Six generations of the Fritz family have spent the last 110 years farming Carroll County land, and their commitment was honored last week by Gov. Wes Moore, who celebrated the family by making them this year’s entry into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Daniel Fritz and his children, Jeffrey Fritz and Jessica Little, own Fritz Family LLC and 480 acres of farmland in New Windsor.
Moore and Acting Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks celebrated the 53rd anniversary of the Taste of Maryland Agriculture event Feb. 3 by inducting the Fritz family of New Windsor into the hall of fame. Members of the family accepted the award in front of more than 700 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the state at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, in Hanover.
“We’re thrilled and honored to be inducted into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame,” Little said in an email this week. “The Fritzes have been farming in Carroll County for more than a century. For six generations, we’ve tended our land and our animals, and our family, to the best of our ability. We’re humbled by this recognition and grateful to be a part of the agricultural community.”
Moore and Atticks applauded the family’s dedication to farming.
“This family is exceptional in their legacy of leadership and commitment to using conservation practices successfully for decades,” Atticks said in a news release. “Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition and thank you for all you have done for Maryland agriculture.”
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame was created in 1991 by Gov. William Donald Schaefer to honor agricultural leaders who exemplify high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities. Nominations are accepted annually at local University of Maryland Extension offices.
The Fritz family is the 55th inductee in the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame. More information on each hall of fame family is available on the department’s website.
The Fritz family’s farming legacy in Carroll County dates to 1912, when Charles and Carrie Fritz bought 90 acres of farmland and a large farmhouse in the Wakefield Valley, just outside New Windsor. The farmhouse remains on the property.
“It was the realization of a dream for the couple, who had been tenant farming on properties around Union Bridge and New Windsor for years,” the Fritz’s application essay states. “Six generations and 110 years later, the same farmhouse remains as the homebase for the descendants of Charles and Carrie, and the farm they began over a century ago.
“It has seen good times and bad, bounty and scarcity, drought and abundance. Through it all, the Fritz family’s passion for the agricultural industry has never waned.”
Jeffrey Fritz and his family, including wife Diana and daughters Emily, 15, Ella, 12, and Addison, 9, live in New Windsor on a 60-acre farm. Little and her family, including husband Jeff and sons Sawyer, 16, and Cooper, 14, live in the original farmhouse, which is a gathering place for holidays and special occasions.
The land was a dairy farm for 104 years until 2016, when the decision was made to stop the milking operation.
“The workload of milking cows and the drop in milk prices contributed to the decision,” the application essay states. “Today, the farm has a small beef operation, but is mainly a crop farm that grows wheat, barley, soybeans, corn and straw. There is a small cow/calf beef operation on the farm, raising and selling about a dozen Hereford crossbred calves each year.”
The Fritz family has also been involved in community and agricultural organizations in the county.
Daniel’s brother, George Fritz, was a member of the Carroll County Agriculture Center, the Carroll County Soil Conservation Board, and the Southern States Board of Directors. Daniel led the Carroll County Holstein Club, the Carroll County Farm Bureau, and the Dairy Herd Improvement Association.
Daniel and Jeffrey are members of the New Windsor Volunteer Fire Department. The children are members of the Carroll County 4-H, through which they exhibit cows, swine and lambs.
Carroll County Breaking News
Bryan Butler, principal agent agriculture and food systems with the Carroll County Extension Office, nominated the Fritz family for the hall of fame. He called the family “cornerstones in Carroll County agriculture.”
“They’ve devoted countless hours to agriculture advocacy, donating their time to the extension, Farm Bureau, 4-H, various dairy organizations, and other agriculture related organizations, all while maintaining an innovative, fiscally responsible, sustainable and environmentally sound family farm,” he said in the news release.