The Miss Harford County Farm Bureau competition was held during the Farm Fair on Thursday. Contestants vied for the opportunity to represent the county as an agriculture spokesperson for the next year. (Jon Sham/Baltimore Sun Video)

Elizabeth Galbreath of Street was selected Thursday evening as Miss Harford County Farm Bureau for 2013 during the 26th annual Harford County Farm Fair.

"I'm really excited," Galbreath, 18, who will be a freshman at Virginia Tech, said after her win. "My passion is definitely agriculture, and so I'm really excited to go out and teach people how important agriculture truly is."

As Miss Harford County Farm Bureau, Galbreath will serve as an ambassador for the county's Farm Bureau.

"It's not a beauty pageant by any means," Galbreath, who was raised on her family's dairy farm and has long been involved in local 4-H youth programs, said of Thursday's competition. "It's all about knowledge of agriculture and how you can promote it."

Galbreath will represent Harford County in the Miss Maryland Agriculture Contest during the State Fair in Timonium in late August. She also won a $250 cash prize from Harman's Farm Market and $500 in cash from the Harford County Farm Bureau Women's Committee, plus a free family membership in the Harford County Farm Bureau.

"Thank you to these girls," she said after she was called as the winner, indicating her two competitors, Sarah Fielder, 17, of Jarrettsville and Paige Rickey, 17, of Whiteford.

"They're awesome, and thank you for supporting agriculture," Galbreath said.

Each contestant was asked several questions about issues facing agriculture and how growing up on a farm affected them.

The mistress of ceremonies, 2012 Miss Maryland Agriculture Phyllis McKenzie, tore open envelopes that held the questions and then read them to each contestant.

Sarah, a rising senior at North Harford High School, grew up on her family's dairy farm.

"It's taught me to be responsible," she said of farm life when making her presentation. "It's taught me to be aware of my surroundings."

Paige, also a rising senior at North Harford, also grew up on her family's farm where they raise beef cattle, sheep and chickens.

"Every day I have to go out and take care of [the animals]," she said. "Without me, they can't survive."

Galbreath said her experiences have taught her that "4-H and agriculture education are my passion, and I can't wait to see where it takes me."

Paige and Sarah will be alternates for Miss Harford Farm Bureau. They, along with Galbreath, each won $100 cash prizes and gifts donated by Harford County businesses and agricultural organizations.

The winner was selected by a three-judge panel drawn from the farming community of Maryland and Pennsylvania: Margie Chase of Davidsonville, Lacy Miles of Little Marsh, Pa., and Jesse Reeder of Nottingham.

Farm Bureau chapters are around the state, providing membership, advocacy and lobbying services in Annapolis and Washington, D.C., for Maryland farmers.

Jay Rickey, president of the Harford County Farm Bureau, and father of Paige, extolled the benefits of membership in the nonprofit organization.

"These things are what farmers need," he said from the event stage. "The more we have in our group, the better representation we can give you."

Lauren Almony, 7, spoke to the audience about her year's experience as the 2012 Little Miss Harford County Farm Bureau.

"Agriculture provides people with food and jobs and many other things that are important to our daily needs," she said.

Galbreath's predecessor, 2012 Miss Harford County Farm Bureau Emily Gill, also shared a few words with the audience.

Gill, 20, is a White Hall resident and rising junior at Goucher College in Towson, where she studies special education.

"I'd like to thank Lauren for being an amazing Little Miss next to me, and I had a blast," she said, recalling the past year.

Emmy Dallam of Bel Air, a rising junior at Oldfields School in Baltimore County and the Upper Chesapeake Dairy Princess for 2013, performed an "instructional skit" about the need to consume dairy products three times a day to be healthy.

Gill said she had known Galbreath "forever."

"She's a great candidate; she has a great personality for the job, and I'm really excited to help prepare her for the state contest and I'm really interested to see what she'll do there," Gill said.