Skip to Main Content

Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame

February 6, 2020

Governor Hogan Inducts Farm Families into Agriculture Hall of Fame

Families from Queen Anne’s, Worcester Counties Receive State’s Most Prestigious Agriculture Award

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder today celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Taste of Maryland Agriculture event by inducting the Rhodes family of Queen Anne’s County and the Richardson family of Worcester County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. Temple and Pat Rhodes and Roger and Fay Richardson accepted the awards in front of more than 700 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the state at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

“Agriculture continues to be our state’s leading industry, and I want everyone to know that your commitment to our communities, our state, and our thriving agriculture industry does not go unnoticed, ” said Governor Hogan. “Congratulations to all of tonight’s recipients and honorees and congratulations to the Maryland Agriculture Council on 50 successful years of hosting this event.”

Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame was created in 1991 by then Governor William Donald Schaefer to honor agricultural leaders who exemplify high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities. Nominations are accepted at local University of Maryland Extension offices. 

“I am honored to join Governor Hogan and Maryland’s agricultural leaders tonight as we celebrate the Rhodes and Richardson families,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “These two families are outstanding examples of Maryland agriculture’s leadership and commitment to implementing conservation practices while maintaining successful farm operations. Congratulations to this year’s inductees on this well-deserved recognition and thank you for all you have done for Maryland agriculture.”

The Rhodes and Richardson families are the 51st and 52nd inductees in the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. More information on each hall of fame family is available on the department’s website.

About the Rhodes Family

Pat and Temple Rhodes began their family farm operation in 1959 on rented ground in Easton. In 1961, the Rhodes purchased their first farm, Chestnut Vale, in Centreville. Over the next several years, Chestnut Vale Farm became home to Pat and Temple’s children: Jenny, Betsy, Susan, Carole, and Temple, Jr. The family began with a dairy herd and transitioned to a cow-calf operation in 1968, raising nearly 200 head of angus cattle per year. Throughout his decades of farming, Temple Rhodes remains committed to conservation and has embraced the use of technology and other best management practices to maintain a profitable, environmentally-sound operation.

Pat Rhodes has been involved with the local 4-H club since her children were young, and continues to be an ardent supporter of University of Maryland Extension programs. The Rhodes family is a fixture in the Queen Anne’s County agriculture community, from offering up their land and equipment to support the county fair and other events at the county’s nearby 4-H Park, to their involvement at Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Centreville. The Rhodes’ legacy is one of leadership and commitment that continues with their children and grandchildren, and has left a lasting impact on Maryland agriculture.

A brief slideshow and biography of the Rhodes family are available online.

About the Richardson Family

Roger Richardson and his wife Fay have farms in Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset counties. Richardson Farm dates back to 1767. Roger currently operates the farm with his daughter, grandson, and great-grandson, while Fay has been instrumental in the continued growth and diversification of the family farm business. The multi-generational farm family grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. In 1980, the Richardsons diversified their operation by starting a private trucking company dedicated to the transportation of agricultural products. In addition to precision farming techniques, the Richardsons have adopted both conservation and no-till practices to manage nutrients and meet soil and water conservation goals. 

Off the farm, Roger Richardson’s legacy leaves a profound, lasting impact on the state’s farming community. In the late 1970s, Roger was one of 14 men appointed by then Governor Marvin Mandel to create the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Thirty-five years later, then Governor Martin O’Malley appointed Mr. Richardson to serve as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture, overseeing the agency he helped create. In addition to his involvement with the department, Roger has held several leadership positions with local, state, and national organizations, including: the Agricultural Stewardship Commission, the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, and stints as president and vice-president of the National Association of Farmer Elected Committees. With decades of knowledge and experience, Roger and Fay Richardson continue to support and advocate for farmers on the Lower Eastern Shore, the State of Maryland, and beyond.

A brief slideshow and biography of the Richardson family are available online.

A complete list of Hall of Fame honorees is available online.

Photos will be made available on the department’s Flickr following the Taste of Maryland Agriculture event.

