The much-anticipated farmers market to be based in Prince Frederick looked one step closer this week after Calvert County commissioners pledged financial support.

The commissioners' board voted on Tuesday to give market organisers access to US$175,000 in order to begin building the market. Longer term, the commissioners vowed to provide US$214,358 during fiscal 2003 budget and up to US$630,000 by fiscal 2007.

The market initiative is timely for many farmers in the Calvert area who are looking for alternative crops after giving up growing tobacco in return for ten years of state payments. Declining catches and crab harvesting restrictions are also affecting local fishermen.