Skip to Main Content

MDA Blog

June 18, 2024

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 18, 2024) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently honored LaTasha Gresham (Human Resources) with an employee recognition award during the June 12 General Staff meeting.  Nominated by Human Resources Director Gwen Schindler, LaTasha was presented with the award and a gift honoring her commitment to the Department and its employees.  A master multi-tasker, LaTasha manages the administrative work for MDA’s personnel office. She is able to manage a large amount of detail with confidentiality and in a very organized fashion. She is very level-headed, responsive and professional. Additionally, LaTasha is one of the MDA employees with the most forward-facing customers, as she is the front line for Human Resources, receiving inquiries from employees, supervisors, managers, executives, and applicants.  When unsure of where to start, employees will come to her for information. 

“LaTasha’s hard work and dedication to the MDA Mission have earned her this honor,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “It is crucial to have a friendly and knowledgeable Human Resources department, and LaTasha exemplifies that. I thank her for her continued service to MDA.”

If you would like to nominate a star employee please check out the AgNet for more information on how or contact Wendy Lloyd at  

# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Facebook @MdAgDept

March 14, 2024

2023 MDA Team of the Year and 4th Quarter Awards Announced!

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 14, 2024) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently honored Patricia Gitlin (Resource Conservation), Annette Bilodeau (Administration), and Lynn Buehler (Administration) as the 2023 MDA Team of the Year. The team was recognized with individual plaques for their outstanding service, key decision-making, and attention to detail while navigating MDA budgetary matters. Combined, Patricia, Annette, and Lynn have over 40 years of combined service to the State of Maryland.  Congratulations to this team on this well-earned honor!      

“I often say MDA team members are the best of the best!” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “I am pleased to honor our Team of the Year and the 4th Quarter Employees, recognizing their hard work and dedication to the MDA Mission!”

In addition to 2023 Team of the Year, the following employees were recognized with the following 4th Quarter Awards– 

Fourth Quarter, Leadership Award: Tong Hsu- Weights and Measures, Metrologist 

Tong has worked at MDA for ten years, starting as a field inspector and eventually becoming a metrologist. During a time when MDA did not have the national accreditation required to have a metrology lab, Tong led the effort of reopening the lab and establishing the needed accreditation. Tong has served as a mentor to his teammates who are becoming accredited metrologists. Tong is a diligent, caring, and valued member of MDA, answering every question and offering patience as the staff learns volumetric measurement. 

Fourth Quarter, Leadership Award: Melissa Edmonds- Resource Conservation

Missy joined MDA as a team member of the Carroll Soil Conservation District in 1996, the day after graduating from high school.  Quickly building a strong rapport with her co-workers and cooperators, Missy rose in the agency as an Engineering Technician.  Exceeding goals and excelling in performance, Missy is a valued member of the Caroll SCD office.  

Fourth Quarter, Best Team: Rachel McVey and Ashley McDowell- Frederick Animal Health Lab

As MDA team members of the Frederick Animal Health Lab, Rachel & Ashley work as a team to exceed the requirements and expectations of the job daily. Demonstrating a high level of personal and team accountability, they are always ready to jump in and help out with a smile.  They exhibit excellent customer service skills and strive to meet customers’ requirements. They are courteous to customers and co-workers and strive to help them in a timely manner. They handle all inquiries accurately and independently, conduct research if the answer is not known, and get back to the client quickly.  They continually contribute to the team to improve processes, modernization, and efforts to go paperless.  They continue to demonstrate outstanding performance. I am very thankful and appreciative to have both Rachel & Ashley as part of our team, supporting our mission at the MDA Frederick Animal Health Laboratory. 

Fourth Quarter, Outstanding Performance: Amber North-Staves Resource Conservation 

Amber brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MDA through her work in Resource Conservation.  A team player always pitching in to help while excelling at her job duties, Amber provides assistance to her coworkers and supervisors with a positive attitude.  She motivates those around her and offers encouragement and advice when needed.  Amber is a true asset to MDA! 

Fourth Quarter, Customer Service: Rocky Donovan- Resource Conservation 

A valued member of the MDA team in the Talbot Soil Conservation District, Rocky provides top-notch customer service.  He consistently receives praise and high marks from producers who work with the District.  He has provided tremendous assistance in navigating projects and does so with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. His customers know they can count on Rocky to be effective in his communication and supportive of core mission goals.  