Quotes from the Nominators

“Over the last 60 years, the Rhodes Family and their children have been leaders in Queen Anne’s County agriculture. They’ve devoted countless hours to agriculture advocacy, donating their time to Extension, Farm Bureau, 4-H, and other agriculture related organizations all while maintaining a fiscally responsible, sustainable, and environmentally sound family farm. We are very honored that the Rhodes Family represents Queen Anne’s County and to have them inducted into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame” – Paul Rickert, Area Extension Director-Upper Shore Cluster, University of Maryland Extension

# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept


2019: The Richardson Family

Photo credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family name: The Richardson Family

Roger Richardson and his wife Fay have farms in Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset counties. Richardson Farm dates back to 1767. Roger currently operates the farm with his daughter, grandson, and great-grandson, while Fay has been instrumental in the continued growth and diversification of the family farm business. The multi-generational farm family grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. In 1980, the Richardsons diversified their operation by starting a private trucking company dedicated to the transportation of agricultural products. In addition to precision farming techniques, the Richardsons have adopted both conservation and no-till practices to manage nutrients and meet soil and water conservation goals. 

Off the farm, Roger Richardson’s legacy leaves a profound, lasting impact on the state’s farming community. In the late 1970s, Roger was one of 14 men appointed by then Governor Marvin Mandel to create the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Thirty-five years later, then Governor Martin O’Malley appointed Mr. Richardson to serve as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture, overseeing the agency he helped create. In addition to his involvement with the department, Roger has held several leadership positions with local, state, and national organizations, including: the Agricultural Stewardship Commission, the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, and stints as president and vice-president of the National Association of Farmer Elected Committees. With decades of knowledge and experience, Roger and Fay Richardson continue to support and advocate for farmers on the Lower Eastern Shore, the State of Maryland, and beyond.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/6/20


2019: The Rhodes Family

Photo credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Rhodes Family

Pat and Temple Rhodes began their family farm operation in 1959 on rented ground in Easton. In 1961, the Rhodes purchased their first farm, Chestnut Vale, in Centreville. Over the next several years, Chestnut Vale Farm became home to Pat and Temple’s children: Jenny, Betsy, Susan, Carole, and Temple, Jr. The family began with a dairy herd and transitioned to a cow calf operation in 1968, raising nearly 200 head of angus cattle per year. Throughout his decades of farming, Temple Rhodes remains committed to conservation and has embraced the use of technology and other best management practices to maintain a profitable, environmentally-sound operation.

Pat Rhodes has been involved with the local 4-H club since her children were young, and continues to be an ardent supporter of University of Maryland Extension programs. The Rhodes family is a fixture in the Queen Anne’s County agriculture community, from offering up their land and equipment to support the county fair and other events at the county’s nearby 4-H Park, to their involvement at Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Centreville. The Rhodes’ legacy is one of leadership and commitment that continues with their children and grandchildren, and has left a lasting impact on Maryland agriculture.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/6/20


February 4, 2020

Media Advisory: Governor Hogan to Honor Agriculture Hall of Fame Families

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan will induct two farm families into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame during the annual “Taste of Maryland Agriculture” event on February 6 at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

The Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame is the state’s most prestigious agriculture award, recognizing farm families with high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities.

More than 700 people are expected for the Maryland Agriculture Council’s annual event, which brings together state’s agricultural leaders and lawmakers. In addition, the Agriculture Council will present its annual educational grants. An extensive menu of locally-produced hors d’oeuvres will feature the variety and bounty of Maryland’s agricultural products, along with Maryland wine and beer tasting.


What:            

Governor Hogan to Attend Annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture Event and Induct Families into the Agriculture Hall of Fame

When: Thursday, February 6; 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Photo and interview opportunities with the families will begin at about 5:30 p.m. Reception opens at 6:30 p.m. with awards presentation to begin at 8 p.m.

Where:
Michael’s Eighth Avenue
7220 Grayburn Drive
Glen Burnie, MD

RSVP: Media interested in covering the event should RSVP to Susan Summers, 240-446-3601.

