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Local farm group marks statewide anniversary


Left to right, auctioneer Ronnie Farrell conducts a live auction at the Calvert County Farm Bureau's annual banquet while local Farm Bureau Chapter President Susie Hance Wells enjoys the spirited bidding from the audience.

Barstow, MD - The Calvert County Farm Bureau (CCFB) held its annual banquet Friday, Nov. 6 at the fairgrounds in Barstow. The well-attended event gave members a chance to reflect on the successes of the past year and look to the daunting future of keeping the tradition of agriculture alive in Calvert County.

Current CCFB President Susie Hance Wells noted that 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Maryland Farm Bureau. The Calvert chapter, Wells stated, held events during the past year that bode well for farming in the county.  One event was the first-ever “Farm to Table Breakfast.” The breakfast, consisting of mostly local farm products, was labeled “tremendously successful” by the chapter president. Proceeds help fund three $1,000 scholarships and also allowed CCFB to make donations, including one to Chesapeake Church’s Culinary School. Wells said the next CCFB Farm to Table Breakfast is scheduled for March 19 at the Calvert County Fairgrounds.

Wells reported that CCFB members met with the Calvert County Commissioners to discuss the future of agriculture preservation, zoning regulations that are not considered agribusiness friendly and help for marketing the county’s agriculture community. There was also a tour of several local farms. “This went over well,” said Wells. “But we can’t stop there.”

In an effort to correct what local farm leaders consider skewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, CCFB is encouraging local farmers to participate in an upcoming survey. “You’ll be getting it in the next few months,” said Wells.

The banquet contained an emotional element when local Nationwide Insurance agent Carrie Polk announced she was contributing $250 to establish a scholarship to honor the memory of Phyllis Horsmon, who died Oct. 2. The St. Leonard resident was a longtime CCFB member and helped start the Calvert Young Farmers organization. Polk urged other bureau members to also contribute to the fund. After Polk’s remarks, Phyllis Horsmon’s widower, Richard, stood and, on behalf of the family, thanked the bureau members for their prayers and support.  

The event also featured plenty of food—a spread catered by Thompson’s Seafood—and fun. Southern Maryland auctioneer Ronnie Farrell conducted a live auction, exhorting bids on bottles of local wine, venison, a cured ham, a chain saw and even a goose hunt. Then Farrell conducted a “horse race, involving equine heads on a stick and the roll of a dice.

“Agriculture is still alive and well here and across the country,” declared Charlie Cox of Calvert County Young Farmers. He urged his colleagues to attend as many social events like the annual banquet as possible. Cox stated it was important for young farmers “to have camaraderie.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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