Bowlings enter state’s hall of fame
GLEN BURNIE, Md. (Feb. 6, 2018) — Gov. Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder inducted the Bowling Family of Charles County into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame last week during the Maryland Agriculture Council’s annual Taste of Maryland Agriculture event. The Bowlings are the 49th farm family to enter the hall.
Chip and Lynn Bowling accepted the honor from Governor Hogan on behalf of the family.
The Bowling family 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, 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.
“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,” Hogan said during his remarks to more than 800 farmers, legislators and agriculture industry representatives.
During his remarks, he cited the importance of agriculture to the state’s quality of life and to the economy by directly supporting 45,600 jobs.
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.
Most recently, Chip served as both vice president and president of the National Corn Growers Association. He is the organization’s first president from the East Coast, and the first to serve two terms. “There’s hundreds of of farmers out there that do what I do,” Chip said. “Some choose just to stay in the their home state, some choose to go national.”
Chip said while leading NCGA, he averaged 200 days a year away from the farm. Family support was key in keeping the farm operating for those years but he said it allowed him to share the pride he and other farmers have for agriculture throughout the state.
“Everywhere I went I made sure that people knew I lived in Newburg, Md., and what it meant to farm there,” he said. “There is pride in farming in Maryland, I have pride in farming in Maryland and I’ve gotten to know a lot of people throughout the state and they have the same pride as I do.”
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