Fourth Quarter, Outstanding Performance: Ray Geist- Resource Conservation

Ray Geist has been a member of the HPAI Emergency Response Team since 2022 and has excelled at learning and understanding the responsibilities of the many different field roles (Biosecurity Officer, Site Manager, Environmental Sampling Team, Compost Team) needed during the response. He has also demonstrated knowledge and skill to operate and maintain the specialized equipment required to combat the HPAI disease spread. Ray will always go above and beyond to ensure that any role or task he has been assigned is completed thoroughly and to the best of his ability! 

# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Facebook @MdAgDept

November 9, 2023

MDA Recognizes Employees of the Second and Third Quarter of 2023 

ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 9, 2023) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture has recognized several employees for their hard work and dedication over the second and third quarter of 2023. Jessica Boyles and Tiffany Hatridge, both of the Plant Protection and Weed Management Program received Outstanding Performance awards for the second quarter.  In addition, Rachel McVey of the Animal Health Program received the Customer Service award and Richard Glasgow of Resource Conservation received the Leadership award.  

During the third quarter, Karen Fedor of the Marketing Program and Jerel Spence of the Resource Conservation program both received the Outstanding Performance award.

“These employees have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their work and improving systems within MDA,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “I am pleased to recognize Jessica, Tiffany, Rachel, Richard, Karen and Jerel for their work over the past two quarters! Our outstanding employees are the backbone of this agency!”

Second Quarter Outstanding Performance Award: Jessica Boyles- Plant Protection and Weed Management, Agriculture Inspector 

Jessica has been the backbone of the Spotted Lanternfly Suppression program since 2019 and has been responsible for scheduling and coordinating the efforts of the program’s field operations. One of her first efforts was streamlining the process by which field surveys were undertaken. She abandoned the time-consuming strategy of Googling individual addresses and implemented a system of GIS-powered maps that allow the field team to accurately target their survey sites. She has continued to implement multiple GIS maps that have improved the effectiveness of the program and enhanced the information gathered from the field. She has made herself available for new hire onboarding, public appearances, media interviews, industry panels, industry training, and field treatments (SLF suppression), trapping, and surveying. Jess arrives at work before any other team member does and stays late until the last field team member has come safely back. She offers constructive, collaborative ideas that can be used to make the program more effective. The success of the spotted lanternfly suppression program would not be possible without Jessica Boyles.

Second Quarter Outstanding Performance Award: Tiffany Hatridge- Plant Protection and Weed Management, Administrative Aide 

Tiffany Hatridge has independently updated the PPWM records retention schedule and directed the removal of 270 banker boxes full of outdated material from PPWM offices. Her ability to get this task completed in approximately 7 months is incredible, especially as she was working with more than 15 PPWM staff to coordinate the review of documents and removal of boxes. This was all accomplished while carrying out her normal duties. Tiffany is a critical part of the PPWM team and is always willing to help staff and makes sure to keep the program together and moving forward. She is invaluable to the program manager, always offering reminders and assistance with anything that is asked of her. Her knowledge of our programs and the agency allow for most questions to be answered quickly, and help to get staff to the right program and or person. She is an asset to PPWM and we are extremely lucky to have her working with us.

Second Quarter Customer Service Award: Rachel McVey- Animal Health, Office Secretary

Rachel is always willing to help the laboratory to maintain the mission consistently following through on assigned duties, maintaining a positive attitude during busy times in the lab. She is able to keep up with the constant change in purchasing procedures to ensure the budget is maintained. She contributes to the team and promotes positive work environment. Rachel is committed to the values and integrity of the MDA Frederick Animal Health Laboratory and inspires others to do their best work

Second Quarter Leadership Award: Richard Glasgow – Resource Conservation, District Manager 

The Wicomico County Conservation Distract has recently moved to a new location and Richard’s focus and determination during the process has been unwavering. His ability to work cohesively with multiple agencies and contacts to ensure the moving process went as smoothly as possible is truly inspiring to his team. Richard continues to inspire the team by leading by example.  He is clear about what needs to be done and communicates those needs in an effective manner. He strives daily to achieve the organization’s goals and mission and remains focused with the workload he is presented with. Richard continues to push his employees to be accountable and always encourages growth.

