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Kelly Dudeck | Grow & Fortify

Kelly Dudeck, the chief strategy officer of Grow & Fortify, was appointed chair of the Maryland Agriculture Commission.

The Maryland Agriculture Commission serves as an advisory role to the secretary and deputy secretary of agriculture and addresses legislative and policy issues that affect Maryland agribusiness. Each member of the commission is appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan. Dudeck joined the commission in 2020 to represent the agritourism sector, and now ascends to Chair.

In her role at Grow & Fortify, an organization built to support value-added agricultural organizations and the businesses they represent, Dudeck aligns the firm’s objectives to support and promote Maryland’s value-added agriculture and agritourism industry and her experience within the industry is significant.

Dudeck led an effort to produce the state’s first economic analysis on Maryland’s Value-Added Agriculture sector. Published in 2020, this analysis serves as a vital tool needed to help this industry grow and thrive. Through Grow & Fortify’s work with the state’s beverage alcohol industry, Dudeck spearheads a collection of consumer events and competitions. Each event celebrates the union of local agriculture and small business entrepreneurship.

In 2021, Dudeck also teamed with the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) to produce and promote ‘An Introduction to Southern Maryland’s Forestry Industry.’ This guide highlights how responsible forest management benefits our state’s ecology and economy. The guide also encourages consumers to identify and seek out products made from locally sourced wood and explores forestry career opportunities.

Dudeck also organizes the bi-annual Grow & Fortify Summit, which unites local value-added and agritourism businesses, and will return for its first post-Covid event in December 2022. This summit introduces key industry players to strategic partners from the government and private sector. Through her work cultivating these relationships, Dudeck has provided immeasurable support to Maryland farmers and innovators.