# # #

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept


August 22, 2019

Call for Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame

Nominations Due No Later Than October 4

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture is now accepting nominations of farmers and farm families for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to the state’s leading industry. Nominations are due Friday, October 4. Those selected for induction will be honored during the Taste of Maryland Agriculture event on February 6, 2020.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our rural communities and state economy. Our Maryland farmers work tirelessly, year-round to provide food, fiber, and nourishment for Maryland residents and many beyond our state borders,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “In recognition of the dedicated farm families throughout the state, I encourage residents to submit a nomination for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.”

Any farm family that derives its income principally from farming is eligible for the award. The Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, established in 1991, includes 50 farm families from 23 counties who have been honored for their high standards of conduct; personal values; contributions to their community; and performance, leadership, innovation, and achievement in agriculture.

Local Extension offices serve as local nominating committee coordinators. Each local nominating committee is made up of the county extension educator, county farm bureau president, county fair representative, and county soil conservation district chairman. Each committee reviews a pool of candidates from its county and forwards a selection to the Governor’s Selection Committee. Only one farm family per county can be considered.

Applicants MUST work with their county Cooperative Extension Office in preparing the application, which should include as much information about the family as possible and address agricultural leadership, community activities, and technological and management advancements.

The selection committee includes the Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the President of the Maryland Farm Bureau, and members of the agricultural community.

The application can be downloaded here. Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. on October 4.

For more information, contact Jessica O’Sullivan at 410-841-5882 or jessica.osullivan@maryland.gov.

###

Follow Maryland Department of Agriculture on Twitter @MdAgDept


February 15, 2019

2018: The Linthicum Family

Photo credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Linthicum Family

The Linthicum family embodies the kind of resilience and innovation required to maintain a successful multigenerational family farm. With nearly 200 years invested, the Linthicums are the oldest continuously farming family in Montgomery County. That distinction has not come without adversity, but the family’s dedication and hard work has helped them grow Seneca Ayr Farms to embrace the agriculture industry changing landscape and continue to incorporate new technology and conservation practices. The family’s story began in 1826, when Lot Linthicum began farming tobacco in Boyds. At the turn of the century, the decision was made to get out of the tobacco business and move into dairy. As the dairy operation began to flourish, the family suffered a major setback when their house burnt down in 1927. This forced the Linthicums to stop milking cows and refocus their efforts on growing crops and raising livestock. By 1934, the Linthicums were back in the diary business and continued to raise hogs. Over the next several years, the family updated its operation with modern equipment which increased efficiency and allowed them to expand their milking herd. Charles and Juanita, their son Tom, and brother John continued the family dairy business through the mid-1990s, when declining profit margins and aging labor forced them to make yet another tough adjustment. By fall of 1996, the family had decided to auction off their dairy herd and shift their focus to raising hogs and growing field crops. The farm’s old dairy barn was converted into a finishing facility for the hog operation. In 2003, the family bought a farm in Laytonsville, where they now farm over 1,100 acres in Montgomery County’s Agriculture Reserve. The family grows corn, wheat and soybeans in addition to making hay and straw. Sadly, the hog finishing barn burnt to the ground in 2015, forcing the family to sell-off their breeding herd and refocus yet again on raising a small herd of beef cattle. Charles continues to oversee the farm with Tom, Tom’s wife Paula and employee Jimmy Shelton. The family has established themselves as leaders in the agricultural community both locally and statewide. They have remained involved in groups like FFA and 4-H and continue to advocate for agriculture on state, local and national levels. Tom currently serves on the Montgomery Soil Conservation District board. Like many farmers across Maryland, the Linthicum family has a deep love and passion for agriculture.

