Governor O’Malley Inducts Caroline Co. Farm Family into Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame to Receive State’s Most Prestigious Agriculture Award
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley and Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance inducted the Edwards Family of Oakland View Farms, LLC in Caroline County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame tonight, making them the 45th recipients of the prestigious recognition. Accepting the honor were Jan and Richard Edwards, along with Jill and Scott Youse. Also in attendance from the family were Julie Kimball, Jana and Danny Hutchison, and Patrick and Natalie Youse. Governor O’Malley inducted the family before nearly 700 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the state during the annual “Taste of Maryland” agriculture event, held at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.
“Lt. Governor Brown and I are proud to welcome the Edwards Family into the Agriculture Hall of Fame. When we talk about moms and dads putting food on the table, we’re talking about the food families like the Edwards, and all of you, produce,” said Governor O’Malley. “With over 2.1 million acres of cover crops planted since 2007, Maryland farmers are doing everything they can to balance protecting our Bay with building strong, durable businesses. And we’re going to do everything we can to keep Maryland’s agricultural industry strong, diverse and sustainable.”
During his remarks, Governor O’Malley focused on the outstanding leadership, stewardship and accomplishments of the agricultural community. He cited the importance to agriculture to our quality of life and to the economy directly supporting 45,600 jobs in Maryland. He commended farmers for leading by example on conservation, citing 2.1 million acres of cover crops planted and 4,000 conservation projects installed on farms throughout the state since 2007. He highlighted the State’s commitment to provide farmers with the resources they need to implement the new phosphorus management tool.
During the event Secretary Hance unveiled that “Maryland Farm and Harvest” – the new 13-part series airing on Maryland Public Television Tuesdays at 7 p.m. – will continue rebroadcasting until season two starts this fall to help increase public understanding of Maryland agriculture.
“Inducting a farm family into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame is always a highlight of the year,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “The Edwards family exemplifies extraordinary commitment to Maryland’s agricultural industry and their community. They demonstrate a consistently high sense of responsibility to the land and water and it is a pleasure to honor them tonight.”
About 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.
Dick and Jan have three daughters, who were extremely active in 4-H activities throughout their youth and early adult years. Jill, a former Caroline County Farm Queen who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Delaware Valley College, now serves as the farm’s office manager. Julie, a former Eastern Shore Dairy Princess, holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Western Maryland College and a Master’s degree in Media and Library Sciences from McDaniel College. She currently teaches 6th grade language arts in Queen Anne’s County. Jana earned a Bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science degree in Animal Science from Penn State. She is currently a dairy scientist with USDA, Animal Improvement Programs Lab. She was also in LEAD Maryland class V. Jana married Danny Hutchison, who owns and operates Danny’s Lawn Care and Landscaping, LLC. Oakland View Farms utilizes Danny’s abilities with improvements through laying concrete, small building construction and excavation.
The modern era of Oakland View Farms began in 1994 when daughter Jill married Scott Youse, a dairy farmer’s son from Pennsylvania. Dick and Scott became instant partners and enacted plans to expand the farm, install technologies to help the farm run more efficiently, and implement conservation methods to prevent nutrient runoff. Scott now manages Oakland View Farms and serves on many agriculture organizations including the Maryland Ag Commission Advisory Board. Today, the entire Edwards family lives within a mile of each other. The youngest generation – some of them early into their teen years – is also beginning to take on more responsibilities around the farm as they get older. All are involved in 4-H.
Click here for a brief slideshow featuring the new Agriculture Hall of Fame family that was played during the dinner.
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. A complete list of the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame members is available here.
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Quotes about the Edwards Family from the Nominators
“I was pleased to nominate the Edwards family and am glad to see them honored. They run a professional operation which is environmentally sensitive. Family members are involved in the community including Caroline County Farm Bureau where they have held the positions of vice president, secretary, and director. Congratulations to the Edwards family!” – Harry Moreland III, President, Caroline County Farm Bureau
“The Edwards family are very hard working, business oriented dairy farmers. Every member of the family has had more than one layer of manure on their boots. They are very progressive dairy farmers that bleed 4H green. Many of Oakland View Farms’ cows and equipment have been used to educate youth and adults about today’s agriculture.” – James Lewis, Caroline County Extension Director