Davis honored with Miller Award
CENTREVILLE, Md. — Sandy Davis moved from behind the scenes to take center stage and accept the Dr. James R. Miller Award at the 20th annual Maryland Commodity Classic July 26.
Davis, who grew up on a 600 acre farm in Maryland, recieved a degree in education from then Salisbury State College but returned to her agriculture roots and served the grain industry for nearly 40 years.
“I just absolutely love working for and with farmers. It was in my blood,” Davis told the crowd gathered at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park. “This is an honor and it’s been a real sense of pride.”
During her career, she also worked with two soybean membership associations, four state checkoff boards and acted as advisor to five state boards.
“We don’t always take the time to recognize those who keep the wheels greased and running behind the scenes for our associations but we couldn’t think of a more perfect opportunity to recognize Sandy for her years of service and dedication,” said Travis Hutchison, MSB president who presented the award.
Davis began her career in 1980 as a receptionist and secretary for the regional office of the American Soybean Association. When the national soybean checkoff program was created in 1990, she became an administrative assistant and in 1995 was named executive director of the Maryland and Pennsylvania soybean boards.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Soybean Board opened an office in Pennsylvania with new staff and Davis remained executive director of the Maryland board and was Financial/Compliance Coordinator for the Delaware Soybean Board until her retirement in September 2017.
Though technically retired Davis remains connected to the Maryland board as its finance and compliance coordinator.
“Sandy takes pride in the financial compliance and open reports and her books are always clean as a whistle,” Hutchison said. “I tell you, she keeps us straight.”
Establshed in 1988, the Miller award recognizes an individual for contributions to the grain industry.
Hutchison said Davis was integral in bringing back more than $1 million in United Soybean Board funding to Maryland and the region to support and promote its soybean, poultry and livestock industries. That included funding for promoting biodiesel, Maryland’s Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program and Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc.’s vegetative enviromental buffers program.
In 2012, Davis and current MSB executive director Susanne Zilberfarb spearheaded the Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed Us grocery sweepstakes to encourage consumers to learn about agriculture.
Most recently they collaborated to bring more national resources to the region to support the development of a regional research consortium now known as the Atlantic Soybean Council.
“Thank you all for the privilege of working with you and getting to know you. I look forward to a few more years and what a surprise,” Davis said.
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