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Charles County family inducted into Agriculture Hall of Fame

 

ANNAPOLIS, Md.  – Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder inducted the Bowling Family of Charles County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame tonight, making the family the 49th recipients of the prestigious recognition. Chip and Lynn Bowling accepted the honor from Governor Hogan on behalf of the family. The family was inducted in front of nearly 700 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the state during the annual “Taste of Maryland Agriculture” event, held at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

“Our administration is committed to doing all we can to ensure that Maryland families continue to run profitable, sustainable farms for generations to come,” said Governor Hogan. “The Bowling family truly is an inspiration to us all and is making Maryland a better place with their outstanding stewardship of the land, protection of the Bay, production of food, and their vital contributions to our economy. I am honored to induct them into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame.”

During his remarks, Governor Hogan focused on the outstanding leadership, stewardship and accomplishments of the agricultural community. He cited the importance of agriculture to the state’s quality of life and to the economy by directly supporting 45,600 jobs.

“It is great to be here with Governor Hogan as we honor another well-deserving farm family,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “The Bowling family has been a steadfast advocate for agriculture in Southern Maryland and beyond. I commend the family on its commitment to the industry and wish them continued success.”

About the Bowling Family

The Bowling Family of Charles County has lived and farmed for three generations at their Bunker Hill location, and for many generations before that at neighboring farms. Wallace and Martha Bowling purchased the 271 acre farm in 1944. The farm’s main crop was tobacco, which was supplemented by a cattle herd, hogs, and grain operation in rotation. Wallace passed away in 1960 when his oldest son Eddie was just 18 years old. Eddie stayed home to help raise seven younger siblings and take over the farm, passing up two major league baseball contracts along the way. He ran the farm in partnership with younger siblings Charles, James and Calvin.

In 1998, Charles’ son Chip took over full-time. In 2000, the family decided to take the state’s tobacco buyout program, which left them looking for new ways to remain viable. Chip started Bowling Agri-Services with his wife Lynn and their two daughters, leasing land and buildings from the family’s Bunker Hill Farm. The company has expanded from 200 acres of grain crops in the 90s to nearly 1,000 acres today, leasing land on 16 tracts comprising 102 separate fields. Charles Sr. and his older brother Eddie remain involved in the operation.

In addition to maintaining a successful farm operation, the Bowlings are known for their leadership in the agricultural community. Chip, Lynn, and their daughters have been active in the local 4-H program. Lynn is a member of Common Ground, an organization that communicates with the public about farm and food issues. Chip has held high-profile leadership positions in several local, state, and national organizations. This includes the Charles County Farm Bureau and Maryland Grain Producers Association, where he served as president of the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board. Most recently, Chip served as both vice president and president of the National Corn Growers Association (NGCA). He is the organization’s first president from the East Coast, and the first to serve two terms. Through his work with NGCA, Chip played a major role in many federal initiatives, including the passage of two farm bills.

 

A brief slideshow featuring the new Agriculture Hall of Fame family was played during the dinner and can be viewed above.

Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame was created in 1991 by then Governor William Donald Schaefer to honor agricultural leaders who exemplify high standards of achievement and commitment to the industry and their communities. Nominations are accepted at local Extension offices. A complete list of the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame members is available online.

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