollum director of the county's $10 million agricultural center, which opens in Hunt Valley in September.

"Chris will do an excellent job managing this important facility and will provide the vision and leadership that will quickly establish it as a true focal point for local agriculture here and throughout the region," Smith said.

McCollum, who grew up on a family farm, has served as agriculture liaison for the county's Department of Economic Development and has promoted profitability and sustainability of the county's 751 working farms, Smith said. He also has helped spur agricultural enterprise in the past two years, making about $1.5 million in economic development loans to help grow an industry that generates about $300 million annually, officials said.

The Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture, on a 149-acre property along Shawan Road, will serve as an educational resource, as well as a central location for agencies that support farms.

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