COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — Congratulations to Future Harvest Board Member Kevin Atticks on his appointment as Maryland Secretary of Agriculture! Founder & CEO Kevin Atticks announced his departure from Grow & Fortify yesterday to accept his new role. Appointed by Governor-elect Wes Moore, Atticks joins an administration aiming to create a more competitive Maryland, cure child poverty, and accelerate our green economy and protect our environment.
“With a competitive agricultural industry, we can support every aspect of the new administration’s mission,” says Atticks, who believes the increasingly diverse industry plays an integral role in the Moore-Miller administration’s priorities. “We need to expand our agricultural base, provide farmers with new opportunities to grow profit, and educate our citizens about the incredible products grown and produced locally.”
For more than two decades, Atticks has worked on behalf of local wineries and grape growers while promoting and advocating for Maryland’s wine industry. In 2015, Atticks founded Grow & Fortify to strengthen the state’s broader craft alcohol industry and support burgeoning value-added agriculture businesses.
In his role as executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Distillers Guild and the Maryland Wineries Association, Atticks successfully advocated for legislation that changed the business landscape of Maryland’s alcohol industry. Examples of these successes include wine sales at wineries, self-distribution and direct shipping at local wineries, the legalization of on-premise sale and consumption of beer at local breweries, and the ability for a local distillery to prepare and sell cocktails in their retail spaces. Additionally, in 2018, Atticks led the effort that modernized Maryland’s beer franchise laws and helped to balance the rights of local breweries committed to in-state wholesale agreements.
Grow & Fortify published the first assessment of the state’s value-added agricultural industry, illustrating the expansive impact generated by this previously unheralded sector. Wineries, creameries, meat processing, agritourism, equine and dozens of other industry segments yield 74,000 jobs and bring a total economic impact of over $20.6 billion annually to the state’s economy. This level of economic activity, in turn, adds nearly $875 million to the state’s fiscal resources.
Originally from Bowie, Atticks graduated with a journalism degree from Loyola University Maryland. Shortly thereafter, Atticks received a master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. Atticks later earned his doctorate in communications design from University of Baltimore. He holds a faculty position at Loyola University Maryland where he teaches book publishing.