2020: The Cross Family
Family Name: The Cross Family
The Cross Family has been farming in Prince George’s County since John and Elizabeth Cross moved to North Keys in the mid 1800s, where they raised their 11 children. The Cross’ grew tobacco and served as the local market for other growers in the area. The Cross brothers also operated a small feed and fertilizer store that would later become a Southern States Cooperative franchise location, giving them the ability to expand their market and serve a wider range of Maryland farmers. In addition to their tobacco and feed businesses, the Cross’ grew a variety of field crops and raised beef cattle and chickens. As their operation continued to grow, the family decided to incorporate the family business in 1986, making Sandra Cross the president and 100% stockholder of R&D Cross, Inc.
In recent years, the family made the decision to transition away from growing tobacco, instead using those fields for corn and soybeans in rotation with cover crops of hay, which are sold as feed at the family’s store. The embrace of cover crops is a great example of the family’s commitment to conservation practices. The Cross family also hosts an annual public education dinner event on their farm that emphasizes various agricultural topics, including chemical and fertilizer use, equine updates, safety practices, and information on agricultural products. Their efforts to embrace conservation practices and educate the public earned them the honor of being named the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District’s Cooperator of the Year in 2009.
As an essential business, R&D Cross, Inc. has kept their operations running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with stringent safety measures in place to protect their workers and customers. With curbside pickup and expanded delivery options, their store has been able to continue providing critical supplies to farmers, gardeners, and animal owners during these unprecedented times.
Off the farm, the family is also very active in their local community, playing various roles supporting 4-H groups, scouts, and little league sports teams. Sandra has taken on an active leadership role in the family’s church, where she is celebrating 60 years of volunteer service as the organist and choir director. The Cross family is a great example of the kind of commitment and service that makes agriculture Maryland’s top industry.
Ceremony Date (Virtual): 2/4/21