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Applications sought for state Agriculture Hall of Fame

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is accepting nominations of farmers and farm families for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to the state’s leading industry.

The Ag Hall was established in 1991 and includes 50 farm families from 23 different counties. Three from Carroll County are enshrined, though none has been selected in more than a decade. The Joe Schwartzbeck Family was inducted in 1999, William and Jean Knill in 2002 and the Donald Dell family in 2006.

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Nominations are due by Oct. 4. Those selected for induction will be honored during the Taste of Maryland Agriculture event on Feb. 6.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our rural communities and state economy. Our Maryland farmers work tirelessly, year-round to provide food, fiber, and nourishment for Maryland residents and many beyond our state borders,” Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder is quoted as having said in a news release. “In recognition of the dedicated farm families throughout the state, I encourage residents to submit a nomination for the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.”

Any farm family that derives its income principally from farming is eligible for the award. The 50 farm families already enshrined have been honored for “their high standards of conduct; personal values; contributions to their community; and performance, leadership, innovation, and achievement in agriculture,” according to the release.

Local Extension offices serve as nominating committee coordinators. Each local nominating committee is made up of the county extension educator, county farm bureau president, county fair representative, and county soil conservation district chairman. Each committee reviews a pool of candidates from its county and forwards a selection to the Governor’s Selection Committee. Only one farm family per county can be considered.

Applicants must work with their county extension office in preparing the application, which should include as much information about the family as possible and address agricultural leadership, community activities, and technological and management advancements.

The Carroll County extension office is at 700 Agricultural Center Drive, Westminster. The office phone number is 410-386-2760.

The selection committee includes the Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the President of the Maryland Farm Bureau, and members of the agricultural community.

For more information, contact Jessica O’Sullivan at 410-841-5881 or jessica.osullivan@maryland.gov.

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