Video Link 

Ceremony Date: 2/7/2019


March 2, 2018

2017: The Bowling Family

Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Bowling Family

The Bowling Family of Charles County has lived and farmed for three generations at their Bunker Hill location, and for many generations before that at neighboring farms. Wallace and Martha Bowling purchased the 271 acre farm in 1944. Their main crop was tobacco, which was supplemented by cattle, hogs, and a grain operation in rotation. Wallace passed away in 1960, leaving his 18 year-old son Eddie in charge of the farm. Eddie was later joined by younger brothers Calvin, Charles, James and Howard. In 1998, Charles’ son Chip took over full-time. In 2000, the family accepted the state’s tobacco buyout program, which left them looking for new ways to remain viable. Chip started Bowling Agri-Services with his wife Lynn and their two daughters, leasing land and buildings from the family’s Bunker Hill Farm. The company has expanded from 200 acres of grain crops in the 90s to nearly 1,000 acres today, leasing land on 16 tracts comprising 102 separate fields. The Bowlings are known as leaders in the agricultural community. Chip, Lynn, and their daughters have been active in the local 4-H program. Lynn is a member of Common Ground, an organization that communicates with the public about farm and food issues. Chip has held leadership positions in several local, state, and national organizations. This includes Charles County Farm Bureau and Maryland Grain Producers Association, where he served as president of the Utilization Board. Chip also served as president of the National Corn Growers Association (NGCA). He is the organization’s first president from the East Coast, and the first to serve two terms. Through his work with NGCA, Chip played a major role in many federal initiatives, including the passage of two farm bills.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/1/18


February 3, 2017

2016: The Milburn Family

Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Milburn Family

The Milburn family has been farming in Cecil County for more than 100 years, and the operation is currently run by the family’s fourth generation. Milburn Orchards spans more than 400 acres in Elkton, producing a variety of fruit—mostly apples and peaches. Picking up where their uncle Evan Milburn and father John Milburn left off,  Jay, Melinda, and David Milburn have worked together to establish Milburn Orchards as a leader in the ever-changing landscape of Maryland’s agriculture industry. Milburn Orchards was among the first Maryland farms to embrace the state’s emerging agri-tourism market. The family developed its “BIG BackYard” attraction, giving visitors an opportunity to learn where their food comes from while enjoying a hands-on outdoor experience with their families. The Milburn’s have also developed “U-Pick Adventures,” and have recently expanded their on-farm market to meet increasing demands. As resource conservation continues to be a priority for the state, the Milburns have made a strong commitment to sustainable agriculture. The family has made a number of small changes that have resulted in significant savings financially and ecologically: Windmills, well pumps, irrigation systems, etc. The Millburns are currently in the process of installing solar arrays on the roofs of their farm market and cold storage buildings, which they expect will offset the farm’s electricity usage by 40 percent. The family has also shown leadership in agricultural marketing, leveraging social media and e-mail/text message campaigns to create highly effective marketing programs. Their success in this area has resulted in invitations to speak at a number of trade shows, seminars, and classrooms. In addition to their on-farm contributions, the Milburn family participates in a variety of educational initiatives, and is active in several organizations on local, state, and national levels.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/2/17


February 2, 2017

2015: The Swann Family

Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: Sambo Swann Family

Swann Farms spans more than 360 acres of land along the Patuxent River in northern Calvert County. For more than 160 years and six generations, the Swann family has grown tobacco and traditional field crops including corn, wheat, barley and soybeans. In 1994, the family began to diversify their crops and developed a reputation throughout Southern Maryland for producing high volumes of high-quality fruits and vegetables. The farm also grows malting barley which is often sourced by local breweries. More recently, in an effort to directly engage with consumers, Swann Farms opened its U-Pick operation, an agritourism attraction which allows consumers to pick their own fresh produce. Read More

