Myers becomes Maryland State Fair’s first female board president

Myers becomes Maryland State Fair’s first female board president
Donna Myers, at her farm in New Windsor, Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, is the first female president of the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society Inc.'s board of directors. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Generations of 4-Hers and their animals have grown up under the watchful eye of fair volunteer Donna Myers. Myers, of New Windsor, was recently elected president of the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society Inc.'s board of directors.

“4-H was an important part of my life, my children’s lives and now my grandchildren’s lives,” Myers said. “Everything I’ve done has involved youth programs. It’s kind of a natural progression to give my time and to give back to make sure these programs can continue for other generations.”


Myers is the first female president since the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society’s incorporation in 1878. She has served for 17 years on various board committees, most recently as treasurer. She continues to serve on the fair’s Agriculture Committee and as a member of the fair’s U-Learn Agriculture Education Committee.

“I don’t think being the first woman president makes a difference,” Myers said. “I don’t think there are any expectations of me to do anything different just because I’m a woman.”

Myers grew up in Montgomery County and participated in 4-H, showing Guernsey cattle. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology and married her husband, Jason, a Carroll County native, 43 years ago.

The couple started farming with his family and bought their own 150-acre farm in 1979. They milked 60 to 80 cows seven days a week, two times a day until three years ago. They also raised two daughters, Kelly and Kristin.

“We stopped three years ago because we wanted more flexibility and time to spend with our grandchildren,” Myers said. “We still farm the land and grow corn, soybeans, timothy and alfalfa.”

Myers was honored at the World Dairy Expo as the 2011 Dairy Woman of the Year and, along with her husband, was inducted into the Maryland Dairy Shrine. She has also served as Maryland Agriculture Council president; Maryland State Fair 4-H dairy superintendent; Maryland Holstein Association president and vice president; past chairwoman of the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair; and National Junior Holstein Advisory Committee member.

As president, Myers will meet quarterly with the board and monthly with the executive board. She said she is currently busy with lots of calls and emails so she can be brought up to speed. During the 12 days of the fair, as she has in past years, she will stay in a hotel room and attend all the functions and activities associated with the event. Myers recently attended the International Association of Fairs to vet entertainment and attend seminars on the best business practices.

Myers said the board of directors doesn’t just concentrate on the fair.

“Not only do we support and guide the fair, but we also have 500 event days because we have multiple events on the weekends,” she said. “We host a variety of events like RV shows, auctions, craft shows, auto shows and horse sales. The campus is also a staging ground for other organizations’ activities. It’s a big complex offering a lot of different activities and opportunities for people of all ages.”

Assistant general manager Becky Brashear said Myers will be a key part of the team as the organization continues to meet the needs of nearly half a million fairgoers, as well as nearly 2 million guests who visit the campus on an annual basis.

“The new position speaks well to her talents and capabilities,” Brashear said.

Board of directors Treasurer Bob Tibbs said Myers “has a good business mind.”

“Donna’s been involved with 4-H all her life and that’s a big part of the fair. She knows some of the problems we have at the fair and how to fix them,” Tibbs said. “I think she’s going to really pull the board together.”