Third Quarter Outstanding Performance Award: Karen Fedor- Marketing, Administrator  

Karen has been an incredible asset to Marketing over the past two months. The MDA Farmers Market Nutrition Program needed to meet several critical deadlines with the USDA and other partners and would not have met them if Karen had not agreed to jump in and help.  She did this while continuing her other programs which she leads. Karen has provided support and leadership to many programs in Marketing over the years and continues to have a strong positive influence in our programs.

Third Quarter Outstanding Performance Award: Jerel Spence- Resource Conservation, Agricultural Resource Conservation Specialist   

Jerry Spence began working in the Charles Soil Conservation District (District) in 2007 and has truly been an asset to this district within the agricultural program and in all areas to which he has been called upon to assist. For several years, Jerry fulfilled all of the MDA agriculture planning duties even during a time period when he was the sole MDA planner at the District. He has carried out additional duties and fulfilled the additional responsibilities related to the MDA conservation tracking system and Cover Crop Program. He effectively assists our agricultural community with the effective promotion of the opportunities available through the Maryland Agricultural Cost-Share Program. Jerry uses his agricultural knowledge and experience to provide valuable on the job training to his fellow District employees. Jerry Spence is truly an asset to MDA and the Charles Soil Conservation District and carries out his duties with a positive attitude and a willingness to take on any project. His talent and commitment make Jerry a very valuable asset no only to MDA but the entire conservation partnership.

# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept

October 26, 2023

Maryland Department of Agriculture Hosts the 78th Annual Southern Weights and Measures Association Conference

The 78th Annual Southern Weights and Measures Association (SWMA) Conference was hosted by the department at the DoubleTree Hotel in Annapolis from October 8-11, 2023. This is the first time since 2006 that Maryland was the host state for the conference, which was led by Alison Wilkinson, 2023 President of the SWMA and Chief of Weights and Measures at the department. The purpose of the annual conference was to discuss and vote regionally on new proposals and amendments that will be voted upon at the 109th National Conference on Weights and Measures in Cleveland, Ohio in July 2024.

The SWMA conference had over 60 attendees, which included both retired and current Weights and Measures Inspectors who attended the President’s Reception, Open Hearings, and the SWMA Outing. The current National Conference on Weights and Measures Chairman Gene Robinson, and Chairman Elect Marc Paquette, were in attendance as well. Secretary Kevin Atticks addressed the conference attendees on behalf of Maryland Department of Agriculture during opening ceremonies and Assistant Secretary Cassie Shirk attended, as well. The department is grateful to the Anne Arundel County High School Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps for providing a color guard for the ceremony. 

The outing was held at the Annapolis Maritime Museum where guests of the conference were able to enjoy the waterfront and museum exhibits. During closing ceremonies, current SWMA President, Maryland’s Alison WIlkinson, passed the gavel to the 2024 SWMA President Elect, Christina Osborn of the Texas Department of Agriculture. 




October 24, 2023

The 2023 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazers are…. 

The Steele Family! 

Congratulations to the Steeles on this delicious honor! The family won this prestigious competition by eating their way through the Maryland Ice Cream Trail – a unique journey consisting of nine on-farm ice creameries – and submitting photos of their adventure to Maryland’s Best for consideration. Mom, Melissa, accompanied by her sister and their kids, had an amazing time making their way through the state and has shared her favorite memories about each stop below. 

As the 2023 Ice Cream Champion Trailblazers, the family will receive a $50 gift certificate to the creamery of their choice, a copy of the children’s book “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” the 2023 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazer plaque and golden ice cream scooper, and, most importantly, ULTIMATE BRAGGING RIGHTS!

Congrats again to our newest Champion Trailblazers! 

My kids and I are so excited we won! Thank you MDA !!!

We had a wonderful time traveling the Ice Cream Trail this summer! We actually did the Ice Cream Trail together with my sister and her daughter/my niece (The Bochinski Family)! It was a lot of fun!

Our first stop was to our favorite location, Brooms Bloom! Brooms Bloom has great ice cream and awesome food! It has a nice outside seating area that gives you a farm feel and is also the closest location to our house!

Our second stop was to Keyes Creamery. This location has wonderful ice cream as well as a super cute wooden ice cream sundae picture stand that we loved!

Our third stop was to Prigel Family Creamery. This location has very good ice cream as well as yummy food! This location looks to have really cool and fun events like a Sunset Cow Picnic! 