Video Link

Date of Ceremony: February 5, 2016


February 5, 2015

2014: The Councell Family

Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Councell Family 

Chip Councell, his wife Jo Ann and their son Jason own and operate Councell Farms, a Talbot County retail produce market along Route 50, and a grain farming operation in the Cordova area. The Councell Family began farming in Talbot County around 1690. Chip and Jason are the 10th and 11th generation of Councell farmers. Chip’s father Phil raised hogs and grain. Chip started farming with his father in 1979, married Jo Ann in 1981 and then added vegetable crops to the operation. They currently grow corn, sweet corn, soybeans, wheat, watermelons, cantaloupes, and squash, and they manage 1,000 acres of timber. Jason has been managing the vegetable production and agri-tourism operation since 2004. Jo Ann runs the produce market and Chip handles the grain operation. The Councell Farm is a family affair: Phil still helps daily and the Councell’s daughter Melissa, an elementary school teacher, is often recruited to lend a hand. Jo Ann’s mother Flossie and sister-in-law Betsy also work at the market. The 12th generation of Councell’s includes Jason and Casey’s children Avery, Davis and Sydney; and Melissa and Jason Dodd’s daughter Anna and son Nathan. The Councell family is committed to connecting with the community to explain where food comes from. They have diversified into agri-tourism, converted a shed into a mini-classroom, and now conduct tours for more than 3,000 school children. They also offer internship opportunities. Councell Farms was featured in a video for the “Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed Us” promotional campaign and Maryland Public Television’s “Maryland Farm and Harvest” series. The Councell family is committed to conservation practices to protect the land for future generations. They have installed numerous grass-lined waterways and rock outlets to filter nutrients and prevent soil erosion, grown cover crops, and built two small shallow-water wildlife areas to attract waterfowl. The farm is enrolled in the federal Conservation Stewardship Program and follows a Forest Stewardship Plan. In 2010, the Councell’s were honored as the Talbot Soil Conservation District Cooperators of the Year for their efforts, innovation and dedication to protecting and conserving the land, environment and wildlife. Chip has been active in a number of agriculture organizations including Talbot County Farm Bureau and the Maryland Grain Producers.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/5/15


January 27, 2014

2013: The Edwards Family

Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Edwards Family

The Edwards family began dairy farming in Caroline County 73 years ago. Since then, the 250 acre farm – now called Oakland View Farms, LLC – has grown to 1,500 acres with 700 dairy cows and hundreds of acres of corn, soybean, alfalfa, grass hay, barley and wheat. Eleven irrigation systems cover 900 acres, and the farm plants about 600 acres of cover crops every winter. In addition, 434 acres are permanently preserved through agriculture land preservation easements. The farm received the Maryland Dairy of Distinction Award in 2011. The Edwards family has implemented many major conservation projects through the years to prevent nutrient runoff from reaching the Chesapeake Bay. The farm’s 24-foot buffer around its ditches and tile wells add up to 26 acres. All contaminated water is channeled to a lagoon by installing French drains, rain gutters and sediment traps to divert rain water to storm drains. Heavy use areas around manure storage and bunker silos have been cemented to lead the runoff of these areas to the lagoon. The latest conservation project is the addition of a Bioreactor in an area where our farm runoff water leaves our land.Richard (Dick) and Jan Edwards began operating the farm in 1975 after his father passed away suddenly. He was 33 years old and in charge of a 250 acre farm that had been in the family since 1940. Dick attributes his success to the Ag Econ classes he took at University of Maryland and serving as a director of the Peoples Bank of Maryland. Jan, who grew up on a dairy farm in Wicomico County, met Dick in 1962 during a 4-H trip to West Virginia. They married in 1966. Both Dick and Jan have been very active in community and church organizations, as well as agriculture and dairy organizations, throughout their lives and have both received numerous awards for their leadership.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/6/14


