Governor Larry Hogan Inducts Farm Family into Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame
Montgomery County Family Receives State’s Most Prestigious Agriculture Award
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder inducted the Linthicum Family of Montgomery County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame tonight, making the family the 50th recipients of the prestigious recognition. Charles, Tom and Paula Linthicum of Seneca Ayr Farms accepted the honor from Governor Hogan on behalf of the family. The family was inducted in front of more than 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 remains committed to doing all we can to ensure that Maryland families continue to run profitable sustainable farms for generations to come,” said Governor Hogan. “The Linthicums and all of our Maryland farm families here today are an inspiration to us all. On behalf of all the citizens of our great state, I want to sincerely congratulate them and thank them for making Maryland a better place with their outstanding stewardship of the land, production of food, and their vital contributions to our economy.”
The leading industry in Maryland, agriculture contributes $16 billion to our state’s economy and supports more than 65,000 jobs.
“Today, we honor the Linthicum family, who has worked tirelessly for generations to feed Marylanders across the state, preserve our rich agricultural heritage, and support our rural communities,” said Sec. Bartenfelder. “The Linthicums are an exceptional reflection of the diversity of Maryland farm operations, and the strength and persistence of our hard working Maryland farmers. I thank the Linthicum family for all they have done to keep agriculture prosperous across the state, and congratulate them on this remarkable achievement. “
About 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.
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. More information on each hall of fame family is available on the department’s website.
A complete list of Hall of Fame honorees is available online.
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Quotes about the Linthicum Family from the Nominators
“The Linithicum family is an excellent example of a dedicated farm family that is ready to adapt to the changing face of agriculture. They are active in many community organizations as well as helping set the standards of farm stewardship. Paula serves on many local, statewide, and national boards and keeps a presence on social media to help keep the public informed. Tom has served as a community leader in several agriculture organizations, and has also been involved in the local fire department for many years. We are pleased to see the Linthicum family honored by Governor Hogan as this year’s Agriculture Hall of Fame family.” – Chuck Schuster, Extension Educator, University of Maryland Extension, Montgomery County
“The Linthicum family is one of Montgomery County’s longest tenured farm families. Their contributions in the advancement of agriculture within the county and throughout the state, along with their rich agricultural heritage, make this farm family very worthy of this recognition and we are very proud of their well-deserved induction into the Governor’s Agricultural Hall of Fame.” – John Zawitoski, District Manager, Montgomery Soil Conservation District
“I am hard-pressed to think of a family more deserving of this distinct honor than the Linthicums. In the face of major setbacks and obstacles, the Linthicum family has persevered and adapted their farm several times to remain successful. Their resilience and unwavering commitment to agriculture in Maryland is inspiring, and I am thrilled to see them inducted into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.” – Michele Cropp, President, Montgomery County Farm Bureau