Our fourth stop was to South Mountain Ice Cream Shop in downtown Frederick. This location has a yummy ice cream and has a wonderful downtown area to walk around and explore!

Our fifth stop was to Deliteful Dairy. This location’s soft serve ice cream was delightful and has beautiful scenery on the farm with outdoor seating to enjoy it! This location had my favorite picture spot by the Deliteful Dairy truck. They also had a friendly little dog wandering around that my kids enjoyed.

Our sixth stop was to Woodbourne Creamery at Rockhill Orchard. This location has good ice cream and a nice little playground the kid had a lot of fun on.

Our seventh stop was to Misty Meadow Farm Creamery. This location has great ice cream and the best outdoor fun out of all the locations! The kids and I had a great time visiting their animals, playing on the pedal tractors, the playground, and going through the maze! Best kid friendly place!

Our eighth stop was to Rocky Point Creamery. This location has great ice cream, a fun combine tractor playground, and a sunflower field!

Our ninth stop was to Chesapeake Bay Farms. This location has yummy ice cream and a cute baby cow to visit next to their outside sitting area. We had a great time traveling to this location because we visited Assateague National Park for the day and then stopped here on our way home!

We had a wonderful time visiting each and every location on the trail together! Thank you to all who put this fun summer activity together! – Melissa Steele


July 21, 2023

Governor Moore and the Maryland Department of Agriculture Host 16th Annual Buy Local Cookout

Buy Local Picnic with Gov Wes Moore

Event kicks off Maryland Buy Local Week, Buy Local Challenge 

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Wes Moore hosted the 16th annual Buy Local Cookout at the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Annapolis last evening, sampling dishes prepared by local chefs with local ingredients, live music and exhibits featuring Maryland Department of Agriculture programs. Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller, agricultural leaders, producers, chefs, and local and state officials joined the governor at the event to officially kick off Maryland Buy Local Week and the Buy Local Challenge, which runs today through July 31.

“Buying local is good for our state—it supports our small businesses and keeps our state’s economy competitive,” said Gov. Moore. “We encourage all Marylanders to buy local and enjoy the premium quality and broadly diverse offering that Maryland’s growers, producers, farmers, and watermen have to offer.”

Buy Local Cookout 1

Maryland’s agriculture and seafood industries contribute more than $16 billion to the state’s economy and account for more than 68,000 jobs, according to a 2018 study from BEACON at Salisbury University. The Buy Local Challenge, created in 2006 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, encourages Marylanders to incorporate at least one locally grown, produced, or harvested product into their meals each day and has grown into a statewide initiative that has continued to expand.

“Here in Maryland, we have world-class produce, seafood, and dairy products right in our own backyard,” said Lt. Gov. Miller. “Buying locally gives Marylanders the unique opportunity to support our state’s economy and local producers, and to see where their food comes from.”

Buy Local Cookout 2

For the 2023 cookout, chefs submitted recipes featuring at least one local vegetable, fruit, or blue catfish, showcasing the ways the average Maryland family can prepare delicious, nutritious meals with locally produced food at home. Chefs participating in the cookout created samples for attendees to taste and vote for the People’s Choice Award. Miss Shirley’s Cafe of Baltimore City took home the prize for their crabby grilled cheese.

This year also marked the first time the event was waste free. Working in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Environment and Annapolis Green, all disposables were compostable, with water provided by Naptown Taps.

Marylanders are encouraged to participate in Buy Local Week and the Buy Local Challenge. Visit to find local Maryland products, locate a farmers market, and more.

“Buying local has never been more important—to our farmers, for our health, and for our economy,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “From produce to fresh fish and oysters, from cheese to fine wine, let’s celebrate our state’s bounty by savoring all things local.”

Buy Local Cookout 3

The press kit for the 2023 Buy Local Cookout is available on the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s website. Information includes:


October 20, 2022

The 2022 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazers are…. 

The Gillman Family! 

This year’s winning family took the opportunity to get out and see Maryland, and venture off the beaten path while completing the 2022 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail! Mom Sarah, Dad Michael and their two kids set out this summer to experience the best Maryland has to offer! Sarah has kindly provided the below recap of their adventures, including special memories about each stop!

Congrats to the Gillmans on being this year’s champions! Stay tuned for information about the 2023 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail, kicking off next summer! 

