The 85th class
This year’s crop of Master Farmers comprises the 85th class of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers. It is America’s longest running and most prestigious agricultural honors program. It sprouted in 1927 as part of a Master Farmers of America program to foster stewardship and leadership. At that point, the program was initiated by Pennsylvania Farmer magazine and USDA.
Today, the award is co-sponsored by American Agriculturist magazine and by Cooperative Extension programs in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia. AgChoice Farm Credit, Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit and FS/Growmark are supportive partners.
The Master Farmer award is the lifetime achievement award of agriculture that recognizes exemplary role models of outstanding management, land stewardship and community leadership.
Candidates are nominated by individuals and organizations. Once nominated, candidates receive application forms to complete. This year’s applications were viewed and scored by a three-judge panel in February and March. Final selections were made in late March.
Scoring is weighted as follows: 75% farm management/financial progress; 15% ag leadership involvement; and 10% non-ag leadership.
Time to reveal the latest group of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers.
This year’s crop of Master Farmers is a diverse group that mirrors the many types of farming on the East Coast.
Peter Brummer of Millerstown, Pa., raises field crops, vegetables and livestock on more than 400 acres.
Jenny Rhodes of Centreville, Md., raises 500,000 broilers a year in four chicken houses on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Barron and Glenn Shaw of Stewartstown, Pa., grow fruits on 240 acres in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Each Master Farmer will be honored at this year’s Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Banquet on July 12 at the Clarion Inn, Frederick Event Center in Frederick, Md. A tour of local farms will be held July 13.