December 31, 2012

2012: Ed and Marion Fry Family

Photo by Executive Office of the Governor

Photo by Executive Office of the Governor

Name of Family: Ed and Marion Fry Family

The patriarch of the family, Edwin C. “Pop” Fry, followed in the footsteps of his parents, Edwin D. and Susan Clarkson Fry, who were innovators and early adaptors of improved technology, promoted by the Cooperative Extension Service in Montgomery County and project leaders from USDA. A network of resources and experiences was forged that set the stage for their five children – Edwin C., George, Amy (Leber), Frederick and Margery (Grace) – to be engaged in 4-H and agriculture throughout their lifetimes and inspired the next generations to stay involved in agriculture.  As a young entrepreneur, Edwin C. was an innovative leader in the agricultural industry. An FFA American Star Farmer and state 4-H dairy judging team member, he helped establish the Montgomery County Agricultural Center in the 1940’s, served as a director for the National Holstein Association from 1965-73. He actively promoted agriculture and international marketing of Holsteins during his time as a director.  He was president of the Maryland Holstein Association when the National Convention was held in Baltimore in 1964. He continued to work with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service throughout his life. He was a highly regarded and internationally known dairy cattle judge.  He served on the Maryland Agriculture Advisory Board (which was, at the time, part of the Board of Regents at the University of Maryland), and later on the Maryland Agricultural Commission.  He received the Certificate of Merit Award in Agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1976, prior to the establishment of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. In 1984 he was inducted into the Maryland Dairy Shrine. Edwin and Lorraine moved Fair Hill Farm to Chestertown in 1960 with their four young children. Active throughout Kent County, Edwin continued to mentor young agriculturalists, advanced farming practices and served his community as a Rotarian and active member of the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. Edwin later served as a longtime board member for both the Maryland State Fair and Chestertown Bank of Maryland. “Pop” was a well-regarded leader in Maryland agriculture until his death in June 2012.  Married for 67 years, Edwin and Lorraine had three sons, all of whom graduated college with degrees in agriculture, and one daughter. Their oldest son Edwin R. (“Ed”) returned to the farm in 1969 after earning a degree in Dairy Science from the University of Maryland, and by the 1980s had built a 500 cow dairy facility near Kennedyville. Son Ken helped manage 4,000 acres of cropland. Son Robert, a veterinarian, did herd health work and nutrition for the herd. Daughter Joan, who worked briefly on the farm, became a registered nurse, like her mother. All of the Frys, from Pops on down, were active in 4-H and FAA.  By the early 2000s, Ed began working with Horizon Organic Dairy, which had purchased the Kennedyville farm and leased the Naval Academy Dairy Farm in Gambrills. Ed formed Maryland Sunrise Farm, LLC to run the leased operation. The new association also prompted Ed to transition some of his Kent County ground to organic crops. When Horizon Organic stopped operating the Naval Academy Farm in 2005, Ed obtained the lease from the Navy and, with his wife Marian, continues to manage Maryland Sunrise Farm and its many activities today. In 2007, Ed and Marian purchased the Fair Hill Farm business from his extended family.  In addition, Marian took the lead in restoring a house built on the Fair Hill farm in 1760 and which is now on the National Register of Historic Places. She also gave educational farm tours for every fourth grader in Kent County over 20 years.  Together, Edwin and Marian were named the 2006 Northeast winners of the Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture and the Chester Riverkeeper’s Award for practices contributing to cleaner water for the Chester River. Ed’s son (i.e., Pop’s grandson) Matthew, a graduate of Virginia Tech, and his wife Megan, also a Virginia Tech graduate who’s from a seven generation farm family, also work on Fair Hill Farm where they are raising two young children and continuing to advance the business. Under Matt’s leadership, the milking herd increased by from 260 to 380 cows. His goal is to grow the herd internally to 500 cows by 2015. The current rolling herd average is 26,470 pounds of milk; 923 pounds of fat, 790 pounds of protein. Ed’s son Chuck has recently returned to the farm, assuming a part time management role. Fair Hill Farm was named Cooperator of the Year for the Kent Soil and Water Conservation District for the advanced manure handling structures installed on the farm to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Guidelines and the Total Maximum Daily Loads in the Maryland Watershed Implementation Plan. Working with NRCS cost share, the facilities include a neoprene liner and leak detection system to meet the requirements for a CAFO. They also include a manure storage shed for the heifer lot, and a dry cow cement tank for the field to hold manure until it can be spread.