Prigel’s was our first stop on this summer’s tour! We have loved going to this creamery for years; it’s always so fun to see all their cows out in the fields right beside the shop. We’ve enjoyed some really fun events there in the past as well; our favorite has been their make-your-own ice cream event. When we visited them on the ice cream trail this year, we really enjoyed watching the farmers herd the cows across the street to their other field on the other side of the Long Green Road. They have plenty of nice outdoor space to enjoy the ice cream, and the fresh air and farm views.

Our next stops were at the Harford County creameries, Brooms Bloom and Keyes, which we visited on the same day. Before hitting these, we enjoyed a round of mini-golf in Bel Air. At Keyes, we enjoyed sitting outside and watching a bunch of skydivers parachuting nearby. 

Next up we went to Chesapeake Bay Farms on the way home from a trip to Assateague. We enjoyed seeing the ponies on Assateague then we enjoyed seeing the cows at Chesapeake Bay Farms. It was fun to go off the beaten path in an area we’ve been to many times but never really explored beyond getting to our destination. Continuing in the ‘leaving the road oft traveled’ vein, we also explored even more on the way home, getting off the highway once again in Cecil County to drive through some truly beautiful countryside to visit Kilby Creamery in Rising Sun. We enjoyed visiting with their farm animals and taking photos with their selection of cut-outs (your head in an ice cream sundae! etc.)

Our next creamery was Woodbourne Creamery in Mount Airy. It was a lovely destination that we will definitely return to. Not only did we get to enjoy the ice cream, but we were able to enjoy picking our own peaches in their farm and visiting their fields of cows, including several baby cows! The highlight was definitely the baby cows by the milking barn; our whole family had so much fun there.

Next we visited South Mountain Creamery.We enjoyed feeling like we were right in the middle of the farm, and we enjoyed that they had lots of fun places for kids to play.

We enjoyed a trip to Rocky Point Creamery after a trip to Harper’s Ferry. My older son was really excited to see soft-serve ice cream on the menu! We also loved the antique tractor and the sunflower field. 

We also loved the soft-serve at Deliteful Dairy, a really cute shop, and we loved the scenic views of the mountains and enjoying driving up and down some big rolling hills to get there. We really enjoyed meeting some of their animals and loved that they had signs with all of their names, so our kids could really feel like they were communicating on a first-name basis with the cows, ponies, and goats. 🙂 

Our last stop was Misty Meadow Farm. We enjoyed driving down some beautiful roads to get there and then enjoyed touring the National Shrine Grotto in Emmitsburg. 

 We had an absolute blast completing the ice cream trail this year. The experience was so much fun. It gave us something fun to work toward as a family, and it gave us reasons not only to go to some parts of Maryland we had never been, but also to go off the beaten path in places we have been many times before. We’ve made many trips to Assateague and Ocean City, but have never gone just a few miles down the road to see lovely places like Chesapeake Bay Farms. We’ve crossed the bridge at Point of Rocks many times in Virginia, but never gone down the little local road right before you hit the bridge; now we know it leads to the awesome Rocky Point Creamery! 

This was a rough year for our family; both of my parents were ill and ended up passing away this summer; being there for them meant little opportunity to do any big summer traveling. We were so glad to have a special reason to travel locally to a bunch of really lovely places in our own beautiful state and to celebrate so many fabulous Maryland farms! My grandfather was a farmer in Southern Maryland (and other members of our family still farm there), so I have a very special place in my heart for our Maryland farms and we loved being able to visit and support so many. 

We’ll definitely be making many return trips; we still have so many places we want to explore in Maryland, and now we’ve gotten used to having exciting new ice creams everywhere we go- that’s a tradition I’m happy to continue!

Thank you all for coming up with this really fun event. We had a great time participating. And winning ULTIMATE BRAGGING RIGHTS is the perfect cherry on top! 🙂


August 5, 2022

Maryland Wholesale Produce Market Receives Funding For Expansion

Joint Funding Provided by State and County 

JESSUP, MD (August 5, 2022) – On Thursday, August 4, Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Secretary Joe Bartenfelder joined Howard County officials and members of the Maryland Food Center Authority Board to announce an $11 million investment between the state and Howard County to upgrade the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market. The combined funding will help expand refrigeration capacity and allow for an enclosed expansion of the Market’s back dock. The Market, located in Jessup, serves as a major link in the food supply chain for the entire mid-Atlantic region, connecting local farmers, wholesale produce vendors, grocery stores, and restaurants, offering a large variety of produce as a source for items that might otherwise be unavailable unless purchased in very large shipments.

