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Governor Hogan Inducts Farm Family into Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame

Cecil County Family Receives State’s Most Prestigious Agriculture Award

Governor Larry Hogan with the Milburn (Credit: Executive Office of the Governor)

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder inducted the Milburn Family of Cecil County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame Thursday evening, making the family the 48th recipients of the prestigious recognition. Accepting the honor from Governor Hogan were Jay Milburn, Melinda Milburn Palmeri, and David Milburn. The family was inducted in front of 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.

“Our administration is committed to doing all we can to ensure that Maryland families continue to run profitable, sustainable farms for generations to come,” said Governor Hogan. “Tonight, it is my distinct honor to induct the Milburn family into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. The Milburns, just like all of our farm families, are making Maryland a better place each and every day with their outstanding stewardship of the land, protection of the Bay, production of food, and through their vital contributions to our economy.”

During his remarks, Governor Hogan focused on the outstanding leadership, stewardship and accomplishments of the agricultural community. He cited the importance of agriculture to the state’s quality of life and to the economy by directly supporting 45,600 jobs.

“I am glad to be here with Governor Hogan as he welcomes another outstanding family to the Agriculture Hall of Fame,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “The Milburn family is an integral part of Maryland’s agriculture community, and I applaud their continued commitment to protecting our natural resources and educating our next generation of farmers.”

About 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 500 acres in Elkton, producing a variety of fruit—mostly apples and peaches. Picking up where their 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 agritourism 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 Milburns 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 Milburns 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. A brief slideshow featuring the new Agriculture Hall of Fame family was played during the dinner and can be viewed online.

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 Extension offices. A complete list of the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame members is available online.

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Photos from the ceremony are available by request

Quotes about the Milburn Family from the Nominators

“For decades, Milburn Orchards has been a model operation here in Cecil County and throughout the region. Their success as an agritourism destination is a testament to the Milburn family’s ability to adapt to changes in the market. The farm has something for everyone, and attracts visitors from all over the state. I am happy to see them added to the Governor’s Ag Hall of Fame.”– Doris Behnke, Extension Agent, University of Maryland Extension, Cecil County

“I am happy to see the Milburn family receive this honorable distinction. The Milburns have shown great leadership on everything from environmental stewardship to new and innovative business practices. I am proud to have them represent Cecil County’s agriculture community.” – Jonathan Quinn, President, Cecil County Farm Bureau

 “The Milburn family does a great job representing the image of Maryland agriculture. In addition to producing quality products, the family has remained committed to environmental stewardship and ag education. Their efforts in these areas have had a tremendous impact on the community here in Cecil County, and throughout the state of Maryland.” – Charles Hayes, Cecil County Soil Conservation District

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889

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