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Local Farm Bureau celebrates outreach victories

Calvert County Farm Bureau 2017 banquet
Left to right, Katie Burroughs, Emme Van Fossen and Jason Leavitt

Barstow, MD – The main speakers at Calvert County Farm Bureau’s (CCFB) annual Banquet Friday, Nov. 3 noted that the local agriculture community is beginning to move the needle in a positive direction when it comes to educating the general population about their vocation. Still, CCFB Board of Directors President Jason Leavitt stated, “society is becoming more and more remote from the farm.” Leavitt added that farmers must work to fix that disconnect.

So what are farmers in a county whose population majority consists of non-natives doing to educate the public about agriculture’s importance? Leavitt touted one success story—the third CCFB Farm to Table Breakfast last March as an “excellent interaction with the public. It was a very successful event.” Farm to Table Breakfast is a feast of local farm products—80 percent from Calvert County farms. With the exception of the orange juice that was served, all of the breakfast menu items were products of Maryland farms. In addition to the outreach, the Farm to Table Breakfast proved to be a highly successful fundraiser for the local Farm Bureau. With money realized for that and other events, plus local memberships, CCFB was able to award eight $1,000 scholarships in 2017.

In her remarks, CCFB’s outgoing Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau—Katie Burroughs—stated that during her tenure as an ambassador for the local chapter she learned a lot about other areas of Maryland. She also discovered many adults and children in the state don’t have a clue about how food origins. “I feel like I taught a lot of people,” said Burroughs. It was during her years with the local 4-H that Burroughs indicated she received her education about the work farmers must perform to raise animals. She told banquet attendees that she raised and subsequently showed 21 head of livestock during her 4-H career.

The incoming CCFB Miss Calvert County Farm Bureau is Calvert High School (CHS) senior Emme Van Fossen. She told banquet attendees about her positive experiences with 4-H, Future Farmers of America and as a volunteer with Farming for Hunger. Van Fossen, who plans to attend the College of Southern Maryland after graduating from CHS, lives on a small farm in Port Republic.

Leavitt noted that CCFB members also helped with the aforementioned disconnect the Maryland agriculture community sometimes has with Maryland lawmakers. During the last session of the Maryland General Assembly state Farm Bureau officials lobbied for significant changes to a measure that would have created more red tape for the state’s livestock farmers by duplicating a similar federal measure that took effect at the start of 2017. The bill, which was sponsored by urban and suburban lawmakers, was amended and was passed. Governor Larry Hogan signature was not on the bill, which nevertheless became law. “Common sense prevailed,” Leavitt said.

In addition to a sumptuous buffet by Thompson’s Seafood Catering, the banquet held at the Calvert County Fairgrounds' Main Buidling included a live auction and “horse race” conducted by Ronald Farrell that helped raise money for Calvert County Young Farmers. Door prizes donated by several area businesses and CCFB members were awarded to attendees.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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