“The upgrades to this facility will ensure the continued successful operations of this center,” said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. “The many challenges of COVID-19 have highlighted the need for this distribution hub, connecting the Maryland farm community with restaurants, grocery stores, and so much more. The state’s investment will strengthen this link in the food supply chain for years to come.” 

Built in 1976, the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market (Market) began operation under the Maryland Food Center Authority (Authority). The Authority leases space in the Market to privately-owned companies engaged in the wholesale distribution of fresh produce. The Market is a critical link in the daily supply of produce to restaurants, chain grocers, hotels, wholesale food processors, and consumer buying groups. The Market encompasses 333,000 square feet of terminal space. 

 # # #

 Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept


August 1, 2022

MDA Secretary Bartenfelder Opens 2022 International Leadership Alumni Conference

ANNAPOLIS, MD (August 1, 2022) – Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Secretary Joe Bartenfelder kicked off the 2022 International Leadership Alumni Conference (ILAC).. The event hosted by LEADelaware and LEAD Maryland brings attendees from ag communities across the country to the region. Over the next four days, guests will visit farms in Maryland and Delaware, hear from a wide variety of industry experts and attend development seminars.

“As Secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, I welcome you to Maryland,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “I hope during your time here you will experience all that Maryland agriculture has to offer and you gain knowledge you can use in your own ag community.” 

Monday’s kick off also featured a panel of representatives from the Delmarva Chicken Association (DCA), Maryland Grain Producers and Grow and Fortify. Each provided insight on ag initiatives in the region from the new “Littr” app introduced by DCA to value-added agriculture. 


For more information on the conference, please visit  




# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept

July 27, 2022

MDA Secretary Visits Cecil County Fair Agricultural Showcase

ELKTON, MD (July 27, 2022)- With fair season in full swing, Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Secretary Joe Bartenfelder made a stop at the Cecil County Fair and Agricultural Showcase on Tuesday. During the visit, Secretary Bartenfelder expressed his enjoyment of representing the farming community over the past 8 years. “I am honored to represent the Maryland ag community and county fairs like the Cecil County Fair showcase are what this community is all about!”

Bartenfelder also touched on the importance of Maryland Buy Local Challenge  and the success of the Governor’s Buy Local Cookout. MDA Deputy Secretary Steve Connelly, a Cecil County native, was also in attendance. Secretary Bartenfelder recognized his work at MDA, bringing his knowledge of the ag industry through his experience growing up on a dairy farm. 

Bartenfelder also touched on the importance of Maryland Buy Local Challenge  and the success of the Governor’s Buy Local Cookout. MDA Deputy Secretary Steve Connelly, a Cecil County native, was also in attendance. Secretary Bartenfelder recognized his work at MDA, bringing his knowledge of the ag industry through his experience growing up on a dairy farm. 

The Cecil County Fair runs through Saturday. For more information, please visit

For a complete list of dates for all Maryland county fairs, please visit


July 21, 2022

Governor Hogan Joins Maryland Department of Agriculture for 2022 Buy Local Cookout

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today attended the 2022 Buy Local Cookout at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) for an evening of sampling dishes prepared by local chefs with local ingredients, live music, and exhibits featuring MDA programs. The event officially kicks off “Maryland Buy Local Week” from July 22-31, which encourages Marylanders to take the Buy Local Challenge by incorporating at least one locally grown, produced, or harvested product into their meals each day.

“It is thanks to our many local chefs, farmers, distillers, brewers, growers, and watermen that agriculture continues to be the leading industry in Maryland, and this event is a great way to show our appreciation,” said Governor Hogan. “This Maryland Buy Local Week, I encourage all Marylanders to take the pledge to incorporate at least one local product into each of their meals.”


For the 2022 cookout, MDA partnered with the Restaurant Association of Maryland to host a Chef’s Competition prior to the cookout featuring Maryland agriculture and seafood products. Chefs submitted simple, but creative recipes showcasing the ways Maryland families can prepare delicious, nutritious meals at home using locally produced food. The winning chefs were awarded a ‘Golden Ticket’ to the World Food Championships in Dallas. Chefs participating in the competition also created samples for cookout attendees to taste and vote for the “People’s Choice Award.”

