Tag: Leopold Conservation

Finalists Selected for Maryland Leopold Conservation Award

Finalists Selected for Maryland Leopold Conservation Award

DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (October 13, 2022) — Three finalists have been selected for the 2022 Maryland Leopold Conservation Award®. 

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on private, working lands. 
In Maryland, the Leopold Conservation Award is presented by Sand County Foundation with state partners Keith Campbell Foundation for the EnvironmentMaryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, and Maryland Farm Bureau Inc. Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award in 24 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.
The finalists are:
  • Long Green Farms Inc. of Rising Sun in Cecil County: Caleb and Alice Crothers operate one of Maryland’s oldest dairy farms. They have planted about 60,000 trees as part of a major streambank restoration project. Cover crops are grown to prevent erosion and build soil health. A new heifer housing facility diverts clean rainwater and has a manure storage system to protect water quality.
  • Mount Pleasant Acres Farms of Preston in Caroline County: Donna Dear and Paulette Green’s farm contains 111 acres of row crops, fruits and vegetables, forests, and wetlands. The farm’s a showcase of forestry management, organic food production, and Black history, as it was a stop along the Underground Railroad. A food forest is providing a habitat for insect pollinators, songbirds and game birds.  
  • Persimmon Tree Farm of Westminster in Carroll County: At Carolyn Krome’s horse farm, pastures are managed to avoid erosion and over-grazing. Warm season grasses are kept vibrant with prescribed burns. Restored wetlands and streambanks provide wildlife habitat. Five acres of wildflowers are regularly weeded and maintained to attract insect pollinators.

Earlier this year, Maryland landowners were encouraged to apply (or be nominated) for the award. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders. The award recipient will be recognized at the Maryland Farm Bureau Annual Convention later this year. 
The recipient receives a $10,000 award, and the conservation success found on their farm, ranch or forest will be featured in a professional video.
Last year’s inaugural recipient of the award was the Warring family’s Persistence Creek Farm of Faulkner in Charles County. 
“It takes immense determination and hard work to implement thoughtful practices for the betterment of land and the environment. We truly appreciate the dedication to innovation and we’re proud to be one of the supporting organizations for this award. Congratulations to all the finalists and thank you for your taking on what can feel like a thankless job,” said Samantha Campbell, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment President.
“These award finalists are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.
“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the Maryland award finalists,” said John Piotti, AFT President and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”
The Leopold Conservation Award is given to farmers, ranchers and forestland owners across the U.S. in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.
The Maryland Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, Maryland Farm Bureau Inc., Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Sand County Foundation, Maryland Department of Agriculture, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Delmarva Chicken Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Conservancy, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, ShoreRivers, and The Nature Conservancy.   
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The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). www.leopoldconservationaward.org
The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment’s mission in the Chesapeake Bay Region is to improve water quality and ecological balance in the Bay and its rivers, as a healthy bay fosters a vibrant regional economy and provides exceptional recreational opportunities and a better quality of life. The Foundation provides approximately $7 million in funding through more than 150 grants annually, and has been funding in the region since 1998. www.campbellfoundation.org
MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 12,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. www.mdfarmbureau.com
MARYLAND ASSOCIATION OF SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICTS serves as the voice of Maryland’s 24 soil and water conservation districts on state legislative issues. It also provides a forum for training, policy-making and the exchange of information at their annual and quarterly gatherings. Its mission is to promote practical and effective soil, water, and related natural resources programs to all citizens through individual conservation districts on a voluntary bases through leadership, education, cooperation and local direction.  
Sand County Foundation inspires and empowers a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. www.sandcountyfoundation.org
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through its No Farms, No Food message. Since its founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families. www.farmland.org

Maryland Farm Bureau Convention: New Policies, Programming, Awards and Shared Knowledge Wrap-up

Maryland Farm Bureau Convention: New Policies, Programming, Awards and Shared Knowledge Wrap-up

DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (Dec. 13, 2021) — The Maryland farming community reunited and learned from high-profile guests, and about current issues, such as the The Center for Food Integrity and the next U.S. farm bill. The Maryland Farm Bureau Annual Convention and Meeting of Delegates and CyberAg Symposium was held last week in Cambridge at a new venue accommodating their large turnout this year.

Highlights included adopting and updating policy, recognizing members’ achievements on the state and national level, networking over awards presented, and the election of officers.

Among the keynote speakers, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said, “In my travels across our great land, I have seen farmers’ and ranchers’ dedication to their farms and communities. I have also seen the challenges we face across farm country, from natural disasters to government regulation and everything in between. But I have hope for the future because Farm Bureau members are resilient as we grow a safe and sustainable food, fiber and fuel supply and put in the time to create the policies that will help us grow a better tomorrow.”