Video Link

Date Awarded: February 7, 2013


January 1, 2011

2011: Bob and Drew Stabler

Photo by Executive Office of the Governor

Photo by Executive Office of the Governor

Name of Family: Bob and Drew Stabler

Bob and Drew Stabler have been agricultural leaders and innovators for more than 50 years. They began farming with their father in 1958. Both brothers raised their families on Pleasant Valley Farm, which grew to 4,000 acres. In 2001, to simplify estate planning, Drew retired from Pleasant Valley and began a new partnership with Fred Lechlider (i.e., Bob’s son in law) and his son David to create Sunny Ridge Farm, which raises corn, wheat, soybeans and cattle on 1,800 acres. Bob and his son Randy continue to operate Pleasant Valley, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and cattle on 2,650 acres. Both farms have a history of using the latest best management practices and their average yields are consistently among the highest in Central Maryland. The Stabler brothers installed truck scales in 1977 to weigh each load of grain going in and out of storage, which allows them to keep detailed production and yield records. They were among the earliest adopters of no-till technology. They began using split nitrogen applications on corn in 1975 which helps them use nitrogen more efficiently. They have also installed critical areas and waters where needed; constructed a fertilizer and pesticide loading and containment structure as well as animal waste systems at both farms. They have been Dekalb seed dealers and established on farm test plots for more than 40 years. Most recently, Sunny Ridge has worked with an agronomist on groundbreaking greenseeker research to improve nitrogen efficiency in corn production. And Pleasant Valley became the first farm in the county to fly on mid to late season fungicide applications for control of Gray Leaf Spot and other corn diseases. Both farms have become a must-see stop on farm tours for both student and agriculture professional as they have established a solid reputation for operating a clean, well managed and highly productive farm. Throughout their careers, Bob and Drew Stabler – as well as their spouses and children – have been actively involved in numerous agricultural organizations. Both brothers have also received numerous awards and recognitions throughout the years.

Video Link

Date Awarded: February 2, 2012


January 1, 2010

2010: The Layton Family

Photo by the Executive Office of the Governor

Photo by the Executive Office of the Governor

Name of Family: The Layton Family

Description: The Layton family has been farming in Dorchester County since the 1920s, primarily producing grain crops, and now manages 1,820 acres. Joseph Layton and his wife Laura have been farming for 38 years. When their son William and his wife Jennifer joined the operation, they diversified the operation to include a vineyard and a winery, Layton’s Chance, which opened to the public in May, 2010.  Since its opening, the winery has sold over 4,500 bottles of wine creating new avenues of economic development for the family and the community. They have implemented Soil and Water Conservation Plans, along with Forest Stewardship Plans, Nutrient Management Plans and Integrated Pest Management Plans on all the land they manage. The Laytons are innovators and leaders in adopting successful practices.  The family remains at the forefront of technology adoption, with record keeping and marketing/business operation plans at the core of their operation. Joseph and Laura serve on various boards and committees serving the interests of agriculture and the community at large including Farm Bureau, the Dorchester County Cooperative Extension Program Advisory Committee, Maryland Soybean Board, Dorchester Ag Reconciliation Committee, Maryland Grain Producers,  Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association Board of Directors, Dorchester County Grain Marketing Club and the Dorchester Board of Education.  The family has been honored with many awards and recognitions including Maryland 100 Bushel Corn Club Contest, Dorchester County Cooperator of the Year, Maryland Cooperator of the Year, Maryland Young Farmer Achievement Award. Lazy Day Farms was named a “Best Managed Farm” in Farm Futures Magazine and received the “Ag Innovator Award” as part of their “Best Managed Farms” contest.

Video Link

Date Awarded: February 3, 2011


2010: The Kohl Family

Photo by Executive Office of the Governor

Photo by Executive Office of the Governor

Name of Family: The Kohl Family

Description: The Kohl family owns and operates Angelica Nurseries, Inc., a 2,200 acre wholesale nursery that originated in Pennsylvania and moved to Maryland in 1956.  Three generations of nurserymen – Mr. Kohl and his sons Verne, Tim and Bernard, Sr., and grandsons Jim and Bernard, Jr. – are all part of the family operation, which strives to produce heavy, landscape grade plants grown to the highest standards.  Kent County’s Sassafras silt loam soil is ideal for their unique bag and burlap operation, which utilizes highly specialized equipment created through the family’s own innovation.  Angelica Nurseries is the largest H2A employer in the State of Maryland and at the forefront of the immigration/legal work force issue. Their expertise has been sought by President Bush, who met with them in 2007, and they have served as a liaison to the Governor’s Commission on Migrant and Seasonal Labor. The family members have held leadership roles for a number of national, state and local boards and commissions and civic organizations. Within the community, they regularly contribute to the needs of local churches, fire companies, parks and others with donations of plants and equipment.  Governor O’Malley recognized their donation of 2,000 trees to a state tree planning program for homeowners in Prince George’s County who lost trees resulting from emerald ash borer eradication efforts. They have also been honored with the MNLA Professional Achievement Award (1987) and Kent County Cooperator of the Year Award (1985).

Video Link

Date Awarded: February 3, 2011


ae1a-ewspw-web2