“It is an honor to host this year’s cookout at MDA,” said MDA Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “This event and the Buy Local Challenge are vital to the Maryland agricultural community by helping farmers and producers connect with Maryland families and chefs to explore and try new ways of experiencing fresh Maryland products.”

In addition to those contributing to the recipes featured at the cookout, Mountaire FarmsRoseda Black Angus FarmsHoffman’s Quality Meats, the Brewers Association of MarylandMaryland Distillers GuildMaryland Wineries Association, eight dairy farms on the Maryland’s Best Ice Cream TrailBroom’s Bloom DairyChesapeake Bay Farms, Inc.Keyes CreameryMisty Meadow Farm CreameryPrigel Family CreameryRocky Point CreamerySouth Mountain CreameryWoodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill OrchardCompanyHomestead GardensWillow Oak Flower & Herb FarmOrchard Point Oyster Co.,Shell and BarrellTrue Chesapeake Oyster CoMar-Del Watermelon AssociationAcme Paper &Supply, and Pepsi also provided products for the event. Musical entertainment was provided by Mayo Family Band and oyster shell recycle was provided by the Oyster Recovery Partnership.


The Buy Local Challenge, created in 2006 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, has grown into a statewide initiative that has continued to expand. Maryland’s agriculture and seafood industries contribute more than $16 billion to the state’s economy and account for more than 68,000 jobs.

To participate in Maryland’s Buy Local Week and the Buy Local Challenge, use to find local Maryland products, locate a farmers market, and more.

For additional information about participants and why buying local in Maryland matters, please visit the following links:

2022 Chef’s Bios 

2022 Cookout Menu 

2022 Craft Beverage Participants 

Maryland Food Statistics 

Buy Local Benefits 


July 14, 2022

2022 Maryland Dairy Princess Crowned

60th Annual Pageant held in Frederick 

ANNAPOLIS, MD (July 14, 2022)- A new Maryland Dairy Princess was crowned on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in Frederick. The 2022 winner of the 60-year old pageant is Morgan Osborn-Wotthlie of Carroll County and the Alternate Dairy Princess winner is Kaitlyn Bradley of Dorchester County. Osborn-Wotthlie will spend the next year traveling across Maryland to promote the Maryland dairy industry with Bradley assisting as needed. Participants were judged on a personal interview, a short speech called a “milk toast,” a creative skit and  performance.

During the event Maryland Agriculture Secretary Bartenfelder congratulated all the participants for being ambassadors for the state’s dairy industry while giving thanks to the outgoing Princess Elizabeth Karides for her commitment to raising awareness of all things dairy over the last year. 

“Elizabeth has done an outstanding job representing the Maryland dairy industry,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “Throughout her reign as the Maryland Dairy Princess, she has worked to bring awareness of all things dairy through appearances, articles and involvement in events. Congratulations on a job well done! I am confident that Morgan will represent the industry well.” 

 For more information on the Maryland Dairy Princess Pageant, please click


Pictured above from left to right are Richard F. Colburn of MDA, Alternate Dairy Princess Kaitlyn Bradley, MDA Secretary  Joe Bartenfelder, and 2002 Princess Winner Morgan Osborn-Wotthlie.

June 29, 2022

MDA Assistant State Veterinarian Retires

Dr. Nancy Jo Chapman Recognized  for Service

SALISBURY, MD (June 28, 2022) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture honored Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Jo Chapman at a retirement party recognizing her 15 years of state service. Dr. Chapman started with the Department in 2009 as Assistant Chief of Animal Health for Operations and the regional veterinarian for southern Maryland before eventually becoming Assistant State Veterinarian. Dr. Chapman also briefly served as acting State Veterinarian prior to Dr. Michael Odian’s appointment in that position.   

“Dr. Jo has tirelessly provided outstanding service and care to the animals of the Maryland ag industry,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Her contributions to our animal health programs are immeasurable. I wish her nothing but the best as she enters retirement.” 

Dr. Chapman’s commitment to the mission of the Animal Health program has resulted in significant contributions to veterinary diagnostic laboratory services and the animal agriculture industry.

# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept

June 15, 2022

June is Dairy Month, Let’s Celebrate!