The first CyberAg Symposium held with the convention, was held pre-conference and addressed being prepared for growing threats with cybersecurity, even in the ag community.

“The Maryland Farm Bureau Cyber Sunday event allowed us to fulfill our mission of outreach, awareness and education to the food/ag supply chain about cyber threats,” said Andrew Rose, managing director of CyberAg. “Attendees learned who the ag adversaries are, what they want, how they attack, how to mitigate/respond, and what threats are coming next. Because of the help and support of the Maryland Farm Bureau, the level of cybersecurity awareness has been raised in the agricultural community.”

For the first time, both a male and female Ag Ambassador were chosen in place of the past Miss Maryland Agriculture scholarship program. The winners are Jaclyn Bryant, Frederick County (sophomore at Frederick Community College), and Xavier Cox, Prince Georges County (junior at University of Maryland Eastern Shore).

Bob Tibbs, Harford County Charolais producer, received the Distinguished Service Award for his lifetime of achievements, awards and service, including being named a Harford County Treasure. The Agri-Woman of the Year award went to Evelyn Wilcom, Monrovia dairy farmer and retired nurse, for her over 60 years of service to the Farm Bureau and numerous other organizations.

Garrett County won an AFBF County Activity of Excellence, while on the state level, Carroll County and Howard County won Silver Bowl awards for receiving top scores in all program areas. Program areas include leadership, outreach and more.

The Young Farmers’ competition is a highlight that showcases the upcoming generation of farming leaders. Winners are:

  • Discussion Meet: Logan Yearsley, Prince George’s County (College Park)
  • Collegiate Discussion Meet: Olivia Scuderi, Montgomery County (Gaithersburg, attends University of Maryland)
  • Excellence in Agriculture: Katie Stevens, Frederick County (Frederick)
  • Achievement Award: Emmy Dallam, Harford County (Bel Air)

In another first this year, the Leopold Conservation Award was awarded to a Maryland farm or landowner, with the winner announced at the convention. Persistence Creek Farm and the Warring family of Faulkner won the honor in Maryland’s inaugural year.

Every two years, the American Farm Bureau Federation bestows upon select members of Congress recognition to those who work tirelessly to support the interest of farmers across the country and rural America. Senator Chris Van Hollen was one of seven members of Maryland’s congressional delegation to receive the Friend of Farm Bureau award for the 116th Congress. His award was presented in person during the convention.

Policy Updates
Delegates amending or making policy annually shapes the landscape of Maryland agriculture. This year, a national policy resolution from the convention affects wildlife management on federal lands; “We support requiring federal agencies to manage wildlife populations on federal lands in a way that minimizes damage to neighboring private property including crop damage and livestock depredation.” 

On the state level, new policies were introduced on cyber-ag security for the food chain and on urban agriculture. The Maryland Farm Bureau supports research and implementation of cyber-ag security programs to protect local and state supply chains.

The association bolstered its support of urban agriculture by adding policies, such as modifying zoning laws, grants, training programs and use of Open Space funds. The details can be found here. [[https://reviewmysitelive.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2022-State-Policy-Final.pdf]]

The following Maryland Farm Bureau officers and district directors who were up for re-election to the state board of directors won their respective elections:

  • President – Wayne Stafford of Cecil County
  • First Vice President – John Draper of Queen Anne’s County
  • Second Vice President – Jonathan Quinn of Kent County
  • Billy Bishoff – District 1, Garrett County
  • Ashley Barber – District 2, Carroll County
  • Jamie Tiralla – District 3, Calvert County
  • Jo-Ann Chason – District 4, Baltimore County
  • Marshall Cahall – District 5, Kent County
  • Mary Lou Brown – District 6, Dorchester County

Ed Heikes of Talbot County was elected to serve on the MDFB Political Action Committee.

Another pre-conference event was the Womens’ Leadership Committee meeting, where they added a new position and elected Connie Palmer of Frederick County as its second vice president.

Community Outreach
Maryland Farm Bureau also celebrates its Young Farmers committee that collected 597 pounds of food donated through the Young Farmers Fill-A-Ford Campaign, in partnership with Preston Ford and the Maryland Food Bank, at last week’s event.

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MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 10,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. Learn more at MDFarmBureau.com. 

Media Contact:
Amber Pearson | Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc. (TSN Communications)
573.268.6853 | amber@tsncommunications.com

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