June is National Dairy Month and we continue to celebrate Maryland’s dairy industry and the farm families that operate them.  With over 42,000 dairy cows and 340 dairy farms across the State, Maryland’s dairy industry is thriving.  Maryland Dairy Princess Elizabeth Karides is providing some insight into all things dairy, including the incredible health benefits of milk, yogurt and cheese.   And don’t forget the 2022 Maryland Ice Cream Trail is open so get out and enjoy some farm fresh ice cream today! 

Kick Off the Summer by Celebrating Dairy!

By: Elizabeth Karides, 2021-22 Maryland Dairy Princess

In 1937, June was dubbed National Milk Month as a way to distribute extra milk during the hot Summer. Since then, June has evolved into National Dairy Month. Though it may sound silly to dedicate an entire thirty days to this food group, National Dairy Month gives us a chance to reflect upon the vital work dairy farmers do for our community and the environment. For starters, our farmers work 365 days a year to provide milk, an undeniably healthy beverage packed with 13 essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamin A, to neighborhoods far and near. These nutrients are linked to immune health, bone and muscle health, reduced inflammation, and reduced risk of chronic diseases like osteoporosis. From milk, we get some other delicious, and incredibly nutritious, products like yogurt and cheese which are both excellent sources of calcium to keep our bones and teeth strong. In addition to providing our community nourishing foods, dairy farmers are also excellent environmental stewards. By incorporating buffer strips on their farmland to collect any manure or fertilizer-rich runoff before it enters waterways like Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, making use of robotic feed pushers to reduce the need for gas-powered equipment by maximizing feed, and utilizing equipment known as methane digesters which transform manure into a clean source of electricity to power their homes and farms, dairy farmers are truly dedicated when it comes to environmental stewardship. And given the fact that the U.S dairy industry’s carbon footprint shrank 19% between 2007 and 2017, the future of environmental protection through dairy farming seems bright. Not to mention, since practically all dairy farms are family farms, for farmers it is especially important to protect land, air, and water for future generations. So there you have it, the next time you are enjoying a cool glass of milk, a warm grilled cheese, or a refreshing scoop of ice cream later this Summer, think about the hardworking people who provided it. 

June 14, 2022

Maryland’s “Ag Tag”: Over 20 Years of Supporting Ag Education

By: Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder
Maryland Department of Agriculture

Published by The Delmarva Farmer on June 7, 2022 

The “Ag Tag” has been on our Maryland highways since 2001. Today, I would like to take a moment to celebrate this bright orange license plate that reminds us all of the importance of our great farmers. Created by the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF) as a tool to raise funds for the nonprofit, the Ag Tag has succeeded wonderfully. The tags, which cost an extra $10 for motor vehicle owners, have raised more than $12 million in 21 years. You’ll see Ag Tags with everything from “MDA 1,” “YO SOY,” “AG TERP,” to “VINEGIRL” and “FRMCHIC”. All proud Marylanders who want to support our farmers and celebrate agriculture.

The Ag Tag funds support K-12 and post-secondary opportunities to increase agricultural education and literacy, including MAEF’s Mobile Science Labs, professional development programs for teachers, ag literacy book programs, & “Lab in a Box”; kits, garden grants, Maryland Future Farmers of America (FFA) and support for ag science teachers, and much much more.

MAEF was founded in 1989 by farmers and teachers with a goal of doing all they could to teach kids about agriculture. The organization has since taken off! MAEF celebrated 1 million students reached through elementary education programming in 2019, and kept right on going, even through the COVID- 19 pandemic, providing online resources through their website and social media, issuing grants for garden kits, offering Virtual Farm Field Trips, and reformatting Maryland FFA competitions to online platforms.

MAEF reaches Maryland children from Baltimore to Ocean City, from Dunkirk to Deep Creek Lake with learning experiences that explain where our food comes from and how farmers produce it. The organization’s three Mobile Science Labs offer 50-minute experiments that allow students to really dig into agriculture.

MAEF also offers classes for Maryland teachers that show them how to use agriculture to help young minds explore the world around them. The teachers are able to use agriculture as an experiential teaching tool for the state’s core curricula of science, social studies, life skills, mathematics and language arts, and craft their love for the Bay and nature.

The Ag Tag is succeeding for our state. It supports all of this and more. Ag students become better informed citizens who will shape our future with at least some knowledge of where their food comes from. As for me, I always have Ag Tags on my truck.

To learn more about MAEF or order your “Ag Tag” today, please visit :